Public health authority formed to 'speak truth unto power' may be too close to the Government, MPs warn
England’s public health authority may be too close to the Government, preventing it from speaking out about the health impact of political policies, MPs have warned.
In a damaging assessment of the new organisation Public Health England (PHE), formed last year to safeguard the nation’s health and provide independent, evidence-based advice to Government, the House of Commons Health Select Committee said that the new body had not yet proved its willingness to “speak truth unto power”.
The Government’s record on issues such as reducing alcohol abuse and smoking, and improving diets, has been criticised by many health experts, but the Committee’s chairman Stephen Dorrell said that PHE’s own public comments had “often been faltering and uncertain when they should have been clear and unequivocal.”
In their report, PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie is criticised for telling the Committee that it would be too controversial for him to respond directly when asked to outline Government policies which may be increasing health inequalities.
“The Committee is concerned that the chief executive of PHE should regard any public health issue as ‘too controversial’ to allow him to comment directly and believes that PHE should be able to address such matters without constraint,” their report said.
However PHE was praised for successfully tackle last year’s measles outbreak and delivering vaccination catch-ups, despite being a new organisation formed from more than 100 predecessor organisations, including the Health Protection Agency, which was dissolved in April last year.
Responding to the report, Mr Selbie said that his appearance in front of the Health Committee had been an “important and necessary moment” in PHE’s development.
“In our first six months our job was to stabilise the system; looking forward, it will be to transform it,” he said. “We will, of course, carefully consider the report’s recommendations.”
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Kate Upton nude photos leak: Model's spokespeople 'looking into' authenticity of indecent images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Creche Assistant to start asap ...
£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Nursery Nurse Leeds We are now ...
£55000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...