Joint Committee on Draft Civil Contingencies Bill Minutes of Evidence

Letter from the Office of the Strategic Health Authorities

  I am replying on behalf of the 28 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) to your letter dated 23 July asking about the appropriateness or otherwise of the NHS not being named as a Category 1 Responder in the Bill.

  All NHS bodies have a specific role to play in the event of an emergency as defined in Part 1 of the draft Bill, and the NHS is obliged regularly to review its readiness to comply with emergency planning measures. It is therefore of some concern that the draft Bill does not adequately reflect the current structure of the NHS nor its potential development.

  The draft Bill in its current form makes reference specifically to Ambulance Trusts being included as Category 1 Responders, and while the appropriateness of their inclusion is not under dispute, we would suggest the list be extended to include:

    —  Acute Hospital Trusts;

    —  Primary Care Trusts; and

    —  Strategic Health Authorities.

  Strategic Health Authorities, in particular, have an important co-ordinating role in ensuring that local NHS services respond in a timely and appropriate fashion.

  Should legislation be passed enabling the creation of Foundation Trusts they too would require specific inclusion.

  In addition, we would support the inclusion of the Health Protection Agency (HPS) as a Category 1 Responder. The HPA's role includes[1]:

    —  advising the Government on public health protection policies and programmes;

    —  delivering services and supporting the NHS and other agencies to protect people from infectious diseases, poisons, chemical and radiological hazards;

    —  responding to new threats to public health;

    —  providing a rapid response to health protection emergencies.

  Although initially established as a Special Health Authority, the status of the HPA may change as a result of future legislation and would therefore need to be named specifically.

  I hope these points are helpful; should you require further input from this Office you are most welcome to contact me.

Kate Green


29 August 2003

1   Source-Health Protection Agency 2003. Back

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