Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 218 - 219)

TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2005

Ms Rosie Winterton MP, Dr David Harper and Dr David Salisbury

  Q218  Chairman: Minister, welcome. Thank you very much for coming to give evidence to us today. As you will be aware, this is our fourth hearing into pandemics, and it is very important at this stage that we have a chance to hear from you. You need no introduction, but perhaps for the record you would introduce yourself and your colleagues, please.

  Ms Winterton: Yes. I am Rosie Winterton, Minister of State for Health Services. I have with me Dr David Harper, who is the Chief Scientist from the Department of Health, and Dr David Salisbury, who is Head of Immunisation at the Department of Health.

  Q219  Chairman: You will be aware that we are being webcast today and that webcast may be taken by some of the broadcasting companies. May I open the questioning by asking you what is your assessment of the likelihood of a pandemic occurring and of its likely timing?

  Ms Winterton: It is highly likely that at some time in the future, as the Chief Medical Officer has made clear, a pandemic will develop, but it is quite impossible to say with any certainty when that will happen. All I can do really is to reassure the Committee that we have experts in this country, and we are in contact with international experts, who give us the best evidence that they have as the situation develops.


 
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