Our NHS history

Solutions for Public Health’s roots as an NHS organisation stretch back to 1995. Changes to the NHS at this time resulted in the formation of a number of small healthcare units, based in Oxford, that worked together in response to demand, improving local and national public health outcomes.

These units included the Oxford Cancer Intelligence Unit (OCIU), Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP), the Four Counties Clinical Audit Team (FCCAT) and a public health workforce learning and development team.

By 1997 a small additional team, known as the Public Health Resource Unit (PHRU), had been assembled to work on commissioning support and other discrete public health contracts.

In 2002, with a broader portfolio of public health programmes and projects being delivered, PHRU became a single umbrella organisation for all these teams hosted by Milton Keynes Primary Care Trust. The organisation continued in this form and expanded over the next 11 years changing its name to Solutions for Public Health (SPH) in 2009.

Under the SPH umbrella were:

  • SPH consultancy – delivering evidence reviews, needs assessments, public health screening support, evaluations
  • Priorities programme- producing rapid evidence reviews to aid decision makers in priorities committees in Clinical Commissioning Groups, and supporting the process of policy development
  • Commissioning Support and Advisory Service (CSAS) – priority setting service
  • Learning and development team including CASP – providing training opportunities and strategic workforce development planning
  • South East Public Health Observatory (SEPHO) – providing local and national health intelligence products and support
  • Health Profiles – national annual profiles providing health indicators for local populations
  • Drug Treatment Monitoring Unit (DTMU) – compiling and reporting drug and alcohol treatment data
  • National Obesity Observatory (NOO) – the national team disseminating health intelligence about obesity and physical activity
  • Quality Assurance Reference Centre (South Central QARC) – reporting data against quality standards for the three cancer screening programmes and co-ordinating the quality assurance visits to each centre
  • Oxford Cancer Intelligence Unit (OCIU) – the regional cancer registry
  • Chemotherapy Intelligence Unit (CIU) – providing a repository for cancer chemotherapy data for England

As a result of the wider changes affecting the NHS in 2013 some of the units previously delivered by SPH moved into Public Health England, including SEPHO, OCIU, NOO, DTMU and QARC. However, SPH continues as part of Health and Care Transformation, the health and care consulting directorate of NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit.

A number of our staff have been with SPH from the very beginning and we continue to expand our team of core staff, associates and partners to deliver local, national and international level work programmes.