Harlow Council seek reassurances after Public Health England (PHE) axed by government

News / Tue 18th Aug 2020 at 04:09pm

HARLOW Council is seeking reassurances after the government replaced Public Health England (PHE) with a new body.

Over 3,000 staff are set to move to a £400 million state of the art facility at the old GSK presses in The Pinnacles.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed Public Health England will be replaced by a new body focused on preparing for external threats like pandemics.

Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “Public Health England’s planned move and relocation the town is a major priority for Harlow’s regeneration and future jobs growth and it will be important for the town and the region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus outbreak.

Therefore we will be seeking urgent reassurances and an update from the government and Public Health England on what the changes to the organisation could mean for the public health science campus in Harlow.”

The new institute will begin work with immediate effect and will bring together Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace, as well as the analytical capability of the Joint Biosecurity Centre under a single leadership team, to “strengthen” public health.

Matt Hancock said it would have a “single and relentless mission” of protecting people from external health threats including pandemics, biological weapons and infections diseases

“To give ourselves the best chance of beating this virus once and for all – and of spotting and being ready to respond to other health threats, now and in the future, we are creating a brand new organisation to provide a new approach to public health protection and resilience.

“My single biggest fear is a novel flu, or another major health alert, hitting us right now in the middle of this battle against coronavirus.

“Even once this crisis has passed – and it will pass – we need a disease control infrastructure that gives us the permanent, standing capacity to respond as a nation and the ability to scale up at pace.”

YH is awaiting a statement from Public Health England/National Institute for Health Protection.

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