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But despite this it went ahead with it anyway.
Former chief scientific adviser Sir David King assembled 12 of his own experts – Independent Sage – to shadow the version of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
Speaking to Radio 4‘s Life Scientific podcast last week, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick said “David called me a few times about wanting to set up a group to try and give other looks at things and I said it was a good idea because at that stage and at all stages you need as much scientific input as you can.
“I did say to him, ‘don’t call it Sage, because that’s just going to cause confusion’, which he said he wouldn’t but anyway they did.”
Sir Patrick said it was important such groups didn’t become political.
He said: “It’s helpful to have science input. It’s less helpful when that strays over to policy recommendations. “It’s important that science groups that are set up stick with science and don’t try to mix the two things.
“The expression of science and the delivery of science to policy makers needs to be free from politics and I don’t think it’s helpful when you end up with policy being dressed up as science. It’s very confusing for people.”
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Last night leading public health specialist Prof Allyson Pollock, former member of iSage tweeted Sir Patrick’s interview clip with the words: “This is why I left iSage.”
Independent Sage claimed to have been founded because of a “lack of openness and transparency” by the offical Sage committee of government advisors
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