The Department of Health is the Government department with responsibility for standards of health care in the country, including the NHS. Based at Richmond House in Whitehall, London, the department sets the strategic framework for adult social care and influences local authority spend on social care. It also sets the direction on promoting and protecting the public’s health, taking the lead on issues such as environmental hazards to health, infectious diseases, health promotion and education, the safety of medicines, and ethical issues. It does this through a combination of setting strategy, policy, legislation and regulation, allocating resources, the NHS operating framework and local area agreements.
The department also takes the lead on the integration of health and well-being into wider government policy, working with other sectors, as well as integrating wider public policy into health and care services. The department also takes the lead internationally on some health issues for the UK.
The department is responsible for supporting government ministers in accounting to the public and Parliament and for looking after and allocating public money to the NHS and adult social care services. The department has the responsibility to explain to the public how their money is being spent, and what is being achieved as a result.