Local authorities from April 2013 have a duty to advise NHS commissioners, including Clinical Commissioning Groups and the NHS Commissioning Board, on population healthcare. A public health service has been established in each local authority, funded by the public health budget, to support this duty. Public Health England and the NHS Commissioning Board have recently been established, and are in the process of mobilising and consolidating a range of experts and stakeholders with health expertise and analytical skills in their new organisations. Their local offices cover a “Wessex” style region covering Dorset and Hampshire.
Population healthcare is a discipline that applies public health skills and techniques to improving health care effectiveness and productivity. This also attempts to tackle health inequalities and improve life expectancy and quality of life for the population as a whole by working with the NHS. The health service contributes to 20-25% of the improved life expectancy and avoidance of premature death in the local community, while tackling the determinants of health, and increasingly, changing unhealthy lifestyles, will make up the difference.