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Mink Farming

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he intends to set a date for the prohibition of the farming of mink for their fur. [26278]

Mr. Morley: The Government remain committed to implementing their pre-election pledge to prohibit fur farming as soon as practicable. Last year, I reviewed the various options available to achieve this objective and a public consultation letter seeking comments on the way I proposed to proceed was issued on 5 August 1997. I am currently considering how the intention to prohibit fur farming can best be implemented and an announcement will be made as soon as possible. There will be public consultation on any proposals for legislation to ban fur farming.

Beef Imports

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list by weight the countries from which beef has been imported into the United Kingdom since 1 January. [25677]

Mr. Rooker: Official overseas trade statistics on the quantities and country of origin of beef imported into the United Kingdom are available only for complete calender months. Statistics for January 1998 are not yet available.

Imported Meat

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what tests are carried out on imported meat to ensure that substances banned for use on United Kingdom meat are identified. [25043]

Mr. Rooker: Member states are required to test meat for a wide range of veterinary drugs, including banned substances and are responsible for implementing and policing the relevant directives in respect of their own national production. Veterinary experts from the Commission may make on-the-spot checks to ensure that they are being uniformly applied in all member states.

Any third country wishing to export fresh meat to the European Union must submit residue testing plans to the Commission. These describe the residue testing programme to be undertaken in respect of their meat production and must provide guarantees which are at least equivalent to the requirements of the Community on EC producers in respect of the banned substances.

Any third country which permits the use of growth promoting hormones, banned in the European community since 1988, is required to guarantee that no animals and no meat coming from animals to which they have been administered will be exported to the Community. Imports must be certified accordingly, and Commission inspectors verify compliance with all the requirements when they carry out periodic checks on third-country slaughterhouses authorised to produce meat for export to the Community.

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Port health authorities, or local authorities in their absence, are responsible under directive 90/675/EEC for checking 1 per cent. of all imported meat and meat products for residues of veterinary medicines and the banned substances.

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what checks have been carried out on imported beef and sheep meat to ensure it meets United Kingdom health standards since 1 January; how much imported meat has been denied access; and what was its origin. [25041]

Mr. Rooker: All consignments of animal products imported directly into the United Kingdom from outside the European Union are subject to checks at designated border inspection posts, including checks on the certification requirements on specified risk materials introduced under the Specified Risk Materials Order 1997. Single market rules only permit random spot checks at destination on animal products traded within the Community. Consistent with those rules, a daily sample of randomly selected consignments fro EU member states are subject to documentary checks by Ministry officials for conformity with the new unilateral controls relating to specified risk material.

Data on the number, type and results of veterinary checks on beef consignments at border inspection posts, most of which are operated by local authorities, and the number of outcome of the random documentary spot-checks on beef consignments arriving from or via other EU member states are being collated on a monthly basis from 1 January 1998, the date when the Specified Risk Materials Order came into force. No data are yet available. They will be published in the Ministry's BSE enforcement bulletin which is placed in the Library of the House.

Bull Calves (Identity Tags)

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the present backlog on the production of secondary yellow plastic tags for bull calves; and what is the deadline set by the Intervention Board for acceptance of bull calves wearing only one identity tag. [25042]

Mr. Rooker: Information from eartag manufacturers suggest that supply is likely to take around six weeks. Because of the supply difficulties, the Intervention Board has not currently set a deadline for acceptance of bull calves wearing only one identity tag.


Environmental Implications

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the President of the Council what mechanisms have been established since 1 May to ensure that the environmental implications of new legislation are considered before being presented to Parliament. [25909]

Mrs. Ann Taylor: The Government are committed to integrating environmental considerations into decision-making at all levels across Government. Thus the policy on which any new legislation is based takes into

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account environmental considerations. Proposals for new legislation have to include details of significant costs or benefits to the environment. Since 1 May 1997, the Government have set up a Cabinet Committee on the Environment, a network of Green Ministers and a Sustainable Development Unit within the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The House has also agreed to the Government's proposal to establish a select committee on Environmental Audit, which met for the first time on 25 November 1997.


Republic of Ireland Patients

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients from the Republic of Ireland had operations in the United Kingdom paid for by the Irish Department of Health in each of the last three years; and how many of these were transplant operations. [22538]

Ms Jowell: Under European Community Social Security Regulations 1408/71 and 574/72 there were 263 (1994), 225 (1995) and 199 (1996) patient referrals to National Health Service hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales, from the Republic of Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland participates in the same organ sharing scheme as the United Kingdom. Data from the UK Transplant Support Service Authority show there were 3 (1994), 8 (1995) and 17 (1996) residents of the Republic of Ireland who had solid organ transplants carried out in hospitals in the UK.

Information from the Hospital Episode Statistics for England shows there were 204 (1993-94), 218 (1994-95) and 216 (1995-96) finished consultant episodes, in which an operation or procedure was recorded and where the patient's address was shown to be within the Irish Republic. These figures include patients who paid privately for their treatment in NHS hospitals. Information about residents of the Irish Republic who had operations carried out in NHS hospitals in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland would be for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, for Wales and for Northern Ireland.

Cosmetic Surgery

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cosmetic surgery operations performed on the NHS were to rectify damage resulting from cosmetic surgery procedures performed by the private sector in the last year for which figures are available. [23006]

Mr. Milburn: We do not hold data centrally. A survey carried out in 1995 by the British Association of Plastic Surgeons concluded that there were only a very small number of occasions when National Health Service hospitals had to deal with patients presenting with complications arising from private cosmetic surgery.

NHS Boards

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the names of (a) new and (b) existing members of (i) Tees Health, (ii) South Tees Acute Hospital NHS

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Trust, (iii) Cleveland Ambulance NHS Trust and (iv) South Tees Community and Mental Health NHS Trust, stating their terms of office in each case. [24515]

Mr. Milburn: The current non-executive board members of the different bodies and their terms of office are as follows:

Tees Health Authority:
ChairmanThomas O'Connor1 April 199631 March 1998
MemberMark Roy Williamson1 April 199631 March 1998
MemberGraham Prest1 April 199631 March 1998
MemberKathleen Taylor1 April 199631 March 2000
MemberHelen Pickering1 April 199631 March 2000
MemberAnn O'Hanlon1 April 199631 March 2000
Cleveland: Ambulance National Health Service Trust:
ChairmanAlistair Thomson1 December 199631 October 1998
DirectorSusan Bush1 December 199430 November 1998
DirectorTerry Weastell1 December 199430 November 1998
DirectorElizabeth O'Donnell1 December 199730 November 2001
DirectorKenneth Hall1 December 199730 November 2001
South Tees Community and Mental Health NHS Trust:
ChairmanRobert Murray1 November 199631 October 1998
DirectorElizabeth Hutchison1 November 199631 October 2000
DirectorEleanor Young1 November 199631 October 2000
DirectorGeoffrey Crispin1 November 199631 October 2000
DirectorDavid Becker24 November 199731 October 2000
DirectorMichael John Carr24 November 199731 October 2001
South Tees Acute Hospitals NHS Trust:
ChairmanJohn Robert Foster16 December 199730 November 2001
DirectorSheila Argument16 December 199730 November 2001
DirectorDorothy Sigsworth16 December 199730 November 2001

There are currently three vacancies for non-executive directors at the South Tees Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which will be filled as soon as possible.

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