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Public health transition funds announced

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The Department of Health is to issue £15m of support towards the costs of taking on public health, after pressure from councils.

In a letter to councils, Duncan Selbie, chief executive designate of Public Health England said funding allocations would be paid by primary care trusts and that each area would receive a share of the £15m, based half on equal shares and half on a per capita amount.

Mr Selbie wrote: “We are making available financial support to each unitary and upper tier local authority. This will strengthen your capacity to manage the change by contributing towards the costs associated with managing a successful transition and minimising the diversion of staff and resources from day to day duties and delivery.”

The money should be used for additional human resources capability, legal advice, estates and project planning, he said.

London Councils had this week urged the DH to the transitional costs of public health’s move from the NHS to local authorities.

It put the costs, which cover the legal and administrative fees associated with taking on new staff, at about £200,000 per local authority.

London Councils also raised concerns that NHS Commissioning Board’s decisions about how to distribute funding between clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) could place extra demand on public health services.

It said the NHSCB’s draft mandate did not mention reducing inequalities, adding that if this led deprived areas to lose out on funds, “there could be larger additional demands made on public health services.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson had also this week called for major changes to a planned system for sharing public health funding between councils, arguing that the proposals would cost the capital £79m – equivalent to £10 per resident.  

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