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Eurosurveillance, Volume 7, Issue 14, 03 April 2003

Citation style for this article: The Health Protection Agency takes over from the PHLS in England and Wales. Euro Surveill. 2003;7(14):pii=2198. Available online:

The Health Protection Agency takes over from the PHLS in England and Wales

Editorial team (, Eurosurveillance editorial office.

The new Health Protection Agency ( came into operation on 1 April in England and Wales. It draws together a range of existing organisations and staff working in the surveillance, control and research of communicable diseases, emergency planning, and chemical incident handling, including:
  • The former Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS), including the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre and the Central Public Health Laboratory
  • The Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research
  • The National Focus for Chemical Incidents
  • The Regional Service Provider Units that support the management of chemical incidents
  • The National Poisons Information Service
  • National Health Service (NHS) public health staff responsible for the control of infectious disease, emergency planning and other protection support

Integrating the expertise of surveillance, reference laboratories, and response in one public health body will enable health professionals to be better prepared to tackle threats to health from infections and environmental hazards, the agency states.

The Health Protection Agency aims to deliver the following:

  • A 'one stop shop' to investigate the health effects of infections, poisons, and chemical and radiation hazards
  • A more comprehensive early warning system to recognise diseases and new threats to health, drawing on a wider network of laboratories, operating to uniformly high standards
  • Better anticipation and preparation for threats to health through horizon scanning - looking ahead to the impact of forthcoming technologies and developments, nationally and internationally
  • Monitoring the long term effects of a wider range of hazards
  • A dedicated resource for emergency planning
  • An integrated response to emergencies involving chemicals, biological, nuclear or radiation agents
  • The same high standards of response to an outbreak or incident throughout the country
  • Easily available, authoritative and impartial information and advice for the public
  • More knowledgeable and skilled health protection staff
  • More research into health protection

Email addresses for PHLS staff who have transferred to the Health Protection Agency have the format of, although old email addresses with the format will remain usable for some time. The PHLS website,, will be partly operational until the Health Protection Agency website is finished.


  1. Health Protection Agency. Health Protection Agency joins fight to tackle threats from infections and environmental hazards. Press release, 2 April 2003. (

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