Review finds PHE a ‘public health agency that rivals any in the world’

Public Health England received some positive feedback from an international review of its processes, along with recommendations for future work

A peer review of Public Health England (PHE) by the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) has concluded that:

"In less than 5 years PHE has, under strong and visionary leadership, transformed a geographically and functionally siloed group of 129 bodies into a strong, capable, coordinated, united and efficient public health agency that rivals any in the world."

IANPHI is a membership organisation of over 100 national public health institutes and agencies and they were asked to assess progress in 3 major areas focusing on:

• leadership, strategy and delivery
• whether we are set up effectively and efficiently
• we have the necessary impact and influence we need to fulfil our mission

The review singled out and praised in particular PHE’s response to:

• Ebola
• immunisation programmes
• work on obesity and alcohol harm and smoking cessation programmes

We were also recognised for our excellent local knowledge and intelligence services and the value they bring to those making decisions on the front line.

With changes to public health budgets, the panel reflected that making the economic case for prevention needs to form part of local plans at the outset and PHE should continue to encourage an improved focus on prevention within the NHS, including general practice and primary care.

It recommends that public health ambitions and targets should be a part of all NHS activities, including sustainability and transformation partnerships, where prevention outcomes should or could be included in each plan.

Commenting on the review Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE, thanked the panel for their time and commitment in delivering this comprehensive review of PHE. He said:

"Inviting an external body to give a frank assessment has provided us with both food for thought and reason to celebrate. As ever, there is more to do but so much to be proud of too."