Academic public health – funding and honorary contracts

For funding provided previously by Primary Care Trusts to support certain public health academic activity Public Health England  (PHE) has liaised with the Department Health and is able to provide assurance on the funding continuance for 2013/14 of relevant long standing commitments to universities for the direct full or partial reimbursement of specific medical and dental posts.

Many public health medical and dental academics also have honorary contracts with NHS organisations, in the main, PCTs. Where posts are to be funded through PHE it is proposed that PHE will also hold the appropriate new contract arrangement.

For other public health academic posts that have NHS honorary contracts PHE will hold the new contract arrangement if it is appropriate and necessary to do so depending on the nature of the future relationship between the organisation/person and PHE. This will be assessed on a case by case basis.

PHE is working closely with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association to collect the necessary information from higher education institutions to enable the right arrangements to be put in place in time.

From 1 April 2013, access to Clinical Excellence Awards can be provided through PHE as a result of a minor revision to the scheme rules agreed with Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards. This means public health medical and dental academics will not need an NHS honorary contract in order to maintain access to the scheme. The details of this are being worked through currently and the full process will be in place for the 2013/14 round of awards.

The Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 are scheduled to be laid before Parliament in February 2013. As an executive agency of the Government, Public Health England will be a designated body under paragraph 19 (of Schedule 1) of the 2010 Regulations.

Public health doctors within academia who hold NHS honorary contracts currently, may be connected to PHE from April 2013 where they have a future relationship with PHE in the new system architecture and where they do not have a prior connection (for example, a prior connection is likely to exist where a doctor is a GP).

For those public health doctors in academia who have no prescribed connection at all, PHE may provide a ‘Suitable Person’ under the General Medical Council (licence to practise and revalidation) Regulations 2013. Provision of a ‘Suitable Person’ would be on a case by case basis.

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