Public Health England (PHE) was established on 1 April 2013 as an executive agency of the Department of Health to bring together public health specialists from more than 70 organisations into a single public health service. PHE is the expert national public health agency which fulfils the Secretary of State for Health’s statutory duty to protect health and address inequalities, and executes the Secretary of State’s power to promote the health and wellbeing of the nation.
Responsibility for almost all of the work of HPA, which was disestablished on 1 April 2013, has been transferred to PHE. This includes the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE).
The Health Protection Agency was an independent organisation dedicated to protecting people’s health in the UK. This was achieved by providing impartial advice and authoritative information on health protection issues to the public, communities, professionals and government. HPA had about 3,000 employees and combines public health and scientific expertise, research and emergency planning within the organisation. HPA’s remit covered infectious disease, hazardous chemicals and radiation.
The Radiation Protection Division (RPD), within the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE), provides all the specialist research and advice on radiological issues to HPA.
Within RPD there is a range of expertise on low dose radiation risk. This spans epidemiology, experimental carcinogenesis, radiation dosimetry and data analysis. RPD carries out a substantial portfolio of low dose risk research. Members of staff hold key roles in international advisory bodies such as ICRP, contribute to the UK delegation to UNSCEAR and are regularly asked to provide input into US bodies such as NCRP. HPA-RPD has a strong track record of contributions to EC low dose risk research.
HPA was responsible for coordination of the project and will collaborate on epidemiological and dosimetric research, including taking the lead in work packages of non-cancer diseases among Mayak workers, harmonisation of plutonium dosimetry data and assessment of internal doses from in utero exposure. In so doing, HPA had drawn upon its roles in the EC FP6-supported SOUL project and in other international radiation research initiatives, including coordination of previous EC-supported projects (see below). Three departments in HPA-RPD contributed to distinct aspects of the project, as described below, together with key staff members who is involved within the project.