The notification of infectious diseases has evolved over a number years and will continue to do as practices change or are modified. This article gives an insight into how the system for notification has developed. It outlines the process and purpose for notification and how the accumulation of data gathered can help nurses, midwives and health visitors make strategic plans for intervention and prevention of further outbreaks of disease. The nurse, midwife or health visitor has a central role to play in ensuring that diseases are notified to the 'proper officer'. Furthermore, if nurses, midwives and health visitors were given the power to notify diseases, the number of diseases notified may increase. This would result in a clearer and truer account of the number of notifiable diseases.