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The Prime Minister: UNSCR 1244 did not set a fixed end-point for the deployment of the international security presence in Kosovo. The Government are doing all they can to encourage progress in Kosovo, but it is not possible at this stage to say when KFOR, including the British contribution to it, will be able to leave.
Mr. John M. Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 16 May 2000, Official Report, column 114W, about public records, if he will list the correspondence between Mr. Denis McCready and the Chairman or Secretary of the Advisory Council on Public Records
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during the period from 18 June 1997 to March 2000; and if he will publish the correspondence dated 14 and 17 June 1997. 
Mr. Lock: There was no direct correspondence between Mr. Denis McCready and the Chairman or Secretary of the Advisory Council on Public Records during the period from 18 June 1997 to 31 March 2000. The correspondence dated 14 and 17 June was summarised in the answer given by my predecessor on 8 July 1999, Official Report, column 622W. It would not be appropriate to publish the correspondence in full as the letters were between the Advisory Council and a private citizen.
Mr. John M. Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what action the Lord Chancellor will need to take in the next decade, under the provisions of the Public Records Act 1958, to release the Registrar General from his statutory duty to transfer the 1921 to 1971 census returns to the Public Record Office; and in which years that action will need to be taken. 
Mr. Lock: Census returns are subject to 100 year closure, in line with section 1(3) of the Census Confidentiality Act 1991 and with the Government policy set out in the White Paper "Open Government" (Cm 2290, 1993). This is on the grounds that they consist of documents supplied in confidence, the disclosure of which would constitute a breach of good faith.
At present the census returns for 1921 to 1961 are retained by the Office for National Statistics under section 3(4) of the Public Records Act 1958. The following Lord Chancellor's Instruments (LCI) are current:
Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list each departmental initiative since May 1997 requiring bids for funding together with the total resources available, the number of successful bids and the proportion this represents of total bids received; and what data he collects on the average expenditure of organisations bidding for funding through each initiative. 
Mr. Lock: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to her by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 17 July 2000, Official Report, column 93W, and to the Statement on the Spending Review made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 18 July 2000, Official Report, columns 219-44.
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Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to his written answer of 19 April 2000, Official Report, column 512W, when he expects to make an announcement on research into the impact on life expectancy of the closure of residential homes for the elderly. 
Mr. Hutton: We are aware that when residential homes close, elderly residents may be affected. However, when such a decision is made, it is essential that there should be proper arrangements for the safe and satisfactory transfer of all residents to other suitable homes in a way which creates the minimum possible discomfort to all concerned.
We take research into life expectancy seriously. This is an issue that the Office for National Statistics tracks carefully and we are considering investing in a longitudinal study to give us information on life expectancy. However, we have concluded that research into life expectancy that focuses narrowly on the closure of residential homes cannot be a priority for public funding. It would be unlikely to have an impact on the life of elderly people or decisions about the closure of homes.
Yvette Cooper: The application of therapeutic cloning to human healthcare was considered by the Chief Medical Officer's Expert Group on Therapeutic Cloning. The group's report is currently being considered by Ministers.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will examine the feasibility of making the morning-after pill available on a non-prescription basis; and what recent representations he has received on making the morning-after pill available through specific certified outlets without prescription. 
Yvette Cooper: The Medicines Control Agency is presently consulting on an application to reclassify levonorgestrel 0.75 milligramme for emergency contraception from prescription only to pharmacy availability for women aged 16 years and over. The consultation period ended on 29 June 2000. The responses will then be considered by the Medicines Commission and their recommendations presented to Ministers for a decision. If we decide to go ahead, an Order would be laid before the House later in the year.
Whatever is decided, emergency hormonal contraception, the morning after pill, will continue to be available, free of charge under existing National Health Service arrangements, from general practitioners, family planning clinics and some hospital accident and emergency departments.
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Yvette Cooper: Emergency hormonal contraception is currently available on prescription through general practitioners, family planning clinics, youth services, walk in centres, and some accident and emergency departments. The Sexual Health/HIV Strategy is looking at improving access to National Health Service contraception services including emergency contraception products.
The Medicines Control Agency is presently consulting on an application to reclassify levonorgestrel 0.75 milligramme for emergency contraception from prescription only to pharmacy availability for women aged 16 years and over. The consultation period ended on 29 June 2000. The responses are to be considered by the Medicines Commission and their recommendations presented to Ministers for a decision. If it were decided to proceed, an Order would be laid before the House later in the year.
