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10 July 2007 : Column 1446Wcontinued
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) in which aspects of his Departments policy-making his Department has recognised weaknesses, as stated on page 22 of the Cabinet Offices Capability Review of the Department of Health, published on 22 June 2007; 
(2) in which areas the quality of briefing to Ministers has been diminished as a result of weaknesses in the Departments policy-making, as stated on page 22 of the Capability Review of the Department, published on 22 June 2007; 
(3) which parts of his Department are not confident in the use of (a) economic and social analysis and (b) evidence to support policy-making, as stated on page 21 of the Capability Review of the Department, published on 22 June 2007. 
Dawn Primarolo: The purpose of departmental Capability Reviews is to use honest and robust assessments of future capabilities to identify the specific measures that are needed if central Government Departments are to play their part in enabling the United Kingdom to meet the considerable challenges of the future.
The Cabinet Offices Capability Review of the Department was based on evidence from the Department itself, interviews and meetings with a wide range of external stakeholders, as well as a cross-section of departmental staff. The judgments reflect a considered overall view of the Department, and the permanent secretaries have welcomed the report as a timely and valuable assessment of the Department as a whole, and the challenges it faces, including challenges in the area of policy-making. However neither this nor any other review was designed to provide a comprehensive picture of the particular strengths and weaknesses of individual parts of departments and their work.
The report describes the aspects of policy-making that are not consistently strong. The Department is already taking action on these. Better policy-making, the Departments plans for a system of policy governance to improve policy-making capability across the organisation, was published in April 2007. In addition, the Departments analytical capability has been relocated from central teams to individual policy directorates to improve the use of evidence in policy-making, and a horizon scanning capability is being established to bolster the Departments ability to predict future trends in healthcare.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government is taking to assist the governments of Jersey and Guernsey in the implementation of the European Union legislation relating to food supplements, nutrition and health claims made on food and the current medicine directives. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, the Food Supplements Directive and the Medicines Directive remove barriers to the free movement of goods within the European Union by regulating content, sale and labelling of products. Jersey and Guernsey are not part of the European Union (EU), instead they have a relationship with the EU provided by Protocol 3 of the United Kingdoms Treaty of Accession to the European Community. Discussions on exactly how the requirements of these Directives apply to the Channel Islands are continuing between the UK and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is supporting the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in
their communications with the Channel Islands over these directives, and has had correspondence with the Chief Executive of Guernsey on this issue. The MHRA will give advice and assistance as requested by the Bailiwicks to implement Medicines Directives. The FSA will give advice and assistance as requested by the Bailiwicks to implement the Food Supplements Directive and the Nutritional and Health Claims Directive.
The FSA, MHRA and MoJ have met with the Health Food Manufacturers Association to discuss issues relating to the trade in food supplements and unlicensed medicinal products via the Channel Islands. Further information has been requested from the industry association to assist in discussions with the island governments.
The MHRAs response to the consultation by the Bailiwick of Guernsey on its draft medicines legislation said that the proposed legislation did not implement the Medicines Directive; it offered assistance to the Bailiwick of Guernsey in implementing the Directive and asked for the Bailiwicks proposed timescale.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to prevent older people suffering from malnutrition in hospital. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 9 July 2007]: As part of the Dignity in Care campaign, which has initially focused on the care needs of older people, I held a Nutrition Summit in March 2007, which was attended by leading charities, clinicians, nutrition experts and care home representatives. At that event, I announced that we would be working to produce a joint departmental and stakeholder Nutrition Action Plan to tackle the issues of nutrition and nutritional care. The action plan is being developed and applies to all adults. It is planned to be published this summer.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding her Department made available to (a) the Food Standards Agency and (b) other bodies for the purposes of conducting agricultural biotechnology research in each of the last 10 years. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 28 June 2007]: The Department has provided no money to the Food Standards Agency, or any other body, for the purposes of conducting agricultural biotechnology research.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average annual cost is of treating a patient with (a) HIV and (b) tuberculosis. 
Dawn Primarolo: Data on the costs associated with the treatment of HIV and TB, either by case or in total, are not routinely collected. Costs of treating people with HIV vary depending on the severity of symptoms and level of immune suppression.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the change in the cost of in-vitro fertilisation treatment in the (a) NHS and (b) private sector arising from the introduction of the current regulatory regime. 
Dawn Primarolo: The provision of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, in the national health service and the independent sector, has been regulated under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 since 1 August 1991. No assessment has been made of the changes to the cost of IVF following the introduction of the Act.
On 5 July 2007, the Act was amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Quality and Safety) Regulations 2007, to bring the provisions of the European Union directive on the safety and quality of human tissues and cells for human application fully into force in respect of gametes and embryos. The regulations require establishments providing IVF to meet environmental and practice standards intended to ensure that only safe, high quality tissue is used in a patient's treatment.
