RPS Claire Anderson
Claire Anderson.

The English Pharmacy Board has urged the government to provide more space for pharmacies in the newly announced NIHP to reduce the backlog of care from Covid-19 and to manage demand across the health service.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday (August 18) that Public Health England is being scrapped and replaced by a new national body, National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), which could have pharmacy at the centre of its prevention agenda.

Commenting on the formation of NIHP, the English Pharmacy Board Chair Claire Anderson said: “It’s encouraging to hear the Secretary of State’s commitment to embedding health improvements across government and the NHS, including pharmacy and primary care – this now needs to be supported by funding after years of cuts to public health.

“Whatever happens with administrative changes, the government must ensure it delivers a compelling vision for public health and prevention,” she added.

Noting the multiple stressors on the health sector, Anderson urged immediate clarity on the new institution.

“As we look toward winter pressures, risks of a second wave of Covid-19, and a potential ‘no-deal’ Brexit, it’s vital that we don’t lose time amid these changes. We must ensure public health messaging continues, and will be looking for clarity on support for health teams, local and regional roles and resources,” she said.

Public Health England, a cornerstone of the government’s health system with responsibility for managing infectious outbreaks, will have many of its functions merged with the government’s contact tracing service into NIHP.

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