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Public Health England

Volume 689: debated on Tuesday 23 February 2021

We are currently considering the best future arrangements for Public Health England’s important health improvement functions. We have been engaging with key stakeholders throughout the process and will be setting out further details of our approach in due course. We are excited about creating the national institute for health protection to ensure additional capacity so that we have future capability and a laser-like focus on areas of health inequality.

I very much welcome the plans to reform Public Health England’s health protection functions, and I note with interest the Secretary of State’s new powers of direction in some public areas, such as obesity. Blackpool has some of the most severe public health challenges in the country. Further discussions about the health promotion functions of Public Health England were promised when the NIHP was announced, so can the Minister say now how other areas of public health promotion that are not referred to in the White Paper will be addressed?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question, and I recognise the challenges that Blackpool faces. I read with interest the Blackpool town prospectus, which highlights the public health challenges, and I am looking forward to talking to the clinical commissioning group lead about them later this week. We remain convinced that place-based approaches will have the best results, where we can target interventions in the right way when they are needed. I think my hon. Friend is alluding to other areas such as work, housing and so on. Discussions are going on with other Departments, but those specific initiatives are for those Departments themselves. As the details of the national institute for health protection are outlined, these things will become clearer. I know my hon. Friend cares deeply about his constituents and their health, and I look forward to working with him and others in the future.