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Protecting the health of the population is a core function of every Public Health Department. Managing communicable diseases is a major part of the of the public health function and NHS Lothian has its own Health Protection Unit working closely with the infection control units in each of the NHS Lothian divisions and Community Health Partnerships.

However, there are other ways in which the general public’s health can be protected and illness prevented. In this section, we also consider how the use of a prevention base approach can create sustainable reductions in violence. There is also the issue of peak oil – described in the last chapter as a threat to health and the environment which some have said will be a more urgent threat than climate change.