Port Medical Officer responsibilities
Section A is a description of duties normally associated with the Port Medical Officer, though other staff could carry them out if appropriately skilled.
Section B covers duties that can only be carried out by the Port Medical Officer. This is because some legal powers in the transport regulations are specific for the medical officer rather than the authorised officer.
Section C covers the appointment of Port Medical Officers.
Section A Responsibilities normally associated with the Port Medical Officer
- The Port Medical Officer is normally the primary point of contact for the Health Protection Unit (HPU) on port health issues, including liaison between the HPU and agencies involved with providing health-related activities at the port or airport, contributing to health protection related planning, conducting the review of the Port Health Plans and producing any reports relating to the port or airport. These activities could be carried out by other staff in the HPU.
- The Port Medical Officer, or appropriately skilled HPU staff, will conduct a risk assessment for evidence of communicable disease in passengers and crew aboard ships or aircraft, when infectious disease is suspected onboard.
- The Port Medical Officer, or appropriately skilled HPU staff, will, when requested by the port health officer, visit ships/aircraft where there is a death on board to assist them in identifying whether the death could have been due to infection or environmental causes. There would normally be no requirement to visit when the death is accidental, due to natural causes or where the ship carries a doctor.
- The Port Medical Officer, or appropriately skilled HPU staff, will liaise with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) as required on issues of ship safety related to issues under the legislation in section B 1 (below).
- The Port Medical Officer, and other appropriate staff, will be aware of the (local) Port Health Plan, HPU/HPA policies relevant to the port and other agency plans relevant to the port (PCT, LA, port operators etc).
- The Port Medical Officer and appropriate staff will participate in relevant training and continuing education related to port health.
Section B Responsibilities which only the Port Medical Officer can discharge
- There is a specific obligation under the transport regulations on the port Medical Officer to visit aircraft/ships in some circumstances, such as at the request of the commander/captain; where the aircraft/ship is detained pending medical inspection; or to remove any infected person from the aircraft/ship. These legal powers in the transport regulations are specific for the medical officer rather than the authorised officer.
- It follows from B1 that arrangements need to be in place a Port Medical Officer, who is appointed for each port and airport in the district, to be available within working hours and on-call, to discharge the specific obligations in B1 above.
Section C Appointment of the Port Medical Officer
- The Director of an HPU will, in consultation with the PHA/LA, ensure that a Port Medical Officer is appointed for each port & airport in their area to discharge the legal powers and obligations with respect to port health, which includes the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, the Ships, Aircraft and International Trains Regulations (as appropriate).
14 November 2007
Last reviewed: 29 April 2010