The new body will be called the Institute for Health Protection, modelled on Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, and will become “effective” next month, although it will take until next spring to get the organizational changes completed.
According to Reuters, the UK’s Telegraph was told by the Health Ministry that the country would be able to better handle a resurgence of the coronavirus in the fall. “The National Institute for Health Protection’s goal will be simple: to ensure that Britain is one of the best equipped countries in the world to fight the pandemic,” a senior minister said.
Baroness Dido Harding, the Conservative peer and former TalkTalk telecoms boss who currently runs Test and Trace, was being tipped to lead the organization, despite criticism over the contact tracing system recently.
There is some political motivation behind the move. MSM.com is reporting that senior Tories have been urging Boris Johnson to scrap the PHS after several weeks of unending criticism.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader, said in July he would “abolish PHE tomorrow” if he were prime minister and claimed the agency was guilty of “arrogance laced with incompetence.”
Sir Iain has put PHE on the defensive with his comments. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Public Health England have played an integral role in our national response to this unprecedented global pandemic.”
“We have always been clear that we must learn the right lessons from this crisis to ensure that we are in the strongest possible position, both as we continue to deal with Covid-19 and to respond to any future public health threat.”