Infections: policy context
In 2000, the Review of the Public Health Function by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in Scotland included the communicable disease and environmental health function in the NHS in Scotland. It advocated that local health protection resources, duly strengthened through medical, nursing and administrative team-working, should remain within NHS Boards, working closely with their counterpart services (chiefly environmental health) in local authorities.
Following the publication of the English CMO's report Getting Ahead of the Curve(1702kb), the Scottish Executive Health Department (SEHD) issued Health Protection in Scotland - A Consultation Paper in 2002. Thisdefined the background, scope, concerns and options to improve organisational arrangements. The reasons for carrying out a specific review of the health protection arrangements in Scotland included a desire to:
- improve the capability to monitor and respond to the rapidly developing and widening variety of infectious and environmental hazards, especially those which may be due to bioterrorism;
- ensure health protection organisations contribute maximally to the national commitment to improve health;
- respond to public anxiety over issues such as MMR, the safety of the water and food supply, and meet increased expectations about the contribution of health protection services to such issues;
- ensure Scotland plays a full part in the new health protection arrangements being formed in the UK and the EU.
The Consultation generated a significant degree of interest and engagement during 2003. The findings set the agenda for the implementation phase of the new health protection arrangements resulting in the establishment of a new organisation, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) to work with Scottish and UK partners to improve the consistency, effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of the health protection function.