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PHISAG wants to hear from you

Summary:
As Matt Hancock has been too busy even to think about the date for the Social Care Green Paper (Q182), you may be wondering how he has been spending his time.  The answer is establishing the "Population Health Improvement Stakeholder Advisory Group" (PHISAG) which will be ready to roll and wanting to receive your advice next month. This will be part of Lady Dido Harding's new empire: the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), You may remember her as the person bringing us the world beating Test and Trace system by 1st June. Her career may not have yielded much health experience but it has not been without controversy.  Fortunately, she will be supported by another interim appointment: Michael Brodie, who was previously Director of Finance for Public Health England (PHE), will be

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As Matt Hancock has been too busy even to think about the date for the Social Care Green Paper (Q182), you may be wondering how he has been spending his time.  The answer is establishing the "Population Health Improvement Stakeholder Advisory Group" (PHISAG) which will be ready to roll and wanting to receive your advice next month. This will be part of Lady Dido Harding's new empire: the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), You may remember her as the person bringing us the world beating Test and Trace system by 1st June. Her career may not have yielded much health experience but it has not been without controversy.  Fortunately, she will be supported by another interim appointment: Michael Brodie, who was previously Director of Finance for Public Health England (PHE), will be CEO for the time being. 

The NIHP rebadges PHE. You might be wondering why because, according to Matt Hancock, PHE “has a superb professional and scientific base, on combating infectious disease, other health hazards and other risks to health such as obesity. PHE’s dedicated and highly skilled workforce has an excellent track record in dealing with health protection incidents both large and small.” Apparently, PHE was just not big enough. If you are so ill-informed as to consider PHE to have been useless, expect NIHP to be twice as useless. Officially, NIHP will have “a razor-sharp focus on COVID-19 and the challenges posed by domestic and global threats to health.” 

As the NIHP’s responsibilities are too many to enumerate, Hancock had to restrict himself to listing 13, three of which will be “global health security capability”, “UK-wide” and local. The second of those may surprise Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast who think that health is devolved and the third may surprise the councils who think their public health directors report to them.  It will also take over the management of the “NHS and local government...to support a greater focus on prevention in the delivery of local health services, and to improve integration so that people receive the joined-up care and support they need.” 

As nothing can be done without a couple of new quangos, there will be a “Transition Team” reporting to a “Transition Board” which “will purposely [sic] look at the global best practice on pandemic preparedness and health protection systems and agencies to inform organisational design.” Remarkably, global best practice can be identified in time for PHISAG publicly to report options within six weeks and it will all be sorted by the end of this year. They should tell their Green Paper colleagues how to do that. 

Perhaps PHISAG is an unfortunate acronym as some may assume a reference to sagging bellies, when the opposite is the intention. Health protection is better and cheaper than cure; thanks to the NIHP we will all be trimmer, free of alcohol, smoking, sugar, salt, fat and unhealthy practices that should not be mentioned.  

The cost of all this?  No one has a clue but we should understand that the NIHP will make us all so fit and well that HM Treasury will be able to save pretty much all the costs of the NHS. Will Rogers summed it all up: “It's easy being a humorist when you've got the whole government working for you.”

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Tim Ambler
Tim Ambler (born 1937) is a British organizational theorist, author and academic on the field of Marketing effectiveness. Ambler featured on Marketing's list of the 100 most powerful figures in the industry. He is cited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of the top 50 marketing experts in the world

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