Reassurances made on Portsmouth and Southampton sharing public health director

Portsmouth City Council's director of public health Janet Maxwell

Picture: Allan Hutchings (133461-017c)
Portsmouth City Council's director of public health Janet Maxwell Picture: Allan Hutchings (133461-017c)
Janine Andrade,  Siobhan Edwards-Bannon and Zoe Boxhall with the pupils learning about the human skeleton .
Picture : Habibur Rahman (171637-3)

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CITY leaders have pledged health services in Portsmouth will not be affected after it was announced the director of public health role will be shared with Southampton.

The new position will see the cities work with each other on public health issues such as alcoholism, drug addiction and obesity.

The cities do have a similar profiles in terms of health so it probably does make sense to share that post.

Councillor John Ferrett

The announcement came after Portsmouth City Council’s employment committee approved the decision.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, who is cabinet member for adult social care and public health at the council, said: ‘At the moment we are spending around £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 director of public health role is statutory and provides leadership, expertise and advice on a range of issues from disease outbreak to concerns on health.

Portsmouth Labour group leader Councillor John Ferrett said in an ideal world it would be good to keep separate roles for the councils.

‘Given the health challenges that we have in Portsmouth, having our own director would good,’ he said.

‘But we all know the reality of the budget and the significant cuts to the public health budget. It does make sense from that point of view.

‘The cities do have a similar profiles in terms of health so it probably does make sense to share that post.’

Liberal Democrat councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson agreed. He said: ‘It is a good way to do things. I always thought it was sensible to share this post and it makes sense to share it with Southampton.

‘It will save us money and I think it will be okay sharing this position. I don’t think it will stretch the service.’

It is not known what will happen to Dr Janet Maxwell, Portsmouth’s current director of public health.

The two city councils, Public Health England and the cities’ clinical commissioning groups will decide who takes up the position.

The news comes after it was announced Portsmouth’s senior civil servants will take over the running of Gosport Borough Council.