§ Mr. Havard
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what precautions are in force to protect people from the risk of transmission of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies through surgical instruments. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
Advice form the Spongiform Encephalopathies advisory committee indicates that good decontamination is key in reducing the risk of person to person transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) through surgical instruments.
A circular (HSC 2000/032) was issued to the national health service on 18 October 2000, emphasising the importance of effective decontamination in preventing the spread of vCJD. In addition the Department has surveyed the effectiveness of decontamination services and taken action to ensure all NHS hospitals in England had access to decontamination services of an acceptable standard by December 2001.