To receive a presentation from Prof Peter Kelly, Public Health England Regional Director for the North East and Yorkshire, about the arrangements for the new UK Health Security Agency and Office of Health Promotion.
The Board received a presentation from Professor Peter Kelly, Public Health England (PHE) Regional Director and National Health Service Executive (NHSE) Regional Director of Public Health North East and Yorkshire, in relation to changing responsibilities and Public Health Reforms.
The Board was informed that PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. PHE provided government, local government, the NHS, Parliament, industry and the public with evidence based professional and scientific expertise and support. There were 9 PHE teams in 4 regions around England to support implementation where people live and work. PHE dealt with many issues beyond Covid and were experts at small very rare diseases and in surveillance.
Professor Kelly informed the Board that the UK Health Security Agenda, established in April 2021, undertook functions in 5 core areas: Prevent, Detect, Analyse, Respond and Lead. The prevent function involved anticipating and taking action to mitigate infectious disease and other hazards to health before they materialise. Detect related to detecting and monitoring infectious diseases and other hazards to health, including novel diseases and new environmental hazards. The analyse function referred to analysing infectious disease and other hazards to health to determine how best to control and respond to them through coordinated and intelligent data analysis and modelling. The respond function involved taking action to mitigate and resolve infectious diseases, through direct delivery, engaging with citizens and flexibly deploying resources. The lead function meant providing health protection system leadership, working in partnership with stakeholders such as central government, local government and the NHS to provide effective preparation and response to the full range of threats to health.
It was explained that the new Office for Health Promotion (OHP) would be the home of the Government’s health promotion and prevention agenda. Under the leadership of the Chief Medical Officer, it would develop and lead the delivery of an ambitious strategy for improving the nation’s health. It would bring together evidence, data and intelligence on what drives better and more equal health outcomes. The OHP would sit within the Department of Health and Social Care and deliver through a wide range of partners. As part of the public health reforms, functions including screening and immunisation and dental public health would move from PHE to NHSE.
The Board was informed that there were still some areas to be determined in relation to the public health reforms, including how various agencies would work and interact with local authorities and how funding would be allocated. It was noted that the role of the Health and Well Being Board was to promote greater integration and partnership between bodies from the NHS, public health and local government. Protecting and improving health inequalities was critically important and needed to be done from the bottom up. The Board discussed health inequalities in North Tyneside and how levelling up could be achieved. It was noted that there needed to be investment in the jobs market, education and housing to help address health inequalities.
The Chair thanked Professor Kelly for his attendance and for the information presented. Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health at North Tyneside Council, thanked Professor Kelly and his team for the support and leadership that PHE had provided.
Resolved that the information presented be noted.