Leadership for nursing and midwifery will now be solely responsible by PHE, from April 2015.
This replaces the current joint arrangement of leadership between the DH and PHE.
Viv Bennett will continue her current leadership role as director of nursing and midwifery and also as the government's principal advisor on public health nursing the same way chief nursing officer Jane Cummings is the government's principal advisor on NHS nursing based in NHS England.
A PHE spokesperson said that this move will ensure that the nursing, midwifery and health visiting contribution to public health is made visible and continues to develop alongside PHE's wider goals to protect and improve health.
Ms Bennett will provide leadership to nurses, midwives and health visitors from PHE.
The DH will also establish a Nursing and Midwifery Policy Unit to make sure clear strategic messages are being delivered and to ensure there is ongoing nursing and midwifery advice for policy development. This unit will be led by David Foster, deputy director of nursing at the DH. Mr Foster will continue to have the responsibility for nurse leadership in the social sector. The PHE and DH nursing teams will continue to work together and with partners on the Personalised care and population health framework.
Viv Bennett, director of nursing and midwifery said: 'It is vital that public health nurses and midwives have a strong professional voice and leadership we can continue to drive improvements in protecting the public's health.
'It has been a privilege to serve in this joint role and I am proud of all that has been achieved in the last two years. I'm delighted to have the opportunity to both focus on public health nursing and continue working with professional colleagues in DH across the health and care system.'
As part of the role, she will continue to lead on the 'Giving every child the best start in life' priority for PHE. She will also work with Professor Paul Cosford, the medical director for PHE, to provide leadership in PHE Quality Improvement and Assurance programmes.