Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Personal view

Sleep walking to another Stanley Royd?

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 07 September 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:557
  1. Brian Keeble, public health physician (
  1. Ipswich

    In August 1984 an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning at Stanley Royd Hospital, a large psychogeriatric hospital in Wakefield, Yorkshire, claimed the lives of 19 patients. Just over six months later, in April 1985, an outbreak of legionnaires' disease at Stafford District General Hospital caused the deaths of 28 people.

    Public inquiries into these outbreaks were established by the then Department of Health and Social Security, and their findings were published in 1986. The inquiries, in highlighting concerns about the decline in available medical expertise in environmental health and in the investigation and control of infectious diseases, called for a review of the responsibilities and authority of medical officers of environmental health—the local public health doctors who at the time were responsible for investigating outbreaks of communicable diseases in the community.

    Primary care trusts may even have to recreate the post of local consultants in communicable disease control

    The then secretary of state, Norman Fowler, asked the …

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