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Public Health England confirms priorities for health and care for 2021-22

14th July 2021 about a 2 minute read
“Preventing the onset of avoidable physical and mental illness and improving health by tackling important public health issues, such as obesity and smoking, is a priority for the government." Health minister Jo Churchill MP

Health Minister Jo Churchill MP has written to Michael Brodie, Chief Executive. Public Health England (PHE) confirming its priorities 2021-22 and the role the government expects it to play in health and care system.

It says PHE should continue to work closely with, and provide data and analysis to, partners across the wider health and social care system, including local authorities and NHS trusts.

It must also continue to support UKHSA on health protection functions and the Covid response.

The minister said: “Preventing the onset of avoidable physical and mental illness and improving health by tackling important public health issues, such as obesity and smoking, is a priority for the government.”

The priorities are:

  • Reducing health inequalities
  • Supporting the government’s target on obesity, healthy weight and nutrition
  • Mental health
  • Tackling health harms
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Early years
  • Public health reforms

On mental health, it says PHE should work to identify and provide evidence and advice to support the alleviation of the impacts of COVID-19 on the public’s mental health, for example through programmes to:

  • Provide timely, high-quality data and evidence to influence national policy including:
  1. identifying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the population’s mental health and wellbeing and on specific high-risk groups through developing a dashboard to support publishing monthly mental health surveillance reports
  2. designing the national Near-Real-Time Suicide Surveillance programme based on learnings from the pilot
  3. understanding the impact of employment changes on mental health
  • Deliver public mental health commitments set out in the COVID-19 Mental Health Recovery Action Plan for PHE, including:
  1. allocating grants of the Mental Health Prevention Stimulus Fund for local authorities in the most deprived areas of England and developing a methodology to evaluate their impact
  2. supporting DHSC in the development and testing of a mental health impact assessment

PHE must also complete all ongoing evidence reviews and publish an evidence review on obesity with a particular focus on sugar reduction, to feed into future government obesity policy.

We will be exploring the tech being developed for mental health care at a webinar on 20th July, 4-5pm. To register click here!