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7 Nov 2002 : Column 545Wcontinued
Mr. Hutton: The Department has carried out two surveys of National Health Service use of the independent sector for acute elective care in 20002001. The first survey, begun last October, sought information on actual use in the first half of the year, along with planned use in the second half of that year. Information on actual use in the second half of the year was sought in a further survey begun in August this year. The results of that further survey are now being collated. We will consider the best way to make the findings publicly available once the analysis of the second survey has been completed.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many applications the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has received for stem cell research; and how many have been awarded. 
Ms Blears: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has received nine applications for embryo research aimed at the production of embryonic stem cell lines, five of which have been granted and four are currently under consideration.
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Mr. Hutton: The Regional Director of the Directorate of Health and Social CareLondon has participated in ongoing discussions with the management of the Paddington basin project together with the North West London Strategic Health Authority.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial recompense has been provided to Mr. Eric Sorenson the former project director of the Paddington Health Campus following his resignation on 4 October. 
Mr. Hutton: Eric Sorensen, the former project director of the Paddington Health Campus is still employed by St. Mary's, The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trusts and the Imperial College. As such, the terms of his employment are a matter for these employing organisations.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines have been given to (a) pharmacists and (b) primary care trusts to ensure that biological drugs are kept within recognised safe temperatures during storage and transport to patients. 
Ms Blears: The Medicines Control Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the Department of Health, regulates medicinal products for human use in the United Kingdom on behalf of the UK Licensing Authority.
UK legislation places an obligation on licensed manufacturers, distributors and importers of medicinal products to exercise control over the distribution chain to ensure that the medicinal products are handled, stored and distributed under the necessary conditions to avoid deterioration of the products.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's code of ethics and standards and practice guidance provides guidance to UK registered pharmacists on the storage of medicines under controlled temperatures.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that biological drugs brought into the UK by parallel importers maintain their temperature integrity during transport. 
Ms Blears: United Kingdom legislation places an obligation on licensed distributors and importers of medicinal products to exercise control over the distribution chain, to ensure that the medicinal products are handled, stored and distributed under the necessary conditions to avoid deterioration of the products
Inspectors from the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) inspect parallel importers in the UK at regular intervals. The inspectors review records relating to the maintenance of temperature integrity during transportation of the imported products to ensure that they have not been exposed to unacceptable conditions.
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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to compel pharmaceutical companies who manufacture biological drugs to ensure their delivery to patients maintain the drugs within recognised safe temperatures at all times. 
Ms Blears: United Kingdom legislation places an obligation on licensed manufacturers and wholesale distributors of medicinal products to exercise control over the distribution chain to ensure that the medicinal products are handled, stored and distributed under the necessary conditions to avoid deterioration of the products.
Inspectors from the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) inspect manufacturers and distributors of medicines at regular intervals to ensure that they meet the statutory requirements concerning the maintenance of safe and appropriate storage and transportation temperatures of medicines.
Manufacturers and distributors who fail to comply with statutory requirements may be subject to formal action by the MCA in order to protect public health. This can include suspension or revocation of the manufacturing and/or wholesale distribution authorisations.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) quantity and (b) proportion of patient records are computer-based; and what (i) quantity and (ii) proportion of cancer patient records are computer-based. 
Mr. Hutton: The National Health Service has made significant strides in using information technology to support patient care. Although not individually counted as individual records, the majority of general practitioners have clinical systems containing patient specific information, hospitals have patient administration systems which hold both clinical and demographic information about patients. There are also a number of national applications that support national screening programmes, organ donation and the work of the blood authority.
It is not possible, however, to provide details of the quantity or proportion of cancer patients who have computer based records but the majority will have records in both the primary and secondary care arena which contain information about their specific diagnosis.
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Mr. Hutton: The Department is committed to ensure that older people are never unfairly discriminated and complies with the rules and requirements of the Minister's Rules for Selection, The Civil Service Order Council, Treasury and equal opportunity and employment protection legislation. Ageism is not tolerated within the Department.
The Department is considering how best to implement the recommendations contained in the Government's Winning the Generation Game report, which examines age-related issues such as flexible retirement beyond the normal retiring age of 60.
|Total recruits aged 50 or over||66||9|
|Total recruits aged 50 or over||129||21|
Mr. Hutton: As a member state of the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom contributed to the funding of the EU Eurowinter project, which studied the relation of work related and culture related patterns of cold exposure to large and paradoxical differences in excess winter mortality within Europe. The project was co-ordinated by Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, and reports were published in Lancet on 10 May 1997 and British Medical Journal on 16 September 2000.
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