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Diabetic Care

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when pen needles for use by diabetics will be available on prescription. [100918]

Ms Stuart: We have consulted on proposals which would include allowing insulin pen needles to be prescribed by general practitioners on the National Health Service. We have received representations from most of the organisations consulted. We are considering them and are seeking clarification on certain points before we make our final decisions.

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Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the development of diabetic care on the NHS. [101368]

Mr. Denham: My noble Friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, is announcing today the membership of the Expert Reference Group which will advise my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health on the development of the National Service Framework for diabetes. The Group met for the first time today. It is co-chaired by Professor Mike Pringle, Chair of the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and Mr. Peter Houghton, Regional Director of the Eastern Regional Office of the National Health Service Executive.

Membership of the Expert Reference Group is as follows:

    Dr. Owain Gibby, Diabetologist, Royal Gwent Hospital

    Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh, General Practitioner, London

    Ms Geeta Patel, a user of diabetes services and mother of triplets, Wolverhampton

    Dr. Veena Soni Raleigh, Epidemiologist and Researcher, National Institute of Epidemiology

    Mr. John Rostill, Chief Executive, Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust

    Mr. Paul Streets, Chief Executive, British Diabetic Association

    Ms Sheridan Waldron, Dietitian, Leicester

    Ms Rosemary Walker, Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Suffolk and Chair, Royal College of Nursing Diabetes Nursing Forum

    Professor Rhys Williams, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Nuffield Institute for Health, Leeds

    Dr. Bob Young, Diabetologist, Hope Hospital, Salford.

Another user of diabetes services will be brought on to the Group early in the New Year.

The scope of the diabetes National Service Framework covers prevention, ascertainment, identification, management and complications of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and the management of diabetes in pregnancy.

The diabetes National Service Framework will be published in 2001. It will set national quality standards and service models for diabetes, and presents an opportunity to define practical, implementable and sustainable standards for the delivery of care, focused on the needs of people with diabetes. It will help us to reduce

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unacceptable variations in care, while improving the overall quality of services. The diabetes National Service Framework will pay particular heed to the needs of those who are disproportionately affected by diabetes, such as people from ethnic minority communities.

General Medical Council

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to increase awareness among the public of the General Medical Council's responsibility for doctors working in private practice. [101339]

Ms Stuart: The Medical Act 1983 provides for the regulation by the General Medical Council of the medical profession in the United Kingdom irrespective of whether practice is undertaken in the National Health Service or privately.

The General Medical Council has made it clear in its publication "A Problem With Your Doctor?" that its powers cover doctors

Crohn's Disease

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the availability of Infliximab for prescription on the NHS for the treatment of Crohn's disease. [101322]

Mr. Denham: A European licence was granted on 13 August 1999 for Remicade, whose active constituent is infliximab, for certain indications. These are: for the treatment of severe, active Crohn's disease in patients who have not responded despite a full and adequate course of therapy with a corticosteroid and/or an immunosuppressant; and for the treatment of fistulising Crohn's disease in patients who have not responded despite a full and adequate course of therapy with conventional treatment.

Departmental Research Contracts

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many research contracts have been let by his Department since May 1997; what is the value of each contract; and in each case whether the contract included (a) a departmental veto over publication of the research results, (b) departmental control over the date of publication of the research results and (c) a requirement that the final research results incorporate departmental amendments. [100150]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 6 December 1999]: Information about individual research contracts could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Details of medical and related research funded or supported by the Department can be found in the National Research Register. This is available in the Library and in most medical libraries on CD Rom, and on the internet:

Copies of model contracts for the Department's Policy Research Programme and the National Health Service research and development programme are in the Library.

The Department actively encourage publication of research it has funded.

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Weights and Measures Act 1985

Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will make a statement on the reasons for the proposed removal of the statutory qualification from the Weights and Measures Act 1985; [100450]

Mr. Byers: As part of the Government's new consumer strategy as set out in the recent White Paper "Modern Markets: Confident Consumers", we have been consulting on the basis of the document "Fair Trade: a consultation document on modernising the law on the sale of goods sold by quantity" on proposals to update and simplify weights and measures law. This includes how the law is enforced.

The consultation document proposed removal of the requirement in the Act for weights and measures inspectors to have a special certificate from the Department of Trade and Industry. Instead, either a general requirement would be placed on local authorities to ensure that those carrying out enforcement functions under the Act had appropriate training, skills and knowledge, paying regard to guidance on training and qualifications in a Code of Practice; or, alternatively I would have power to approve particular qualifications for particular purposes. These proposals have been brought forward as part of a broader examination of consumer protection enforcement (as described in the White Paper), in the light of the range of duties and responsibilities for enforcement in this area.

Both the White Paper and the consultation document referred to were widely distributed to both business and consumer organisations, as well as to enforcement authorities. We have received a number of replies, which are currently being considered. Further consultation is envisage before any final decisions are made.

Ice-cream Industry

Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will make a statement on the arrangements for notification and publication of the Government's response to interested parties on the Competition Commission's inquiry into the ice-cream industry; [100408]

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Mr. Byers: The Competition Commission report on impulse ice cream will be published as soon as practicable. The Department's normal administrative target for publication of monopoly reports is within 10 weeks of receipt of the report.

The Department has received a number of representations in connection with the Competition Commission's investigation of the impulse ice cream market. Those received before the report was delivered to me were forwarded to the Competition Commission. Those received after the report was delivered to me will be taken into account by me at the appropriate time as part of my consideration of the report.

Copies of the report will be laid before Parliament at the same time as it is published. Immediately after publication, interested parties who have requested it will be sent a copy of the Press Notice announcing my decision.

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