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Health watchdogs and authorities

Public Health England

Public Health England (PHE) was established on April 1 2013 to bring together public health specialists from more than 70 organisations, including the former Health Protection Agency (HPA), into a single public health service.

PHE works with national and local government, industry, and the NHS, to protect and improve the nation's health and support healthier choices. PHE is addressing inequalities by focusing on removing barriers to good health.


PHE is responsible for:

  • making the public healthier by encouraging discussions, advising government and supporting action by local government, the NHS and other people and organisations
  • supporting the public so they can protect and improve their own health
  • protecting the nation’s health through the national health protection service, and preparing for public health emergencies
  • sharing information and expertise with local authorities, industry, and the NHS, to help improve the public’s health
  • researching, collecting and analysing data to improve understanding of health and develop solutions to public health problems
  • reporting on improvements in the public’s health so everyone can understand the challenge and the next steps
  • helping local authorities and the NHS to develop the public health system and its specialist workforce


All PHE's priorities for the next 5 years are set out in the document From evidence into action: opportunities to protect and improve the nation’s health, which can be viewed on the GOV.UK website.

Some of the priorities outlined for 2014 to 2015 are:

  • to protect the public’s health from infectious diseases and other hazards to health
  • to improve the public’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities
  • to improve population health through sustainable health and care services
  • to build the capability and capacity of the public health system
  • to develop our own capacity and capability to provide professional, scientific and delivery expertise to our partners

Also see the PHE business plan for more information.


PHE employs 5,000 staff, mostly scientists, researchers and public health professionals. PHE operates from 9 local centres and four regions (north of England, south of England, Midlands and east of England, and London). PHE works closely with public health professionals in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and internationally.

Page last reviewed: 18/05/2015

Next review due: 18/05/2017


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