Agenda item

Public Health Service Transformation Update


  1. Dr Ghosh introduced the update. 


(a) It was said that the report gave an overview of an intensive piece of work that would take about a year to complete which was a root and branch review of all Public Health commissioned services. 


(b) Dr Ghosh then provided four drivers behind why the work was required, 1) the impact of COVID-19, 2) the changed commissioning environment, 3) the Council’s financial position and the real terms reduction in the funding from the Public Health Grant next year and likely going forward and 4) two key contracts with major community health service providers were up for renewal in March 2025.


(c) Dr Ghosh noted the focus of the review would be on value for money, sustainability, alignment, innovation and technology.


(d) It was said that they were currently at stage 1, the data-gathering phase. 


  1. Mrs Tovey provided a further update on the ongoing progress. A methodology had been employed to ensure that all services were reviewed robustly to fully understand strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It was said that workshops were being planned with key stakeholders, providers and users to review ongoing work and get ideas for innovations and improvements. Following this options appraisal process would take place. It was said that the transformation aimed to ensure that services were as preventative as possible and would help to reduce health inequalities in Kent. 


  1. In response to comments and questions from Members, it was said:


(a) A Member expressed concern that the focus on financial savings would lead to the net effect of fewer services for Kent residents. More detail on the impact of the transformation on the population was requested. Mrs Tovey said they would always have to look at value for money and gave some examples of where efficiencies could be found. It was noted that impact on the population information could be provided going forward. Dr Ghosh added that they would always work within the Public Health Grant conditions and the context of an ageing population and the profile of comorbidities changing for the worse. Dr Ghosh said Public Health would be focussed on system-wide prevention interventions and other target areas going forward but efficiencies would be required to fund new opportunities. It was also said that the Council's financial position would affect the operation of Public Health.  


(b) Mr Watkins said that the review would identify which programmes were most effective and funding would be directed towards them. Mr Watkins highlighted that this work was vital to responding to the financial strains seen in Adult Social Care and Public Health. 


(c) A Member asked that text and email be the default communication method as this was cheaper than post. It was noted that post should remain an option when required for accessibility reasons. Mrs Tovey agreed and said certain services were much more digitalised than others but would aim to ensure it was the case system-wide going forward. 


(d) Mrs Tovey said that there would be mixed approach to include those people who did not have digital or online access. 


(e) The Chair asked for a progress update between stages 2 and 3. Mrs Tovey said they would be happy to update the committee as the transformation progresses. 


  1. RESOLVED the recommendations were agreed as outlined in the report.


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