England (PHE) is an executive agency of the Department
of Health and Social Care in the
United Kingdom that began operating
on 1 April 2013. Its formation came as a result of reorganisation of
the National Health Service (NHS) in
England outlined in the Health
and Social Care Act 2012. It took on the role of the Health Protection
National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and a
number of other health bodies.
1 Mission and resources
4 Criticism and other published comment
6 See also
Mission and resources
PHE's mission is "to protect and improve the nation’s health and to
address inequalities". It employs 5,000 staff (full-time equivalent),
who are mostly scientists, researchers and public health
professionals. It announced plans to move its headquarters and
2,750 staff to
Harlow on a former GlaxoSmithKline site in 2017.
Initially, aside from back office functions such as personnel and
finance or management functions such as strategy and programme
management, PHE has the following divisions:
Chemical, radiative, and environmental hazards
National poisons database
Services for those working with hazardous materials
Harm reduction in relation to polluted environments
Contagious disease surveillance and control
Major incident response
Substance misuse treatment programmes
Health promotion (such as healthy diet or anti-smoking marketing)
Health screening programmes (such as cancer screening, STD checks,
cardiovascular disease screening, etc.)
Reducing health inequalities
Specialist healthcare commissioning (in relation to major incidents,
National Cancer Intelligence Network (and other networks)
Knowledge and Information
Substance misuse treatment monitoring
Research and development
Regional units (South / Midlands / North / London)
Preparation and response against major incidents
Local centres (several centres per regional unit, except London)
Local health protection
Substance misuse treatment services (over more than one centre)
Local specialist commissioning (in relation to major incidents, etc.)
Duncan Selbie is the Chief Executive.
PHE took over the responsibility for Be Clear on Cancer campaigns
after it was created in the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Campaigns have been run on Lung Cancer, Bowel Cancer,
Oesophago-gastric and Kidney & Bladder Cancer.
PHE is also responsible for Change4Life and ACT FAST.
In January 2014 it launched a new campaign against smoking called
Smokefree Health Harms on television and billboards across England.
Criticism and other published comment
England has been criticised for its underweighting of
mental health within its overall resourcing and agenda; in 2011 the
Royal College of Psychiatrists stated its concern that there appeared
to be "few, or no, commitments or resources within either the
Department of Health or Public Health
England to take the public
mental health agenda forward."
The agency was criticised by Professor Martin McKee, in January 2014,
who said that continuing health inequalities among London boroughs was
a scandal and claimed coalition reforms had left it unclear who was
supposed to analyse health data and tackle the problems
The agency was criticised by Lancet for allegedly using weak evidence
in a review of electronic cigarettes to endorse an estimate that
e-cigarette use is 95% less hazardous than smoking. Lancet wrote "it
is on this extraordinarily flimsy foundation that PHE based the major
conclusion and message of its report". Lancet found this "raises
serious questions not only about the conclusions of the PHE report,
but also about the quality of the agency's peer review process."
Authors of the PHE report subsequently published a document clarifying
that their endorsement of the 95% claim did not stand on the single
study criticised in the Lancet, but on their broad review of
toxicological evidence. The agency has also been criticised for
"serious questions about transparency and conflicts of interest"
regarding this review, that PHE's response "did not even begin to
address the various relationships and funding connections" in
question, and that this "adds to questions about the credibility of
the organisation’s advice".
The integrity of Public Health
England was recently thrown into
question when a question in the
House of Lords
House of Lords revealed that a
position underpinning UK Government policy, namely "that well run and
regulated modern municipal waste incinerators are not a significant
risk to public health remains valid" was asserted in advance of the
results having been obtained from a study commissioned by Public
England to answer the question whether municipal waste
incinerators did, in fact, constitute a significant risk to public
Health in the United Kingdom
List of national public health agencies
^ "Structure of Public Health England" (PDF). Department of Health.
^ Public Health England. "About". Retrieved 2015-02-08.
^ "Public Health
England closer to moving to Essex". Pharmaceutical
Journal. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
^ "CRUK Be Clear on Cancer". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
^ "NHS Choices". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
^ "PHE Campaigns". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
^ "Powerful anti-smoking campaign launched to show cyanide and arsenic
damage". Metro. 29 December 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
^ "Top 10 causes of death in London boroughs highlight health
inequalities". The Guardian. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January
^ "E-cigarettes: Public Health England's evidence-based confusion".
Lancet. 386 (9996): 829. 2015.
^ "Underpinning evidence for the estimate that e-cigarette use is
around 95% safer than smoking: authors' note" (PDF).
^ Gornall, Jonathan (2015). "Public Health England's troubled trail".
British Medical Journal. 351 (1136): 5826.
^ Countess of Mar. "Incinerators: Health Hazards (HL3533). Written
question dated 23-11-2017 and answer from Lord O'Shaughnessy dated
05-12-2017". House of Lords. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
Department of Health of the United Kingdom
Headquarters: Richmond House
Secretary of State for Health
Minister of State for Health
Minister of State for Care and Support
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Quality
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
Public Health England
Care Quality Commission
Health and Social Care Information Centre
Health Education England
Health Research Authority
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Human Tissue Authority
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
NHS Blood and Transplant
NHS Business Services Authority
NHS Litigation Authority