A newly-developed professional qualification will be launched this month, giving emergency planners in the health services the tools they need to develop and operate emergency plans. 

The Diploma in Health Emergency Planning (DipHEP) was created by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in 2005 - the qualification has now been revised and updated to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the health emergency planning community. It is sponsored by the Department of Health (DH) and has become recognised as the leading qualification for health emergency planning professionals in England.  

The new Health Emergency Planning Programme will be delivered by Loughborough University in association with the HPA and DH in a new partnership arrangement. 

Charles Hancock, Programme Director at Loughborough University, said: "As society is increasingly beset with emergency situations ranging from extreme weather to terrorism, the need for healthcare providers to ensure that they can manage any emergency becomes ever more pressing.
"The key to managing such situations is planning, and Loughborough University is proud to be the chosen partner with the HPA in delivering a ground-breaking programme that will equip NHS managers to better handle these responsibilities."

The programme consists of three level four qualifications - the award, certificate and diploma in Health Emergency Planning - awarded by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). This structure allows potential students the flexibility of completing either the full diploma or parts of it, depending on their professional and personal situations. Successful graduates of the HEP programme will also be able to continue their studies up to and including Masters degree on a part time basis.
John Hadley, Head of Operations at the Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Branch at the Department of Health, said: "We are delighted that the HPA has redesigned this very successful diploma programme in consultation with DH and with colleagues in the NHS, as well as graduates of the previous programme."

Debbie Reed, Group Leader for the Training Team at the HPA, said: "The new programme provides a range of qualifications to suit individuals' studying style and availability of study time, and ensures they are provided with the best tools to learn about all the different aspects of emergency planning."
The new programme begins in April 2011 and completely replaces the Emergency Planning Officers' (EPO) course and the DipHEP programme. It will be delivered at a variety of locations across England. To request information on the course, please contact

Posted: 10.26am, 9.05.11