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Yvette Cooper [holding answer 31 January 2002]: All imports of products of animal origin, such as meat and dairy products, to the United Kingdom from countries outside of the European Union are subject to harmonised EU import controls. All such imports must enter the UK through designated border inspection posts where they undergo documentary and identity checks and a proportion are subject to physical checks. Food which is not of animal origin, such as fruit and vegetables, from countries outside of the EU is subject to import controls under UK national legislation and is subject to checks on the basis of risk assessment by local port health authorities and local food authorities at the point of entry to the UK.
Food coming to the UK from other EU member states is in free circulation within the EU and is not subject to routine checks at UK ports. Such food can be subject to import checks where there is information to support such action.
The Board of the Food Standards Agency recently approved a report containing a number of proposals aimed at improving the co-ordination of enforcement action on imports and the effectiveness of inspection of import controls. Agency officials are exploring these proposals further and will report back to the board.
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the latest forecasts are of the (a) underspending or ovespending for the present financial year, (b) funding pressures which impact on the 200203 planning round and (c) deficits in the local health economy in each health authority in London submitted to the London regional office. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 31 January 2002]: By the end of this financial year we expect all health authorities to live within their agreed resource limits. Where they require support at year-end, this will be provided principally through brokerage from elsewhere in the national health service. This is normal practice in managing the year end financial position of individual bodies and for the NHS overall.
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 31 January 2002]: The mobile telephone health research (MTHR) programme that has recently been announced follows from the publication of a report in May 2000 by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart FRS, FRSE on "Mobile Phones and Health". Radio signals from handsets were identified as a research priority because local exposures of people using phones are in general appreciably higher than exposures to the whole body from base stations. In both cases, however, exposures need to comply with exposure guidelines.
The first group of proposals agreed for funding by the programme management committee has generally related to the areas of research identified in the Stewart report. Although the main focus of much of the funded research relates to the use of mobile phones, in practice many of the experimental studies will also be valuable in providing evidence on any possible effects on people of exposures to radiofrequency (RF) radiation from base stations. The agreed programme includes a study on exposures from the newer types of base station that are being introduced in urban areas. Details of research now approved for funding are given on the MTHR website at www.mthr.org.uk.
A second call for proposals was issued last year with a deadline for submission of outline proposals of Friday 25 January 2002. The aim of this call was to extend the range of research being carried out in the MTHR programme. One aim of this call was to seek further proposals for volunteer studies that will examine possible effects of RF exposure of people. The proposals have yet to be considered but it is expected that some of the proposals will be of direct relevance to exposures to RF radiation from base stations.
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Ms Blears [holding answer 31 January 2002]: The Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) itself publishes the findings of its independent clinical governance reviews, not my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.
Ms Blears [holding answer 31 January 2002]: No decision has yet been made by Swale Primary Care Group on the provision of out of hours general practitioner services when the current arrangement with Healthcall ends in March.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will undertake a review into the way children's hospices are funded with special reference to the funding regime and level of funding given to adult hospices; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The mechanism for obtaining health service funding is essentially the same for children's and adult hospices. There is a process of negotiation between hospice service providers and the commissioners of health services from areas served by individual hospices.
In some areas, services for children with life threatening illnesses are more developed than in others. Regional offices of the Department are working with health professionals and agencies to review current service provision for children and any gaps in provision with a view to a better strategic fit.
As we develop the National Service Framework for children we will also consider the needs of disabled children, including those whose disability is sadly, of a life threatening nature and for whom respite care at a children's hospice is the option of choice. In the meantime, and within the next two months, the New Opportunities Fund will invite applications for funding for projects in support of children with life threatening illnesses. Children's hospices are eligible to apply.
Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when his departmental budget received the new money for hospices announced in the Chancellor's last Budget; when he (a) intends to and (b) has delivered this to hospices, and in what form; and if he will make a statement; 
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(3) when the new money for hospices announced in the last Budget will be paid directly to hospices. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 1 February 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's last Budget, on 8 March 2001, did not include an announcement of new money for hospices. Funding to increase investment in specialist palliative care was included in the resources to support implementation of the NHS Cancer Plan. The overall increased investment for implementing the Cancer Plan includes an additional £50 million for specialist palliative care by 2004. This investment is intended to help tackle inequalities in access to specialist palliative care and enable the national health service to increase their contribution to the cost hospices incur in providing agreed levels of service. This will mean that NHS investment in specialist palliative services will match that of the voluntary sector.
Mr. Beard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons hospices for children receive less financial support per patient from Government than hospices for adults; and if he will take steps to bring funding for the two into line. 
Yvette Cooper: Children's hospices are a relatively new concept in the overall provision of services for children with life threatening illnesses. In some cases the role they play in local provision is not as well established as that of adult hospices. They need to consult with and establish links with the commissioners of health care provision within their catchment area in order to secure funding.
In order to assist this process, we issued guidance in February 1998, "Evaluation of the Pilot Project Programme for Children with Life Threatening Illnesses" which addresses the range of options available, including hospice care. In addition, regional offices of the Department have been asked to work with health professionals and agencies to identify current service provision and any gaps in this provision, with a view to encouraging a better strategic fit.
As we develop the National Service Framework (NSF) for children we will consider the needs of disabled children, including those whose disability is sadly of a life threatening nature and for whom respite care at a children's hospice is the option of choice. In the meantime, and within the next two months, the New Opportunities Fund will be inviting applications for funding for projects in support of children with life threatening illnesses. Children's hospices are eligible to apply.
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