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20 Mar 2007 : Column 845Wcontinued
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to her counterparts in (a) Japan, (b) Norway and (c) Iceland on full-scale commercial whaling; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: I have made no representations to my counterparts in Japan, Norway and Iceland.
The departmental lead on this subject lies with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Officials from DEFRA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are in daily contact regarding whaling, and work in tandem to lobby governments and to publicise the need for whale conservation.
UK officials at the International Whaling Commission meeting in June 2006 were at the forefront of the opposition to Japan's unsuccessful attempts to overturn the international moratorium on commercial whaling. In December 2006, the UK joined a demarche of 27 countries requesting Japan to reconsider its planned whaling programme for 2007.
The UK has consistently opposed Norways commercial whaling programme. In April 2006, the UK led a demarche against Norways announcement of a record increase in the number of North Atlantic minke whales they planned to catch last year. As it transpired, Norway only caught 546 of its planned catch of 1,052.
The UK led the international condemnation of Icelands decision to resume commercial whaling. In November 2006, our British ambassador in Reykjavik led a demarche of 25 countries plus the European Commission, making clear the extreme disappointment felt by those parties at Iceland's decision, and urging Iceland to abandon its current operations. My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare (Mr. Bradshaw), summoned the Icelandic ambassador to protest in the strongest possible terms against Icelands activities.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the detention of Morgan Tsvangirai and other figures from the Movement for Democratic Change by the Zimbabwean government; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: Our ambassador in Harare and officials from the embassy, together with other members of the diplomatic community, have sought access to those detained following the violent suppression of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting on 11 March, as well as visiting the hospitals where the injured are being treated, and reported back on the horrific torture some of those have been subject too, including opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, have already made clear in their statements, we utterly condemn the violent and unwarranted action taken by the Government of Zimbabwe on 11 March and hold Mugabe and his government responsible for the safety of all those detained. The Zimbabwean ambassador was called into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 13 March to hear the UKs condemnation at first hand, and we have met leaders of Zimbabwes trade unions to express support for their civil rights. We have urged the Zimbabwe authorities to allow all those still detained access to legal advice and all necessary medical care, and to arrange for their immediate release.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with counterparts within the United Nations Security Council of the implications of the situation in Zimbabwe for international peace and security. 
Mr. McCartney: We keep in touch with members of the UN Security Council about the situation in Zimbabwe, and encourage the UN to stay focused on all aspects of the appalling conditions in Zimbabwe. We welcome the UN Secretary-General's condemnation of the recent arrest and beating of legitimate protestors in Zimbabwe, and the 13 March statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Commonwealth Secretariat on measures to engage with (a) government and (b) civil society groups in Zimbabwe on resolving the situation in that country. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary briefed the Commonwealth Secretary-General on 30 January about the situation in the country. However, Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in December 2003 and there is currently no formal engagement between the two. Before Zimbabwe can rejoin and enjoy the support of the Commonwealth, it will need to satisfy all Commonwealth members it is meeting the basic human rights and governance principles as set out in the Harare Commonwealth declaration. As the dire current situation in Zimbabwe clearly demonstrates, it is a long way from doing so.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been received from South Africa on a joint strategy with the EU for resolving the situation in Zimbabwe. 
Mr. McCartney: None. However, there have been regular discussions between the UK and South Africa about the appalling situation in Zimbabwe.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will hold discussions with (a) the South African Development Community and (b) EU member states on (i) the use of incentives and disincentives in support of a co-ordinated international strategy on the situation in Zimbabwe and (ii) development of a new constitution, repeal of repressive laws and holding of internationally supervised presidential and parliamentary elections. 
Mr. McCartney: The EU Common Position was renewed in February. It consists of targeted measures applied in response to the human rights abuses committed by the Government of Zimbabwe. We will continue to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe with EU partners in Harare and Brussels. Zimbabwe is a regular subject in the EU's dialogue with the South African Development Community (SADC) and with individual SADC members. However, the SADC has shown no desire to engage with the EU in a co-ordinated international strategy of the kind suggested by the hon. Member. We and the EU will continue to raise the issues with them.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will seek discussions with the South African Development Community on (a) a joint strategy on timelines and benchmarks to be met by Zimbabwean authorities in restoring and implementing a democratic process and (b) negotiations towards an exit strategy. 