While many of the provisions in the directive mirrored existing requirements in the 1990 Act and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's code of practice, IVF clinics are likely to incur some costs in meeting the standards, although costs are likely to vary significantly between establishments. The regulatory impact assessment (RIA), prepared for the implementation of the directive, commented on potential costs to the fertility sector of complying with the standards. A copy of the RIA is available in the Library.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ask the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to assess the benefits of prescribing Dasatinib (Sprycel) for chronic myeloid leukaemia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he intends to refer Dasatinib, a drug for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia, to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to seek its approval. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 3 July 2007]: Dasatinib (Sprycel) is licensed for the treatment of adults with chronic, accelerated or blast phase chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) with resistance or intolerance to prior therapy including imatinib. Dasatinib is also licensed for the treatment of adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and lymphoid blast CML with resistance or intolerance to prior therapy. The Department has no plans to refer Dasatinib to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for appraisal at this time but the drug may be considered for referral to NICE in the future.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is being provided for research into photodynamic therapy. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds research to provide the evidence needed to underpin quality improvement and service development in the national health service and through its health technology assessment programme is investing £1 million in a study to gather evidence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of photodynamic therapy for people with age-related macular degeneration.
In addition, two of the NIHR biomedical research centres (BRCs) established this year will be undertaking research concerned with the use of photodynamic therapy. At the University College London hospitals BRC the research will form part of a gastroenterology and hepatology research theme to which £5 million has been allocated over five years. At the Moorfields Eye hospital BRC it will be part of programme of research to do with age-related macular degeneration to which £2.9 million has been allocated over five years.
The Department is also providing NHS support for two trials of photodynamic therapy for biliary tract cancers through the NIHR Cancer Research Network, and for two trials of photodynamic therapy for cancer of the gullet (oesophagus) through the joint Cancer Research UK/NIHR Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre at University College Hospital London.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies though which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
The MRC has in the last six years funded two studies relating to photodynamic therapy at a total cost of £300,000.
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to reply to the letter of 29 May from the hon. Member for Walsall North concerning a constituent (ref PO213931). 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 5 July 2007]: The reply was sent on 5 July 2007.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what reports he has received of MRSA infection in UK-produced meat; 
(2) what tests are carried out on imported meat to identify MRSA infection; 
(3) what tests are carried out on UK-produced meat to identify MRSA infection. 
[holding answer 9 July 2007]: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has received no reports of incidents of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination in United Kingdom produced meat. No testing for Staphylococcus aureus is required in UK slaughterhouses nor in other European
Union slaughterhouses. Meat from third countries is subject to import controls, but is not routinely tested for Staphylococcus aureus.
FSA and other organisations provide advice on personal hygiene and proper handling, storage and cooking of meat to minimise contamination by micro-organisms. Proper cooking will destroy MRSA.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what systems are in place for testing meat imported from outside the EU for MRSA contamination. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 9 July 2007]: Meat from outside the European Union is subject to import controls, but is not routinely tested for Staphylococcus aureus.
All meat from outside the EU imported into the United Kingdom comes from establishments that are under veterinary control and must meet EU standards. On arrival at border inspection posts in the UK the meat is subject to checks by veterinary inspectors. All consignments undergo 100 per cent. documentation and identification checks and a prescribed level of physical checks.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the list of developing countries from which recruitment into the NHS is prohibited applies in the recruitment of (a) doctors in training and (b) other doctors. 
Ann Keen: The code of practice for the international recruitment of healthcare professionals includes a list of developing countries from which the national health service should not undertake active recruitment. The list, overseen by NHS Employers, applies to all health professionals.
The code of practice cannot, and does not seek to, prevent individuals from developing countries from speculatively seeking work in the NHS.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish a list of the members of the NHS review group led by Professor Sir Ara Darzi. 
Ann Keen: The terms of reference for the review are available in the Library and we will set out more detail on the work of the review in due course.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the proposal in the European Commission's White Paper on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity to reformulate food and drink products to combat obesity; and if he will make a statement. 
We welcome the publication of the Commission's White Paper, which outlines an European Union approach to address the incidence of overweight and obesity in the region. The White Paper's proposals
on reformulation complement work already underway in the United Kingdom by the Food Standards Agency to address levels of saturated fat, total fat and added sugars in a range of foods as part of the Agency's saturated fat and energy intake programme.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice and guidance he has issued on the consumption of different foods and drinks to tackle obesity. 
Dawn Primarolo: As part of a healthy lifestyle, including being physically active, the Government advise that a healthy balanced diet is one that is rich in fruit and vegetables (at least five portions every day), starchy foods, such as potatoes, rice, bread, moderate amounts of meat and dairy products and low in foods that contain large amounts of fat, sugar and salt. A healthy balanced diet is low in fat, particularly saturated fat, salt and added sugars.
The Food Standards Agency has also introduced a front of pack labelling scheme recommended for those types of foods which consumers have said it is difficult to judge the nutritional content. This information can be used at a glance by consumers to help them make informed choices about the nutritional content of foods they purchase when shopping. This will also help consumers to better understand which food products make a positive contribution to a healthy diet and which should be eaten in smaller amounts or less frequently.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the role of (a) fruit juices and (b) smoothies in tackling childhood obesity. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Government has not assessed the role of fruit juices or smoothies in tackling childhood obesity.
The Government do, however, provide advice to consumers on the role fruit juices and smoothies can play in a varied, balanced diet. Government advise that fruit juices and smoothies can contribute towards recommended fruit and vegetable consumption, but advises these drinks can be high in sugars.
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