§ Mr. Whitney
Guidance has not been given to health authorities on minimum protection factors for nuclear attack. The advice on emergency planning which the Department issues to health authorities comes within that which the Home Office issues to local authorities. The question of the protection factor for any building is one which forms part of continuing studies on the general subject of protection against nuclear attack.
§ 50. Mr. John Browne
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether supplies of respirators and protective clothing will be made available for ambulance personnel working in contaminated areas following an attack with chemical weapons.
§ 61. Sir Kenneth Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what form of chemical monitoring equipment will be available to ambulance personnel operating in contaminated areas following an attack with chemical weapons.
§ 68. Mr. Alexander
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services by what means hospitals, medical centres and community first aid posts will be warned that they are under chemical attack or are in a contaminated zone.
§ 72. Mr. Roger King
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether training of medical staff for emergency medical centres will include treatment of casualties caused by chemical weapons; and if he will make a statement.
§ 73. Mr. Robert Banks
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what level of casualties resulting from chemical attack on United Kingdom military targets his civil defence plans are based.
§ 95. Mr. Jessel
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what stocks of decontamination materials will be 518W held at hospitals, emergency medical centres and community first-aid posts in the event of chemical attack on the United Kingdom.
§ 93. Mr. Spence
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he proposes to give guidance to his civil defence planning staff on the provision of decontamination materials and training in decontamination to meet the effects of chemical attack on the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Whitney
In the absence of a ban on chemical weapons the Government are considering the questions of detection and warning of chemical attacks and protective measures against them. Broad guidance on the threat from chemical warfare is contained in emergency planning guidance to local authorities issued by the Home Office. Health authorities are being advised that the threat from chemical weapons will be the subject of guidance when current studies by the Government are complete.
§ 51. Mr. Stevens
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which organisations were consulted before he issued the draft document "Civil Defence Planning in the National Health Service".
§ Mr. Whitney
The draft document "Civil Defence Planning in the National Health Service" was itself a consultation document and was issued for such purpose in 1985 to regional health authorities, district health authorities, special health authorities, special hospitals, family practitioner committees, Public Health Laboratory Service, Regional Blood Transfusion Service, British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives.
Before the document was issued the Department had meetings with health emergency planning officers and with other representatives of the Health Service as well as with representatives of professional bodies and the voluntary aid societies, in order to get their views on the need for and content of a revised circular. We are now considering the substantial amount of comment received following the issue of the document.
§ 84. Mr. Evennett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidance he gives to regional health authorities on the location and manning of emergency medical centres.
§ Mr. Whitney
Officials of the Department have held joint discussions with Home Office officials and representatives of the voluntary aid societies on a range of matters which have included the manning of emergency medical centres and the training of the necessary staff. Discussions have been held at the request of the VAS since the issue in June 1985 of the draft consultation document on civil defence planning in the National Health Service.
Guidance on the location and manning of EMCs is contained in the document which was issued to regional health authorities, amongst others, for consultation. It included the following: EMCs should be seperate from major hospitals and as far as possible, depending upon local geography and other features, co-located or close to premises which have been designated by local authorities as community facilities. They should be staffed wherever 519W possible by general practitioners and qualified nurses drawn from various sources together with members of the VAS and public volunteers. The small cadre of trained staff would be most effective if used to advise and direct voluntary help in tending the sick and injured. EMCs will vary in size, levels of staff and equipment, and potential for care depending on geographical factors and local requirements. Suitable buildings should now be identified having regard externally to ambulance access and internally to stretcher handling, and the need to observe large numbers of casualties. The planning for this vital element in emergency care will require close liaison and co-operation between health and county environmental protection officers, local authorities, family practitioner committees and VAS.
§ 91. Mr. Aspinwall
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps have been taken to ensure that adequate supplies of dosimeters and survey meters will be made available for hospitals, emergency medical centres and community first aid posts in the event of nuclear attack.
§ Mr. Whitney
A new type of survey meter will be issued which does not require stringently controlled storage conditions. Hitherto, there has been a standing arrangement with public authorities that ear-marked stocks of a range of survey instruments will be held in some Home Office depots. Adequate stocks of both survey meters and dosimeters will continue to be held centrally and would be issued as part of the measures for transition to war.
§ 94. Mr. Pawsey
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidance he has given on the levels of first aid and pharmaceutical materials to be held at all emergency medical centres.
§ Mr. Whitney
I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) earlier today.