The council is set to welcome the return of running public health services in Croydon after 40 years. This follows the government’s decision to abolish primary care trusts and transfer the responsibility for public health from the NHS to local authorities. These changes are being made as a requirement of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Key areas that will come under the control of the council include sexual health, health checks, health protection, obesity, drug and alcohol misuse and smoking cessation. The changes mean elected councillors will now oversee public health, bringing greater accountability as it will have the same level of scrutiny as other council functions.
Croydon has been allocated a budget of between £18-19 million a year by the Department of Health, as the estimated cost of taking on public health responsibilities. The borough’s director of public health Dr Mike Robinson, appointed in August, has been working with the council to help prepare for the handover of services. NHS staff will be transferred to the employment of the council, when the changes come into effect on April 1.
Councillor Margaret Mead, cabinet member for adult services and health, said: “After 40 years, these changes will see the administration of public health return to local authorities. With public health the responsibility of the council, our priority will be to improve the health and wellbeing of Croydon residents.
“By bringing public health into the council, it means we can bring residents to the fore of decision making and tailor services closer to their needs.”