Objectives: This study sought consensus-based indices for quality assessment of the public health service (QAPHS) to evaluate the service quality of public health in Shenzhen and other cities in China. Study design: A qualitative study. Methods: A list of quality assessment indices was formed based on Donabedian theory. These indices were presented to an expert panel in a two-round Delphi study to establish a consensus view. A weight of indices was established to validate the applicability and practicability of the framework. The specialist authority coefficient and Kendall's W were also calculated based on statistical analysis. Results: A total of 30 experts participated in the Delphi study. Consensus was reached on four first-grade indices, nine second-grade indices and 28 third-grade indices. The specialist authority coefficient (Cr) was high (between 0.88 and 0.92), while Kendall's coefficient (W) of all the indices was >0.5 with statistical significant differences (P < 0.05). This indicated correlation among panelists and had high reliability. Conclusions: A unified and hierarchical quality assessment index framework for public health services was established. The framework should be further tested and improved in practice. (C) 2014 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.