HL Deb 23 June 1986 vol 477 cc146-8WA
Lord Brougham and Vaux

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements they propose to make to improve the occupational health care of civil servants and whether they will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)

An efficiency scrutiny was carried out in 1985 on the occupational health and hygiene provision throughout the Civil Service. The report recommended the merging of existing services to create an integrated and more efficient and effective organisation. This recommendation has been accepted, and an Occupational Health Service will be formed with effect from 23rd June 1986 by the amalgamation of the Civil Service Medical Advisory Service of the Cabinet Office (Management and Personnel Office) and the Civilian Medical Services Directorate of the Ministry of Defence. It will be located within the Cabinet Office (MPO). My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has approved this transfer of responsibilities from the Ministry of Defence to the Management and Personnel Office.

The creation of the Occupational Health Service will facilitate a fundamental change from a therapeutic medical and nursing service to one centred on the workplace and essentially preventive in character. It will be well placed to take advantage of developments in recent years of scientific techniques for the identification and measurement of environmental hazards, and of the substantial contribution which scientists and nurses trained in occupational health are able to make.

There will be substantial ecomomies of scale through the integration of the present fragmented services, with long-term benefits for management from reductions in the duplication of facilities provided elsewhere and by promoting greater efficiency.

Copies of the Scrutiny Report and of the proposed Charter for the Occupational Health Service have been placed in the Library of the House.