The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed its plans to transform the public health system. Two new bodies will separately target health security and the prevention of ill health.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will protect against infectious diseases and external health threats. The Office for Health Promotion will sit within the DHSC, under the leadership of the Chief Medical Officer and will drive the government’s prevention agenda. It will embed promoting good health across the work of the whole government and the NHS.
UKHSA will bring together national public health science and response capabilities and strengthen national defences against all health hazards, including ensuring the UK is well-prepared for pandemics at all times.
The Office for Health Promotion will increase focus throughout government – locally and nationally – and across the NHS on preventing the onset of avoidable physical and mental illness, supporting the whole of government to go further in improving health.
ICSs will play a critical part in the prevention agenda, by bringing local authorities and the NHS together, to take decisions at a local level. Legislation will include a ‘Health and Care Partnership’ as part of the ICS, which would be tasked with promoting partnership arrangements and developing a plan to address the health, social care and public health needs of their system.
NHS England’s focus on prevention and population will be strengthened, with the transfer to it of national capabilities to help drive and support improved health. Important national disease registries functions will move to NHS Digital.