ADPH London Statement: Responding to the announcement that Public Health England (PHE) is being replaced by a new National Institute for Health Protection

ADPH London have worked in partnership with PHE since its inception and across its full range of functions including health protection, health improvement and data, intelligence and evidence  in order to protect and improve the health of London’s communities, and to help place population health at the heart of policy and decision making in the capital.

Over the past 6 months, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this collaboration has intensified and the expertise, commitment, hard work and camaraderie of PHE colleagues has been instrumental in supporting Local Authority Public Health Teams to respond to the pandemic, and to put in place the prevention and control  measures necessary to protect Londoners now and in the future. We have immense respect for the skill, dedication and professionalism of our PHE colleagues and deeply value working with them over this exceptional period.

It is therefore with surprise that we hear of this announcement during such a critical time of outbreak preparedness in London and nationally, and the lack of transparent and robust underpinning analysis, or system engagement, that we would expect to see informing such a decision. We are inevitably concerned about the possible disruption this could cause to the crucial Public Health system working arrangements that are in place in London.  We offer our utmost support to our colleagues impacted by these changes in what are already exceptionally difficult and highly pressured circumstances, and thank them for their professionalism and commitment as they continue to deliver their vital work serving the population of London at this time.

Our immediate priority remains to work with partners across the whole public health system to continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and address the wider impacts on health exacerbated by this disease.  We are also committed to working with our colleagues across the whole Public Health system locally, regionally and nationally to help shape future arrangements to protect and improve the health of Londoners.

Note: This response is from the Association of Directors of Public Health for London, which represents Directors of Public Health (DsPH) in London’s 33 local authorities and supports them to improve and protect the health of their local populations