The Conservatives’ pre-election pledge to turn the Department of Health into a Department of Public Health has not been included in the government’s coalition agreement.

The formal coalition agreement, published today, has a section dedicated to public health, but makes no mention of plans to replace the Department of Health with a Department of Public Health - a pre-election Tory policy previously highlighted by now health secretary Andrew Lansley.

The document says the government “believes we need action to promote public health, and encourage behaviour change to help people live healthier lives” but does not mention the new department.

It does, however, include the Conservative health policy to “give local communities greater control over public health budgets with payment by the outcomes they achieve in improving the health of local residents”.

It says it will also give GPs “greater incentives” to tackle public health problems, and promises to “investigate ways of improving access to preventative healthcare for those in disadvantaged areas to help tackle health inequalities”.

It also promises greater access to talking therapies.

Chief executive of the King’s Fund thinktank Chris Ham said: “We hope the coalition government will prioritise public health, as indicated in both parties’ manifestos, and look forward to more detailed plans in this area. Whether or not it is able to tackle the economic and social determinants of poor health and reduce health inequalities will be a test of whether it can work effectively across departmental boundaries - something that eluded its predecessors.”