The modernisation of the health and social care system means that the Department of Health (DH) is also changing to reflect its new responsibilities and priorities. As the system leader, DH will be responsible for improving people’s health and wellbeing through its stewardship of the adult social care, public health and NHS systems.
The Department will shape and lead the new health and care system but will no longer be the headquarters of the NHS, nor will it directly manage any NHS organisations.
What will DH’s responsibilities include?
- setting national policy on health and adult social care and maintaining legislation
- setting strategy and outcomes for the health and adult social care system
- providing leadership across the system
- assuring delivery
- managing relationships throughout the health and care system
- securing resources and being accountable for them
- supporting cross-Government work
- speaking for the UK on international health issues
- direct support to ministers to provide parliamentary and public accountability.
What will DH’s new priorities include?
- greater emphasis on protecting and improving people’s health
- putting people’s health and wellbeing at the centre of our work
- establishing relationships of mutual respect, challenge and accountability with our partners in the NHS ‘family’
- increasing our role in research and development to support the use of science and innovation to deliver improvements in health
- strengthening our role and that of the health and care system in supporting the growth of the UK economy.
What other organisations will DH be responsible for?
We will have strategic responsibility for new and existing bodies, including:
- Public Health England
- NHS Commissioning Board
- Health Education England, which will take responsibility for workforce planning, education and training for the NHS
- NHS Trust Development Authority, which will oversee the performance management of NHS trusts and help them to reach foundation trust status
- Care Quality Commission.
What role will DH have in the new system?
We will have a role to ensure that all parts of the system work together and that each is successful in delivering its own priorities.
We will lead in this role by:
- empowering and supporting the core organisations that make up the system
- setting strategic objectives and agreeing funding for these organisations
- assessing their performance, governance, and holding them to account
- enabling effective relationships between the organisations to ensure all work to a common purpose.
What will the new DH look like?
Our structure will be streamlined to five directorates, or areas. Three of them will focus on the three big sectors of the system – NHS, adult social care and public health. This reflects the role of the Department in leading the design of the health and care system overall.
The importance of engagement with partners and stakeholders will be reflected by the creation of a new directorate responsible for partnerships and engagement. This will build our capability for proactive listening and engagement with stakeholders to ensure that we understand their issues and concerns. It will also enable stakeholder groups to help create policy solutions and improvements that better address the challenges ahead.
In addition, there will be a directorate for ‘operations’ to ensure the Department is fully equipped to deliver its policy functions.
We are also introducing a new clinical professional role, the Director of Nursing, who, in partnership with the Chief Medical Officer, will be the focus for clinical advice to ministers and the Departmental Boards across all areas.
We will post regular news on this website as this detail takes shape.