HC 1048-III Health CommitteeWritten evidence from Office for Sexual Health, NHS South West (PH 72)

Public Health Commissioning of Sexual Health Services

1. Issue: The future role of local government in public health (including arrangements for the appointment of Directors of Public Health; and the role of Health and Wellbeing Boards, Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies)

Response

It would improve governance of commissioning and provision of sexual health services by local authorities as well as the NHS Commissioning Board and GPs if there was a Sexual Health Partnership Sub-Group of the Health and Wellbeing Board to ensure clinically-led commissioning (similar sub-groups might be required for other public health commissioned services such as drug and alcohol services).

2. Issue: Arrangements for public health involvement in the commissioning of NHS services

Response

Public Health England will require a strong framework for the NHS Commissioning Board for its responsibilities for commissioning sexual health services such as HIV services to ensure a robust approach to prevention and that commissioning is integrated with local authority responsibility for commissioning of other related sexual health services (this could include standard service specifications across the full pathway and HIV tariff that has already been developed).

3. Issue: Arrangements for commissioning public health services

Response

Public Health England will require a strong framework for local authority commissioning of sexual health services to ensure statutory and legal duties are met and that commissioning is built on evidence and best practice (this could include standard service specifications that can be adapted at local level and use of sexual health tariffs, including those already developed).

4. Issue: The structure and purpose of the Public Health Outcomes Framework

Response

Public Health Outcomes framework should include sufficient sexual health indicators to ensure priority is balanced across the sexual health system from prevention through to treatment. Public Health England could require local areas to develop their own outcome frameworks to supplement the national framework and monitor this (South West have already developed a framework of sexual health outcomes for monitoring).

5. Issue: Arrangements for funding public health services (including the Health Premium

Response

Public Health England will wish to ensure sufficient, ring fenced funding for all elements of commissioning sexual health building on a tariff based approach that addresses some of the unacceptable variation in spend that currently exists in contracts such as local enhanced services with primary care and the lack of clarity about funding that exists where funding is incorporated into block contracts with acute trusts.

June 2011

Prepared 28th November 2011