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Public health survey results

The reforms brought about by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 transferred several public health responsibilities from the NHS to local authorities and PHE was created from a wide variety of agencies.

As a result of this, many public health professionals changed employers and jobs.

This led to considerable anxiety and chaos, both in terms of the immediate disruptive effects of the overhaul and in terms of concerns about the future of public health.

Considerable uncertainty remains over the present and future state of the workforce.

Almost a year after the reforms took effect there was very little intelligence available about the state of the public health workforce: both in terms of where they are based and how they feel about their professional environment.

A number of attempts were made to gather information, resulting in surveys and resources being published by The King’s Fund, the Royal Society of Public Health, Public Health England and the Association of Directors of Public Health.

Despite informative results from these studies there are still unanswered questions about the profession as a whole.


Key findings

To address this knowledge gap the BMA decided to conduct a comprehensive survey intending to capture views from the full breadth of the public health workforce.

The survey had two purposes: to find out the state of the current public health workforce (both where they are physically based and how they feel about the changes to their profession) and their feelings about the future.

A total of 590 people responded to the survey and the key findings were summarised in four areas:

  • State of the profession
  • The reforms
  • Local authorities
  • Public Health England

To find out more please download the report produced by the BMA’s Health Policy and Economic Research Unit (HPERU).


Findings from the Public health survey (PDF)