The Government’s Decision to Disband Public Health England Must Not Detract from its Poor Handling of the Pandemic
The government’s announcement that it will be disbanding Public Health England does not come as a surprise to BAPIO. However, this is not a justification for its own poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic for which it must take full responsibility.
Since the Health and Social Care Act (2012) the government has caused chaos and confusion by meaningless reorganisation of the NHS including Public Health England, severe budget cuts which made it operationally difficult to deliver high class care to patients, fragmentation of services and privatisation of clinical and non-clinical services. The UK is still in the first phase of a pandemic and so BAPIO is concerned about the motive for the disbandment as well as the lack of consultation on why this is being done.
However, we also appreciate that this presents the government with the opportunity to re-invest and integrate Public Health into the NHS and give priority to prevention of rising levels of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, depression, and cancer. Any reorganisation must ensure that we have consistent and evidence-based strategy to help us overcome this pandemic as well as focus on better preparedness for future pandemics. The government must also not deter from its responsibilities of implementing the PHE recommendations on the deaths of BAME population as well as the unnecessary deaths of Health and Social Care workers.
Dr Ramesh Mehta, President, said “The timing for this huge reorganisation is a real concern, but whatever new form Public Health takes, it has to have the confidence of the profession and engagement of organisation like BAPIO”.
Dr JS Bamrah, Chairman, commented “The government must not think that it is being taken off the hook for its incompetence in handling the pandemic, and how NHS have felt let down. This reorganisation must surely put Public Health back where it belongs, into the NHS, and it must not mean more privatisation”.
Dr Parag Singhal stated “It is time that the costly reorganisations are put on hold and every effort is made to spend the resources wisely. Money thus saved needs to be invested in Public Health, Social services and restoring the clinical services.”
Dated 16 August 2020
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Notes for Editors
British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) is a non-political, national, voluntary medical organisation that supports members and other healthcare professionals through education, training, policy making, and advocacy work. Since its inception in 1996, BAPIO has actively promoted the principles of diversity and equality. Over the years the Association has grown in stature and influence. It is represented through active Divisions covering all the English Regions as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is now one of the largest organisations of its type in the country. BAPIO is committed to ensuring that the NHS provides the best patient outcomes. By promoting professional excellence and leadership, BAPIO adds value in enhancing the skills of the medical workforce. BAPIO also contributes to the cause of promoting access to better health care globally and responds to aid victims of natural disasters in the world.