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Public Health England: the implications of this restructure go well beyond Covid-19

Chaotic institutional overhaul can feel reminiscent of The Thick of it. But is there method in the madness?

By Jennifer Dixon  

Erica Dezonne/EMPICS Entertainment

Last week Public Health England got the unceremonious chop from Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock. There’s a well-worn tradition followed by successive governments of setting up, then disbanding national public bodies, and replacing them with something looking suspiciously like a previously abolished body—the kind of thing you’d expect in The Thick of It. In PHE’s case, is this just another “act of casual vandalism” (as Lord Warner described the abolition of its predecessor—the Health…

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