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The newly announced NIHP has a greater role in the preventative healthcare, taking forward the public health system with health partners, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has said.

ABPI’s comments follows Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement 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.

“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 organisation will work with health partners,” commented Richard Torbett, chief executive of the ABPI.

Commenting on the functioning of the PHE, ABPI noted that PHE has played a vital role in making sure that England is making the best use of health technologies, treatments, and vaccines.

“Public Health England has played a critical role during the pandemic, but more widely in delivering important initiatives on disease prevention and public health,” Torbett said.

“Our members have worked closely with PHE across many areas; from our world-leading vaccination programmes to diabetes prevention, through to critical work on antimicrobial resistance.”

The NIHP’s primary focus will be public health protection and infectious disease. While the  organisation will start work immediately, it will be formalised from spring 2021.

ABPI said partnership with the life sciences sector is vital to continue as world leaders in areas like vaccination, and reduce strain on the NHS during a potential second wave of the coronavirus.

“England is ramping up for the ‘biggest winter flu campaign in history’ which will require a concerted, joined-up effort from public bodies and our members to realise this ambition,” it said.

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