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Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any plans to reconsider the discount clawback arrangements in respect of purchases of parallel imported medicines by community pharmacists.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimates he has of the number of community pharmacists who now trade in parallel imports of pharmaceuticals ; and what was the figure up to 1 May 1988.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We do not routinely collect information on the number of pharmacies which dispense parallel imported medicines. An inquiry conducted in 1986 showed that about 1,600 pharmacies were using parallel imports at that time. A further inquiry is taking place this year.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I understand that the information requested, which is contained in division 54 of table 2 of the overseas trade statistics of the United Kingdom, which is available in the Library, is as follows :
|£'000 ---------------------- 1986 |4,075 1987 |6,728 1988 |11,845 <1>1989 |9,652 January to August
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the latest assessment of the cost of the National Health Service computerisation programme ; and if he will give an estimate of the extra staff needed to run the system.
Mr. Freeman : In general, the responsibility for deciding how much to spend and how many staff to employ on hospitall computer systems rests with NHS managers. However, hospitals receiving computer based information systems as part of the hospital information and support systems and resource management programmes in 1989-90 will have a substantial part of the cost of those systems met centrally.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make it his policy that food temperature control regulations should be so set as to keep the controls on fresh-baked produce, such as sausage rolls, to the minimum consistent with public health requirements ;
(2) whether he will make it his policy that food temperature regulations shall take into account the needs of small and family bakeries which produce traditional products such as pork pies.
Mr. Freeman : Draft amendments to the Food Hygiene Regulations, on which consultations have recently been conducted, propose extending temperature controls to certain foods for retail sale, consistent with the need to protect public health. Certain exemptions are proposed for bakery products, including pies, pasties and sausage rolls for sale within 24 hours of preparation. Comments received in the consultations on the amendments are currently being considered.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to make special provision for local authorities to enable them to offer a day place to every mentally handicapped person in their area who requires one.
Mr. Freeman : The Government's proposals for the future organisation and funding of community care announced by my right hon. and learned Friend on 12 July at columns 975-98, will create a unified source of funding for social care services. This will enable local authorities to
Column 314plan and deliver these services so as to meet individual needs more effectively, but the extent of provision of any particular form of service will continue to depend on the resources available locally.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has received a copy of the proceedings of the Kings fund conference on acute care at home held in June ; and whether he will take steps to set up a national community care development agency to promote the idea of hospital at home.
|NHS spending per head |(England) |£s ------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979-80 |166 1980-81 |216 1981-82 |242 1982-83 |264 1983-84 |280 1984-85 |300 1985-86 |316 1986-87 |340 1987-88 |371 1988-89 |411 1989-90 |444
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We announced on 25 July that, subject to a satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues, the Government intended to introduce arrangements with effect from 1 January 1990 whereby health authorities would take financial responsibility for the negligent acts of their medical and dental staff in the course of their National Health Service employment. I am pleased to say that those issues have now been resolved and that the new arrangements will apply to claims for damages (in respect of negligent acts) which were initiated in earlier years as well as to new claims arising from 1 January 1990. This agreement is subject to the satisfactory conclusion of detailed discussions about the allocation of existing assets of the medical defence organisations to meeting liabilities which will be taken over by health authorities. The arrangements will apply to the hospital and community health services only. Detailed guidance on the operation of the new scheme, including the handling of both new and existing claims, will be issued to health authorities in due course.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list in the Official Report the representatives of the National Farmers Union and the Scottish National Farmers Union with whom he met prior to the implementation on 30 July of new European Community animal health rules on bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Mr. Curry : My officials met representatives from the National Farmers Union and a number of other organisations on 27 July to discuss implementation of Commission decision 89/469. The Scottish National Farmers Union, although invited, was not represented. The composition of the delegations attending such meetings is a matter for the organisations concerned.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the total money being spent by Government-funded institutions on research into the effects of bovine spongiform encephalopathy on (a) the hereditary chain and (b) the food chain.
Mr. Curry : It is estimated that Government-funded institutions will spend over £2 million on research into bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 1989-90, including some in relation to the hereditary and food chains.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many live cattle have been declared as unfit for export following upon the implementation on 30 July of new European Community animal health rules on bovine spongiform encephalopathy ; (2) how many live cattle, already cleared for export, were returned from exit ports to the farms of origin, as a result of the implementation on 30 July of new European Community animal health rules on bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Mr. Curry : I have received no reports of cattle, presented for export following implementation of Commission decision 89/469 on 30 July, being declared unfit for export to other member states because they failed to meet the certification requirements of that decision in relation to bovine spongiform encephalopathy. However, several export consignments had to be rejected before 30 July because the Republic of Ireland unilaterally imposed import restrictions on 25 July. I have no information about the number of live cattle involved.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list in the Official Report the total tonnage of cereal substitutes imported into the United Kingdom for each of the last five years, indicating the country of origin where possible.
Mr. Curry : The total tonnages of cereal substitutes imported in to the United Kingdom in each of the last five years (1984-88) were set out in columns 284-85 of the Official Report for 10 April 1989 in response to an earlier question.
