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Health Protection Agency Act 2004

Summary and Background

3.The purpose of the Act is to establish the Health Protection Agency as a UK-wide non-departmental public body. The Agency will be able to undertake both health functions and radiation protection functions including functions carried out by the Health Protection Agency Special Health Authority and the National Radiological Protection Board, both of which will be wound up when the Agency is created. These more integrated arrangements are intended to improve the UK's ability to tackle the problems posed by infectious disease and other hazards, including the UK's response to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism.

4.The intention to create a Health Protection Agency with this range of functions was first announced in Getting Ahead of the Curve, the infectious disease strategy which was published by the Chief Medical Officer in January 2002. Further details of the Agency's proposed role in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were set out in Health Protection: A Consultation Document on creating a health protection agency (June 2002), and its role in Scotland was considered in Health Protection in Scotland: A Consultation Paper, issued by the Scottish Executive (November 2002).

5.A UK government decision was announced in November 2002 to create the Agency:


from 1 April 2003, as a special health authority in England and Wales, which would be able to carry out functions under the NHS Act 1977; and


subsequently, as a non-departmental public body, which would be able to carry out a wider range of functions.

The Act provides for this second stage to be put into effect.

6.Scottish Ministers announced on 29 October 2003 that they had decided that the Health Protection Agency should take responsibility for the functions carried out by the National Radiological Protection Board for the Scottish Executive, and should also be able to provide some other services for Scotland.

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