RSPH has responded to the Department of Health and Social Care's legislative proposals for a Health and Care Bill Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all released today, 11th February 2021.

Christina Marriott, Chief Executive of RSPH responded:

“The White Paper presents an opportunity to embed public health into a system focused on prevention. We welcome its focus on integration: this is key to achieving health for the whole population, not just healthcare for treating illness. We therefore welcome the removal of the bureaucracy and barriers that have stood in the way of good integrated systems, in particular the procurement rules and the requirements of the Competition and Markets Authority.

“However, two aspects are less welcome. First, a return to centralised, Whitehall control is a reversal of not only the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, but of many of the lessons learnt under the pandemic. There is a difference between accountability and command and control and we fear that this Paper has not achieved the right balance. 

“But most concerning is that plans based on integration are drafted before the new public health arrangements have even been consulted on. An ‘integrated system’ is being legislated for before a major component has even been designed. This signals that public health is not central to the thinking. Effective integrated systems are designed around the strengths and knowledge of balanced partners: not the needs of one partner with un-thought through additions of Cinderella services.”