Local authorities will have a wide range of commissioning responsibilities, according to new documents
Councils will be given more responsibility for commissioning services which cover issues such as anti-smoking campaigns, interventions to tackle obesity and comprehensive sexual health services, the government has said.
Releasing more details on its plans for public health, the Department of Health says it wants local authorities to play an important role in promoting the health of their population.
Some of the services that councils will have responsibilities for will be:
• Alcohol and drug misuse services.
• Public health services for children and young people aged five to 19.
• The national child measurement programme.
• Locally-led nutrition initiatives.
• NHS health check assessments.
• Public mental health services.
• Dental public health services.
• Comprehensive sexual health services, including testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, contraception outside of the GP contract and sexual health promotion and disease prevention.
The government's latest plans for public health also reveal more about its vision for Public Health England, the new body which will be responsible for advocating public health in England. It will have will have four regional hubs and a series of local units. The DH aims to identify around approximately 5,000 employees within existing organisations, such as the Health Protection Agency, which it will transfer to Public Health England in April 2013.
A chief executive designate for the organisation is expected to be appointed this April.
The department also expanded on its plans for the commissioning of abortion services. It rowed back on and earlier idea to place the commissioning of these services in the hands of local authorities – but this hasn't been ruled out in the future.
The department says: "Given the highly clinical, and in most cases surgical, nature of abortion provision we have reconsidered our earlier decision to place these services with local authorities. We have provisionally concluded that abortion should remain within the NHS and be commissioned by clinical commissioning groups."
"However, we are keen to seek a range of views on this revised commissioning route. A consultation on this revised recommendation will begin in due course."
There will be flexibility in the commissioning duties local authorities take on; while some will become statutory other services will be discretionary and guided by the yet to be published public health outcomes framework, the local joint strategic needs assessment and the joint health and wellbeing strategy.
Local authorities may also be able to commission services under their health improvement duty, which may fall outside of the set list of commissioning responsibilities.
The government has said that it will provide a ringfenced public health grant to support local authorities in carrying out their new public health functions. The DH plans to make a shadow allocation for 2012-13 to help them prepare for authorities taking on formal responsibility in 2013-14.
The new details will be welcomed by councils across England, some of whom had expressed concern about a lack of detail about the DH's plans, particularly around the setting up of health and wellbeing boards.
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Read the complete post at http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2011/dec/22/department-public-health-plans-local
Dec 22 2011, 02:29 AM
Healthcare Network | guardian.co.uk