LGA responds to launch of National Institute for Health Protection

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, responds to Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock’s speech today that Public Health England is to be replaced with the National Institute for Health Protection.


photo of stethoscope on desk

Responding to Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock’s speech today that Public Health England is to be replaced with the National Institute for Health Protection, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“Public Health England staff have been working closely alongside their council counterparts day and night since this outbreak first emerged, to contain and prevent the spread of this devastating virus and they deserve all our thanks.

“This pandemic has highlighted the value of local knowledge, supported by national coordination and resources. A local response should be at the forefront of our approach to the next phase. 

“Directors of Public Health in councils can boost both their health protection and prevention roles, working alongside other council services including environmental health, but this needs to be joined-up with the new system. 

“Councils have a proven track record in improving public health services over the past eight years. National policy making has an important role to play, but this cannot be a substitute for local leadership and local responsibility. We need to establish where the core health improvement functions of any future public health system are best held, backed up by necessary funding.

“We will need to reflect on how we as a country responded to coronavirus, but for now our focus needs to firmly remain on how best to prevent and manage a possible second wave later this year, as well as on future disease outbreaks.”

Notes to editors

The LGA represents more than 330 councils of all types across England. We work on behalf of our members to support, promote and improve local government.

It is councils who had led communities through the COVID-19 crisis. Our recent polling shows that 71 per cent of residents trust their council and two thirds are satisfied with the way their local council runs things in their area. Our new discussion paper - Re-thinking Local - sets out how councils must now be empowered to locally-lead the COVID-19 recovery and tackle the economic, environmental and community challenges that we will face as a result of the pandemic.