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Intermediate Care Funding (North Staffordshire)

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the additional £150 million made available recurrently in 2000-01 for investment in intermediate care and related services has been allocated to North Staffordshire Health Authority. [143248]

Yvette Cooper: North Staffordshire received approximately 1 per cent. of the overall amount of £150 million allocated in England.

Imported Meat

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what powers he has to regulate the imports of beef into the United Kingdom from France on safety grounds. [143179]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 18 December 2000]: The Government are advised on matters of food safety by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Beef from France may be imported into the United Kingdom under the rules of the single European market. It must have been produced in accordance with the requirements of the Fresh Meat Directive (Directive 64/433/EEC), and those of Commission Decision 2000/418/EC on specified risk material controls which came into effect on 1 October 2000. The European Commission is currently carrying out inspection missions to all member states to ensure that the European Union specified risk material controls have been fully implemented. In addition, under British law, the Fresh Meat (Beef Controls) (No 2) Regulations 1996, as amended, prohibit the sale for human consumption of beef from any animal aged over 30 months at time of slaughter. These regulations apply to imported as well as to home produced beef, with certain limited exceptions.

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Article 30 of the Treaty of Rome allows member states to impose restrictions on imports on grounds of public health. Where however, the EU has legislated to govern trade in a particular product, as it has done with meat, case law indicates that member states no longer have the power to act unilaterally under Article 30.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what powers the Government have to ban the import of meat on the grounds of risk to human health; [144309]

Ms Stuart: Article 30 of the Treaty of Rome allows member states to impose restrictions on imports on grounds of public health. Where however, the European Union has legislated to govern trade in a particular product, as it has done with meat, case law indicates that member states no longer have the power to act unilaterally under Article 30. There have been no recent changes to these powers.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what prescribing guidance his Department has issued regarding Herceptin. [143537]

Ms Stuart: The Department has not issued specific guidance on the prescribing of Herceptin (trastuzumab).

The product received its marketing authorisation from the European Commission on 28 August 2000. It may be prescribed for National Health Service patients when it is clinically appropriate to do so.

Herceptin is one of 13 cancer drugs which have been referred for appraisal to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. We expect the Institute to report the outcome of its appraisal in summer 2001.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding his Department has made available for newly approved drugs for the treatment of cancer. [143536]

Yvette Cooper: The NHS Plan announced that cancer services will receive an additional £280 million in 2001-02, £407 million in 2002-03 and £570 million by 2003-04. These amounts include funding for any cancer drugs approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence following appraisals.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which health authorities fund the supply of (a) taxanes for use in ovarian cancer, (b) taxanes for use in breast cancer, (c) Ribovarin, (d) Interferon Alpha and (e) Zyban. [143535]

Ms Stuart: We do not hold information centrally on health authority funding of specific medicines or treatments. The Department allocates funds to health authorities for each financial year. It is then for each health authority to decide how best to spend these funds for the benefit of local patients.

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Ms Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence he has received on the need for research into embryonic stem cells to understand how adult stem cells work; what examination his Department has made of this research; who was consulted; and what the outcome was of this examination. [143504]

Yvette Cooper: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 12 December 2000, Official Report, columns 84-85W.


Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the current distinctive curriculum for midwifery training will be preserved through a statutory midwifery committee in the new regulatory framework. [143517]

Mr. Denham: We propose that the new Nursing and Midwifery Council should have a duty to set standards of training for midwifery. The issue of a midwifery committee is among those raised during consultation on our proposals, the results of which we are currently considering.

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Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the mechanisms for updating and monitoring the Midwives Rules and Code of Conduct will be maintained in the new Nursing and Midwifery Council. [143519]

Mr. Denham: Yes, the mechanisms for updating and monitoring the Midwives Rules and Code of Conduct will be maintained in the new Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he will take to ensure that users of maternity services will be involved in decisions taken by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. [143518]

Mr. Denham: We propose that the new Council should have a strong lay membership, and a duty to consult patients and clients, and to treat their welfare as paramount.

EU Health Council

Mr. Jim Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Health Council held in Brussels on 14 December. [143618]

Ms Stuart: I attended the Health Council in Brussels on 14 December with Jane Hutt, Minister for Health and Social Services for the National Assembly for Wales. A summary of the outcome of the meeting is in the table.

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Health Council--14 December 2000

