Doctors are lobbying councils in Berkshire to hand public health leaders a more senior role, after proposals emerged which would see them reporting to adult services directors rather than chief executives at six authorities.
The British Medical Association has raised concerns over the plans, arguing that public health leaders should report directly to council chief executives and should work across all council departments.
Under plans by six authorities – Bracknell Forest BC, Reading BC, Windsor and Maidenhead RBC, Slough BC, West Berkshire DC and Wokingham DC – all would share a single strategic director of public health, who would be based at Bracknell Forest BC.
This strategic director would be managed on a day-to-day basis by the director of adult social care and health at Bracknell Forest BC, but would be accountable to the chief executive.
Each authority would also have a chief public health consultant, reporting to their respective director of adult services.
The Department of Health said last year that it expected councils to give public health directors a senior role, reporting straight to chief executives. However, several councils have since voiced objections to the DH’s stance.
Dr Penelope Toff, co-chair of the BMA’s public health medicine committee, told LGC: “We do feel strongly that the consultants should have the same basis as a director of public health, and should report to the chief executive.
“We don’t want them to be siloed because of where they are positioned.” She said she had had “constructive talks” with staff in Berkshire about the issue and hoped these would continue.
However, a Bracknell Forest BC spokeswoman said the model had been “agreed and approved by Public Health England.”