Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive Designate, Public Health England
Posted 11th Dec 2012
Firstly, I want to start by thanking MEDFASH for inviting me to their 25th anniversary celebration last month. I lost a number of friends to AIDS during the fearful time in the 1980s. When you think how far we have come, to the point where HIV is now managed as a long term condition rather than an automatic death sentence, there is much to be celebrated and MEDFASH is to be thanked and congratulated on its massive contribution.
Since my appointment in July, I have recognised how extraordinarily fortunate I am to have been given the responsibility to lead Public Health England. PHE is going to cover so many practical aspects of everyday life where positive differences can be made. The rationale for this new national public health agency is to bring together for the first time the full range of public health expertise, information and analysis and to focus this on reducing health inequalities and improving the health of the poorest and most poorly in society. In an inspired move, Local Government has been given the responsibility for improving the health of their local populations. Putting the emphasis on local leadership will enable all parts of the system to come together to focus resource and attention on health and wellbeing rather than disease alone. Prevention and early intervention will become the lens through which we view the design of our systems, pathways and programmes.
PHE will support this paradigm shift in every way it can, and it is our responsibility to work with our sexual health partners to ensure that the new system capitalises on advances in the field. This includes championing an integrated approach to sexual health commissioning to improve outcomes.
Local authorities have a strong history of involvement with contraception and sexual health, most recently as system leaders for reducing teenage pregnancy. It means existing expertise has been developed and shared across local government and the NHS, and it will be important to build upon these as wider commissioning responsibility moves to local government. We will recognise the critical contribution of voluntary and third sector organisations because they are often the closest to the people at the sharp end of care delivery. There will also be a number of new commissioners of different aspects of sexual health in future which includes the NHS Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Collaboration will be at the heart of joined up commissioning of high quality clinical services focused on ensuring good access and a good customer experience. Public Health England will play a supporting role in these partnerships - providing evidence of what works, collecting and analysing data, promoting innovative approaches and evaluation.
Finally, we are delighted to have Dr Kevin Fenton as PHE’s Director of Health Improvement and Population Healthcare. He joins us from his role as Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta USA, bringing a level of expertise which will be a huge benefit to sexual health services in the new landscape. I am sure you will have an opportunity to meet him soon.
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