Public Health England plans to build on scientific excellence

17 August 2015

Public Health England (PHE)  has released their annual plan for 2015-16, setting out their main functions and actions.

PHE is an executive agency of the Department of Health, working to ‘protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities’. Despite only having been established in 2013, PHE has announced a new programme of organisational change, with three main themes:

  • Ensuring that our science continues to compete with the best in the world – including creation of a ‘unified National Infection Service’ and a ‘world class infrastructure’ based on relocation of staff to a new ‘Science Hub’ in Harlow.
  • Bringing that same rigour to bear on our health improvement work
  • Aligning our local presence around how local government organises itself – by reducing the number of local centres from fourteen plus London to eight plus London.
The document sets out PHE’s vision that the country should be protected from health threats including infectious disease outbreaks ; that prevention of ill-health should be recognised as an integral element of delivering the ‘NHS efficiency challenge’ and PHE should be seen as the ‘go to’ partner for advice in this areas; and that PHE should be recognised nationally and internationally as a ‘leading scientific institution’, and as essential for national life sciences research and infrastructure, as well as demonstrating consistent efficiency and efficacy.

PHE’s action plan for the year ahead falls into three main areas:

  1. Improving the public’s health and wellbeing - addressing major health concerns, improving early childhood health and workplace well-being, and using ‘sustainable health and care services’ such as screening and vaccination programmes.
  2. Building the capacity and capability of the public health system - equipping the system to tackle current and future challenges.
  3. Protecting the health of the public - combatting infectious diseases and environmental hazards. In the year ahead they wish to ‘apply cutting-edge science to our work’, tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR), reduce tuberculosis (TB) and contribute to improved global health security. 
Specific plans for the year ahead within protecting the health of the public include:

Acting against AMR – delivering elements of the national AMR implementation plan and providing information on antibiotic prescribing

Delivering the TB Strategy for England - setting up local TB control boards and methods for TB diagnosis and surveillance

Improving access to HIV testing via a national home sampling (postal) service

Delivering routine genome sequencing as part of the 100,000 Genomes Project 

More from us

Genomics and policy news