A new Office for Health Promotion is to take over from Public Health England in leading national efforts to improve the health of the nation by tackling obesity, improving mental health and promoting physical activity.
The OHP will sit within the Department of Health and Social Care, and will combine PHE’s health improvement expertise with existing DHSC health policy to promote and deliver better health to communities nationwide, according to the government. It will recruit an expert lead who will report jointly into the Health Secretary and the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty.
A large proportion of people’s health outcomes (around 80 per cent) are not related to the healthcare they receive but due to wider preventable risk factors such as diet, smoking, exercise, says the government. The new Office will “help inform a new cross-government agenda which will look to track these wider determinants of health and implement policies in other departments where appropriate”.
The announcement follows the setting up of a new UK Health Security Agency earlier in the week, and is one of a number of other changes set out in a policy paper: Transforming the public health system: reforming the public health system for the challenges of our times.
A white paper with legislative proposals for a Health and Care Bill sets out how the new public health framework will integrate at a local level. Two forms of integration will be underpinned by the legislation.
There will be integration within the NHS to remove some of the boundaries to collaboration and to make working together an organising principle; and the NHS and local authorities will be given a duty to collaborate with each other.