Hancock dots NIHP - decisive or distraction

Today, Department of Health boss Matt Hancock unveiled the government’s new ‘National Institute for Health Protection’ agency. The new organisation claims to be focusing on ‘rigorous science-led’ approaches to public health protection.

The ‘NIHP’ will look to boost the UK’s ability to deal with COVID-19 and the ‘health challenges of the coming winter’; Although, with the NIHP slated to be ‘in operation by 2021’, it is unclear how the new organisation will be able to help the UK fight COVID-19 over the coming (2020) winter.

From today, the NHIP will combine Public Health England (PHE), the NHS Test and Trace program and the analytical work of the Joint Biosecurity Centre into ‘a single leadership team’. Top of the NHIP agenda is tackling the Coronavirus pandemic.

The responsibilities of the NIHP will include: Source Gov.uk

  • NIHP local health protection teams to deal with infections and other threats
  • support and resources for local authorities to manage local outbreaks
  • the COVID-19 testing programme
  • contact tracing
  • the Joint Biosecurity Centre
  • emergency response and preparedness to deal with the most severe incidents at national and local level
  • research and reference laboratories and associated services
  • specialist epidemiology and surveillance of all infectious diseases
  • the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards
  • global health security
  • providing specialistic scientific advice on immunisation and countermeasures

Health 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.”

Matt Hancock – https://www.gov.uk/

Is this a case of Government scapegoating PHE and wasting millions more of public money to hide from their own incompetence, OR, is this new agency needed?

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