The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.
- Today’s warning on detox units: Closures on the cards without funding reform
- Today’s shock from north London: Leak reveals 7,000 year-long waiters at major trust
Matt Hancock’s launch today of the National Institute for Health Protection, the body which has abolished Public Health England, was as remarkable in its vagueness as the circumstances it arrived under.
PHE staff are still absorbing the government’s decision, announced via a Sunday newspaper, to axe the organisation after criticism from ministers over its hand in covid-19 testing.
Whether such criticism is well founded is debatable and many suggest this move is yet another deflection from the government’s responsibilities in the crisis.
In any case, the bruises are fresh and the health and social care secretary’s speech did not provide many practical details about how NIHP will differ from PHE beyond the absorption of NHS TAT and the Joint BioSecurity Centre.
However, HSJ has been told by a senior NHS source that public staff will not see the terms of their jobs change until after winter.
While NIHP is to formally launch in September it seems there is still going to be a significant handover, least of all as it lacks a permanent CEO. It won’t be wise to slouch though; after such a drastic shakeup this new body will need to show it can make a dramatic difference to public health - and quick.
A trust chief who advised NHS England’s phase three covid-19 response says he does not expect another top NHS job without demonstrating substantial progress on diversity in his current role.
Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust chief executive Owen Williams told HSJ that questions about his track record on equality should be at the forefront of prospective employers’ minds.
While he does not intend to leave his job any time soon, Mr Williams made clear his views in the two-part interview, in which some of the responses laid bare some of the work still needed to be done.
Time may have to tell.