social services about people being at risk, health minister Stephen Ladyman
told BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning.
found dead some weeks after their gas had been cut off. British Gas believed
data protection law banned it from informing social services that the couple
were without heating.
'I'll certainly be taking up the challenge to have a look at the Act to see
how it worked in this case', Mr Ladyman said. 'The suspicion that someone is
vulnerable and perhaps could do with a visit from social services does not
seem to me to be a protectable piece of information under the Act'.
A report out from the Met Office and the Faculty of Public Health says 2,500
people will die of cold in Christmas week, Today reported. A higher
proportion of people, mainly elderly, die of cold in Britain than in Finland
or Russia, the report says.