A new national public health body has launched in Scotland, which will play a significant part in the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Public Health Scotland will work with local authorities, NHS Boards and the Scottish Government to help protect the nation’s health and save lives.
It will be jointly accountable to both the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) and brings the functions of Health Protection Scotland and Information Services Division together with NHS Health Scotland.
England and Wales already have their own national public health bodies.
Public Health England was established in 2013 to coincide with local authorities being given responsibility for public health.
Public Health Wales was created in 2009.
‘The launch of Public Health Scotland comes at a particularly crucial time for the country’s public health,’ said chief executive, Angela Leitch.
‘The new organisation will continue to provide expert leadership in key aspects of the COVID-19 response, working in collaboration with the NHS, the Scottish Government, local government and others.
‘While COVID-19 is first and foremost in our minds, we are also working on the public health challenges that will result from the necessary measures being implemented across the country. There will be significant public health issues resulting from this outbreak and we are engaging with other key partners to identify and develop effective responses to these,’ added Ms Leitch.
‘The ambition for Public Health Scotland is to make a real, measurable and sustained improvement to the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland. I’m looking forward to working with the board and staff of Public Health Scotland, as well as partners and stakeholders on this journey.’
Professor Jim McGoldrick, interim chair of the new body, has overseen the establishment of Public Health Scotland. He is undertaking this post on a transitional basis to allow recruitment of a permanent chair to be completed.
‘Having served as shadow chair for the past nine months, I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue as interim chair of Public Health Scotland as the organisation becomes fully operational from today,’ said Professor McGoldrick.
‘The establishment of Public Health Scotland is a once in a generation opportunity to make a decisive change for the better for public health. To realise that we will need to adapt to the challenging circumstances and evolving public health landscape we find ourselves in.
‘The scale of the public health challenges Scotland is facing is so great that no organisation or profession can address it alone. But together we can,’ he added.
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