UK Gov Sets Up New Public Health Organization

August 20, 2020

UK government has set up a new organization to replace Public Health England.

The United Kingdom government has set up a new organization, the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), which will replace Public Health England(PHE) and will focus onpublic health protection and infectious disease capability.

According to an August 18, 2020 press release, the NIHP will be formalized and operational from spring 2021, although works will commence immediately in the advancement of the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Immediate work will include bringing together PHE and the National Health Service’s Test and Trace, as well as the analytical capability of the Joint Biosecurity Centre under a single leadership team.

Responding to the formation of the new organization, Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said in a press release, “PHE has played a critical role during the pandemic, but more widely in delivering important initiatives on disease prevention and public health. Our members have worked closely with PHE across many areas; from our world-leading vaccination programs to diabetes prevention, through to critical work on antimicrobial resistance. Preventative healthcare should be front and center of plans for the NHS post COVID-19. It’s important we understand how the wider work on prevention and public health will be taken forward, where responsibility and accountability will sit, and how the new organization will work with health partners.”

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the UK BioIndustry Association issued a comment on the formation of the NIHP in another press release. He said, “UK life science companies look forward to working with the NIHP on its vital mission. If the UK is to successfully bring on new technologies and have the ability to scale up at pace it’s imperative to consider the incentives for, and desired capacity within, the UK life science industry for the long term, which will compliment and work alongside the newly announced Institute and its world leading scientists. The UK’s groundbreaking, innovative companies are already working on COVID-19 solutions in partnership with the public sector—successfully embedding this culture for the long term will be a key for the country’s response to future threats and the NIHP’s success.”

Sources: Gov.uk, ABPI, BIA