HL Deb 16 December 1999 vol 608 cc60-1WA
The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress they are making, in the light of the recommendations of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists working party on organophosphate sheep dips, towards establishing diagnostic and treatment centres for patients who believe they are suffering chronic health effects following exposure to organophosphates. [HL222]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England took a number of actions to bring the report of the joint working party of the Royal College of Physicians of London and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to the attention of general practitioners (GPs) and commend to them the advice contained within it. These included a Department of Health Press Release on 11 November 1998 and an article inCMOs Update 21 in February 1999 (a quarterly publication sent to all doctors in England). The CMO also wrote to the President of the Royal Colleges of GPs (RCGP) emphasising the importance of the report and encouraging him to publicise it to RCGP members.

The CMO decicled that the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) is best placed to fulfil the role recommended in the report of the joint working party of providing specialist support and advice to GPs.

The Cardiff NPIS Centre holds monthly clinics at which a medical toxicologist and an occupational health physician are present. The staff at the centre encourage GPs who contact the centre with an inquiry which may be organophosphate (OP)-related to refer the patient to the monthly clinic. They will see OP patients from any part of the country.

The Department of Health is currently reviewing advice and guidance to doctors on the management of this group of patients in the light of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment's review of the scientific evidence on OPs commissioned by Ministers and published on 26 November 1999. A decision on whether further measures may be appropriate will be made in the new year.