Responsibility for public health nursing and midwifery leadership will transfer solely to Public Health England from April.
This replaces the current arrangement in which the role – held by Viv Bennett - sits jointly across PHE and the Department of Health.
Ms Bennett will continue her public health leadership role as PHE’s director of nursing and midwifery.
However she will remain as the government’s principal advisor on public health nursing.
“It is vital that public health nurses and midwives have a strong professional voice and leadership”
The DH will meanwhile establish a nursing and midwifery policy unit led by Dr David Foster, to “to make sure clear strategic messages are being delivered”.
Ms Bennett said: “It is vital that public health nurses and midwives have a strong professional voice and leadership so we can continue to drive improvements in protecting the public’s health.”
She told Nursing Times: “I’m delighted to be able to focus on child health and public health, both of which I am passionate about.”
Ms Bennett will continue - with the Chief Nursing Officer for England - to be the joint senior responsible officer for the national health visiting programme.
She will also continue as the senior responsible officer for the 0-5 Healthy Child Programme - which will from October be commissioned by local authorities – so as to provide “continuity,” Ms Bennett said.
As part of her new role, she will continue to lead on the ‘Giving every child the best start in life’ priority for PHE.
She will also work jointly with PHE medical director Professor Paul Cosford to provide leadership in PHE Quality Improvement and Assurance programmes.
Ms Bennett will also provide leadership in partnership with the CNO on developing the prevention workstream for the Five Year Forward View. She will also lead on the international work PHE is doing with WHO and international partners.
David Foster will continue to have the responsibility for nurse leadership in the social care sector.