Public Health Agency

Notifiable diseases

Under the Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) doctors have a statutory duty to notify the Public Health Agency (PHA) if they are aware of, or suspect that, a patient is suffering from a notifiable disease.


The Public Health (Northern Ireland) Act 1967 states that:

‘every medical practitioner attending on a person shall as soon as he becomes aware, or has reasonable grounds for suspecting, that the person is suffering from a notifiable disease, send to the medical officer of health for the area in which the examination took place a certificate stating:

·      The name, age, sex and address of the patient

·      The address of the building in which the examination took place and

·      The notifiable disease from which, in the opinion of the medical practitioner, the patient is, or may be, suffering’

If a patient is admitted to hospital with a diagnosis, or suspected of having, any notifiable disease, the clinician in charge has a legal responsibility to notify the Public Health Agency. Likewise, in a community setting, General Practitioners (GPs) have the same responsibility. 

A list of diseases that require notification can be found here. The aim of notification is to identify the risks and institute appropriate control measures as early as possible. Laboratory confirmation is not required for the purposes of notification as this could result in a delay in the public health and infection control response for both the patient and their contacts (if applicable).

A notification form must be completed and sent to the Public Health Agency and should include information on patient name, address, sex, age and date of onset of disease. Alternatively the Public Health Agency can be contacted by telephone.  Click here for contact details.

Where urgent advice or action is required the Public Health Agency Duty Room should be contacted by telephone.

In a hospital setting the Infection Prevention & Control Team should also be informed.