Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace will be unified to establish a new organisation focused on public health protection and infectious disease capability, the Government has announced.
The National Institute for Health Protection will be formalised and be operating from spring 2021. The organisation has been formed to provide a single command structure to advance the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘To give ourselves the best chance of beating this virus once and for all – and of spotting and being ready to respond to other health threats, now and in the future – we are creating a brand new organisation to provide a new approach to public health protection and resilience,’ said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
‘The National Institute for Health Protection will bring together the expertise of PHE with the enormous response capabilities of NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to put us in the best possible position for the next stage of the fight against COVID-19 and for the long term.’
The Institute will take on existing UK-wide responsibilities and will work with local government, the NHS and the devolved administrations to ensure we have the strongest possible health protection system for the whole of the UK. It will build on the existing strong working relationships between the 4 nations of the UK, including on data-sharing, alert levels and border issues.
‘Combining the UK’s world-class public health talent and infrastructure with the new at-scale response capability of NHS Test and Trace into a single organisation puts us in the strongest position to stop the spread of the virus,’ said Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection.
‘The fantastic teams in PHE, NHS Test and Trace and in local authorities have done so much over the past 8 months, and I thank them all for their service now and in the future. PHE has worked incredibly well with NHS Test and Trace, and with winter ahead, the life-saving work we are doing is more important than ever.’