§ Mr. Powley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he proposes to issue further guidance to health authorities on the ways of reducing the risk of outbreaks of legionella infection.
§ Mr. Newton
We are issuing two health notices to all health authorities in England. The first, which follows from the first report of the committee of inquiry into the outbreak of legionnaires' disease in Stafford in April 1985, asks 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 or weight considerations. It also gives advice on the safe operation and maintenance of wet-spray systems while they continue to be used or where it is impracticable to replace them. The second health notice is based on a survey undertaken by the Public Health Laboratory Service at the request of the Department, and gives advice on avoiding the risk of legionella infection originating from hot and cold water systems.
These two health notices supplement guidance issued in 1980, 1985, and 1986. (HN(80)39, HN(HAZARD)(85)6, HN(HAZARD)(86), and HN(86)16). In addition, we also intend to issue detailed Codes of Practice on the safe operation and maintenance of both cooling and hot and cold water systems, the first of which has already been issued to health authorities in draft. We are determined to ensure that all possible steps are taken to avoid any further outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease in hospitals or any other health care premises. Copies of the two health notices will be placed in the Library.
Similar guidance is being issued in Scotland and Wales.