HC Deb 02 December 1987 vol 123 cc598-9W
Mr. Cash

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will now publish the second report of the committee of inquiry into the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Stafford in April 1985; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton

I have arranged for this report to be published today and a copy has been placed in the Library.

In its second and final report, the committee has considered and dealt with that part of its terms of reference which asked it to make recommendations on any action necessary to reduce the danger of future outbreaks originating in hospitals, other buildings and elsewhere". I welcome the report. The Government are grateful to Sir John Badenoch and his committee for their comprehensive review of current knowledge of the disease and its transmission and for their balanced assessment of what needs to be done to minimise the risks of future outbreaks.

The report's recommendations have implications for a range of Government Departments, health and local authorities, industry and the medical and engineering professions, and for future study and research into the disease. In conjunction with other relevant departments, the Department will take forward consideration and follow-up action on those recommendations which are the responsibility of Government, and will monitor progress towards implementing the recommendations as a whole.

Two health notices were issued in May 1987, following the committee's first report, to supplement earlier guidance. The first of these asked health authorities to install dry-cooled air-conditioning systems in new hospital buildings, and to replace existing wet-spray systems when upgrading is required, unless this is absolutely precluded by space, weight or other considerations. It also confirmed existing advice on the safe operation and maintenance of wet-spray systems where they continue in use. The second advised on avoiding Legionella infection risks in hot and cold water systems. A code of practice on the operation of both cooling and water systems is expected to be published shortly.

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