Lords wash hands of HPA controversy

Report supports new Health Protection Agency but says flu vaccine production a major challenge

Robert Walgate(walgate@scienceanalysed.com)
Jul 17, 2003

LONDON—The long-awaited report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology on the management of infectious diseases and epidemics in England, published today (July 18), claims the country has avoided epidemics owing "as much to good fortune as to good management."

But—with a glossy cover showing hand washing—the report washes its hands of the controversy surrounding the reorganization in April this year of the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS), the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) at Porton Down, and several other laboratories, into the overarching Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Critics had suggested that the speed of the reorganization could compromise epidemic surveillance and preparedness. Responding to The Scientist on this point at a press conference yesterday, Committee Chairman Lord Soulsby said, "We are aware of the concern that's been expressed, and you can see it in our evidence, but we do believe the HPA will...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?