Health emergencies will be harder to manage after reforms, experts warn

Government reforms will make it harder to respond to public health emergencies, experts have warned.

Reform plans will not create a more effective response to public health emergencies like flu (Photograph: Istock)
Reform plans will not create a more effective response to public health emergencies like flu (Photograph: Istock)

A survey of 973 members of the Faculty of Public Health revealed widespread concerns about the government’s plan to reform public health.

In total, 71% of respondents said they disagreed or strongly disagreed that the plans would create a safer and more effective response to public health emergencies.

In addition, 81% disagreed or strongly disagreed that the Health Bill would reduce inequalities in access to healthcare and 83% disagreed or strongly disagreed that it would reduce bureaucracy in the NHS.

Professor Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said there was little evidence that the Health Bill would deliver the public health improvements expert wanted to see.

The faculty is working with other organisations to have amendments to the Health Bill accepted, she said.

‘This is to reduce the risks to people’s future health and wellbeing and England’s public health system,’ she said.

‘Otherwise, the Bill risks undermining the ability of public health professionals to deal with emergency situations like E coli outbreaks, or deliver long-term improvements in people’s health through local and national programmes.’

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