HC Deb 10 February 1987 vol 110 cc146-7
4. Mr. Gerald Bowden

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information and training is available to his Department's staff on the properties of chemical weapons and protective measures.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mrs. Edwina Currie)

Health authorities have responsibility to ensure that plans are laid to deal with major incidents arising within their boundaries. This includes any involving toxic chemicals. Specialised advice is available from the National Poisons Information Service on a 24-hour basis. Guidance on handling and transportation of chemical casualties was sent to chief ambulance officers last year.

Mr. Bowden

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, but is she satisfied that the degree of co-operation between local authorities and her Department is adequate to ensure sufficient protection for the general public in the event of a chemical escape or attack?

Mrs. Currie

My hon. Friend will know that studies are under way led by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Health authorities are being advised that further guidance will be considered in the light of those studies.