26 August 2021
Jersey's public health function is being strengthened to better coordinate work to improve health outcomes across the Island. The expanded Public Health Directorate will work to:
- address health inequalities in Jersey, particularly for those who are more at risk of poorer health
- reduce the disparities between the health of different groups by promoting healthier lifestyles
- protect the Island from health hazards
- take a whole population view, which emphasises joint responsibility for health, health protection and disease prevention
- recognise the key role of Government in promoting good health as well as preventing disease, and identifying and preparing for future public health challenges
- emphasise partnership working with all those who contribute to the health of the population
- research, collect and analyse data to improve Jersey's understanding of public health challenges in the Island.
The Directorate will comprise an expanded team of experts providing professional advice on all public health matters, led by Professor Peter Bradley, who started his role as Director of Public Health (DPH) last month. Professor Bradley is a medically qualified doctor and has joined from Public Health England.
Public health continues to be hosted by the Department for Strategic Policy, Planning and Performance (SPPP), since being separated from health delivery in 2017 to increase its independence from health operations and better influence health in all policies. Professor Bradley has been designated as a Medical Officer of Health in law and there is no change to the statutory independence of the role.
From next week, Professor Bradley will be stepping into the Chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) in place of Mr Patrick Armstrong, Medical Director, who has chaired the meetings since the Cell formed last year.
Professor Bradley, said: "Jersey's Public Health Directorate will work to improve health outcomes for all Islanders. The team will be responsible for coordinating expert staff from across Government, with a focus on keeping Islanders safe from future threats, such as flu and the ongoing pandemic. Working across Government departments, the team will apply their expertise to advise how Government policies will impact on the health of Islanders.
"I look forward to using my 17 years' experience as a director to lead an expanded team of public health and policy professionals focused on health improvement, health protection, health inequalities and public health intelligence. Dr Ivan Muscat, in his role as Deputy Medical Officer of Health, will continue to support Public Health function leading on communicable disease control and our ongoing public health response to COVID.
"I also look forward to starting as Chair of STAC from next week. As the pandemic evolves and our public health response moves from suppression to mitigation, Mr Armstrong and I feel it's the right time to make the change.
"I have been a member of STAC since I started in post and so have had the opportunity to see at first hand the great work that goes into informing Government decisions on the pandemic response. I'm extremely grateful for the work of Mr Armstrong, who has done an exemplary job as Chair during what has been a very challenging time.
"It is an extremely exciting time for our new Public Health Directorate, which will be fully formed by next month, and I am thrilled to be leading Jersey's team in this important work."
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "We have all witnessed the importance that the role of public health has played over the past 16 months, both locally and globally, so I am delighted that we will be strengthening this function to drive forward the vital work of public health in Jersey.
"Professor Bradley's appointment updates the role of Director of Public Health to accord with the modern requirements of the British Faculty of Public Health, whilst maintaining the designation of Medical Officer of Health in law, which is unchanged from Dr Turnbull and her predecessors.
"The expanded public health function will receive additional funding as part of the Jersey Care Model to support prevention and early intervention, allowing Islanders to keep well and manage disease at an early stage.
"I would like to welcome Professor Bradley as the new Chair of STAC. Mr Armstrong stepped forward at a time when more of the focus was on secondary care, including the clinical treatment of COVID and the establishment of the Nightingale Hospital. As we evolve our response to the pandemic, I welcome the change to a public health focus. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr Armstrong for his dedication and commitment as Chair throughout the emergency response."