Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, has criticized the move to replace Public Health England, the Guardian reports.
Earlier this week, the Telegraph reported that UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock plans to eliminate the agency and replace it with one called the National Institute for Health Protection that is to also encompass the National Health Service's Test and Trace program. The change comes as ministers have been displeased with how PHE has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Guardian, Farrar, who is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, says the decision represents a "passing of blame" and is "ill thought through." He adds that "kneejerk, reactive, short-term reforms that fail to listen or learn lessons from past, present crisis and future trends will be [a] wasted opportunity for needed reform, public health, social services, and medical care."
Hancock says he is typically not in favor of large reorganizations, but argues this one is necessary, according to the Guardian. "But I think this one is absolutely the best thing to do and the best thing to do right now because we need to bring together the different parts of the response [to coronavirus]," he adds.