By Tara Rippin • 25 March 2021 • 12:55
New UK Health Security Agency to lead response to future health threats.
A NEW UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to plan for, prevent and respond to external health threats such as infectious diseases, such as Covid, has been announced by the government today, Thursday, March 25.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries, will become Chief Executive of the “mission-driven body will harness the UK’s public health protection, science, intelligence, testing and delivery expertise”.
The UKHSA – previously the National Institute for Health Protection – will be the UK leader for health security, providing intellectual, scientific and operational leadership at national and local level, as well as on the global stage, said the government in a statement.
“It will ensure the nation can respond quickly and at greater scale to deal with pandemics and future threats.”
The primary focus for the UKHSA in its initial phase of operation will be the continued fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Harries has previously served on the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), and has worked within the NHS and local government at local, regional and national levels.
She played central roles in the UK’s response to Covid, Ebola, Zika, monkeypox, MERS and the Novichok attacks.
“The pandemic has put the UK’s health security capabilities in sharp focus and the UKHSA will change the way we approach health protection,” she said.
“With the creation of the UKHSA, we have an unprecedented opportunity to build on the scientific and operational strength that has been developed, learn from the past and further develop strong bonds with health protection leadership from global to local, to ensure we are ready for the challenges of the future,” added Dr Harries.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The UKHSA will be this country’s permanent standing capacity to plan, prevent and respond to external threats to health.
“I want everybody at UKHSA, at all levels, to wake up every day with a zeal to plan for the next pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the world-leading capabilities of the country’s public health science, and it has also shown the challenges of protecting the nation’s health are changing at an unprecedented pace, as new types of threats emerge.”
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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