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Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average period of time is that (a) new patients and (b) patients with existing analogue hearing aids living in (i) the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Primary Care Trust area and (ii) the Medway Primary Care Trust area have to wait before they are fitted with a digital hearing aid after their initial referral for an audiology assessment by their GP. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to limit the number of embryos created through IVF to reduce the amount of embryo wastage; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: During an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment cycle more than one embryo needs to be created if the patient is to have a realistic chance of having a child at the end of the treatment. This is because not all the embryos developed will be of sufficient quality to give the patient a chance of becoming pregnant. Additionally, where good quality embryos are available, only two will be transferred to the patient to limit the risk of a multiple pregnancy. Spare embryos are not automatically allowed to perish as the patient has the option of either storing them for future treatment or donating them for use in the treatment of others or research.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans are in place to stockpile medical consumables for use in the event of a civil or terrorist emergency; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department and national health service is prepared to deal with a variety of incidents. Specifically, developed plans and preparations are in place to handle chemical, biological or radiological (CBRN) incidents, however caused.
The Department has procured and stockpiled medical consumables, including vaccines, antibiotics, antidotes and specialist equipment as part of the response to emergency incidents. Stocks are held at a number of centres throughout England, and there are tried and tested procedures for the rapid deployment of these stocks in emergency situations.
Jane Kennedy: The data is not available in the form requested. Data on prescriptions dispensed in primary care is available. The table shows how much was spent on erythropoietin when it was dispensed in the community over the last three years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many times her Department has been consulted
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(a) formally and (b) informally by (i) hon. Members and (ii) Members of the House of Lords about end of life decision making since 1997. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list each EU country where food irradiation is permitted; what products can be irradiated in each case; what assessment she has made of the irradiation of products from non-EU countries imported into the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: Food irradiation falls into the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) area of responsibility. I am advised by the FSA that all European Union countries permit the irradiation of food, subject to their irradiation facilities obtaining approval from their national competent authority. Although irradiated food is permitted in all EU countries, it does not follow that there are approved food irradiation facilities in each member state. An up-to-date list of approved food irradiation facilities in EU member states is available at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/food/biosafety/irradiation/approved_facilities_en.pdf.
Dried aromatic herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings are currently the only foods that can be irradiated in, and traded freely between, all EU countries. A number of EU countries also permit other categories of food to be irradiated. However, up-to-date information on all the permitted foods in the different member states is not held centrally. In practice, not all permitted foods are in fact irradiated as this depends on the existence of an approved facility for the irradiation of each foodstuff. The European Commission provides annual reports on all food irradiated in practice each year at EU facilities. The most recent information currently available is for the year 2002 at http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/rpt/2004/com2004_0069 en01.pdf.
Irradiated foods imported into the EU from non-EU countries must have been irradiated at facilities approved by the European Union. There are currently five approved facilities outside the EU, three in South Africa, one in Turkey and one in Switzerland. Decisions on the approval of food irradiation facilities in non-EU countries are based on the results of inspections performed by the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission. FVO inspection reports are published at http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/inspections/fi/reports/index_en.html.
All food imported from non-EU countries is subject to food safety controls carried out on the basis of risk assessment by local food authorities at the point of entry into the United Kingdom. As regards irradiated food, food products that do not comply with the Food (Control of Irradiation) Regulations 1990 (as amended) can be refused entry or destroyed.
However, the Department collects information on the percentage of patients who cannot book an appointment more than two days in advance. The information for each of the primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities (SHAs) in London is shown in the table.
|PCT code||SHA code||Organisation name||Percentage|
|Q04||Q04||North West London SHA||0|
|Q05||Q05||North Central London SHA||1.2|
|Q06||Q06||North East London SHA||3.2|
|Q07||Q07||South East London SHA||3.4|
|Q08||Q08||South West London SHA||0|
|5H1||Q04||Hammersmith and Fulham PCT||0|
|5LA||Q04||Kensington and Chelsea PCT||0|
|5C2||Q06||Barking and Dagenham PCT||0|
|5C3||Q06||City and Hackney PCT||7.1|
|5C4||Q06||Tower Hamlets PCT||3.9|
|5M6||Q08||Richmond and Twickenham PCT||0|
|5M7||Q08||Sutton and Merton PCT||0|
Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether haemophilia patients with inhibitors and patients with factor VII (7) deficiency are eligible for treatment with recombinant products; and whether (a) primary care trusts and (b) haemophilia centre directors have been informed accordingly. 
Caroline Flint: All haemophilia patients are now eligible for treatment with recombinant products. This includes patients with inhibitors and patients with factor VII deficiency. The chairman of the United Kingdom Haemophilia Centre Doctors' Organisation wrote to all haemophilia centre directors in England on 10 February 2004 to inform that they should start to make arrangements to treat remaining haemophilia A and B patients with recombinant products from 1 April 2005.
Information has been collected on patients with inhibitors or congenital factor VII deficiency who are eligible for recombinant products, and allocations have
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been made so that these patients are included in this final year of the roll out of recombinant. Due to the difficulty in predicting usage for inhibitor patients, further data will be collected to allow a six month review.
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