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Abolition of Health Protection Agency Delayed until After Olympic Games

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 The abolition of the Health Protection Agency has been delayed until after the Olympic games amidst concerns for public safety.

The axing of the NHS’s main public health body was due to take place in July 2012, weeks before the games begin. However, it has been decided that it is too risky to make such drastic changes, which will affect thousands of staff, and could compromise emergency responses, during the world’s biggest sporting event due to take place in London.

A document released by the government, scheduling the transition of the HPA to become part of the new Public Health England, suggests it “will be a complex task” affecting almost 10,000 staff now working for agencies such as the HPA.

Approximately 17 000 athletes and officials involved in the games are expected to stay at the olympic village during the games with more staying outside London for events such as football, yachting and rowing.

The document states, “Aligning the start date of Public Health England with that of the local system will create additional time to ensure we have the key elements of the new system right, and will reduce the risks of making large-scale organisational change around the time of the Olympic and Paralympic games.”

However, Diane Abbott, Labour’s public health spokeswoman, criticised ministers’ initial plans to scrap the agency adding that they had, “caused so much chaos that they have had to go back to the drawing board”.

 

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