Doctors in England and Wales have a statutory duty to notify a 'Proper Officer' of the Local Authority or local Health Protection Unit (HPU) of suspected cases of certain infectious diseases. The attending Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP), should fill out a notification certificate immediately on diagnosis of a suspected notifiable disease and should not wait for laboratory confirmation of the suspected infection or contamination before notification. The certificate should be sent to the Proper Officer within three days or verbally within 24 hours if the case is considered urgent.
All Proper Officers are required to pass on the entire notification to the HPA within three days of a case being notified, or within 24 hours for cases deemed urgent. HPUs are the primary recipient within the HPA of clinical notifications from Proper Officers. Notifications sent to the HPU must be made in a secure manner. This may be by telephone, letter, encrypted email or to a secure fax machine. If in doubt please contact the local HPU for advice.
Contact details for your local HPU can be found by going to the Local health protection section of the Contact Us page and using the postcode search facility or browsing by region.
The Information Management Department within the HPA Health Protection Services (HPS) collate the returns at the national level, and publish analyses of local and national trends on a weekly basis.