The 1988 total tonnage has now been revised to 1,108,000 tonnes. Nearly half of the total consists of maize gluten feed, almost all of which comes from the United States of America.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his policy on the retention or amendment of the minimum values regulations governing the conditions under which live horses are transported from the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Curry : The system of minimum values designed to prevent the export of horses for slaughter is a purely national agreement. As part of the single market programme the Commission has made a proposal for a Community regulation on the protection of animals during transport and as drafted this makes no provision for our controls on horse exports to continue. Our objective will be to ensure that there will be adequate welfare standards during all journeys and that these are implemented and enforced rigorously throughout the Community to protect horses and ponies.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the activities that are carried out in his Department's (a) veterinary investigation centres and (b) farm and countryside service laboratories.
Mr. Gummer : The veterinary investigation centres provide laboratory and veterinary support to the field service of the state veterinary service in respect of my statutory animal and public health obligations and in the investigation of new and emerging diseases. They also provide diagnostic, advisory and consultancy services to the livestock industry through practising veterinary surgeons, liaise with medical and local authorities on the control of zoonotic disease and support approved research and development. The farm and countryside service laboratories provide professional analytical chemistry, (covering crop husbandry, soil and animal nutrition), entomology, plant pathology, microbiology, and wildlife and storage biology services in respect of my statutory obligations, in support of research and development, and in the provision of advice on a direct commercial basis to the agricultural and related industries.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the organisations with whom he consults prior to a Food Advisory Committee meeting about the subjects to be discussed ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : The agendas of the Food Advisory Committee meetings are published in advance of each meeting as a press release. This is distributed on a standard circulation list to nearly 900 individuals and organisations known to have an interest in food matters, including trade, academic, consumer and enforcement bodies. Any requests for addition to the list will be sympathetically considered.
Mr. Gummer : The food safety directorate that I am establishing in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, will bring together under the Minister responsible for food, my hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. David Maclean) all the main aspects of food safety work for which the Minister is responsible. At the same time, I am setting up a consumer panel chaired by my hon. Friend to keep under review from a consumer's viewpoint, the implementation of policies on food safety and consumer protection. The food safety directorate, together with new arrangements for bringing to bear more directly and systematically the views of consumer organisations, will strengthen my Department's organisation for dealing with food safety issues.
The food safety directorate will consist of four main groups, each headed by a grade 3 under-secretary. The food safety group will have overall responsibility for policy on food safety and quality, including composition, labelling, additives, contaminants and new production processes. The food science group, headed by the chief scientist (Food) and staffed at senior levels by scientists, will provide the scientific back-up on food safety issues. This group includes the new food science laboratory at Norwich which will carry out necessary analytical and research work in support of food policy additional to that commissioned from other laboratories. The third group will deal with pesticide safety approvals, veterinary medicines and biotechnology issues. Finally, the fourth group will handle meat hygiene, animal health and the related public health issues, and animal welfare. The initial complement of the food directorate is 695. The resources devoted to this work have been increased and will be kept under review.
The consumer panel will provide a forum in which the Minister will be able to hear directly from representatives of consumers their views on food safety and consumer protection issues. The consumer panel will include representatives nominated by each of the main consumer bodies. The panel will provide a more formal and systematic means of maintaining contact between my Department and the consumer organisations. I shall make an announcement shortly on the membership and terms of reference of the consumer panel.
Column 318These new arrangements do not diminish in any way the continuing need for advice from the existing expert and independent committees, namely the food advisory committee, the advisory committee on pesticides and the veterinary products committee, as well as the Department of Health committees on medical aspects of food, toxicity, carcinogenicity and mutagenicity and the joint MAFF/DoH Committee on novel foods and processes. The food safety directorate will work closely with the state veterinary service and will be advised on public health questions by the Government's Chief Medical Officer. These changes will focus my Ministry's resources more effectively on to maintaining the safety and quality of the nation's food supplies. The food safety directorate will be responsible for keeping the public informed on food safety matters.
The Government have no plans to introduce such a ban.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received concerning discrimination on grounds of sex and the state pension age ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment has been made of the minimum income after paying rent and rates required by single people below (a) 25 years, and (b) 18 years to meet other costs of living.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : No such assessment has been made. The level of support approved by Parliament for those receiving income-related benefits varies according to personal circumstances, including factors such as disability.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the cumulative total number of those service men who have been in receipt of a war pension or allowance from his Department because their deaths were attributable to their service in the armed forces who died (a) in service, (b) after retirement from the armed forces and (c) after being invalided out of or medically discharged from the armed forces for each year from 1959 to the latest available date ; and, for each of the above categories for the latest year for which records exist, what was the number of war widows' pensions in payment from his Department.
