§ Mr. Forman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the new advisory committee on dangerous pathogens to be set up; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Vaughan
Following the Shooter report on the Birmingham smallpox occurrence in 1978, it was decided that a new committee should take the place of the dangerous pathogens advisory group, but with wider terms of reference and membership. I should like to place on record, on behalf of my right hon. Friends the health and agriculture Ministers of the United Kingdom, our appreciation of the work done by that group.
As my right hon. Friend announced in the reply to my hon. Friend, the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Forman) on 168W 13 April 1981—[Vol. 3, c. 57]—Dr. D. A. J. Tyrrell, CBE, FRS, MD, FRCP, FRCPath, has been appointed chairman of the committee. Its first meeting will be in June.
The committee will consist of 10 medical and scientific members, five members representing employers, five representing employees, and the chairman. I have placed in the Library a list of the members.
It will advise health Ministers on public health aspects of work with pathogens, agriculture Ministers on corresponding issues relating to animals and the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive on general standards and controls applying to safe working with pathogens. Among the first tasks of the committee will be a comprehensive classification of pathogens and the updating of present guidance and codes of work with pathogens. The HSE will continue to be responsible for inspecting laboratories.