Mr. McCartney: We have encouraged South African Development Community (SADC) member states and in particular members of the SADC troika, (Lesotho, Botswana and Zambia) to urge the Government of Zimbabwe to undertake the wide-ranging political and economic reform to address the current crisis, so as to avoid further violence and economic collapse. We have intensified these contacts in recent days.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many diagnostic scans were performed through the contract with Alliance Medical in each region in each year since it began; and what proportion this represents of scans agreed in the contract. 
Andy Burnham: The information is not available in the format requested. The total number of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans performed through the contract with Alliance Medical to the end of January 2007 was 214,000. The contract, which is for a period of five years, is for 606,000 MRI scans in total.
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations her Department received on the establishment of a local improvement finance trust within the area of the Bedfordshire Primary Care Trust; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: The Department have received no representations from Bedfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) about the establishment of their NHS local improvement finance trust (LIFT). Bedfordshire PCT, with their public sector partners, are progressing with establishing their LIFT company. They have selected their preferred partner and are working towards financial close.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will make international normalised ratio blood testing a requirement under the GP contract; 
(2) what estimate she has made of the number of GP practices which have ceased international normalised ratio blood testing following the introduction of the new GP contract; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) if she will take steps to ensure that the international normalised ratio blood tests are available from GPs; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: International normalised ratio blood testing is currently delivered in general practice as part of the national enhanced service which primary care trusts (PCTs) are able to commission as a more specialised service. As these services are commissioned locally by individual PCTs, we have no central information on the number of general practitioner practices providing this service.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many breast cancer treatments have been recommended for use by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence since its creation. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has positively appraised the following treatments for breast cancer:
Capecitabine for locally advanced and metastatic breast cancer
Docetaxel for early and advanced breast cancer
Gemcitabine for metastatic breast cancer
Hormonal treatments (anastrozole, exemestane and letrozole) for early breast cancer
Paclitaxel for advanced breast cancer
Trastuzumab for early and advanced breast cancer
Vinorelbine for advanced breast cancer
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she has (a) received and (b) considered the Report by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances into the value of breast cancer screening of over 70s; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
The report into the evidence of extending breast screening to women aged over 70 as part of the national health service breast screening programme was commissioned by the Department's
policy research programme on behalf of the Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer Screening (ACBCS).
The final report is currently being peer reviewed. Once the peer review process is complete the report and peer review comments will be considered by the ACBCS. They will make a judgment as to whether the report provides sufficiently robust evidence to support screening women over 70 or whether further work is necessary. They will advise Ministers as appropriate.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients have been screened under the bowel cancer screening programme, broken down by centre; how many people within the target 60 to 69 age group it is estimated have yet to be screened at each centre; and what the timetable is for completing the first screening within the target age group; 
(2) what plans she has to publish an assessment of the bowel cancer screening programme; 
(3) when each centre began screening for bowel cancer; 
(4) if she will introduce a screening programme for bowel cancer for everyone over 50 years of age. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is in the table.
As at 19 February 2007, 52 per cent. of men and women had returned their testing kits. This figure is likely to rise as kits are being sent out all the time and there is a time lag between people receiving and returning the kits.
Local screening centres cover populations of around 500,000 people. Men and women in their 60s in these populations are invited to be screened on a general practitioner practice basis over a two year period. For each two year screening round we would expect each local screening centre to invite 50,000 people for screening. It is estimated that full national roll-out of the programme in England will be achieved by December 2009. All eligible men and women will therefore have been invited for screening by December 2011.
The national health service bowel cancer screening programme is in the relatively early stages of roll-out. We will consider publishing an assessment of the programme when roll-out is more complete.
The bowel cancer screening programme is beginning by inviting men and women aged 60 to 69 to be screened as the risk of bowel cancer increases with age, with over 80 per cent. of bowel cancers arising in people who are 60 or over. The successful NHS pilot study also showed that men and women in their 60s were more likely to take up their invitations for screening than men and women in their 50s. Within the programme men and women aged 70 and over are able to self-refer for screening every two years.
When we have rolled out the programme to the whole of England, we will make an assessment of whatever next steps may be required, including looking at the age range.
|National health service bowel cancer screening programmeactivity to 19 February 2007|
|Programme hub||Local screening centre||Invitations sent out to 60 to 69-year -olds||People aged 70 and over self- referring for screening||Total|
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