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Solutions for public health

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Effective public health activities provide an opportunity to help your population to stay healthy, protect them from threats to their health and deliver downstream efficiencies for your health system.

Our Solutions for Public Health (SPH) team is a specialist NHS public health consultancy comprising of public health, clinical, research and analytical experts. We work with decision makers across the public and third sectors to improve health and reduce health inequalities. Our work is centred on evidence, health intelligence and evaluation which we use to understand and promote better health and better value health care. We do this by:

  • identifying, analysing and understanding the health and social care needs of populations
  • reviewing, appraising and interpreting the most up-to-date evidence
  • evaluating the quality, productivity, impact and outcomes of services
  • consulting with stakeholders, including patients and carers
  • enabling clients to develop evidence-based commissioning policies and procedures
  • producing regular reviews of clinical guidance
  • providing bespoke specialist public health and commissioning support.


We support a range of clients including NHS England, integrated care systems (ICSs), commissioning support units, service providers, the Department of Health and Social Care and local authorities.

Our support falls into nine key areas:

We appraise the latest evidence to inform your commissioning decisions

It is important for decision makers to have the best evidence available when planning the commissioning of future healthcare services and the treatments offered to people. There are a number of ways of compiling the evidence and SPH has developed a robust, defensible methodology for providing rapid evidence reviews for local and national clients.

We are a long-standing provider of rapid evidence reviews for local and national clients. Over the past 15 years we have undertaken over 400 rapid evidence reviews and have successfully defended decisions based on our evidence at judicial review. We have a strong team of experienced reviewers within SPH and can call on further expert capacity from our extensive pool of associates.

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Our evaluation services enable you to understand what works for your population

Our evaluations enable meaningful learning from the process of introducing new services, models of care or quality improvements to inform both service delivery improvements and future commissioning decisions. We typically design a bespoke process for the particular projects or programmes using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. This may involve developing a standard evaluation framework, supported by a logic model, to identify information that will need to be collected and establish baseline data which can later be compared with participant outcomes to assess their impact. Stakeholders and service users will be involved in the design as much as possible.

As well as conducting independent evaluations of individual projects or programmes we also provide expert advice to support health and social care programmes to assess and strengthen their evaluation methodology.

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We enable informed decision making through understanding of the available health intelligence, including latest performance and epidemiological data, service provision, best practice and clinical guidance

Health intelligence, bringing together the latest data, information and evidence to create informed analyses, is a key underpinning to decision making and to the work we carry out in SPH. We work closely with customers at all stages, from specification to the final reporting of results, including presenting findings back to clinicians and managers.

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We can support implementation and improvement of your programmes

Effective screening can help save lives and improve the quality of life through the early diagnosis and treatment of serious conditions. Screening presents different challenges to clinical practice as it is about targeting apparently healthy people from a large population in order to detect a small number of people who are affected.

We have expertise in evidence review, preparation of guidance, co-ordination, commissioning and quality assurance of formal NHS Screening programmes in the UK and national programmes abroad.

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We offer bespoke service to support all elements of the commissioning cycle

SPH has significant experience and understanding of NHS and local authority commissioning mechanisms and issues; and a proven track record of supporting commissioners with decision making and policy development. Our support includes the creation of robust decision making frameworks, developing evidence-based policies or service specifications and enabling commissioners to engage with, influence and contribute to NICE guidance.

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We support the benchmarking of your service against best practice to improve your pathways

We work with commissioners to review healthcare interventions and clinical pathways to understand what works well and where improvements could be made so that services work better for patients. We review capacity (including workforce, equipment and clinic slots); identify and recommend best practice models of service delivery; synthesise research, data and clinical opinion to inform the re-design process and make evidence based recommendations as to how to improve pathways for the benefit of patients.

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We can help you understand your population to support your planning

Using evidence to identify the needs of a population and determine what services they most require is essential for effective decision making. We work in collaboration with local services and service users to provide high quality evidence to better understand the current and future needs of your local population. All our needs assessment are specifically designed to meet your particular requirements by describing local context, understanding the roles of all provider organisations, engaging with stakeholders, incorporating health intelligence, utilising national datasets and reviewing published evidence. Our service will highlight gaps in provision and produce recommendations and action plans for implementation.

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We review and audit current practice in healthcare to identify where to improve and to deliver substantial savings

Clinical service review and audit provides a systematic way of reviewing current practice in relation to best practice, reviewing compliance with existing policy, making quality improvements, improving outcomes for patients, measuring the impact of changes made together with the potential to release substantial savings where procedures are undertaken outside national guidance or commissioning policy eligibility requirements.

We provide independent consultant level clinicians or senior GPs experienced in clinical service review and audit; and use bespoke audit tools and data analysis to identify systematic failures in pathways and root causes. Our services can deliver cash releasing savings and we also offer no risk, gain-share engagement options.

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We can offer a range of support services to help health systems to manage their Individual funding requests (IFRs)

The SPH team includes Consultants in Public Health Medicine (CPHM) who have experience of all aspects of the IFR process. We can provide an in-depth review of your existing IFR policies and processes to ensure robustness to legal challenge and, where required, re-draft and help implement redesigned policies. Where robust policies are already in place we can support your existing IFR processes through triage of new IFR applications, support for IFR panels and independent input into IFR appeals. We also offer training for IFR teams, IFR and appeal panel members, commissioning managers and wider stakeholders.

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SPH is an established and reputable NHS public health consultancy with a strong reputation for delivering projects that exceed client requirements.

We work to improve health, reduce inequality and deliver better public health outcomes. Visit the dedicated SPH website here


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