INJURY PREVENTION (10938/06, 10950/06)
Letter from the Chairman to Caroline Flint
MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health,
Department of Health
Your Explanatory Memorandum (EM) dated 12 July
was considered by Sub-Committee G on 20 July.
At first sight, we are inclined to agree that
this initiative might be worthwhile so long as it is properly
thought-through, adopts sensible priorities, respects the competence
of Member States and the principles of subsidiarity and takes
due account of relevant national differences. We will also want
to be satisfied that it will add significant value and will not
lead to duplication of effort or impose undue burdens, especially
on smaller organisations.
We are glad to see from your EM that the Government
is aware of these risks. We also agree that it is important to
be clear where the costs involved will fall. Please report when
progress has been made in clarifying these aspects with the Commission.
As this appears to be essentially a voluntary
exercise, we will also want to know how it will be co-ordinated
and how potential difficulties over differences of interpretation
and comparability of data will be overcome.
We are not quite clear what is meant by paragraph
22 of your EM. As a general principle, we attach importance to
the sharing of sharing best practice. But the choice for communications
strategy is presumably between centrally-driven campaigns mounted
by the Commission and co-ordinated national campaigns on a common
theme. If that is correct, our preference would tend to be for
the latter, but your clarification would be welcome.
Your EM does not mention consultation. We trust
that the Government will consult the Devolved Administrations,
local authorities and relevant professional groups in this country
about the potential implications at an early stage.
It is not clear from your EM how consideration
of these proposals will be carried forward and what timescale
is envisaged for consideration by the Council.
We will hold both documents under scrutiny and
would be grateful if you let us have a reply to the above points
and a report on any progress soon after Parliament resumes following
the Summer Recess.
20 July 2006
Letter from Caroline Flint MP to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter of 20 July 2006 in
response to the Explanatory Memorandum concerning the above Communication
and Recommendation from the Commission to the European Parliament
In your letter, you recognise that the Actions
for a Safer Europe initiative aimed at injury prevention may
be worthwhile, but raised a number of points concerning priorities,
added value, the burden of costs and subsidiarity.
Injury prevention and safety promotion are partly
covered by other Community programmes and initiatives. These,
though, tend to focus on certain groups of risks (road accidents,
workplace accidents, unsafe products, intimate partner violence).
This leaves important groups of risks (accidents at home, during
leisure time activities) or risk groups (children, adolescents,
senior citizens, housewives, handymen, sportspersons) almost uncovered.
Fragmentation of the programmes and initiatives has detracted
from injury prevention as an important public health matter, and
full recognition of the real burden of accidental injury to health.
Actions for a Safer Europe aims to add
value and address these gaps by:
fostering data collection and reporting
systems about injuries and their causes at Community and Member
supporting the exchange of information
on good practices throughout the Union;
providing tools and guidelines for
public health actions on different political levels;
advocating better co-ordination of
fragmented actions including suggesting national action plans
for injury prevention;
assisting in building up capacities
to better tackle injuries egby inclusion of injury prevention
with existing health promotion programmes and as part of professional
We have also sought the views of the devolved
administrations on the Communication and Recommendation, and are
considering ways to assess the implications for other bodies and
The Communication was included as an information
item on the agenda of the Council meeting in June. It is provisionally
on the Health Council (30 November) agenda for an "exchange
of views", with possible discussion in the health working
group in September or October.
I hope that this information is helpful to you.
20 September 2006