The government has been accused of ‘closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’ after advertising for a new ‘Head of Pandemic Preparedness’ six months after coronavirus arrived in the UK.
The Mirror reports that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will interview internal applicants for the ‘newly created and high-profile’ job, which pays £61,000 a year, in September.
The government has posted the job vacancy on its internal jobs system, with the expectation it will review ‘our approach to pandemic procurement and stockpiling’, as well as implementing the ‘lessons learned’ from the first wave of the virus.
Labour’s shadow health minister Justin Madders said: ‘We needed government to be prepared to face a pandemic but this feels like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.’
He added: ‘It’s very clear now how ill prepared the nation was at the outset and how they failed to heed the warnings from numerous exercises.
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‘The government was too slow into lockdown, too slow on PPE and too slow on testing – this is just another example of the Tories playing catch up with what is required.’
A source at the DHSC insisted the new role was encompassing jobs already carried out by civil servants.
But the team was being ‘expanded to ensure our preparedness for all types of pandemic threats is robust and comprehensive.’
Last month the government posted a job advert for an official to oversee a future coronavirus inquiry, paying a salary of approximately £58,000.