Health Protection Agency teams work alongside the NHS, local authorities and emergency services providing specialist support in communicable disease, infection control and emergency planning.
The agency provides local services through a network of health protection units (HPUs), supported by regional offices, and laboratories. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales provide their own public health support.
HPS staff, based in health protection units, are a source of specialist advice and operational support for the local NHS, local authorities and other agencies during health protection incidents, drawing on HPS regional services where appropriate, HPS staff contribute actively to policy making and implementation in partnership with these local stakeholder organisations.
The Laboratory Network is a specialist network of laboratories operating across England. The network provides a wide range of clinical and public health microbiology tests for either the NHS and clinical health sector, or in testing food, water and environmental samples (FW&E) for local authorities and other stakeholders. A lead clinical and public health laboratory is designated for each of the English regions. The lead laboratories operate as hubs in the region.
As part of HPS, the Emergency Response Department, on behalf of the Department of Health, designs and delivers exercises and training across England for the NHS to improve preparedness for incidents such as infectious diseases, natural hazards, CBRN events and new or re-emerging health threats. Teams within the department provide evidence based risk assessment capability to advise on new and emerging health threats and conduct research projects on areas of psychological and behavioural responses to such threats.