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Home About the HPA What the Health Protection Agency does

What the Health Protection Agency does

HPA scientist with microscope

The functions of the Agency are "to protect the community (or any part of the community) against infectious diseases and other dangers to health" (HPA Act 2004).

In addition to the Agency's role in reducing the dangers to health from infections, chemical and radiation hazards, it also provides support to, and works in partnership with others who also have health protection responsibilities and advises, through the Department of Health, all government departments and devolved administrations throughout the UK. In England, it provides the local health protection services which in the rest of the UK are delivered by the three other lead health protection bodies; the National Public Health Service Wales; Health Protection Scotland HPS; the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland. The Agency works closely with all these organisations.

Meeting setting

At the UK level, the Agency is responsible for providing information and services to support a co-ordinated and consistent UK public health response to national level emergencies.

Since its inception the Agency has:

  • provided specialist national, regional and local health protection services including advice to others who also have health protection responsibilities.
  • provided training to doctors, nurses, biomedical scientists and the emergency services in preparedness and response to potential bioterrorist incidents and in the diagnosis and recognition of symptoms of unusual dangerous microorganisms.
  • carried out and coordinated exercises at the local and national level with the NHS, local authorities and the emergency services to improve national preparedness in the event of major bioterrorist incidents.
  • maintained surveillance both nationally and internationally of potential threats and worked with international partners to reduce the impact of threats to public health.
  • worked successfully with the National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHSW) to ensure delivery of comprehensive health protection services in Wales.
  • takes the operational lead for Port Health arrangements.

HPA scientists at work

Follow the links on the left for further information about HPA Programmes, our international work, research & development, and commercial activities.

The broad framework within which the Health Protection Agency operates is set out in the Health Protection Agency's Management Statement that has been agreed with the Department of Health.

The HPA Act requires the Agency to be accountable for the standards of the healthcare services it provides as if it were an NHS authority. This means that the Agency is subject to the Care Quality Commission's (formerly the Healthcare Commission) 'Annual Health Check' against the Department of Health's 'Standards for Better Health'. The Agency's final declaration against the standards for 2009/10 is available on our website

Other Agency policies

Environmental Policy

Equality and diversity


 
  • Environmental Policy
    Added/updated: 28 August 2008
  • Care Quality Commission's Annual Health Check of the Agency
    The HPA Act requires the Agency to be accountable for the standards of the healthcare services it provides as if it were an NHS authority. This means that the Agency is subject to the Care Quality Commission's (formerly the Healthcare Commission) 'Annual Health Check' against the Department of Health's 'Standards for Better Health'.
    Added/updated: 12 April 2010