The purpose of this guidance document is to provide support to the NHS boards in preparing for, or in response to, public health incidents. It is intended to be strategic but not prescriptive and should allow for flexibility so that NHS boards can respond appropriately where necessary.

The main body of this guidance document has also been written purposely generic so that it could be applied to any public health or environmental health incident or hazard. More specific information is detailed in the annexes.

This 2020 revision of the guidance has been produced as a rapid update to bring the 2017 edition in line with organisational changes since 2017 and is therefore labelled as an interim revision.

This rapid update was required due to the 2020 pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 infection. Specific information relating to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic has been added to relevant sections, for example, new legislation. Due to time constraints, this version has not followed the full standard SHPN guidance revision process and does not incorporate a review of relevant new scientific evidence. The technical and professional advice in the 2020 interim update remains the same as before.

A full-scale Scottish Health Protection Network (SHPN) guidance review will be carried out when time and circumstances permit in the future. ​

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Last updated: 21 March 2024
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