Monday, 8 April 2013

New local Public Health Director has eye on outcomes


Public Health England (PHE) – a new national body covering the Cumbria and Lancashire area,  is an executive agency of the Department of Health, from 1 April, 2013.

As part of the changes across the health service to a system of new local Clinical Commissioning Groups, PHE's role is supporting and enabling local government, the NHS and the public to protect and improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities.

The new organisation has taken on the responsibilities of a number of existing bodies which were abolished on 31 March 2013. They include the Health Protection Agency, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, the nine Public Health Observatories, the UK National Screening Committee and NHS cancer and non-cancer screening programmes, the Cancer Registries, Quality Assurance Reference Centres, public health functions from Strategic Health Authorities, Specialised Commissioners and parts of the Department of Health, including Public Health Marketing. They are in the process of migrating their websites.

The setting up of Public Health England comes alongside the move of local Directors of Public Health and their teams from NHS Primary Care Trusts, also being abolished, into local councils, who will take the lead in the future for public health.

As well as national centres of particular expertise, PHE will have four regions – North, Midlands and East, London and South – and 15 centres around the country – including a centre in Cumbria & Lancashire.

Each centre will have a director and teams of specialist staff and will work with local government, the new Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England and the wider NHS, to tailor PHE’s services to their local wishes and needs.

The four regions, meanwhile, will be keeping an overview of the whole health system’s progress, in their area, at implementing the new national public health outcomes framework – which sets out what needs to be achieved nationally to protect and improve health.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said:
“Smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and alcohol are five main risk factors for ill-health and many of the major causes of premature death. Poor mental health, substance abuse and musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, are among the main drivers for disability. The reality is that nearly all of these conditions are either preventable or can have less of an impact when diagnosed early. PHE has the opportunity to make a substantial difference to people’s lives, and reduce the tremendous psycho-social and economic burden of poor health on our society."

"PHE is in a unique position in that it can take a wide overview of public health and the causes of ill health. We will work alongside local authorities and the NHS to ensure national and local resources are directed towards the areas where attention is needed most and the biggest improvements can be made to meet the needs of our demographically changing population.” (Read his full statement here)

In a PHE press release issued today, Dr Jane Rossini, who has been appointed Centre Director for the Chorley-based Cumbria & Lancashire PHE Centre, said:
“We know that smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and alcohol are five main risk factors for ill-health and many of the major causes of premature death. Poor mental health, substance abuse and musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, are among the main drivers for disability. The reality is that nearly all of these conditions are either preventable or can have less of an impact when diagnosed early. PHE has the opportunity to make a substantial difference to people’s lives, and reduce the tremendous psycho-social and economic burden of poor health on our society.

"PHE is in a unique position in that it can take a wide overview of public health and the causes of ill health. We will work alongside local authorities and the NHS to ensure national and local resources are directed towards the areas where attention is needed most and the biggest improvements can be made to meet the needs of our demographically changing population."  

Dr Rossini was previously joint Borough Director of Public Health at Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale, a post she took up in November 2010. Prior to that she spent six years as Deputy Director of Public Health for Stockport.

The Cumbria & Lancashire PHE Centre can be contacted on 0844 225 0602.

To find out more visit their website: www.gov.uk/phe, which is still evolving, or follow them on Twitter @PHE_uk

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