The Health Protection Agency Bill receives its Second Reading in the House of Lords today.
Mr Touhig, whose responsibilities include health, said: 'This Bill will establish the Health Protection Agency as a UK-wide public body which will give authoritative advice and support in health protection matters.
'It will mean strengthening the arrangements for specialist support for health protection on which local NHS bodies and local authorities in Wales - and throughout the UK - rely.
'The new arrangements will develop and expand the expertise already available.'
The Bill provides for the agency to take on health functions, including functions currently undertaken by the Health Protection Agency Special Health Authority (HPA SHA), and radiation protection functions, including functions currently undertaken by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB). Both of these bodies will be wound up.
In Wales, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) will provide some, but not all, of the functions which it will provide in England.
The National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS) will continue to undertake many of the activities, such as infectious disease surveillance, local infection control and public health protection functions, which in England will be carried out by the HPA. The NPHS will continue to work closely with the HPA on the higher level and strategic public health protection agenda, chemical, radiation and other hazards, and emergency planning.