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4 Dec 2003 : Column 172Wcontinued
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs upon what evidence the claims that foreign fighters are operating in Iraq were made; how many he estimates are involved; what their countries of origin are; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rammell: We have received reports that foreign fighters from a range of countries are operating in Iraq. The Government have urged Iraq's neighbours to tighten up security and border controls to deny terrorists access to Iraq. I am withholding details of the Government's estimate of the number of foreign terrorists in Iraq under Exemptions 1 and 2 of Part 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the average (a) level and (b) number of hours of supply of electricity to the Shi'a population of Iraq (i) before and (ii) after the conflict. 
Information on electricity supplies in Iraq is not collected on the basis of religious or ethnic groupings. The power system in southern and central Iraq particularly has suffered from a lack of maintenance over many years and since the conflict has suffered looting and sabotage. Nevertheless, good progress has been made with the restoration of power supplies so far. Power capacity in Iraq peaked in early October 2003 at 4,518MW, surpassing the pre-war level of 4,400MW. This peak level has been temporarily reduced to allow necessary long-term repairs and planned maintenance to take place.
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The majority of the Shi'a population are located in the South of the country and supply levels in Basrah are now generally equalling or exceeding the pre-conflict supply levels of approximately 20 hours per day. DFID is currently supporting an Emergency Infrastructure Project in the South, which is further strengthening the power supplies to key installations. This $30 million project forms part of a wider Essential Infrastructure Programme (totalling $127 million), which is being managed by the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contacts with organisations representing people in Somalia are maintained by his Department; and what visits have been made by members of his Department to Somalia in the past year. 
Mr. Mullin: My officials meet regularly with members of the Somali Diaspora and with key Somali figures visiting the UK. Our ambassador in Addis Ababa and other UK officials visited Somaliland most recently on 10 to 14 November 2003.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have been held with (a) the Administration of Somaliland and (b) the Organisation of African Unity concerning future recognition by the UK. 
Mr. Mullin: I have met with Mrs. Edna Adan, foreign affairs spokesperson for the Somaliland authorities, and expressed the hope that a mutually acceptable solution on the future status of Somaliland can be agreed between Somaliland and the south.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of dissolving the Western European Union; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: The Council of the Western European Union at Marseille in November 2000 agreed on a number of measures "designed to address the consequences for the WEU of the changes under way", particularly the evolution of ESDP. This included putting into place residual functions and structures for the WEU. There have been no decisions to dissolve the WEU. The focus of EU Partners and NATO Allies has been primarily on strengthening European security arrangements through ESDP and the NATO/EU
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Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have been held with the governments of (a) Morocco and (b) the United Nations concerning resolution of the problems faced by the Saharwi people. 
British officials in Morocco. Algeria and at the United Nations in New York have, in recent months, held discussions on this issue with the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Western Sahara, Mr. Alvaro de Soto.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The responsibility for assessing future demand of specialised services such as proton therapy at the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology lies with primary care trusts. The commissioning and assessment demand arrangements around the country differ. Patients come from all over the country to receive proton therapy at the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, and in 200304, the number receiving treatment will be in the region of 80. This includes a very small number of patients who are treated privately.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nursing care (a) homes and (b) beds there were in the Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire health authority area in each year since 2001. 
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Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) residential care homes and (b) nursing home places were available in West Derbyshire in each year since 1997, broken down into places available at (i) local authority-run homes, (ii) independent private homes and (iii) homes run by independent charities and other not-for-profit organisations. 
|Residential homes(36)||Nursing homes(37)|
|At 31 March||Local Authority||Private||Voluntary||Small||Independent|
1. In 1997 this covers Derbyshire local authority. From 1998 onwards Derbyshire local authority re-organised into Derby City and Derbyshire local authorities.
2. Includes North Derbyshire and South Derbyshire health authorities.
3. Independent registered care homes with less than four places.
KO36, RA and RH(N)
(3) what checks will be carried out by pharmacists dispensing over-the-counter statins; 
(4) what assessment he has made of the number of lives likely to be saved each year through over-the-counter availability of statins. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: No assessment is routinely made by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the workload of community pharmacists when the legal status of a product is changed from a prescription only medicine to a
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pharmacy only medicine, nor when a product changes from a pharmacy only medicine to general sale list availability.
The consultation document (ARM 18) on a proposal to allow simvastatin 10mg to be available over the counter through pharmacies rather than on a prescription has been distributed widely, including to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) and the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA). All pharmacists have been made aware of the consultation exercise via the Pharmaceutical Journal, which directed pharmacists to the consultation document displayed on the MHRA's website. At the end of the consultation period, the responses received will be considered by the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) which will advise Ministers.
The applicant company for the proposal to supply simvastatin 10mg over the counter is proposing to conduct a pre-launch pilot study in a number of pharmacies to test the feasibility of the pharmacy protocol. This will provide valuable information about the supply of the product, will highlight areas for improvement and will test the overall feasibility of pharmacy availability. The proposed protocol, including a questionnaire, will be introduced for first time purchasers of simvastatin 10mg to be completed at the start of the supply process. It is proposed that the questionnaire focuses initially on age and then where appropriate, other risk factors for Coronary heart Disease (CHD) i.e. age (if below 55), family history, smoking, ethnicity, obesity. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, the pharmacist will be able to identify individuals for whom simvastatin 10mg would be suitable. An education and training package is being developed to support the pharmacist in the sale and supply of simvastatin lOmg. Pharmacy bodies including the RPSGB, the NPA and the Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education (CPPE) are being consulted on this material.
The RPSGB's code of ethics and standards sets out the professional standards all pharmacists are expected to follow when dispensing medicines against a prescription or when selling pharmacy medicines. The code is published as part of the Society's Medicines, Ethics and Practice, A Guide for Pharmacists which is available on its website at www.rpsgb.org.uk.
Pharmacists will be able to offer cholesterol testing to people who choose to take up this option. The CSM has advised that it is beneficial to reduce cholesterol levels regardless of the starting level of cholesterol. The safety profile of statins at a low dose is such that CSM advised that there is no need for routine liver function tests once treatment has started.
The number of lives likely to be saved each year through over-the-counter availability of statins will depend on the level of take up of the product that would not otherwise be available on prescription. Individual risk reduction could be by as much as a third after three years of treatment.
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