Public Health England will be scrapped to make way for a new organisation responsible for dealing with pandemics, the Health and Social Care Secretary has confirmed.
The National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) has been created to lead the response to the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the coming winter and to work against the threat of biological weapons and other infectious diseases.
It has been formed from a merger of Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace, and will be based on a single command structure.
The news confirms reports made in the Sunday Telegraph last week.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “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.
“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.”
Led by Baroness Dido Harding, the NIHP will take on existing UK wide responsibilities and it will work with local government, the NHS and devolved administrations.
Baroness Harding said: “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.
“The changes announced today are designed to strengthen our response, and to radically ramp up our fight against this disease, whilst also protecting PHE’s essential work beyond COVID that is so important for the nation’s health.”