PHE has made the decision to stand down the role of UK Collaborating Centre (UKCC) for the WHO Health in Prisons Programme. This follows discussion with WHO and reflects PHE’s transition to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) from 1 October 2021 and consequent revised priorities within this new organisation and specifically the ambition of UKHSA to be a global leader in health security.

PHE’s work in the role of UKCC with WHO HIPP has been important and impactful. Together with WHO we have:

  • delivered the first international prison health minimum data set (HIPED) and supported development of this as an important resource to improve understanding of health needs in prison populations; 
  • produced expert guidance for member states on managing prison health needs;
  • supported the development and dissemination of the Good Governance for Prison Health policy by WHO; 
  • supported a programme of annual international scientific conferences since 2013 which continued until interrupted last year by the pandemic;
  • represented WHO at many engagement events with countries within and beyond the WHO EURO region;
  • most recently supported work by WHO to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on prisons;
  • increased the profile of prison public health and the work of WHO in this space and created a new platform to promote research and engagement in prison health through WEPHREN

This fine record of achievement built on the work over many previous years of the UK as the Collaborating Centre and partnership work with WHO in prison public health since 1995.

As  PHE roles move into UKHSA, there remains a strong commitment to continuing partnership work with WHO HIPP and this will see us carry on working closely to deliver a shared mission to improve health & wellbeing of people in prison and drive down health inequalities.

UKHSA will be a worthy successor and will build on a great legacy of PHE work as a Collaborating Centre to achieve even more together in the future .