FSRH statement: new Office for Health Promotion could ensure greater national ownership of health improvement and women’s reproductive health

Posted 30 March 2021

Date: 30 Mar 2021

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) welcomes the announcement on the creation of the new Office for Health Promotion sitting within the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in the autumn. The announcement is a first step to clarify the future of health improvement functions after the demise of Public Health England (PHE) last year.

The Office for Health Promotion will focus on tackling the top preventable risk factors causing death and ill health in the UK, and its expert lead will report into the Chief Medical Officer (CMO). It will also address public health areas such as obesity and nutrition, mental health, and “sexual health”, amongst others.

The Office for Health Promotion will help inform a new cross-government agenda. A cross-government ministerial board on prevention will aim to drive forward and coordinate action on the wider determinants of health to level up inequalities.

The Government is seeking feedback on the new system via an online survey by 26 April 2021, and FSRH will be responding to this consultation in due course.

Dr Jane Dickson, Vice President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, (FSRH), said:

‘The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) welcomes the announcement. We have previously called for PHE’s remaining health improvement functions to be transferred to either the Department of Health and Social Care or to NHS England. The new Office within the Department is, therefore, a welcome step towards tackling the past lack of strategic focus of health improvement and prevention.

‘We believe that this move could warrant greater ownership and accountability in women’s reproductive health by the Government. There is good potential to having health improvement functions, including in women’s reproductive health, sitting within a body that can bring together local authorities’ public health functions with commissioners such as NHS England and Integrated Care Systems in a way that has not proved effective under the Health & Social Care Act 2012 arrangements. Meeting this potential will be the challenge.

‘We hope that accountability to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) may represent an opportunity for ownership of Public Health at national level and integration of women’s health. Yet whilst we strongly support leadership by the CMO as an independent authority, we need further assurance that independence of policy analysis and development would be effectively maintained.

‘Finally, uncertainty remains about long-term funding for Public Health. In light of the current and future strain posed by COVID-19, we urge the Department of Health and Social Care to support the restoration of public health services, and to work with the Treasury to find a long-term solution to fully fund Public Health beyond the pandemic.’


For further information, please contact: Camila Azevedo, FSRH External Affairs Manager, at cazevedo@fsrh.org / 07379408587

Notes to Editors