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Hospital Waiting Lists (Norfolk)

Mr. Prior: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in Norfolk were waiting to see a consultant on (a) 31 March 1997, (b) 31 March 1998, (c) 31 March 1999 and (d) 31 March 2000. [133829]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not available centrally.

Therapeutic Cloning

Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the benefits of using (a) adult stem cells and (b) stem cells from embryos created by therapeutic cloning in treating damage to the brain, internal organs, bone and other tissues and organs. [134257]

Yvette Cooper: The Chief Medical Officer's Expert Group in its report "Stem Cell Research: Medical Progress with Responsibility" concluded that research involving the extraction and use of stem cells raised the prospect of a range of exciting new therapeutic possibilities for the repair of diseased or damaged tissues including repairing nerve cells lost in Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, replacing lost heart muscle cells in cases of congestive heart failure, bone cells in osteoporosis, liver cells in cases of hepatitis or cirrhosis and so on.

The Expert Group concluded that embryonic stem cells have the potential to develop into a far greater range of tissues than adult derived stem cells. The Group went on to say that while the long term promise of stem cells derived from adult tissue may equal or even surpass that of embryonic stem cells it was probable that scientific advances from embryonic stem cell research would be necessary to understand how to make greater use of stem cells derived from adult tissue.

Operations (Warrington Hospital)

Ms Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) cataract, (b) knee joint replacement, (c) hip joint replacement and (d) hernia operations were performed at Warrington Hospital in each of the last three years. [133754]

Mr. Denham: The table shows a count of cataract, knee replacement, hip replacement and hernia operations performed in Warrington Hospital National Health Service Trust for the years 1996-97 to 1998-99.

Finished consultant episodes by selected operations
Warrington Hospital NHS Trust 1996-97 to 1998-99

Cataract operationsKnee replacementHip replacementHernia operations
1996-971,215108226271
1997-981,050120273301
1998-991,198134287338

Generics

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to change the reimbursement arrangements for pharmacists and dispensing doctors relating to generics. [133852]

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Mr. Denham: Linked to the recent introduction of a statutory maximum price scheme for generic medicines, the government abolished Category D of Part VIII of the Drug Tariff with effect from September prescriptions and replaced it with more tightly controlled arrangements for reimbursing pharmacists fairly when due to shortage they have no alternative but to purchase a more expensive product.

Work on longer-term arrangements for the supply of generics to the community--including reimbursement arrangements for pharmacists--is still in progress. We intend to discuss our proposals with interested parties before reaching final decisions on the way forward.

Fluoride

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out WHO requirements in respect of (a) monitoring of fluoride levels, and (b) children in receipt of fluoridated milk. [R] [134146]

Yvette Cooper: Reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) contain valuable information, which can helpfully inform government policy but, unless they are incorporated into United Kingdom law, their status is advisory rather than mandatory. Technical guidance on methods of measurement of fluoride, and their interpretation, and on fluoridation of mild, is included in recent WHO publications such as Technical Report 846 "Fluorides and oral health" (1994) and "Monitoring of renal fluoride excretion in community preventive programmes on oral health" (1999).

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Food Distribution Industry

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the Competition Commission's report on the food distribution industry will be published. [130928]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

The Competition Commission report on the supply of groceries from supermarkets was published on 10 October.

Dogs

Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received about German plans to ban the breeding and importing of certain breeds of dogs. [133575]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.

I have received many letters on this subject from dog breeders and owners in this country, and from their Members of Parliament and interested organisations. A particular concern has been a proposal by the German authorities for European Union (EU) legislation on dangerous dogs.

The United Kingdom Government cannot interfere in the internal law-making processes of other countries, but we are opposed to the idea of EU legislation on dangerous dogs. We certainly could not agree to any EU measures which would require us to bring in laws on this matter

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more stringent than those we have at present, which we consider adequate for present and future control needs in this country.

Oilseed Rape

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many fields of oilseed rape have been sown using seed contaminated by GM material in the Chesham and Amersham parliamentary constituency; and if he will make a statement. [125895]

Ms Quin [holding answer 13 June 2000]: The information requested is not held by MAFF. Advanta Seeds UK Ltd. established a scheme to contact, register and compensate all the affected farmers for crop destruction. The Central Science Laboratory is auditing that scheme on behalf of the Government to check that the crops have not been marketed.

Mink

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what investigations his Department has conducted into the release of mink from a fur farm at Bourne Hill in Lancashire in July 1999, with particular reference to (a) the number of mink released, (b) damage done to the perimeter fencing and (c) responsibility for the release; and if he will make a statement. [131731]

Mr. Morley: The Ministry was notified by the police on 7 August 1999 that mink had been released from the fur farm. The Farming and Rural Conservation Agency, an Executive agency of the Ministry, immediately visited the site to investigate the incident. They found that the perimeter fence had been breached in two places by being cut. It was estimated that between 50 and 100 mink escaped outside the farm and were unaccounted for.

I am not aware of anyone claiming responsibility for the break-in. This is a matter for the police to pursue.

Ducks

Mrs. Gordon: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what the main diseases are which affect intensively reared ducks in the UK; and what percentage of ducks is affected by each disease; [132688]

Mr. Morley: I wrote to my hon. Friend on 24 August 2000. Copies of my letter were placed in the Library of the House.

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Farmers (Totnes)

Mr. Steen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make available to the hon. Member for Totnes the list held by his Department's Strategy and Policy section of farmers working in the Totnes constituency, used by his Department for mail-shots; and if he will answer the letter from the hon. Member for Totnes of 4 July on this subject. [132443]

Ms Quin [holding answer 25 July 2000]: I replied to the hon. Member on 31 August explaining that the Agricultural Statistics Act 1972, under which the provisions of which the register of agricultural holdings is maintained, prevents disclosure of any information without the written permission of the supplier of the information, except in particular circumstances. The requirements of the Data Protection Act 1988 further precludes release of lists of names and addresses.


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