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Transformation of the public health system in Manchester

6 Jun 2011 - 09:27 by michelle.foster

The specialist public health function in Manchester is changing. For many years there have been three main parts of this system:
• a Public Health Team based within NHS Manchester;
• the Joint Health Unit based within Manchester City Council;
• public health provider services, such as the Public Health Development Service and Healthy Living Networks.

As part of the significant changes that are currently underway within both the
NHS and the City Council, there is a need to transform this specialist system to ensure that it can continue to meet the significant public health challenges that exist in the city over coming years. This transformation is particularly driven by the national policy of abolishing Primary Care Trusts and transferring responsibility for public health to local government from April 2013.

Public Health Manchester
The Joint Health Unit and the NHS Manchester Public Health Team have now merged to become Public Health Manchester. A formal transformation project is underway in the light of the policy directions set in the White Papers Liberating the NHS and Healthy People, Healthy Lives. The end point of this project will be a single public health commissioning team, based within Manchester City Council, and operating within the limits of the new ringfenced public health budget, which is due to be announced in shadow form in December 2011. This date sets a constraint on the speed at which the transformation project can be implemented; it is unlikely that there will be significant structural changes within the team until the details of this budget are known.

Reviewing the way in which Public Health Manchester commissions services is a crucial part of this transformation project. For the moment, however, all existing commissioning arrangements remain as they are until further notice.

Public Health Provider Services
On 1 April 2011, all services provided as part of Manchester Community Health transferred to other organisations. The majority of public health provider services, including the Public Health Development Service, the Physical Activity Referral Service and the South Manchester Healthy Living Network, moved to the Mental Health and Social Care Trust. The Healthy Schools Team moved to Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Community Nutrition Service has been split between the three acute trusts in the city.
Now that this transfer has happened, a formal transformation project will be established for the majority of provider services as well, supporting the creation of a new integrated healthy lifestyle service for the city.

Stakeholders will be kept informed about progress with these projects over the coming year.

For further information about the transformation of Public Health Manchester contact Colin Cox, Public Health Consultant, email: c.cox@manchester.gov.uk.
For further information about the transformation of public health provider services contact Barry Gillespie, Public Health Consultant, on b.gillespie@manchester.nhs.uk.

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