Government leaves science advice to last minute in emergencies, find MPs

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 03 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1379
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

A cross party group of MPs has criticised the government’s preparedness for dealing with emergencies, saying that it is not good enough that scientific advice is often only sought after events have struck

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s report Scientific Advice and Evidence in Emergencies says that although science is used effectively to inform responses in emergencies, it is seriously concerned about the detachment of the government chief scientific adviser from preparing the National Risk Assessment—an unpublished document of risks facing the UK over the next five years.

Scientific evidence should inform all stages of the risk assessment, say MPs. But this does not seem to be happening. The fact that the transport secretary announced in December 2010 that the chief scientific adviser should look …

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