Continued support for public health teams

6 February 2013

Working together to secure quality services

From April 2013 local authorities will take responsibility for improving public health.  Integrating public health into local government will allow services to be planned and delivered in the context of the broader social determinants of health, like poverty, education, housing, employment, crime and pollution.  The NHS, social care, the voluntary sector and communities will all need to work together to make this happen.

Achieving positive health outcomes and reducing inequalities in health will rely on the ability of public health teams to work towards common goals with CCGs and the area teams of the NHS Commissioning Board. 

Through the health and wellbeing board the local authority will lead the development of joint strategic needs assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies, which will provide the means of integrating local commissioning strategies and ensuring a community-wide approach to promoting and protecting the public’s health and wellbeing. 

They will also have responsibility for commissioning specific public health services as well as being required to provide public health advice leadership and support to NHS commissioners. 

Primary care and public health

To achieve their goals, it’s essential that local authorities and public health teams engage positively with primary care services.  About 90% of contacts with the NHS are with primary care services provided by GP practices, dental practices, community pharmacies and high street optometrists.  In terms of addressing and measuring population health and getting key messages across, primary care services provide by far the greatest opportunity.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) defines primary care as:
‘…the first level contact with people taking action to improve health in a community. In a system with a gatekeeper, all initial (non-emergency) consultations with doctors, nurses or other health staff’.

The vast majority of the population are registered with a general practice and every practice is responsible for the care of patients who choose to register on its list.  There are approximately 300 million practice consultations each year.  When combined with the number of health interactions in dental practices, opticians and community pharmacies, it’s clear that primary care contractors have a huge role to play in supporting the delivery of the public health outcomes framework. 

CCGs and public health have joint responsibility to ensure that public health advice is integrated into commissioning decisions. Public health teams therefore need to work closely with the GP community, at an operational and strategic level. 

PCC
Your organisation can benefit from our understanding of general practice and our existing strong local links with primary care. Outgoing PCTs and SHAs relied on our expertise – delivered through events, adviser services and direct support for local projects – and we continue to work with CCGs and primary care professionals.

• We are the experts in primary care contracting – including what is and isn’t included in the core contracts, what can be commissioned separately and how, steps to ensure patient safety
• We can provide practical advice where the local authority is procuring services that may be delivered by primary care
• We provide information and masterclasses in essential areas such as the contract framework  and procurement
• We can provide vital information and practical support where public health needs to secure services from primary care that replace local enhanced services (LES), eg smoking cessation, IUCD, LARCs, STI testing and chlamydia screening
• We can advise on the development of your pharmaceutical needs assessment as part of your overall planning process
• We keep you informed and up-to-date with policy and case studies through our newsletters, regular briefings, website, local networks and events.

We also provide services to assist in the development of key relationships local authorities and their public health teams will need to build, including:

• Facilitated sessions to bring groups of local stakeholders together to work through issues
• National and local events (which achieve some of the same networking benefits organically)
• Running virtual networks, bringing together similar or disparate groups with shared interests
• Team development - supporting the public health team to work together effectively and build confidence and resilience in the workforce
• Specific training courses focused on relationship development that can be accessed by your team and/or shared with your customers, for example:

o Negotiation skills
o Media relations
o Patient and public engagement
o Facilitation training.

Supporting public health to deliver

The PCC service for public health is based on an annual subscription with the following elements:

Training and development workshops to support your organisation in specific areas of knowledge and skills, for example:
• Understanding primary care contracts
• Understanding procurement – everything from the basics of procurement law to advice on how to run successful procurements and avoid legal challenges
• Developing an oral health strategy
• Developing a pharmaceutical needs assessment and integrating it into your JSNA
• Building public health considerations into strategic estates planning
• The new NHS – an overview of the roles and responsibilities of new organisations, their relationships and funding flows – what it all means for commissioning
• Effective engagement – drawing on PCC’s experience in supporting consultations and more recent work with the Department of Health/NHS Commissioning Board supporting patient and public engagement strategy.

Events – the PCC service for public health also gives you access to our national event programme where you can share learning from other organisations, network and benefit from expert speakers in plenary and interactive sessions.

E-learning – PCC is developing a growing range of e-learning tools to support your team to develop knowledge and skills at their own pace. Our e-learning courses also provide valuable sources of reference.

Helpdesks – As part of the subscription we will provide access to our primary care helpdesks.

Information – all subscribers will receive our weekly PCC newsletters and bi-monthly publication, Commissioning Excellence.

Bespoke support – In addition to the annual support package, PCC can undertake specific projects including providing support to draft your pharmaceutical needs assessment, developing service specifications for services to be delivered in primary care, assessing primary care delivery options, drafting, specifications and new contracts for primary care services delivery.

For more information contact mark.beesley@pcc.nhs.uk or 07920 500135.

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