§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what safeguards he will put in place to maintain existing standards of health emergency planning during the transition of responsibilities from the(a) Public Health Laboratory Service, (b) National Radiological Protection Board and (c) Microbiological Research Authority to the Health Protection Agency. 
§ Ms Blears
We are working with the Public Health Laboratory Service and the Microbiological Research Authority to provide for a smooth transfer of responsibilities from them to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), which we propose to create as a special health authority from 1 April 2003.
We propose that, at a later stage, the HPA should also take responsibility for functions currently discharged by the National Radiological Protection Board and we shall ensure that that transfer is handled smoothly. We shall expect the HPA to maintain and, where possible, improve standards of health emergency planning.