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Employees move to Sandwell Council to prepare for public health handover
3:02pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 in News
THE transfer of public health from the NHS to Sandwell Council - billed as an “historic occasion” - will go ahead in April with 50 employees coming over to the council this week in preparation for the move.
The Government’s NHS reforms require the council to take over public health services from Sandwell Primary Care Trust, which will close as a health body on March 31.
It will be given a budget of £20.8 million.
To get ready for the change, 50 public health experts will become council employees and move into Sandwell Council House, Oldbury, this week.
Councillor Paul Moore, the council’s cabinet member for health, said the move would bring new opportunities for council departments to make improvements with protecting people from infection and environmental problems as top priorities.
Councillor Moore, who previously slammed the Government for delays confirming its budget, said: “We look forward to welcoming our colleagues from public health.
“This will provide a great opportunity to work together more closely to make sure we are doing all we can to improve health and protect the public.
Councillor Moore added: “We will be working hard to tackle drug and alcohol abuse, sexual health risks and general lifestyle issues.”
Dr John Middleton, director of public health in Sandwell, said: “After many months of planning, we are looking forward to the move and the opportunity it brings.
“This is an historic occasion as the public health team moves back to the council, where public health began and belongs.
“Public health has had much success in recent years in improving people’s health, and this is an opportunity for Sandwell Council to lead and build even further on this success.”