Scotland’s new national public health body launches today, Wednesday 1 April 2020.
The launch of Public Health Scotland comes at a particularly crucial time for the country’s public health.
Public Health Scotland takes up the challenge of improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s people against the backdrop of an unprecedented public health emergency. The new organisation will play a significant part in the country’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, working in collaboration with NHS Boards, the Scottish Government, Local Authorities and many others to protect the nation’s health and save lives.
Public Health Scotland will be jointly accountable to both the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA). It brings the functions of Health Protection Scotland and Information Services Division (formally within NHS National Services Scotland) together with NHS Health Scotland.
Angela Leitch, Chief Executive of Public Health Scotland, said, "The launch of Public Health Scotland comes at a particularly crucial time for the country’s public health.
"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.
"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.
Professor Jim McGoldrick, said, "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.
"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.”