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Children’s public health commissioning switches to councils a year today

Public health commissioning responsibilities for children aged 0-5 will transfer from NHS England to local authorities on 1 October 2015, a year today.

This includes the commissioning of the 0-5 Healthy Child Programme, the national public health programme based on best knowledge/evidence to achieve good outcomes for all children.

The government has announced that certain universal elements of the Healthy Child Programme will be mandated in regulations in the same way it has for sexual health and some other public health services. These include: the antenatal health promotion review; new baby review, which is the first check after the birth; the six to eight week assessment; one year assessment; and the two to two and a half year review.

Responsibility for the six to eight week GP check, also known as Child Health Surveillance, will remain with NHS England.

The new arrangements are scheduled to be reviewed after a year.

The Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England are working with the Local Government Authority to support local authorities and NHS Area Teams to transfer the responsibilities.

In a statement on their website about the changes the LGA said: “We are relieved that the government has listened to our concerns about the importance for local authorities to have long-term flexibility to manage these services locally and has committed to including a sunset clause in the regulations which will set a time limit for the requirements placed on local authorities.”

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