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I was accompanied by five key No. 10 officials, five senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials, two senior officials from HM Treasury and an interpreter. In addition, 18 journalists accompanied me at their own expense.
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28 Jul 2000 : Column: 977W
Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) during which month the Minister for Health will respond to the 1998 Review by Professor Sheila McLean of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; 
(3) if he will make a statement on the issue of inheritance as raised in the review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 by Professor Sheila McLean. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answers 19 June and 23 June 2000]: Professor Sheila McLean made a number of recommendations about consent issues under the common law for the removal of human gametes (sperm and eggs) and the consent provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 for their storage and use. The McLean report did not recommend making child birth registering retrospective. The report recommended that the law of succession should not be amended to secure succession rights for children born
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|Agenda item||Issue||UK position||Outcome|
|1. Approval of provisional agenda||--||--||--|
|2. Approval of "A" points||--||--||--|
|3. Proposal for a Directive on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the member states concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products (recast)||To agree a revised text on a proposal for a Directive regarding the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. The Directive consolidates and strengthens three previous directives. It would reduce tar and nicotine yields and introduce a new maximum carbon monoxide yield for all cigarettes manufactured in the EU; increase the size of health warnings and toughen them; ban misleading descriptions such as "light" and "mild"; and require and publicise information on additives||The UK supports the revised text||Commissioner Byrne outlined the proposal and a compromise text, containing the European Parliament's amendments, was tabled. Common position was reached despite Germany voting against and Austria, Spain and Luxembourg abstaining|
|4. Communication from the Commission on the health strategy of the European Community and Proposal for a Decision adopting a programme of community action in the field of public health (2001-06)||To receive a Communication on the health strategy. This includes a proposal for a public health action programme which will be subject to the co-decision procedure and will be negotiated by the Council and the Parliament in the autumn||The UK broadly welcomes the proposals but with the caveat that they should enhance our national efforts and focus on areas where Community action can bring genuine added value, without straying into areas where the Community has no competence||Commissioner Byrne presented the Communication and there was an initial exchange of views between member states, with general approval of the overall direction|
|5. Follow up to the Evora Conference on health determinants||To adopt a Resolution on action on health determinants||The UK supports the Resolution||The Resolution was adopted|
|6. Follow up to the Lisbon Conference on medicinal products and public health||To adopt Conclusions on medicinal products and public health||The UK supports the Conclusions||The Conclusions were adopted|
|7. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control||Update on developments on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control||UK supports the objective of the Convention in securing global action to support national initiatives||Oral report from Commissioner Byrne, underlining the need for co-ordinated action in line with the Commission's negotiating mandate. There was no discussion on this item|
|8. Follow up to the Feira European Council||To take forward the public health aspects of the Feira Council Conclusions including the integration of health into other Community policies, Food Safety White Paper and the Precautionary Principle||The UK welcomes the recognition of health as both a vertical and a horizontal issue. The UK's response to the proposals for a European Food Agency has been submitted to the Commission. The UK broadly welcomes the Commission's Communication on the Precautionary Principle but it is still subject to inter-departmental discussion||Health Ministers noted the outcome of the Feira summit and the Commissioner's remit to look at ways in which the horizontal aspects of the health agenda could be addressed|
|9. Any other business|
|a. Conference of experts on quality and safety in the transplantation of tissue and organs of human origin||--||--||The Presidency gave an oral report on the outcome of the conference|
|b. Medical Devices for self-diagnosis of HIV||Note from the Danish delegation concerning proposals to prohibit the marketing and use of medical devices for self-testing of HIV in Denmark||The UK has no legislation in place. It does not see the need for separate regulation in this area as the Medical Devices Directive allows member states to introduce national provisions||Commissioner Byrne agreed to bring this issue to the attention of Commissioner Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise|
|c. Follow up of the CIDEX case||A note from the Belgian delegation raising concerns about the recall of CIDEX, a medical device disinfectant produced in the UK, and proposed revisions to the Medical Devices Directive||The UK acknowledges the concerns raised by Belgium and is co-operating fully with the Belgian authorities. It agrees that there are some areas where the Directive needs strengthening||Following a statement from the UK, Commissioner Byrne agreed to bring this issue to the attention of Commissioner Liikanen|
|d. Errors when administering intravenous medication in emergencies||Note from the Belgian delegation proposing that minimal standards or norms be defined at European level for emergency injectable drugs||The UK would resist any proposal to introduce more legislation on this issue as it is already adequately covered||Commissioner Byrne agreed to bring this issue to the attention of Commissioner Liikanen|
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28 Jul 2000 : Column: 979W
Yvette Cooper: Certain parts of the community--certain ethnic minority populations including immigrants from areas with a high prevalence for tuberculosis, older white people who were exposed to TB when they were younger, homeless people and HIV infected individuals--are at an increased risk from TB.
Information on tuberculosis rates in homeless people, along with recommendations for prevention and control, is contained in the June 1996 report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Tuberculosis entitled "Tuberculosis and Homeless People, A review and recommendations for health professionals, local authorities and voluntary and support groups". Copies are available in the Library.
The Department has also funded The Passage Day and Nightshelter for the homeless to write a project on TB control and prevention, which we hope will be available soon. The aims of the report are to improve identification and cure rates for TB in homeless people and to develop
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a proactive education and awareness programme of TB aimed at homeless individuals and voluntary sector workers and volunteers.
Yvette Cooper: Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) the vaccine used to protect against tuberculosis has been and is still used to protect those most at risk from TB such as health service and veterinary staff, contacts of people known to be suffering from active pulmonary TB, immigrants from countries with a high prevalence of TB and their children and infants wherever born, including this country. However, due to severe manufacturing problems encountered by the sole United Kingdom licensed source, Celltech Medeva, routine immunisation of 10 to 14-year-olds was suspended nationally in September 1999.
The Department did try to obtain UK licensed and batch released BCG vaccine from elsewhere before suspending the schools BCG immunisation programme. However, only Celltech Medeva vaccine meets these requirements at present. The Department has identified
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other manufacturers of BCG vaccine worldwide and is investigating these possible sources together with experts from the National Institutes for Biological Standards and Control, the Medicines Control Agency and NHS Purchasing Supply Agency. Products from different manufacturers vary in their composition and side effect profile, and we will need to be assured of the safety and efficacy of these products and that they satisfy current UK requirements.
Suspending the schools programme has allowed us to maintain supplies of the vaccine for all those at a higher risk of TB mentioned above. However we have remained committed to restarting the schools programme as soon as sufficient supplies of the vaccine were available. On 19 July 2000, the Department announced that there is now sufficient supply of vaccine to restart the routine schools programme initially in the London area, where the highest rate of TB in the country currently occurs. We hope to announce, by the end of the summer, when we will have enough vaccine to start the schools programme again in the rest of the country. Copies of the Department's press release of 19 July are available in the Library.
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