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1 Nov 2005 : Column 951W—continued

Departmental Energy Consumption

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much energy has been consumed by his Department in each of the last five years; and how much was spent on energy in each year. [22461]

Mr. Straw: The energy consumption in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) UK estate (including Wilton Park) in the last five years is:

Energy consumption

The cost of energy consumed in the FCO UK estate (including Wilton Park) in the last five years is:

Energy consumed

The FCO has recently committed to a series of projects, valued at approximately £250,000, designed to make the estate more energy efficient. This will reduce energy consumption from 2006–07, and reduce expenditure on energy in real terms. Effective payback for the project is expected within three years.

The overseas estate figures have been excluded as the estate is extremely diverse and widespread. As a consequence collating such information could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.
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Holy See

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when and in which publications the post of Ambassador to the Holy See will be advertised. [22300]

Mr. Straw: The post of Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Holy See was advertised in the following publications:

This recruitment campaign has now closed. We expect to make an announcement concerning the appointment of the new Ambassador to the Holy See in due course.

Queen's Speech

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which occasions over the past 30 years a state visit has not been referred to in the Queen's Speech prior to the visit; and if he will make a statement. [22229]

Mr. Straw: On one occasion the State Visit by the Chinese President Hu Jintao which will take place between November 8 and 10. The visit was not announced in Her Majesty the Queen's Speech last May as the possibility of the visit was still under discussion and dates had not been agreed. There are no such other examples in recent years of which I am aware.

Raul Fernandes

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reasons for Raul Fernandes dismissal from his employment at the British embassy in Dubai on 5 March 2002. [19370]

Mr. Straw: Mr Fernandes is in dispute with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about events relating to his dismissal from the British embassy in Dubai on 5 March 2002. We cannot comment on the case pending the outcome of current legal proceedings.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on commercial prostitution in the camps in Darfur. [22486]

Ian Pearson: There are anecdotal reports that commercial sex is on the rise within the camps for internally displaced persons in Darfur. However, at present, there is little verifiable evidence of this practice. A number of agencies in the humanitarian community are trying to gain more understanding on what seems to
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be a growing spread of illegal activities in the camps, including prostitution, and of the tolerance of the local authorities to this problem.

We have made clear that all humanitarian staff of the UN and non-governmental organisations in Darfur should commit to the principles of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee's code of conduct on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

UK Presidency

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement
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on progress on reform of the European Union institutions under the UK presidency of the European Union. [23254]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear, the Government have focussed during the UK presidency of the EU on taking forward a wider debate about the future direction of the EU rather than looking once again at their institutional architecture. The Informal Summit at Hampton Court has helped the EU to find new ways to meet the challenge of globalisation better. In that context the UK will continue to advocate positive reforms of the EU institutions where necessary.
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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps the Government are taking to ensure that complementary allergy practitioners are properly (a) regulated and (b) inspected; and if she will make a statement; [19712]

(2) what steps the Government have taken to ensure parents and legal guardians are appropriately trained and informed on how EpiPens should be used; and if she will make a statement; [19713]

(3) what research the Government have commissioned on changes in numbers of allergy sufferers in the last five years; [19752]

(4) what steps she is taking to improve the level of (a) training in and (b) awareness of allergies of health professionals who work in (i) primary and (ii) secondary health care; and if she will make a statement; [19761]

(5) what steps she is taking to improve (a) access to and (b) information about specialist allergy treatment; and if she will make a statement. [19764]

Mr. Byrne: Primary care trusts, in partnership with local stakeholders, are responsible for determining which health services their local population requires and ensuring the provision of these services.

In its response to the Health Select Committee on the provision of allergy services, the Government undertook to carry out a review of the available data and research on the epidemiology of allergic conditions, the demand for and provision of treatment and the effectiveness of relevant interventions. This review, which is being overseen by the chief medical officer and is due to report by June 2006, will inform decisions about what steps could be taken to address any service gaps and pressures that are revealed by the review.

The Government recognise that one of the key determinants of the quality of patient care is that health professionals have an appropriate level of skills and knowledge. Addressing the training needs of health professionals is, however, the responsibility of the appropriate regulatory bodies. They set standards for the pre-registration training of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, approve the education institutions that provide the training and determine the curricula.

Post-registration training needs for national health service staff are decided against local NHS priorities, through appraisal processes and training needs analyses informed by local delivery plans and the needs of the service. Local authorities and health service providers decide how best to provide services to meet the needs of the individuals.

We have not commissioned research into the rise in incidence of allergic conditions. The independent allergy charity, Allergy UK, estimates that allergic
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conditions affects approximately one in four of the United Kingdom population at some time in their lives, with the numbers affected increasing by five per cent. each year.

The Government place great importance on protecting the public from potentially unsafe practitioners, and intends to take forward statutory regulation of herbal medicine and acupuncture. We encourage other currently unregulated complementary practitioners to develop their own unified systems of voluntary self-regulation. The Department have awarded a grant of £900,000 over the next three years to the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health to work with a range of complementary health care professions to develop a voluntary self-regulation scheme.

Responsibility for educating parents and legal guardians in the use EpiPens rests with prescribing health professional. Doctors, pharmacists and other health care professionals should support parents and carers in providing information about medicines and promoting the use of information resources such as

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