British Medical Association blog: Public health doctors ‘completely shattered’

A study of doctors working in public health and health protection roles has exposed criticism and scepticism with the Government’s plans to reorganise Public Health England, and the opportunities for doctors to help shape any changes.

The survey carried out by the association’s public health committee, further found doctors reporting dangerously highly levels of mental and physical fatigue as a result of battling COVID-19, coupled with resentment with the sense their branch of practice had been overlooked by decision makers.

Of the 255 respondents to questions regarding plans to replace Public Health England with a National Institute for Health Protection, 42 per cent said the restructure would make the response to COVID-19 worse or much worse. Among PHE staff, this view rises to 55 per cent.

63 per cent said they believed the new organisation would worsen or much worsen doctors’ ability to respond to other public health issues.

Nearly two thirds said they were not confident that they would be able to contribute to the design of the new system.

Almost three-quarters of respondents [72 per cent] say that they have no confidence the successor organisation to PHE will be sufficiently independent or able to ‘speak truth to power’.

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