Public health doctor England

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Immunisation responsibility alarms doctors

Changes to the way screening and immunisation will be organised highlight the potential dangers of fragmenting responsibility for these programmes, doctors leaders say.

The warning comes as the Department of Health releases new information on where responsibility for these services will lie after April 2013, when primary care trusts and strategic health authorities are abolished.

In a letter to health executives, the DH says it will remain responsible for the strategic oversight and direction of national screening and immunisation services.

PHE (Public Health England) will deliver national functions, such as setting quality-assurance standards, procuring and storing vaccines and immunoglobulins, gathering surveillance data and providing expert advice.

The NHS Commissioning Board will take responsibility for commissioning services on behalf of the health secretary and have public health expertise seconded from PHE.

PHMC registrars subcommittee chair Iain Kennedy said: ‘This letter ... highlights the potential dangers of fragmenting responsibility for screening and immunisation across multiple organisations.’