§ Mr. Drew
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to secure funding for the Public Health Laboratory Service after its re-structuring in April; and what plans he has to secure employment prospects for all staff employed by the Public Health Laboratory Service after the re-structuring. 329W
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 1 April 2003]As of 1 April, the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) is responsible for producing culture media for microbiology laboratories in the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and some parts of the national health service. The funding for this will come mainly from the purchase of media by the NHS and the HPA, plus some central funding from the Department. The NHS and the HPA have been asked by the Chief Executive of the NHS to continue utilising this media service at existing levels in order to protect the continuity of supply and ensure stability.
The staff of the four units where this function is carried out remain employees of the PHLS. The employment prospects of all the staff involved will be protected by the change management protocol, which applied to those staff transferring from the PHLS to the HPA or to NHS trusts. An early review of media services is planned which is expected to make recommendations for the longer term.