Public Health England
Drs John Battersby, Sian Evans, and Julian Flowers
Public Health England (PHE) is the executive agency, sponsored by the Department of Health, to protect and improve the nation’s health and well-being, and reduce health inequalities.
PHE’s regional Knowledge and Intelligence Service, East of England, is a member of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health. It provides information and insight from data to improve health.
Keep up to date with our health intelligence work at:
2014/15 saw the appointment of Professor Peter Bradley as PHE’s Director of Knowledge and Intelligence. Formerly Executive Director of Public Health Development at Public Health Wales and before that Director of Public Health in Suffolk, Professor Bradley will be undertaking this national role in PHE from the Cambridge base. Other changes in 2014/15 included the appointment of Dr Julian Flowers as PHE’s Head of Public Health Data Science. Dr John Battersby is now PHE’s lead for training and workforce development in health knowledge and intelligence. He will have a particular focus on developing the 1,000 or so knowledge and intelligence staff across PHE and local government, ensuring that they are ready to grasp the challenges of new advances in information management and analysis. Dr Sian Evans continues to lead PHE’s local Knowledge and Intelligence service in the East of England.
Fingertips data platform
There has been further development of the national Fingertips data platform which now provides monthly updates of health indicators supporting 20 different health profiles. The award-winning Longer Lives platform has also expanded and now includes data on premature
mortality, diabetes, high blood pressure, alcohol and drugs and NHS Health Checks. There are plans to further improve and streamline the indicator production process in 2015/16.
East of England awards
The East of England Intelligent Working Awards demonstrated the wide range of ways PHE national data products are being used locally. The award, which was open to anyone outside of PHE working in the East of England area, called for examples of how PHE knowledge and intelligence products and resources were being used to change practice and improve health locally. First prize winner was Wayne Thompson and the team at Luton Borough Council whose entry ‘r u down with the kidz’ described the use of a range of PHE data tools in the development of local school health profiles.
Sharing good practice
Providing local support in the use and interpretation of nationally produced data tools and products is a key role. 2014/15 saw the strengthening of the knowledge transfer function within the local knowledge and intelligence service. Helen Knowles, former Head of Population Health with Bedford and Central Bedfordshire Council, was appointed as Principal Knowledge Transfer Facilitator to lead on providing local input into the development of national products as well as working with local users of the resources. 2015/16 has seen the launch of the East of England data tools and user forum to review and share good practice in using data tools.
It is important that the public health workforce have the core knowledge and skills needed to be able to understand and act on health data and the KIT East provide a range of learning opportunities to develop these skills. The foundation level training in health intelligence for
non-analysts has recently been revised and relaunched as a one day course. Plans are also underway to provide more specialist training for analysts as well as a pilot workshop evaluation in public health, to be provided by Dr Louise Lafortune, from the School for Public Health Research team at the Institute.
Update on analytical work
Analytical work completed during the year, under the leadership of Head of Information, Vittoria Polito, has included a deep dive review of the rate of mortality due to communicable disease, investigation following concerns of possible cancer clusters, monitoring of flu and hospital activity over the winter period and support for the national campaign on breathlessness. Work is underway to refresh the modelled catchment populations for acute hospital trusts and to analyse the most common operative hospital procedures to support healthcare commissioning.
Individual responses to Ebola crisis
Members of the local team have been supporting PHE’s international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Laura Philpott, from the East of England National Drug Treatment Monitoring Service, worked in the National Incident Centre in the UK. Julia Yelloly, from the local knowledge and intelligence team, travelled to Sierra Leone to work in one of the three PHE laboratories established there.
The Learning Disabilities Health Intelligence network undertook two national surveys of local authority and health service care, one of services for people with learning disabilities (Glover, G., Joint Learning Disabilities Health and Social Care Self-Assessment Framework 2014), the other of services for people with autism. In addition to this we published a major study of the use of psychotropic medication in people with learning disabilities (Glover, G. PHE Gateway number: 2015105). This demonstrated disturbingly high levels of the use of antipsychotic medication in the absence of appropriate clinical indications. This work has led to the setting up of an NHS England Call to Action led by the Chief Pharmacist Keith Ridge to address this problem.