Spread the word far and wide.

Does Public Health England  speak for the best interests of the public?

The simple answer is no and one look at the history of this executive body is proof of that, yet, we are asked to accept that they have the populations health in their hands when it comes to 5G and the dangerous effects of Electromagnetic fields and Radio frequencies.

PHE was created as an “operationally autonomous executive agency” of the Department of Health on 1 April 2013, when responsibility for public health passed to local authorities. Its function is to “protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities” by providing government, local government, the NHS, public health professionals, and the public with “evidence-based professional, scientific and delivery expertise and advice

In 2012,the Health and Social Care Act was granted Royal assent and passed into law.

On April 1 2013,  the Health and Social Care Act came into force, and the NHS in England underwent  the most radical transformation in its history. Public Health England was created on the 1st April 2013.

Under the old system the purse strings of the huge NHS budget were held by 152 bodies known as primary care trusts (PCTs), who commissioned services from hospitals and other providers from within the NHS. These PCTs have now been abolished, and are succeeded by 211 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). These CCGs, which are run as boards, will have responsibility for planning and designing health care within their region, including whether to commission services from within the NHS or from commercial providers. And it is this increased role for competition in the NHS that has sparked the most widespread and vocal opposition.

Opening services up to competition with the private sector.

  • Unleashing market forces that  undermined core NHS services and put patients at risk (Anyone in need of seeing different departments is no longer seen by a  ‘NHS team’ but is now forced to see a mish-mash of different providers who don’t often talk to each other).

Forcing a new  commissioning structure that will eventually result in the complete privatisation of most NHS services. which helped;

  • Enable many more large commercial companies to pick off contracts and cherry pick the profitable parts of the NHS”.
  • Parceling  up many parts of the NHS and selling  them off to the highest bidder.

This was  a radical overhaul of who decides what health services to buy, or commission, using the NHS budget and, crucially, who they commission those services from.

The British Medical Journal found that more than a third of GPs with decision-making powers on CCG boards have financial interests in private care providers who could potentially be commissioned by their CCG.https://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2043

The reforms have engendered so much opposition that they have spawned a new political party: the National Health Action Party. Co-led by former doctor and independent Member of Parliament Richard Taylor and clinical oncologist Clive Peedell, the party aims not only to repeal the current government’s policies, but also to roll back over two decades of government policy that it says has been too in thrall to neoliberal, market-centric ideology.

Duncan Selbie is the Chief Executive of Public Health England,earning £220,000. Prior to this he was Director General for programmes and performance for the Dept of Health.

In PHE, over 199 people were paid more than £100,000, with 41 further part time employees earning such enormous salaries on a pro rata basis.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/taxpayersalliance/pages/6648/attachments/original/1470150096/The_Nanny_State_Rich_List.pdf?1470150096

PHE has been embroiled in a series of controversies about the quality and credibility of advice it has issued on topics including fracking, NHS health checks, and the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, raising concerns about both its competence and its supposed independence . It has recently been in the firing line again, accused of bowing to political pressure by initially agreeing not to publish its review of measures to reduce sugar consumption.

So they created a sugar tax.

The health benefits of the sugar tax will be miniscule (estimates suggest  fewer than five calories per person per day), however, it will take £520 million from taxpayers’ pockets  And, of course, it will hit those on low incomes the hardest.
Besides, slapping new taxes on businesses has the knock on effect of harming employment prospects: the sugar tax could lead to over 5500 fewer jobs.

(Since the Health and Social Care Act of 2012, many councils have their very own Director of Public Health and a whole department dedicated to this vital role.)

Last year £901 million of the cash earmarked for front-line services  was used to buy care from private and other non-NHS providers, according to the Financial Times.

Research by the Health Foundation showed £800 million was spent on purchasing the same kind of care from NHS trusts.

PHE claim to  have strict processes for managing patient data  yet in January  2018,Public Health England (PHE) has come under fire after handing over data on nearly 180,000 lung cancer patients to a firm affiliated with tobacco companies.

The information was sent to US consulting firm William E Wecker Associates after it issued a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to PHE.https://www.digitalhealth.net/2018/01/public-health-england-cancer-patient-data/

Fracking and other criticisms

To the astonishment of MPs and environmental groups alike, Public Health England’s priority on its formation was not to tackle one of the big bêtes noires of public health but to weigh-in on the debate over the government’s plans to encourage large scale extraction, or fracking, of shale oil and gas in the UK.

 In 2013, PHE drafted a Press release claiming that Fracking was NOT a public health risk despite evidence to the contrary. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/shale-gas-extraction-emissions-are-a-low-risk-to-public-health

This article shows how PHE whitewashed the potential health risks. http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/musings/2014/20140506-phe_shale_gas-ecologist.html

PHE also bullied  GP,s and care homes to continue using Tamiflu last year, even though it had been downgraded.  http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/prescribing/health-chiefs-ignore-gpc-demands-over-tamiflu-in-care-homes/20033763.article

In 2016 PHE issued papers stating that Fluoride in water was safe and beneficial,https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2016/04/13/water-fluoridation-what-it-is-and-how-it-helps-dental-health/  

Many other countries have either banned it or have claimed that it should be stopped. http://www.fluoridation.com/c-country.htm

PHE can only succeed if it is clear beyond doubt that its public statements and policy positions are not influenced by Government policy or political considerations. That does NOT appear to be the case as evidence received by MPs found that staff working at PHE felt they did not have freedom to contradict Government policy. This is a report from 2014, it seems little has changed. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/concern-over-phes-lack-of-voice-30042160.html


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