The Health Protection Agency is an independent UK organisation that was set up by the government in 2003 to protect the public from threats to their health from infectious diseases and environmental hazards. It does this by providing advice and information to the general public, to health professionals such as doctors and nurses, and to national and local government. From April 2013 the HPA will become part of Public Health England.
The Agency identifies and responds to health hazards and emergencies caused by infectious disease, hazardous chemicals, poisons or radiation. It gives advice to the public on how to stay healthy and avoid health hazards, provides data and information to government to help inform its decision making, and advises people working in healthcare. It also makes sure the nation is ready for future threats to health that could happen naturally, accidentally or deliberately.
The Agency combines public health and scientific knowledge, research and emergency planning within one organisation – and works at international, national, regional and local levels. It also supports and advises other organisations that play a part in protecting health.
The Agency's advice, information and services are underpinned by evidence-based research. It also uses its research to develop new vaccines and treatments that directly help patients. Although set up by government, the Agency is independent and provides whatever advice and information is necessary to protect people's health. The Agency exists to help protect the health of everyone in the UK; our ambition is to lead the way by identifying, pre paring for and responding to health threats.
Local and Regional Health Protection Agency services work alongside the NHS providing specialist support in communicable disease and infection control, and emergency planning.
HPA Porton's remit includes specialist and reference microbiology services for high containment pathogens, translational research programmes and the manufacture of biopharmaceutical products.
HPA Colindale's remit includes specialist and reference microbiology services and infectious disease surveillance, including outbreak investigation.
The Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards provides advice, research and services to protect the public from these hazards.
The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) is a centre of the HPA, and its mission is to assure the quality of biological medicines.