The need for most 16 and 17-year-olds to rely on benefit was removed in September 1988 when a youth training scheme place, with a training allowance, was guaranteed for all those not in a job or full time education. Certain groups of young people may receive income support. These include lone parents, the disabled and the long-term sick who may claim at any time. Young people forced to live independently can claim income support during the child benefit extension period while they look for work or a youth training scheme place. They can also receive housing benefit. Moreover, a package of changes was introduced in July which recognised the special difficulties being experienced by some 16 and 17-year-olds with no option but to live away from home. An important element of this was to pay them higher rates of both income support and housing benefit. We have an important safety net which enables those 16 and 17-year-olds who would otherwise not be entitled to be paid income support to prevent severe hardship.
Those who are homeless may claim a social fund crisis loan to enable them to secure accommodation.
We continue to monitor the 1988 Social Security reforms including those affecting young people.
1988 |Claims |Awards ---------------------------------- April |96,505 |40,213 May |41,721 June | 52,293|36,145 July | 46,100|37,912 August | 46,376|40,249 September | 47,759|24,158 October | 56,373|44,944 November | 57,850|46,234 December | 44,834|35,797 1989 January | 63,638|42,712 February | 60,318|45,180 March | 68,637|47,184 April | 96,752|43,300 May |123,038|39,187 June |107,276|73,778 July | 66,075|50,004 August | 62,397|48,158 September | 80,792|54,498 October | 80,670|50,510 Notes: 1. The figures are for the four or five weeks ending on the last Friday of the month. 2. The figures for claims received include those made to renew existing awards and those made more than four weeks before the expiry of an existing award ( and therefore invalid).
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : A total of 315,000 comprising over 98 per cent. Apart from lone parent families headed by a man, family credit is almost invariably paid to women, since in two-parent families the claim is made by, and payment is made to, the woman unless the circumstances are quite exceptional.
Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish a table showing (a) the number of families and (b) the number of children receiving family credit and what proportion each makes up of those entitled to family credit.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The latest comprehensive information is for July 1989 when over 320,000 families, containing 671,000 children, were receiving family credit. Estimates of the total eligible population at that stage cannot be made until information from the 1989 family expenditure survey becomes available.
|Actual expenditure |Expenditure at 1978-79 |prices |£ |£ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1978-79 |116,705,438 |116,705,438 1979-80 |128,840,466 |110,455,980 1980-81 |145,803,473 |105,437,973 1981-82 |165,598,881 |109,115,611 1982-83 |174,091,975 |107,127,120 1983-84 |177,358,000 |104,304,650 1984-85 |176,325,000 |98,814,576 1985-86 |192,859,160 |102,449,032 1986-87 |191,496,000 |98,563,466 1987-88 |189,581,000 |92,716,484 1988-89 |199,695,000 |91,020,184
Mr. Scott [holding answer 31 October 1989] : The proposals relating to the regulations in this statutory instrument were referred to the council in January this year. They did not raise any formal objection.
Mr. Brooke : There have been three recent meetings of the Anglo- Irish Intergovernmental conference, at which issues affecting the confidence of the community in the security forces figured prominently. Copies of the joint communiques issued after each meeting have been placed in the Library of the House and the Vote Office. As a result of recent events a number of measures have been set in train by the Government. The recent difficulties in Anglo-Irish relations have illustrated the value of the agreement in permitting discussion of the issues involved, with a view to resolving differences.
18. Mr. Maginnis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to discover if an injustice may have been done to four Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers convicted of the murder of Adrian Carroll ; and if, in the light of experience gained from the Guildford case, he will seek to have examined a radio statement by the main witness that she was deceived into giving incorrect evidence.
Mr. Cope : All the representations made and documents presented in this case to date, along with the transcript of the radio programme, have been carefully examined. No grounds have been found to justify referring the case to the Court of Appeal, but my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will consider any new evidence or representations which may be made to him.
19. Mr. Kilfedder : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the use of animals for experiments at Queen's university ; how many animals are presently kept at the university ; what is the nature of the experiments ; and what level of pain and suffering is estimated to be inflicted on the animals.
Mr. Brooke : The Intergovernmental Conference last met on 18 October. Discussions continued on a range of issues relating to confidence in the security forces and the system of justice. Security co-operation, cross-border economic co-operation and the implementation of the conclusions of the review of the working of the conference were matters also discussed. The joint statement issued after the meeting was placed in the Library of the House and the Vote Office.
Mr. Brooke : There have been three recent meetings of the Intergovernmental Conference, and copies of the joint statements issued after each have been placed in the Library of the House and the Vote Office. A large part of the meetings was taken up with issues affecting the confidence of the community in the security forces in Northern Ireland, and further discussions are likely at future conference meetings.
Mr. Needham : Much action has already been taken to tackle the problems of unemployment in west Belfast. The Belfast action team and the "making Belfast work" initiatives have focussed attention and resources on encouraging employment and enterprise in west Belfast. To date these initiatives have proved successful in stimulating local enterprise. Further plans have been
Column 323drawn up to build on the initial local successes which have been assisted by major private sector investments such as the choice by Montupet of the former De Lorean factory for its 1,000 job project.
Mr. Needham : I am pleased to say that many of the recommendations are already being implemented, particularly under the "making Belfast work" and Belfast action team initiatives. Contacts have also been made to enable Phoenix to discuss its proposals for jobs creation directly with IDB and LEDU.