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21 Jul 2005 : Column 2183W—continued


John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what proportion of respondents to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency consultation exercise regarding the recent proposal to reclassify Simvastatin were in favour of the proposal; [12152]

(2) if she will assess the quality of the presentation of the outcome of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency's consultation on the reclassification of Simvastatin to (a) the Expert Advisory Committee on Safety of Medicines and (b) Ministers; [12151]

(3) if she will amend the letter sent by her Department to the Health Select Committee in response to questions raised at its meeting on 3 February 2005 regarding the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency's consultation document (ARM 18) with particular reference to the proportion of respondents supporting the re-classification of Simvastatin. [13340]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 19 July 2005]: The consultation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the proposed reclassification of Simvastatin 10 milligrams as an over-the-counter medicine elicited 100 responses. About one third were supportive of the proposal, one third opposed and one third were not opposed but raised issues. This was the position put to the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), which also had access to the full responses when giving its advice. The consultation raised no issues not already considered by the CSM when its advice to consult was formulated.

An error in the summary placed on the MHRA's website following the announcement of the decision to allow Simvastatin 10 milligrams to be sold in pharmacies had no bearing on the robustness of the deliberations of the CSM. The outcome of consultation was properly presented to the CSM and to Health Ministers. In light of this, no further assessment would be appropriate.

The error did not come to light until after the evidence sessions of the Health Select Committee's inquiry into the influence of the pharmaceutical industry were complete. The MHRA has written to the Clerk of the Health Select Committee to draw attention to the reference made in an annexe to a letter to the Committee, following the evidence session on 3 February 2005. The annexe referred to the report of the outcome of the consultation displayed on the MHRA website. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library.

To ensure complete transparency, the MHRA now publishes the responses to all consultations on wider availability of medicines—most recently for chloramphenicol eye drops—electronically or summarised on the MHRA's website.
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Supervised Practice Placements

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many supervised practice placements for nurses have been offered within the NHS in each year since 1997; and what plans she has to increase the number of supervised practice placements within the NHS. [12609]

Mr. Byrne: Figures of the numbers of supervised practice placements offered within the national health service are not collected centrally. Local resource planning is the responsibility of NHS trusts and strategic health authorities.

Waiting Lists/Times

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for accident and emergency cases in hospitals was in each year since 1990. [5392]

Mr. Byrne: Information is not collected on the average waiting time in accident and emergency (A and E) departments. Information on the total time patients spend in A and E departments from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge is collected each quarter from national health service trusts and is available on the Department's website at:


African Child Immigrants

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children from Angola entering the UK have been returned to Angola in each of the last five years. [12803]

Mr. McNulty: The exact information requested is not available.

Information on the destination of people removed from the UK has only been available since January 2004. From 1 January 2004 until 31 December 2004, a total of 20 Angolan asylum seekers under the age of 18 were removed to Angola. All of these people were dependants of asylum applicants. This figure has been rounded to the nearest five.

Information on non-asylum removals for 2004 will be published in August 2005, and will be available from the Home Office website at:

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been prosecuted in England and Wales for (a) murder of, (b) manslaughter of and (c) cruelty to children in the UK who have come from Africa in each of the last five years. [12805]

Hazel Blears: It is not possible to identify those defendants on the Home Office Court Proceedings database prosecuted for murder, manslaughter or cruelty to children from a particular country or region and details of victims are not centrally collected.
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Amyl Nitrates

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Department has to prohibit the sale of amyl nitrates in nightclubs. [12954]

Paul Goggins: The amyl nitrites (poppers) are regulated as a Prescription Only Medicine under the Medicines Act 1968. Their sale in nightclubs is therefore prohibited. Poppers are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has considered whether they should be controlled and concluded that they did not give rise to a social problem justifying their control. There are health risks attached to using poppers, particularly for those with chest or heart problems, anaemia or glaucoma. They should never be used.

The Department of Health has published two guidance leaflets specifically aimed at young people giving advice about the use and side effects of a number of drugs, including poppers. Further information on amyl nitrate can also be found on the FRANK website.

Assaults (Race/Religion)

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has evaluated on trends in the number of people attacked for (a) religious and (b) racial reasons; and if he will make a statement. [8062]

Paul Goggins: The British Crime Survey (BCS) includes information in relation to racially motivated victimisation incidents, and will from this year additionally cover religious motivation. Latest findings, based on the 2003–04 BCS, are in chapter 3 of Statistics on race and the criminal justice system 2004; previous data are contained in Home Office Findings 237, July 2004 (for 2002–03) and Home Office Research Study 223, October 2001 (trends up to 2000).

Asylum Seekers

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are used to decide whether an asylum seeker or immigration detainee in Northern Ireland is (a) granted temporary admission to reside in Northern Ireland, (b) detained in Maghaberry Prison, Crumlin Road Detention Unit or Hydebank Younger Offender's Centre and (c) transferred to immigration removal centres in Great Britain. [13951]

Mr. McNulty: Immigration detention is usually appropriate in order to effect removal, to establish the basis of a person's claim or identity, where there are grounds for believing that the person will not abide by any conditions attached to the grant of temporary admission or release or as part of the fast track asylum procedures. The decision on whether detention is necessary is made on a case by case basis and in all cases there is a presumption in favour of temporary admission or release.
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If detention is appropriate for an individual in Northern Ireland this will initially take place at either the Working Out Unit in Belfast or at Hydebank Young Offenders Centre. However, there is a presumption in favour of transfer to an Immigration Service removal centre in Britain unless the individual concerned chooses to remain in Northern Ireland.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are used to decide whether a Northern Ireland based (a) asylum seeker and (b) other immigration detainee should be detained in (i)Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre and (ii) other immigration removal centres in Great Britain. [13952]

Mr. McNulty: The detention location for any detainee is decided on a case by case basis after an individual risk assessment which takes into account the particular security and welfare requirements of the detainee in question.

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