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Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if an application to establish a National Health Service hospital trust by the chairman and general manager of a district health authority will be sufficient to initiate the process ; and what is the procedure of appeal against establishing a hospital trust.
Column 337a district health authority, to initiate the process. There will be no formal appeal procedure but, in considering an application, I will take account of the views of those with an interest.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if any decisions have yet been taken on the remuneration that will be paid, when a National Health Service hospital trust is established, to (a) the chairman, (b) executive members of the board of directors and (c) non-executive directors.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : No. I will set the level of any remuneration for the chairmen and non-executive directors of NHS hospital trusts with the consent of the Treasury. The executive directors will be employees of the trust and their remuneration will therefore be a matter for the trust to determine.
Mr. Mellor : Chairmen are entitled to receive remuneration which currently stands at £11,868 a year. They may as an alternative choose to claim financial loss allowance. Members do not receive remuneration, although in certain circumstances they may claim financial loss allowance. Both chairmen and members are entitled to claim travelling and subsistence allowances.
Mr. Freeman : The Department of Health has contributed £2.3 million to the six pilot acute resource managment sites to date. In addition, health authorities, both regional and district, have provided some funding to the projects. Piloting at the six sites is still continuing and the initiative is scheduled to be evaluated by the joint consultants committee and the management executive, the co-sponsers of the projects, in October 1989. Financial savings and quality of care benefits will mainly accrue at the sites once their new systems are fully implemented. At most sites this will be during 1989-90 at which point the sites should be absorbing their continuing running costs. To date, benefits have been mainly in the form of an improvement in the working relationship between staff groups and in planning and budget setting.
Mr. Freeman : From 1 January 1989 the charge for a dental examination is £3.15. Dental examinations are free for people under 18, full-time students under 19, pregnant women and women who have had a baby in the previous 12 months, recipients of income support and family credit and others on a low income.
Dr. Owen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on the average length of time that it takes for those addicted to benodiazepines to be free of all withdrawal symptoms from these drugs.
Dr. Owen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has any more recent estimates than that published in 1986 of the number of people addicted to or dependent on benzodiazepines ; and whether he will give financial support to help people withdraw from these drugs.
Mr. Freeman : There are no precise figures to show the level or trend in benzodiazepine dependence. Significant sums have been invested in the treatment of drug misuse including £17.5 million centrally in grants to 188 local projects many of which also offer help to tranquilliser victims. Regional health authorities have since 1986 received earmarked funds annually for the development of services for those experiencing problems from the use of illicit or prescribed drugs. In 1989-90, the sum will be increased to £14 million. In addition, we are funding MIND to establish a national directory of services for tranquilliser dependants and to produce up-to-date publicity material, and Tranx UK has this year received £10,000 towards its national activities.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects his Department's standing medical advisory committee to report on mass cholesterol screening ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Mellor : I expect to receive the standing medical advisory committee's report on the cost-effectiveness of opportunistic cholesterol testing by late summer. The standing medical advisory committee has established a working party which is considering the issues and taking expert advice. I understand it will report back to the main committee shortly.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the number of civil servants in his Department whose main task is work related wholly or mainly to the European Economic Community ; and what is the gross annual cost of travel and accommodation to and from Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg in connection with this work.
Mr. Mellor [holding answer 15 March 1989] : Eight officers in the Department are wholly engaged in work related to the EC. Others are involved from time to time. Expenditure on travel on EC business is not differentiated from other departmental travel expenditure.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list all the health authorities that provide nursery and creche facilities at hospitals in their district, the names of the hospitals concerned ; the number of places available ; and the fees normally charged.
5. Mr. Allen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the health of bees is improved rather than impaired by modern agricultural practice.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Improvement of bee health is primarily a matter for beekeepers themselves. However, I believe that bees will benefit from environmental and set aside measures that we are now taking.
My Department commissions research in several areas relating to pesticides, the habitat of bees and the human and broader food chains. More specifically, we are undertaking research on techniques for monitoring pesticide residues in agricultural produce, on spray drift and on the foraging behaviour of bees and the way of deterring their exposure to pesticides whch are applied to crops.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The veterinary products committee will recommend whether or not any BST product should be licensed when it has received and evaluated all pertinent data. I cannot say when this will be.