Agenda itemIssueUK positionOutcome
1Adoption of provisional agenda.------
2Adoption of 'A' points.------
3Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council extending certain programmes of Community action in the field of public health adopted by Decisions no. 645/96/EC, no. 646/96/EC, no. 647/96/EC, no. 102/97/EC, no. 1400/97/EC and no. 1296/1999/EC and amending those decisions.To agree the extension of six of the eight public health programmes until the new public health programme is in place. A further two programmes are due to end on 31 December 2003 and so are not included in the proposal.We support the continuation of these programmes for a limited period to avoid any break in continuity in taking forward action in a number of areas. For example, the setting up of communicable diseases networks.The Council voted in favour of the extension of the programmes.
4Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and Council adopting a Community action programme in the field of public health.This proposal was produced by the Commission in July in the context of a Communication on an EU Health Strategy. The Community action programme will replace the eight existing public health programmes. Common position was not reached in time for the Health Council.The UK broadly supports the proposal but Ms Stuart made the following points--that the UK will wish to ensure that the proposal does not try to extend the scope of Community competence and that the UK believes that although stronger co-ordination is needed, this does not require setting up a separate Community structure.There was an orientation debate with member states commenting on the broad principles of the proposal rather than considering the text in detail.
5Council Resolution on health and nutrition.Nutrition was a public health priority for the French Presidency.The UK supports the Resolution. It fits in well with UK domestic priorities.The Resolution was adopted. Jane Hutt welcomed the Resolution on behalf of the UK.
6aReview of regulatory and administrative legislation of the member states on the subject of advertising of tobacco products.The Commission's proposal for a Directive banning tobacco advertising was recently overturned on the grounds of its legal base by the European Court of Justice.The UK has announced proposals for domestic legislation in this area and therefore supports the Directive.Commissioner Byrne announced the Commission's intention to bring forward a new Directive on tobacco advertising which will cover those elements of the previous Directive that the ECJ felt were justified on the grounds of internal market harmonisation.
6bTobacco Labelling Directive.This Directive recasts three existing Internal Market Directives concerning the tar content of cigarettes, oral tobacco and labelling of tobacco products and updates these provisions in the light of recent scientific developments in this field. Common Position was reached at the June Health Council. The text has been undergoing its second reading. Compromise proposals were put forward to the Parliament but no agreement was reached.The UK gave its strong support to the proposed Directive and warmly welcomed the Common Position agreed at the Health Council in June. The Directive complements UK proposed UK domestic legislation well. The UK's response to the Parliament's amendments is being considered.The Parliament voted on the amendments on 13 December and therefore there was not enough time for the Council to agree its position. The text will now be considered under the Swedish Presidency and is likely to go to Conciliation.
6cWHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.The FCTC is WHO's first attempt at using its powers to establish a global treaty. Following a period of information collection, the negotiations began in October. A mandate was agreed to allow the Commission to negotiate in areas of EU competence.The UK supports and is fully participating in the negotiations.Commissioner Byrne commented on the need to revisit the negotiating mandate with a view to incorporating further areas of Community competence (e.g. taxation).
7Council Resolution on paediatric medicines.The Resolution was initiated by the French Presidency. Its aim is to invite the Commission to come forward with proposals which encourage the development of medicines specifically for use in the treatment of children.The UK strongly supports the Resolution, although it recognises that the details of any proposals will need careful consideration. There are, for example, major ethical considerations in conducting trials in children.The Resolution was adopted.
8Action Plan 'e-Europe 2002--An Information Society for all'.The Action Plan, which is now at the implementation stage. It includes a chapter on 'Health on-Line'.DH is generally content with the proposed approach in the health chapter and is liaising closely with DTI colleagues.The Commission gave an oral progress report.
9Clinical Trials progress report.The Directive will establish a legal framework for the conduct of clinical trials in the EU. It will provide safeguards to trial subjects and aid the development of medicines, including for children, across the EU.The UK is very supportive of the Directive.The Council accepted all the amendments approved this week by the European Parliament, thus avoiding conciliation. The Presidency concluded that a qualified majority vote existed in favour of the Directive despite attempts by the Netherlands to have a further debate on specific problems of concern to them.
10aCommunicable diseases: Implementation of the European network for surveillance and rapid reaction.The Community Network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases, including a Rapid Reaction Response, has completed its first year of operation.The UK is committed to the success of the Network, and to the 'network' principle to achieve its objectives.The Commission presented the progress report.
10bCommunicable disease: BSE/Epidemiological situation of CJD.The purpose of this item was to debate a Commission presentation on nCJD trends.UK (Ms Stuart) welcomed the additional measures agreed in Agriculture Council and talked about the UK experience on health and social care for nCJD patients and their familiesThe Commission had circulated the latest figures showing the number of nv CJD cases across member states. The Presidency tabled Council conclusions on further work on nCJD/BSE and the importance of Health Ministers being fully associated with public health issues at a European level, which were agreed.
11aPresentation of new texts by the Commission: Recommendation on Alcohol and the health of Young People.The Recommendation refers to health promotion, education and information measures as well as 'codes of conduct' with the advertising and alcohol industries.The UK broadly supports the Recommendation which will complement the UK's consultation paper on a National Strategy to Tackle Alcohol Misuse due to be published in the new year.The Council noted the Recommendation.
11bBlood Directive proposal.The Directive proposal aims to ensure the safety of the blood transfusion chain by setting high standards of quality and safety for the collection, processing, storage and distribution of whole blood, and blood components.The UK is fully committed to the proposal and played a strong role in getting this Recommendation passed during the UK Presidency in 1998.The Council noted the Directive proposal.
12Any other business: European approach to clinical trials on AIDS research.The paper proposes that the Commission develop ideas on how to improve co-ordination and support for AIDS clinical trials.The UK recognises the need for and the difficulties of establishing European clinical trials in AIDS and other diseases and supports the proposal that the Commission should consider mechanisms for co-ordinating AIDS clinical trials in light of developments on the European Research Area.There was no discussion on this item.

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