Policy Watch


Public Health England (PHE) must be visibly and operationally independent, say MP's in Health Committee report



  The 12th report HC 1048-I & II from the Health Select Committee was was released today with a number of recommendations for a new public health framework.

The report recommends that the Health and Social Care Bill be amended to include a statutory duty on local authorities to address health inequalities:

It highlights the crucial role of public health expertise in the commissioning of NHS services – the Government has said that Directors of Public Health (DsPH) will provide public health expertise, advice and analysis to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) and the NHS Commissioning Board – but the report says this is not enough. It recommends that the local DPH should be a member of the Board of each CCG. There should also be a qualified public health professional on the NHS Commissioning Board, and the Board should routinely take advice from qualified public health professionals when commissioning decisions are being taken.

The Committee are concerned that the involvement of local authorities, Public Health England and the NHS Commissioning Board in various facets of public health commissioning will produce a lack of coordination and cohesion in public health services.

The report also recommends a single, integrated Outcomes Framework for public health, the NHS and adult social care – and is therefore concerned that the NHS and social care Outcomes Framework have been finalised before the framework for public health. http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/committees/recent-reports/