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Reforming the public health system in England

Hunter, DJ; Littlejohns, P; Weale, A; (2022) Reforming the public health system in England. The Lancet Public Health , 7 (9) e797-e800. 10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00199-2. Green open access

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Abstract

The abolition of Public Health England (PHE) during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the future of the public health system in the UK, particularly in England. The two new bodies established in haste to replace PHE prompt reflection on the executive agency's fate and the need to identify any lessons to ensure that a public health system is put in place that is fit for purpose. The UK COVID-19 Inquiry provides an opportunity to make recommendations, but it will need to act quickly to avoid recommendations being ignored. Two areas of concern are highlighted in this Viewpoint: the respective remits of the new bodies and their governance arrangements. Both issues demand urgent attention if the new structures are to succeed and avoid a similar fate to that which befell PHE. But underlying these concerns is a much larger challenge arising from the UK's broken political system. The political system in the UK suffers from several systemic weaknesses, including departmentalism, poor implementation, an inability or unwillingness of those in power to listen to the truth, and chronic short-termism at the expense of long-term planning. Overhauling the UK's dysfunctional political system is a prerequisite for successfully improving the public health system.

Type: Article
Title: Reforming the public health system in England
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00199-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00199-2
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.
Keywords: COVID-19, England, Humans, Pandemics, Public Health
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10161212
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