Coronavirus: Dido Harding to be short-term head of new health and fitness agency

Coronavirus: Dido Harding to be temporary head of new health agency

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Baroness Dido Harding, who runs NHS Examination and Trace in England, is to be the interim main of the government’s new Health and fitness Safety Institute.

The agency – set to launch on Tuesday – will merge some of Community Wellbeing England’s (PHE) pandemic reaction get the job done with the coronavirus test and trace program.

Lady Harding will run the new institute until eventually a long lasting appointment is designed.

PHE has arrive under intense scrutiny of its response to the coronavirus crisis.

It has been criticised for the controversial final decision in March to halt community testing and tracing of contacts.

But its defenders say it is becoming made a scapegoat for failures somewhere else in the government.

For now, PHE will proceed its position in combating obesity and managing other measures to stop ill wellness.

A leaked memo noticed by the BBC, prepared by the head of PHE Duncan Selbie to personnel, explained the purpose of the new Countrywide Institute for Health and fitness Safety was to increase know-how with “a great deal desired new expenditure”.

The new institute will commence get the job done with quick effect.

The Royal Modern society for General public Health (RSPH) reported the go to merge PHE’s pandemic features with those people of NHS Exam and Trace elevated a lot more issues than solutions, which include the timing of an announcement on the scrapping of a countrywide public well being company in the midst of a world-wide pandemic.

RSPH chief govt Christina Marriott explained: “We recognise that there have been some severe difficulties in phrases of our response to Covid-19, such as the timing of the lockdown, the ongoing ineffectiveness of Tier 2 Observe and Trace and postcode-stage facts beforehand not remaining out there to directors of community wellness.”

She mentioned “numerous classes” required to be learned “before options can be in spot in advance of the winter season”, adding: “to do in any other case challenges avoidable mistakes in subsequent waves of the pandemic which will only hurt the public’s wellness further more.”

PHE experience is ‘irreplaceable’

Prof Richard Tedder, traveling to professor in health care virology at Imperial Higher education London, defended PHE as an “assembly of some of the wisest and most dedicated microbiologists and epidemiologists you could hope for any where”.

He criticised what he referred to as the “persistent meddling from on-higher”, which he said had “disenfranchised and fractured” employees “to the fantastic detriment of the United kingdom as a full”.

Prof Tedder warned the ideas to merge current laboratory personnel with NHS Take a look at and Trace were “misplaced” and would “further more dismantle” the “irreplaceable” experience that exists inside PHE.

Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrat’s wellbeing, wellbeing and social treatment spokesperson criticised the decision to market a “Tory insider who’s been responsible for the sub-par Take a look at and Trace technique”.

She reported in a tweet that “complete transparency” was needed when it arrived to this sort of appointments.

Labour’s shadow health and fitness minister Justin Madders said in a tweet that there had been “no transparency or accountability” in Baroness Harding’s appointment.

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