Transparency and openness will underpin PHE’s approach

Duncan Selbie says that World TB Day on Sunday is a great opportunity for raising awareness.

I am glad to say that the Secretary of State has given the green light to begin work on implementing the commitment to bring non-medical public health consultants into the same statutory professional framework as their medical colleagues.  This addresses a long-standing concern that the statutory regulation of public health consultants should reflect the wide diversity of those now entering the profession.  More on this in the months to come.

This week we have completed our regional ‘Going Live’ events, co-produced with a group of partners including the LGA, NHS CB, and Association of Directors of Public Health, in Leicester for the Midlands and East of England and in London.  As was the case in the South and the North, they were again very well attended by our partners in local government, Health and Wellbeing Boards, Clinical Commissioning Groups, the NHS Commissioning Board, the voluntary and community sector, the local NHS and other public services such as the police.  Each has been notable for the genuine enthusiasm and commitment of all the participants and their absolute determination to work together to improve the public’s health and ensure the new public health system delivers on its future promise.  We were particularly encouraged by feedback from a number of local government colleagues who commented on how refreshing it was that we were undertaking this development in the ‘open’ and that it signaled how we were going to work together going forward.

On Tuesday evening we clubbed together to have a party with the Public Health England Transition Team to say thank you and recognise their tireless work over more than two years in bringing Public Health England to fruition.  I want to pay profound tribute to this team and especially to Janice Shersby, their leader, who has quietly and tenaciously made all this happen.  We have established a style of co-production with our partners, and especially in local government, which will absolutely inform how we work as PHE.  Transparency, earned trust and co-production will be the essential underpinning for a locally organised and delivered public health service in England.  We are as well prepared as we could possibly have hoped to take our first steps next month.

And finally, World TB Day is this Sunday and a great opportunity for raising awareness as this is very far from being an issue of the past.  In the UK we have regrettably seen no fall in the number of new cases each year over the past five years and they are today significantly above the lowest point that was achieved in the 1980sThis is, however, a preventable and treatable disease, so we must do everything in our power to bring together the NHS and public health system in controlling it better.  TB Alert has prepared really useful free resources for raising awareness of TB among GPs and they are inviting local government Directors of Public Health to request packs through so they can be widely disseminated.


In Duncan Selbie, Public Health England

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