AN INTERIM director of public health at the city council has been appointed following the resignation of Janet Maxwell.
Ms Maxwell, who took up the role at Portsmouth City Council in 2014, has stepped down, with Matt Smith taking the position temporarily.
She was a key part when local governments took on public health responsibilities and helping us make the best decisions for the city.Cllr Luke Stubbs
As previously reported in The News the council will be appointing a joint director of public health which it will share with Southampton City Council.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said of Ms Maxwell: ‘Janet put a lot of energy into the role.
‘She was a key part when local government took on public health responsibilities and helping us make the best decisions for the city.
‘During her time, public health has faced a number of cuts in budget and it was the single biggest challenge they faced.
‘Janet has been key in dealing with this and still ensuring the city gets the health services it needs.
‘We are now ready to move on with the next stage as we work to bring closer together the two cities.’
Ms Maxwell joined the council in January 2014 after having previously worked in Berkshire and Bristol.
She decided not to apply for the new joint position which was announced in June.
City leaders said at the time sharing the role would not affect Portsmouth.
The position will see the cities work with each other on public health issues such as alcoholism, drug addiction and obesity. It is statutory and provides leadership, expertise and advice.
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The point about having the joint position is to share good practice as well as resources.
‘At the moment we are spending about £130,000 a year on the director of public health role.
‘If we split that cost in half, that is what we are saving.
‘But this is not just about saving money. It is about sharing good practices and learning from our neighbours.
‘We want to provide the best service possible.’
The two city councils, Public Health England and the cities’ clinical commissioning groups will decide who takes up the position.
It is hoped someone will be in place at the end of the year.