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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 9 December 2002]: Applications to become national health service foundation trusts will be invited from acute and specialist NHS trusts that were awarded three stars in the performance ratings announced in July 2002. City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust and Homerton University Hospitals NHS Trusts are eligible to apply.
We will shortly issue a publication that will set out our detailed proposals on establishing NHS foundation trusts. Alongside this, or shortly after publication, we will invite applications to become NHS foundation trusts.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors were seeking locum work (a) in May 1997 and (b) at the latest available date in (i) North Yorkshire, (ii) York and (iii) England. 
Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not currently available. Information on locum doctors working in the hospital, community health service and public health service (HCHS) sectors on 30 September 2002 is currently being analysed and validated and should allow us to show how many locum doctors were working on that date. This information should be available in the new year. However it will not show how many locum doctors in that sector were available for or seeking locum work.
Supplementary lists, compiled by primary care trusts, should allow us to estimate the number of general practitioners seeking work in specified areas. The data is currently being validated and should be available in the new year.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to introduce simplified registration schemes for herbal remedies under the provisions of the amendments made by the European Parliament to the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive. 
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remedies, as would be required under the current proposals. If the scope of the Directive is extended to give member states flexibility to introduce or retain simplified registration arrangements for other categories of traditional medicines we would in principle be open to the use of such flexibility. We would intend to have more detailed discussions with interested parties on this latter issue when the prospects for the amendment proposed by the European Parliament become clearer.
Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the Government are doing to regulate herbal remedies that they estimate could endanger people's health if taken in large enough quantities. 
Ms Blears: Potentially any herbal remedy could put health at risk if taken in sufficient quantity. The proposed Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products is under negotiation in Europe. The current proposals would ensure that traditional herbal remedies registered under the scheme were accompanied by systematic information about dosage and other information relating to the safe use of the product. This contrasts with the current position for unlicensed remedies under Section 12(2) of the Medicines Act 1968 where there are no such specific requirements for information to be given.
Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason respondents to the questionnaire on the HFEA's consultation document, XSex Selection: Choice and responsibility in human reproduction" are asked to identify themselves as Xpro life". 
Ms Blears: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority gave organisations responding to its consultation on sex selection the opportunity to identify themselves as Xpro life" because it is particularly interested in whether such groups would condone sex selection techniques, such as sperm sorting, that do not involve the destruction of embryos.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the procedures are for (a) appointing (i) members and (ii) chairpersons of working groups for the HGC and (b) addressing potential conflicts of interest among HGC working group members and chairpersons. 
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discussions leading to the creation of groups are a matter of public record and can be found in the minutes of HGC and its business committee.
Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on how he intends to implement the recommendations in the joint OGC/CABE report, Improving standards of design in the procurement of public building. 
Mr. Lammy: We support the Office of Government Commerce/Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment report, and our design programme includes action plans to deliver its recommendations including:
Partnering with key design bodies such as the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), The Prince's Foundation, the Kings Fund and others,
Supporting the NHS by developing guidance, publications and training.
Mr. Lammy: The prevention and control of infection is part of the overall risk management within the health care environment. All national health service organisations must ensure that they have effective systems in place to prevent and control health care associated infections and HSG(95)18 provides advice and guidance on the use of laundry practices to reduce the possible risk of infections. There is no central analysis of the role of effective laundry practice in preventing health care associated infections.
Ms Blears: The Pharmaceutical Societies of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have set professional standards and developed comprehensive guidance for pharmacists on the retail supply of emergency hormonal contraception (EHC). Under these guidelines pharmacists are required to deal with the request personally and to use their professional judgment to decide whether the supply is necessary and in the requestor's best interests.
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Ms Blears: The main Government agency for medical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC), which receives its grant in aid from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, via the Office of Science and Technology. Details of 1,611 current projects funded by the MRC can be found www.mrc.ac.uk/index/current-research.
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