• Public Health Scotland - the first year: successes and lessons.

      Phin, Nick; email: nicholas.phin@phs.scot (2021-06)
      Over its first year Public Health Scotland (PHS) played a key role in the national vaccination programme by providing professional leadership and expertise. We expedited the reporting of all aspects of the pandemic, and accelerated rapid evidence reviews. We contributed to rigorous research showing that: vaccination reduced hospitalisation by 90%, and the transmission of COVID-19 within households by 55%; hence vaccination works. Lessons for the future included strengthening whole genome sequencing to manage COVID-19 and to prepare for future pathogens. COVID-19 also stimulated the redesign of many health and social care services: by exploiting digital media; by implementing evidence on reducing barriers to service delivery; and by greater integration - of projects rather than organisations - enabling groups who had not worked together to address common issues. PHS and partners soon recognised the need to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic on existing inequalities. So we aim to 'build back fairer' as the pandemic recedes, by pursuing PHS's four priorities: poverty; children and young people; place and community; and mental health and well-being.