Experts are welcoming the move to a new focused health promotion office that will look into tackling the top preventable risk factors causing death and ill health in the UK. The office is in the process of recruiting an expert lead, who will report to Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, and Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer.
It is understood that The Office for Health Promotion will sit within the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and will lead work across the government to promote good health and prevent illness which shortens lives and costs the NHS billions every year, building on the work of Public Health England.
Speaking of the new office's introduction, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said,
As a health and social care champion, we are welcoming the joined-up action between national and local government, the NHS, and cross-government as well as the recognition of the importance of mental and physical health.
As we all know too well, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how fragile our population is when it comes to health. It is now more important than ever that we support people in achieving healthier lives.
Ill-health amongst working-age people alone costs the economy around £100 billion a year. By focusing on the prevention of poor health and improving health outcomes, will reduce the pressures on the NHS, social care, and other public services.
Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, shared his thoughts on the preventation of ill health and how continuing with an evidence-informed and collaborative approach to health will support the nations' recovery.
"Preventing ill health and supporting our communities to live healthy lives is very important.
The non-direct harms of COVID on the public’s health will not be trivial. We need an evidence-informed and collaborative approach to health promotion and to support this recovery."
The Office for Health Promotion will be established by the autumn. The government will set out more detail on plans and ambitions for improving the public’s health later this year.