Public Health England

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Public Health England is another example of the constant churn of organisations created and then dismantled as a result of politicians tinkering with the NHS.

Public Health England (PHE) was created on 1 April as an "Executive Agency" of government, (sadly not, as was mooted for a time, as a special health authority).

The bulk of PHE comprises the Health Protection Agency (HPA), much of which carries on its work more-or-less unchanged, under the new PHE logo. Other arms length bodies that moved into Public Health England included:[1]

The significance of being an Executive Agency

It is, apparently, normal practice for employees of Executive Agencies to be civil servants, working to the Civil Service code.

This requires a level of secrecy which many think is incompatible with the role of a consultant, let alone a consultant in public health medicine or communicable disease control. Such professionals need to be free to speak up for the populations they serve, free from political constraint; and should have the right to participate in political activity in a way which is not permitted for civil servants.

There is a precedent for Executive Agency staff remaining on non-Civil Service Terms and Conditions: when the Regional Health Authorities were replaced by Regional Offices of the Department of Health, medical staff continued to be employed within them on NHS terms and conditions.

Despite opposition from the BMA and other trade unions, all PHE staff are civil servants.[2]

External links

  • Department of Health Press release about the proposed formation of PHE from November[3]


  1. Marsland A. Public Health England (Dear Colleague Letter). London: Department of Health; 1-6
  2. Department of Health. Building a Public Health England People Transition Policy. London: Department of Health, (16 February); 1-29
  3. Department of Health. Public Health England – A new service to get people healthy (Press Release). Updated 30 November; Accessed: (21 March): Press release