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I have been working at Health Protection Agency full-time (More than 5 years)
Working on the frontlines of public health is an exciting and worthy job. Many of the people at the Agency are friendly and there are some decent benefits. People are rarely asked to work overtime / after hours and when they do, they are recompensed appropriately.
Unfortunately, the agency is going through a years long process of being reorganised, resulting in paralysis, uncertainty and inefficiency. Despite a lot of energy being spent on keeping the staff informed, there is little to be actually said. Charitably, this is because many of the people informing staff don't know themselves what is happening. There is the widespread perception that little of this change is to do with streamlining or improving the agency and more to do with competition within high-level management. As a result work become more difficult, resources strained and staff are leaving in droves. With the integration of HPA into PHE, this may change but it's going to take years.