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22 Jun 2005 : Column 1116W—continued

Student Midwives

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to issue policy guidance following the ruling in the case of Fletcher v. NHS Pension Agency and the Secretary of State for Health to the NHS Pensions Agency on the subject of payment of bursaries to student midwives during maternity leave. [4653]

Mr. Byrne: We are currently considering the outcome of the employment appeal tribunal. We are committed to operating national health service bursaries in ways that are fair and support students across the range of domestic circumstances, in which they might find themselves.

Telecommunications Masts

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research her Department has examined on the effect of mobile phone masts on brain waves; and if she will make a statement. [5494]

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Caroline Flint: There has been very little work regarding the effects of the radiofrequency signals from mobile phone base stations on the electrical activity of the brain as these exposures are very small; usually many thousands of times below human exposure guideline values. Research in this area has therefore focused on the effects of exposure from the fields associated with mobile phone handsets. Exposure measurements around base stations are available on the websites of the Health Protection Agency at and Ofcom at

The research on health effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields was comprehensively reviewed by the independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation in 2003. The review concluded that:

Nevertheless, in view of the recommended precautionary approach to the use of these technologies, the mobile telecommunications and health research programme in the United Kingdom, funded jointly by the Government and the mobile phone industry, is supporting a study examining if signals from handsets may affect brain wave activity in volunteers under rigorous experimental conditions. The results of the study are expected to be published in due course.

Trauma Centre Status

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what services hospitals must be able to provide in order to obtain trauma centre status. [811]

Mr. Byrne: There is no nationally set definition of a 'trauma centre' in England. It is for local providers of health care services, in conjunction with their commissioners and clinicians, to determine the most appropriate range and size of those supporting services needed to support seriously injured or wounded patients.
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Travel Inoculations

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to review charges for necessary travel inoculations. [5385]

Mr. Byrne: Government policy for travel vaccination charges was reviewed during negotiations for the new General Medical Service contract, introduced in April 2004. There are no further plans to review the present arrangements.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will make a statement on the impact of the Working Time Directive on West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust; [3993]

(2) what assessment she has made of the likely impact of the Article III-278 (7) of the EU Constitution on EU regulations on Working Time in Hospitals, with particular reference to West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust. [3992]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Implementation of the Working Time Directive is a local national health service matter. The vast majority of trusts achieved compliance across all specialties by 1 August 2004, although a small number of trusts experienced teething problems in a limited number of specialties.

If the proposed constitution were adopted and came into force, regulations made under the current treaty would remain valid and the United Kingdom would need to implement them, unless the regulations were amended in the meantime.



Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to answer the letter to him dated 15 March from the right hon. Member for Manchester Gorton with regard to Mr. Chris Siddiqi. [6172]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 27 April 2005.