Yvette Cooper: There are currently two pilot schemes run by health action zones (HAZs) in Manchester, Salford and Trafford and Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham where emergency contraception is supplied by pharmacists, under a patient group direction. Both pilots form part of the HAZs' overall strategy to reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies locally. Both pilots are to be fully evaluated and the results will be published.
Abortion data by health authority are published annually and provisional data for 2000 will not be available until May 2001. It is therefore too early to make any assessment on the impact on levels of abortion in the pilot areas. Fluctuations in the abortion rate may be subject to a number of different factors and it is therefore difficult to attribute any changes to one intervention or event. There have been no studies which have been able to predict the effect the availability of emergency contraception through pharmacies may have on unwanted pregnancy rates.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reasons his Department encourages increased use of the morning-after pill as part of its National Sexual Health Strategy; and if he will make a statement; 
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has gone wrong with her usual method. We therefore want to ensure the best possible access to emergency contraception for those who need it. The sexual health/ HIV strategy is looking at improving access to the full range of National Health Service contraception services, including emergency contraception products. One of the aims of the strategy is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in all age groups, and reducing the rate of teenage pregnancy is one of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's key priorities.
Emergency contraception should not be seen as a replacement for regular contraception, as it is not as effective as regular hormonal contraception such as the pill and therefore should be used only as an occasional measure.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what measures are in place to ensure that a woman's medical history is known before she is issued with the morning-after pill; and if he will make a statement; 
Yvette Cooper: The Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have researched the available evidence and published updated Recommendations for Clinical Practice regarding emergency contraception in April of this year 1 .
The Faculty recommendations advise that established pregnancy is the sole contraindication for use of hormonal emergency contraception (HEC). The Faculty considers that for all other women the benefits of HEC, particularly the progestogen-only method, generally outweigh the risks.
Regarding follow up action, the recommendations suggest that future contraception should be discussed sympathetically and, preferably arranged. Advice should be given as to when the woman can expect her next period and an appointment offered and/or arrangements made to discuss any problems including on-going contraception information/supply.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions of the morning after pill there were in the last 10 years for which figures are available; and if he will provide a breakdown by age. 
Table 1 shows the number of prescriptions dispensed in the community in England. A breakdown by age of the patient receiving these prescriptions is not available. Table 2 shows the number of prescriptions for hormonal emergency contraceptives prescribed at National Health Service family planning clinics in England from 1989 to 1998. Table 3 shows the number of prescriptions for hormonal emergency contraceptives prescribed at NHS family planning clinics in 1998-99, by age.
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|Year||Number of prescriptions|
1. The data for 1989 and 1990 are not strictly consistent with data from 1991 onwards.
2. Figures for 1989 and 1990 are based on fees and on a sample of 1 in 200 prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors only.
3. Figures for 1991 onwards are based on items and cover all prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists, appliance contractors dispensing doctors and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered.
|Year||Number of prescriptions|
Department of Health Statistics Division SD2B
|Age group||Number of prescriptions|
|35 and over||10.0|
Department of Health Statistics Division SD2B
Information about NHS Family Planning Clinic activity is derived from the Department of Health annual return KT31 and is published each year. The latest information is contained in the Statistical Bulletin "NHS Contraceptive Services, England: 1998-99". A copy of the bulletin is in the Library and can also be found on the Department of Health website www.gov.uk/public/sb9930.htm.
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Yvette Cooper: There have been no discussions between Health Ministers and the All-Party Pharmacy Group on the issue of emergency contraception. However there has been correspondence between my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Dr. Stoate), chair of the group, and myself following the group's report on extending access to emergency contraception through community pharmacies.
Yvette Cooper: The accepted legal and medical view is that emergency contraception is not a method of abortion. Emergency contraception pills work before implantation and so before a pregnancy has been established. Emergency contraceptive pills will not cause an abortion if taken after implantation.
My right hon. Friend the Attorney-General, in answering a parliamentary question in 1983, stated that medical practitioners would not be prosecuted for illegal abortion if they sought to prevent implantation by the use of the 'morning-after pill' or an inter-uterine device.
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 18 July 2000]: None. Prescribing of emergency contraception is a matter for the clinical judgment of the practitioner concerned. The Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently researched the available evidence and published updated recommendations for clinical practice for emergency contraception in April this year.
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