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DH restructure brings digital, local government and social care under one roof

As part of a cost-cutting drive the Department of Health (DH) has reorganised and merged its digital, technology, local government and social care directorates into a new single community care category.

The restructure, which went live on 1 July, saw four new directorates under Chris Wormald. A DH spokeswoman said that the department will have four big groups of work managed by directors general: global and public health; community care; acute care and workforce; and finance and corporate services. However, the changes have not yet been made on the department’s website.

Most Whitehall budgets were cut in last November's spending review, and the DH is attempting to make efficiency savings of 30% in the next five years, including plans to cut about 650 jobs by April 2017.

Recently, the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) said it would be campaigning against the department’s plans to close the nursing, midwifery and allied health professions policy unit.

The new community care directorate, which will be led by Tamara Finkelstein, will cover a broad range of different issues, including mental health, seven-day services, medicines and pharmacy, and the chief social worker.

“The directorate reshuffle, that will see the newly formed community care directorate absorb technology as part of its remit, signifies another move in the ambition to deliver integrated care across public services,” Natalie Bateman, policy and communications director at IMS MAXIMS, told NHE.

“By including digital as part of this directorate, the Department of Health is reinforcing its recognition that technology is central to delivering new models of care outlined in the Five Year Forward View.”

 A DH spokeswoman said that global and public health will focus on the work required to prevent illness and improve general health.

“The community care team will focus on helping people stay out of hospital, providing patients with support when they live with long-term conditions,” she added. “The director general for acute care and workforce will work with partners to improve our hospitals and obviously we will have a director general for finance and other corporate services.”

(Image: c. Lauren Hurley/PA)


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