Department of Health written question – answered on 29th January 2015.

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Photo of Jeffrey M. Donaldson Jeffrey M. Donaldson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the devolved administrations about possible additional measures to respond to an outbreak of Ebola in the UK.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

I hold regular meetings with health Minister counterparts in the Devolved Administrations to consider and review United Kingdom Ebola preparedness and response arrangements.

The UK has robust, well-developed and well-tested public health and National Health Service systems for preventing and managing infectious diseases including any imported case of this type of disease, supported by a wide range of experts and specialist units.

Screening arrangements are already in place at the UK’s main ports of entry for people travelling from the affected regions. A number of national and local multi-agency exercises have also been conducted in recent months to test co-ordination, operational resilience and communications systems across the UK in order to provide assurance of Ebola preparedness. This included a recent exercise at official and Ministerial level involving all four nations of the UK. The case of the British nurse who recently returned from Sierra Leone demonstrated that the systems put in place across the UK to prepare for and respond to a case of Ebola worked well.

The Department – in close collaboration with the Devolved Administrations - will keep all preparedness arrangements under review and continually look to improve or strengthen these arrangements, as guided by expert clinical advice.

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