Mr. MacGregor : I have regularly been raising the matter of fraud in the Council of Agricultural Ministers. I have suggested various lines of action at the February Council and I shall continue to press the European Commission and the Council of Ministers to strengthen the controls in agricultural legislation against fraud and to follow up vigorously the work done by the Court of Auditors.
Mr. Ryder : This new scheme was given a warm welcome by organisations with an interest in countryside and environmental matters, such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Council for the Protection of Rural England, as well as by the National Farmers Union and the Country Landowners Association.
Mr. MacGregor : My Department remains firmly committed to supporting strategic research and work of a public good nature in relation to issues such as food safety, environmental protection and animals welfare. We are engaged in talks with the industry on the Government's decisions that it will in future look to the industry to fund within a reasonable timescale near-market research which is primarily of benefit to the industry.
21. Mr. Fry : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what account has been taken in his Department's review of sheep scab dipping policy of the consequential benefits in the control of other sheep ectoparasites.
Mr. Donald Thompson : In the course of our review we have consulted widely, and considered carefully all the comments received, including those on the incidental benefits in the control of other ectoparasites as well as the scab mite. We have concluded that our control arrangement should include an annual nationwide compulsory dip. There should therefore continue to be benefits in the control of other ectoparasites.
Mr. MacGregor : ADAS continues to provide excellent service. Its future size depends in part on the extent to which industry is prepared to fund near-market R and D and pay for appropriate advisory services.
26. Mr. Adams : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the implications for animal health of the proposed closure of the Glasgow or Cambridge veterinary schools.
Mr. MacGregor : My concern is to ensure that sufficient qualified veterinarians are available. This is important among other things to meet the needs of my Department's veterinary service and to ensure that animal health requirements are enforced.
The recommendations of Sir Ralph Riley's report on veterinary education are not about the availability of veterinary manpower but concentrate on the structure of veterinary schools.
These matters are primarily for the Universities Funding Council and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.
42. Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received regarding the implications for the supply of veterinary surgeons for the agricultural industry of plans for the future of the United Kingdom veterinary schools.
27. Mr. Gill : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the Shropshire county council trading standards officer regarding compositional standard in meat products.
Column 342April 1985 concerning the labelling of meat products which contain mechanically recovered meat, and again in December 1986 about the meat content of various meat products.
We received yesterday a further letter on the former subject and are examining its content, carefully. The chief trading standards officer has also written to officials about water in poultry meat.
30. Sir David Price : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what particular research projects his Department has commissioned, or is assisting, into the cleanliness and safety of food for human consumption.
Title |Contractor ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bacteriological hazards in cooling meats in catering and long storage life chilled foods in catering |Huddersfield Polytechnic Heat induced thermotolerance in food poisoning organisms |IFRB Pasteurised milk imports |MAFF (FSL) Listeria survey |MAFF (FSL) Nucleic acid hybridisation for hepatitis A virus |PHLS |Bristol University/ Epidemiology of camplylobacter jejuni in broiler chickens |PHL Exeter Survey of the incidence of listeria species in food in the United Kingdom |Leicester University Low sodium chloride foods/microbiological safety and technological characteristics |BFMIRA Shelf life prediction of chilled food |BRMIRA Spore studies in relation to heat processed foods |CFDRA Resistance of bacterial spores to sterilisation of packaging materials |CFDRA Growth characteristics of food poisoning organisms at sub-optimal temperatures |CFDRA Survival and growth of salmonellae and bacillus subtilis in bakery ingredients, products or fillings |FMBRA Influence of food components and preservative factors on food borne pathogens |IFRN Development of rapid methods for the detection of pathogenic Aeromonas species in food |Reading University Bacteria and hygiene in abbatoirs |IFRB Bacteria in meat and food borne illness |IFRB Define factors controlling microbial growth and develop predictive models |IFRB Manipulation of the microbial flora of the gut of young chicks to control salmonellas in broilers |IFRB Safety and quality of poultry products in relation to processing |IFRB Microbiological hazards in domestic and institutional handling of food |IFRN Extension of shelf-life of pre-cooked chilled foods |Huddersfield Polytechnic The modes of action and interaction of preservatives on micro-organisms |BFMIRA Microbial antagonism to increase the safety and stability of chilled foods |BFMIRA/CFDRA Investigation of combinations of sub-lethal treatments to preserve processed foods |CFDRA Physiological basis of the resistance of