Tufton: No displacement expected in integration of two ministry agencies
MINISTER of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton says the planned integration of the National Family Planning Board (NFPB) and the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) into the Ministry of Health and Wellness will not displace the staff of the two entities.
Tufton gave this assurance on Tuesday as he tabled two Bills — the National Family Planning (Repeal) Bill, 2023 and the National Council on Drug Abuse (Repeal) Bill, 2023 – in the House of Representatives which will allow for this consolidation.
The health and wellness minister was responding to a query by Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding, who asked what will happen to the leadership and staff of the entities when the transition takes place.
“It is not envisioned that the staff of both entities would be affected adversely. What instead would happen is that the integration would mean not just shared services but a much wider pool of resources… that have been consolidated… Their functionaries in the field will be a more direct relationship. Yes, you could have collaboration without consolidation, but the reality is that collaboration would add another layer of bureaucracy which you could overcome through the consolidation,” he said.
He said that the objective is to not just consolidate, but to strengthen the functions, stressing that this is not going to mean reducing the staff complement, “but integrating the existing complement in a much wider body with a lot more network and engagement which therefore will make the role and the functions more effective”.
“I don’t envision a change except for a more efficient response to the particular challenges of the respective areas,” he said.
He said both repeal Bills will provide for the integration of the NFPB and the NCDA into the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the transfer of the functions, assets, rights, and liabilities of both entities to the ministry.
Tufton said the NFPB will be integrated into the ministry as a division called the National Family Planning Services, while the NCDA will become a department of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“The National Family Planning Services division will seek to strategically adopt key constructs of the social determinants of health, the people-centred approach and the social ecological model to expand the national health response. Its goal will be to advance a people-centred approach towards the achievement of sustainable health outcomes among the most vulnerable populations,” he said.
He further noted that the NCDA, while continuing its core functions, will see an expanded mandate to include the Government’s national response to mental health.
“The integration of these two entities is in accordance with the Public Sector Transformation Action Plan that outlines the policy on the Categorisation and Rationalisation of Public Bodies (which includes mergers, closures, shared service arrangement and divestment of several public bodies), which notes that the functions of these entities do not require body corporate status,” Tufton said.