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August 18, 2020
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Statement: Responding to Health Secretary’s announcement of the replacement of PHE

Over the last seven months public health teams across the system have risen to the challenge that Covid-19 has posed - going above and beyond to protect the nation’s health. Directors of Public Health in local government work hand in hand with local Public Health England colleagues and we welcome the Secretary of State’s recognition of their vital contribution and trust that this collaborative work will continue with ongoing and vocal support from Government. 

However, the timing of this announcement risks distracting efforts and throws roles, functions and leadership into uncertainty. Announcements should not be made through leaks in newspapers – and we stand by our colleagues who had to read about their future in the media rather than through official channels. 

Managing Covid-19 remains a huge challenge and, going forward, the new Institute provides an opportunity to better join up the response and we welcome the involvement of Directors of Public Health as a key partner.

We cannot fight infections without tackling the underlying inequalities caused by the social and commercial determinants of health. We need urgent assurance that the functions of Public Health England across the full breadth of public health will continue through this transition and beyond, alongside increased spending on public health across the system both now and in the long term.

Local by default is the key to success. If we want local, we must fund local.

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