Responding to the announcement today (Tuesday) by Health Secretary Matt Hancock that Public Health England (PHE) is to be merged into the new National Institute for Health Protection, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
“Yet again workers are facing a major upheaval while being kept in the dark about the detail. They need to know what the changes mean – and so do the public.
“The merger may bring benefits – including for test and trace staff who are currently scattered across a range of employers. They’d get to work together under the same ‘roof’. It could also provide an opportunity to mend broken links with local authorities.
“Staff running public health programmes have worked hard to manage the UK’s pandemic response. This is despite a series of budget cuts. It’s vital this new body gets the funding necessary to stand a chance of matching the expectations set out today.
“Ministers must also ensure PHE’s replacement is fit for purpose. Any changes must be done carefully and for the right reason to deal with not only the Covid-19 crisis but what lies beyond.”
Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.