food spoilage yeasts to SO2 |Bath University Fruit and vegetable preservation by natural mixed acid systems |Surrey University Microbiological safety of chilled foods including salads |IFRN Micro-organisms in food and beverage spoilage |IFRR Effect of eugenol on heat treated yeasts |Bath University Food hazard analysis and assessment of operational risks |Bath University Rapid test for quality and shelf life in catering |Surrey University Gradient plate techniques in the multifactorial control of microbial growth in |University of Wales, foods | Cardiff Rapid methods to assess the microbiological quality of foods |BFMIRA Enzyme-linked immunological biosensors for the detection of pathogenic bacteria in food |IFRR Limulus assay on UHT milk to determine raw milk quality |MMB Detection of sub-lethal injury in micro-organisms |Portsmouth Polytechnic Use of non-radioactive DNA probes for the detection and identification of food borne pathogens |Nottingham University Develop objective indices of spoilage from chemical, microbiological and sensory changes |IFRB Improve existing and develop new methods to assess hygienic quality of foods |IFRR Electron transfer coupling as a rapid method for assessment of bacterial contamination |IFRR Key: BFMIRA-British Food Manufacturing Industry Research Association (Leatherhead Food RA). CFDRA-Campden Food and Drink Research Association. FMBRA-Flour Milling and Baking Research Association. IFRB-Institute of Food Research, Bristol (AFRC). IFRN-Institute of Food Research, Norwich (AFRC). IFRR-Institute of Food Research, Reading (AFRC). MAFF (FSL)-Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Food Science Laboratory. MMB-Milk Marketing Board. PHLS-Public Health Laboratory Service.
Mr. MacGregor : Food and Health Ministers already receive advice on this subject from a number of independent scientific committees of the highest standing. In addition we are extending the present arrangements by setting up an expert committee, chaired by Sir Mark Richmond, vice chancellor of Manchester university, to provide authoritative advice on microbiological aspects of food safety ; the committee will publish reports both on specific issues referred to it by the Government and on such matters as it considers need investigation.
Mr. MacGregor : The safety of foodstuffs is central to the Government's food policy. From this point of view all aspects of the nation's food supply are kept under continuous surveillance, and the results of that work are carefully assessed by independent experts who advise the Government on any action that may be necessary.
31. Mr. Beith : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the current state of the fishing industry in north east England and the likely impact on that industry of conservation proposals now under consideration.
Column 344unchanged from those in 1988 with the exception of cod and haddock, the stocks of which are giving rise to concern.
We are actively discussing with the industry, including representatives of the fishing industry in north-east England, and in the Community, ways in which the present technical conservation measures might be adjusted to assist the improved conservation of these stocks. Any proposals which emerge will take into account their likely impact on the industry.
Mr. Ryder : I have not had any meetings with representatives of employees in the Agriculture and Food Research Council, but my noble Friend Baroness Trumpington attended the annual delegate conference of the Agriculture and Food Research Council branch of the Institute of Professional Civil Servants on 9 February this year.
Mr. Ryder : Many of the Ministry's programmes relate wholly or partly to consumer protection. In 1987-88 the programmes devoted entirely to this area of work took up an estimated 5 per cent. of the Ministry's total budget, and 8 per cent. of its running costs. Further details are given in our publication "Ministerial Information in MAFF (MINIM) 1988", a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Donald Thompson : We are actively discussing with our fish industry and in the Community possible measures which are practicable and do not have unwanted consequences to increase the conservation of fish stocks in the North sea, including reducing discards.
Mr. Ryder : I met the chairman of the Countryside Commission on 7 November when we discussed many issues of concern to the countryside. I am always ready to discuss matters of mutual concern with the Countryside Commission.
Mr. MacGregor : I met the president of the Country Landowners' Association on 15 February when we discussed various matters relating to the tenanted sector, and I also met him on 1 March at a dinner given by Mr. J. Clayton the chairman of the agricultural training board.
Mr. Ryder : As my right hon. Friend announced on 27 February, following the publication of the Southwood report on bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the measures that we propose to take to restrict the composition of baby foods are purely precautionary.
43. Mr. Madel : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has any plans to extend the responsibilities and duties of the intervention board for agricultural prices, Reading, Berkshire ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I consider it of great importance that this country should have a veterinary service dedicated to the maintenance of our high health status. The structure of this service, along with other, similar Government services, is kept under review.
45. Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has had discussions with the Institution of Professional Civil Servants about the future of the state veterinary service.