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Local Public Health Laboratories

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has for the future funding of local public health laboratories; (257802)

(2) how many public health laboratories have closed in the last 10 years.

The information requested is not available concerning closures of public health laboratories between 1999 and 2003, when public health laboratories were the responsibility of the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS). Responsibility in England for the public health laboratory function was transferred from the PHLS to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) on 1 April 2003. There have been no closures of public health laboratories since 1 April 2003, although there have been some changes in the service configuration.

The Department plans to continue funding the HPA to carry out this function locally, as well as regionally and nationally, in line with its responsibilities under the Health Protection Agency Act 2004.