This was the first in a series of seminars which aimed to support the strategic development of new clinical commissioning groups, providing an opportunity for participants to explore some of the challenges facing clinical commissioners and examine options for addressing these in ways that shape underlying values of commissioning groups and help assure their success.
This seminar examined the reforms to public health in England and asked how clinical commissioners can engage with the new public health system for the benefit of patients and local communities.
The seminar participants heard an outline of the main plans for reform from Tim Baxter, Head of Public Health Development Unit, Department of Health, including moving public health teams from primary care trusts (PCTs) to local government, the creation of health and wellbeing boards to coordinate needs assessment at local government level, and the creation of Public Health England in the Department of Health, to lead and provide guidance from the centre. Clinical commissioners will need access to high quality public health data and expertise, which will come from local government public health departments but perhaps also from other providers.
Professor Lindsey Davies, President, Faculty of Public Health, welcomed the broad direction of the public health reforms, but urged the government to clarify who would be in charge of public health locally and ensure that clinicians – many of whom were enthusiastic about the value for public health – had access training to improve their skills and knowledge.
Dr Sam Everington, GP, Tower Hamlets, argued that the reform was an excellent opportunity to embed public health across primary care. His experience at Bromley-by-Bow Health Centre showed that a public health approach to health services was possible regardless of the structures above, as it was driven by good leadership and dedication from the PCT, local government frontline staff and communities.
Other events in this series
For further details about the other events from this series, follow the links below to visit the dedicated event pages:
- Engaging with patients and the public: reviewing options and learning from the past, 4 May 2011
- Unleashing the potential of primary care: lessons from New Zealand’s experience of organised general practice, 23 June 2011
- Mind the gap: how will clinical commissioning groups work with specialists?, 14 September 2011
- Clinicians as commissioners and providers – can they really manage the conflicts of interest?, 8 February 2012