We are at the early stage of understanding how we translate our ambition for the public health system in England into practical and robust action. What we do know is that health and wellbeing boards are the frontline for improving and protecting the public’s health. We will recognise this in how we organise and work. Right now we are settling on the best configuration for our new Public Health Centres. There will be around 16 of these across the country. For the first time, these will bring together all areas of public health expertise: health protection, health improvement and population healthcare. An important early step for them will be to build positive relationships in supporting the health and wellbeing boards and make good on Public Health England’s promises to provide expert knowledge and intelligence as well as practical resources in support of local solutions to local problems.
Population healthcare places the variations in health outcome, population need and resource centre stage. It is the pursuit of greater equity in health outcomes across all the communities we serve and the drive to make sure the “invisible ones” are seen, heard and have access to quality care regardless of their circumstances. Health and wellbeing boards will work with clinical commissioning groups for better health outcomes across their communities. Professor Steve Field, who leads nationally on inclusion, and the QIPP Right Care programme are helping us think through how this is best approached. You may wish to look at the June newsletter for the Public Health Commissioning Network for further information and I have asked them to produce a newsletter every month to keep population healthcare and the contribution of public health professionals to the forefront of the debate.
There was a very positive reception to the priority we are going to place on the postgraduate development and support of our staff across the national workforce. The future workforce is so important as we go forward. In saying this, it is by cherishing our current people and recognising the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and experience across the entire public health workforce, that we lay the surest foundations for the future. Providing as much certainty as we can at a time of major change matters hugely.
Next week we expect to be in a position to say something about the legal basis for transfer of NHS staff into local government and, shortly after that, about the movement of staff into PHE. This will then allow us all to speak about the future with greater confidence.