How we protect health

Health Protection means intervening to protect the public from exposure to health-damaging hazards. Departments of Public Health have a statutory responsibility to protect health under the Medical Officer of Health function.

Health protection services include:

Examples of Public Health Hazards


Toxin producing E.coli

Meningococcal meningitis and septicemiaia



Drinking water:

  • Lead
  • Trihalomethanes

Air pollution


Radon gas

Non-ionising radiation

Health protection involves risk assessment, identification and implementation of solutions, and most importantly communication with the public and professionals. Department of Public Health staff work closely with a variety of professionals within the HSE, especially the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and with other agencies including Local Authorities, Government Departments, the Environment Protection Agency, and Public Health England.