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Exclusive: areas must implement joint sexual health model with NHS

  • 4 Comments

Councils will be required to adopt a co-commissioning model with the NHS for sexual health services and jointly prepare local plans following the review of public health responsibilities, LGC understands.

Yesterday health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed there will be no change to councils’ current responsibilities for public health and praised councils’ “innovation and dedication to delivering great public health services”.

The review announced in the NHS Long Term Plan, which referenced sexual health services, health visitors, and school nurses, drew strong criticism from across local government including directors of public health, who defended councils’ record of delivery compared to NHS performance on public health programmes.

Speaking at the Royal College of Medicine last night, Mr Hancock said the government was “committed to supporting and encouraging joined-up commissioning”.

While there is an expectation that councils will work closely with the NHS on health visiting and school nursing, LGC understands there will be a specific requirement for councils to agree a co-commissioning model for sexual health in their areas and devise a joint plan for the delivery of services in a bid to ensure sexual health is a high priority.

However, LGC understands the government will not impose tight requirements on both how the commissioning model should be structured, or the approaches outlined in the local plans.

Mr Hancock said the promised prevention green paper will be published soon.

“Many stakeholders reported in the review that local authorities have… given public health a higher profile and integrated public health with other locally commissioned services. Social services, including those associated with the wider determinants of health like housing, have all seen benefits,” he said.

“There is also greater transparency of local authority spend and commissioning decisions, and the autonomy of local authorities tends to support flexibility and innovation in commissioning.”

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • jim.mcmanus@hertfordshire.gov.uk

    Interesting that a 2014 document co badged by PHE , ADPH , LGA and government suggested this approach at the time. Several of us shared it repeatedly. The review has reached a very similar conclusion. As Nick Golding said this is a battle we could have avoided staging in the first place. But a good outcome and we must not underestimate the unwavering support of LGC and LGA in getting us here .

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  • It's all very well to say 'co-commissioning with the NHS' but which bit of it - the STP/ ICS, what is left of CCGs or NHS England (who do SARCs)? The level of churn and complexity in the NHS does not help local government who have provided strong and stable delivery in this arena without formal requirements.

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  • jim.mcmanus@hertfordshire.gov.uk

    Good comment by 11.52. One thing I'd add to this is that The Economist recently concluded the NHS has much to learn from the way local government commissioned sexual health clinics have innovated. https://www.economist.com/britain/2019/03/16/sex-clinics-show-how-competition-can-improve-englands-nhs This is NOT a control shift to the NHS, and I for one will be emphasising we have much the NHS can learn from, just as we have stuff to learn from NHS colleagues

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  • the nhs effectively commissions itself, so joint commissioning disempowers local government from holding providers to account.

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