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Public Health England 

Structure, Functions and Facilities of Department | Training | Continuing Education | Audit and CPD

Wessex Public Health England Centre (previously Health Protection Unit), Unit 8, Fulcrum 2, Solent Way, Whiteley, Fareham, PO15 7FN. Tel: 0345 055 2022.

Please note: the below information will be updated soon to reflect the changes since 1 April 2013.

Structure, Functions and Facilities of Department

The establishment of the HPA in 2004 provided an integrated approach to the delivery of health protection functions at national, regional and local levels, including expertise in specialist areas of health protection practice. 

The Health Protection Service of the HPA delivers frontline response to the prevention and control of infections, the adverse health effects of hazardous chemicals, radiation and major emergencies. This is currently delivered through 25 Health Protection Units (HPUs) across the country, with epidemiological support provided at regional and national levels.  HPU ’s are the ‘bedrock’ of the Agency’s activities, providing operational support and specialist advice to the NHS , local authorities and other agencies, and by contributing actively to policy making and implementation with these partners. The Service is moving towards coherent and consistent national provision that will standardise current good practice, with emphasis on health outcomes within a service framework, which complements NHS and other HPA developments.

The Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Health Protection Unit (HIOW HPU ) serves the counties of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The Unit relates to four Primary Care Trusts, 5 acute hospital trusts, 15 Local Authorities and one port health authority (see Table below). The HPU serves a population of about 1.84 million. The HPU serves the southern part of the South Central Strategic Health Authority.

Local Authorities




The HPU provides leadership, advice and operational support on health protection matters to local health care organisations, local authorities and other public service bodies. The HPU is responsible for the surveillance, investigation, prevention and control of communicable disease and non-infectious environmental hazards and the health aspects of emergency planning. The HPU works closely with HPA regional and national services.

The detailed role of the HPU is defined in various joint service agreements between the Unit and its stakeholders. The main office of the HPU is at Whiteley.

Registrars on attachment have a desk in the main office and have access to the usual infrastructure needed for a training placement (desk, phone, computer etc.). The HPU local teams, working with the PCT and their partners, provide the necessary specialist expertise to deliver or support health protection functions at the local level and also act as a gateway to specialist services of the HPA , e.g. radiological and chemical advice. 

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Training is organised around the particular needs of the individuals and based on the recommendations of the Faculty. Training is provided by four CCDC s/Consultants in Health Protection, which includes the Unit Director as the coordinating lead for specialist public health training.

A minimum of three months general training for health protection is provided through a placement at the Health Protection Unit in Whiteley. There is flexibility to extend this placement to support learning needs if required. This well organised Unit provides a wide range of experience in health protection including visits with other agencies involved in public health protection. Training is also provided for those who wish to specialise in health protection.

Trainees at the Health Protection Unit are normally expected to have passed the Part A examination. Trainees usually join the on-call rota after they have done their three month attachment. Out Of Hours services in HIOW comprise a two tier rota including a first tier comprising largely of HPU health protection practitioner staff and an ‘expert’ tier of HPU CCDCs/Consultants in Health Protection. Trainees provide a supernumerary tier. Trainees join the rota when they have the necessary competencies. They would be supported on the rota by a first on-call tier which in turn would be supported by the expert HPA tier.

At the start of training, the trainee completes an induction programme and will have an opportunity to spend a day with a local authority environmental health department and the health protection laboratory during the placement.

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Continuing Education

There are well resourced medical libraries nearby at the Teaching Hospital in Southampton. Trainees will be able to join the journal club run by the Southampton City Council.  Registrars would attend the Wessex Training Group sessions as a matter of course and have the same support as trainees in other sites.

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Audit and CPD

As in other sites, trainees can attend the CPD training events organised by the HPU and wider Public Health Network. Audit projects can be included as part of a placement with the Unit.

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