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.”