The UK Government is stepping up its involvement in the debate - albeit not as quickly as some would like. A three-stage study began last autumn to explore DVT issues.

The phase under way now will produce a survey of all the available information on DVT to date. The next stage will be aimed at "filling the gaps" of knowledge about the condition.

Also, the government, in responding on 15 February to a November 2000 report on air travel and health produced by a House of Lords sub-committee, revealed that the Department of Health and the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions will join forces to create an Aviation Health Working Group. Sub-committee chair Baroness Wilcox questioned the government's "sense of urgency" in a 16 February debate on intensifying its approach towards air travel health issues. "When will the travelling public see tangible results?" she asked.

Baroness Wilcox also questioned the lack of a specific start date for the group which the government says will meet every two months and is intended to work closely with regulatory agencies, passenger representative organisations and the airline industry.

In the same debate, Lord Jenkin of Roding voiced concern about the extent to which British aircrew are being educated about DVT. He said that on a completely full British Airways long-haul flight last autumn, the pilot had advised passengers to "not move about", reinforcing the most basic DVT danger, immobility. "What are they doing to train the aircraft crew?" he asked. Preventing DVT, he added, was "much more important" than duty-free goods sales.

Source: Flight International