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10 July 2007 : Column 1452W—continued

Pfizer: Drugs

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of the changes in distribution of Pfizer medicines on NHS patients. [147982]

Dawn Primarolo: Officials in the Department continue to monitor the operation of the new arrangements. No substantial problems have been reported and no corrective action has had to be taken.


Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1006-07W to the hon. Member for Rayleigh (Mr. Francois) on pharmacy, how many pharmacies (a) are registered as prescribers and (b)
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offer primary care trust-commissioned blood pressure checks. [146490]

Dawn Primarolo: The commissioning of national health service services such as pharmacist prescribing and routine blood pressure checks are matters for primary care trusts to determine. Under the new community pharmacy contractual framework, pharmacists are now providing a wider range of services other than just dispensing medicines. These include the prescribing of medicines and blood pressure checks.

Information from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, shows that at the end of May 2007, in Great Britain, there were 1,189 pharmacist supplementary prescribers and 68 pharmacist independent prescribers.

Information on the number of pharmacists undertaking blood pressure checks is not collected centrally.

Poultry Meat

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to the merits of regulating the addition of (a) protein and (b) water to chicken meat to provide for (i) limits in each case and (ii) further labelling requirements including in catering establishments. [146962]

Dawn Primarolo: The production and labelling of meat products are regulated in European law. The Food Standards Agency has raised this issue with the European Commission who considered the matter but concluded that current legislation was adequate. European legislation has no limits on added protein or water, however, if these are added, they must be correctly described on the label so as not to mislead consumers.

There are no plans for legislation to require further labelling of added protein or water in chicken products. However, the agency will be consulting shortly on new guidance on the labelling of meat products for food businesses. Part of this guidance is specifically aimed at caterers.

Reproduction: Finance

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which organisations in the field of reproductive health are funded by his Department; how much his Department plans to give to each organisation in the next two years; whether account is taken of an organisation’s position on abortion when allocating public funds; and if he will make a statement. [148068]

Dawn Primarolo: The following voluntary and community organisations working in the field of reproductive health receive funding from the Department of Health:

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Organisation 2007-08 2008-09

Antenatal Results and Choices(1)


Brook Advisory Centres(1)



Family Planning Association(1)

1.279 million

Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development(1)


Infertility Network UK



(1) 2007-08 is the last year in the current Section 64 grant cycle for Antenatal Results and Choices, Brook Advisory Centres, Family Planning Association and the Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development. The Family Planning Association contract for Sexual Health Direct ends in March 2008 and we have yet to consider funding allocations from April 2008.

The Department funds voluntary organisations in England, through individual policy programmes and Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968, where organisations' activities support the Department's policy priorities.

Sleeping Pills

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) total number of and (b) net ingredient cost of drugs dispensed in the community for the treatment of insomnia was in each year since 1997. [147535]

Dawn Primarolo: Treatment for insomnia is classified in the British National Formulary (BNF) under paragraph 4.1.1. The number of prescription items dispensed in the community in England, together with the net ingredient cost (NIC), are shown in the following table.

The antihistamine promethazine hydrochloride is listed by the BNF as a possible treatment for insomnia but dispensing for this drug is categorised under its use for respiratory conditions and so dispensing figures are given separately in the table. It is not possible to determine what proportion of this use, if any, is for insomnia.

Items dispensed (BNF 4.1.1) (Thousand) NIC (BNF 4.1.1) (£000) Items dispensed (Promethazine) (Thousand) NIC (Promethazine) (£000)



















































(1) The increase in NIC in spite of a decrease in items between 2005 and 2006 is due to price changes to generic medicines (Category M).


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons his Department altered the design of the no-smoking sign it requires to be placed at the front of every enclosed public space to make it different from that determined by the International Organisation for
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Standardisation (ISO); what representations he has received from the ISO on the issue; at what cost the redesigned sign was developed; whether external agencies were involved in its redesign; and if he will make a statement. [147582]

Dawn Primarolo: The Health Act 2006 requires smokefree premises to display no-smoking signs. The Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2007 set out the requirements for no-smoking signs to be displayed in smokefree premises and vehicles.

In addition to specified wording, no-smoking signs for smokefree premises must also carry a no-smoking symbol which “consists solely of a graphic representation of a single burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle of at least 70 millimetres in diameter with a red bar across it”. The regulations are sufficiently flexible to enable businesses to design no-smoking signs that will fit the decor of their premises, as well as to use a no-smoking symbol of their choosing.

The regulations do not specifically require no-smoking signs to carry the International Organization for Standardisation no-smoking symbol. To make such requirement would be overly bureaucratic and create an unnecessary burden on businesses, for example by requiring the replacement of pre-existing signs in smokefree vehicles across the country.

The Department has received no specific representations from the International Organization for Standardization on requirements set out in the Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2007, either during the public consultation on smokefree regulations or subsequently.

The no-smoking signs that have been made available via the Department’s Smokefree England campaign are compliant with these regulations. The cost for the design of no-smoking signs that have been made available by the Department was provided in the answer given to the hon. Member for East Devon (Mr. Swire), on 18 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1577-78W. The figure represents the total design costs for signs, including the no-smoking symbol used.

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of measures to enforce the prohibition on smoking in public places. [147904]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 9 July 2007]: The Department has put a range of measures into place to monitor and evaluate smokefree legislation in England. A programme of Department-sponsored research is in place to monitor the impact of the new law.

Data are also being collected from local authorities on levels of compliance and enforcement actions taken, as well as the number of calls to the Smokefree England compliance line. These data will be routinely published on the Smokefree England website at:

Given that smokefree legislation has only been enforced since 1 July 2007, specific assessments on the effectiveness of enforcement are unable to be made at present.

Water: Children

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has (a) commissioned and (b)
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evaluated on the effects of dehydration on children of school age; and if he will make a statement. [148039]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has not undertaken a specific research project on the effects of dehydration on children of school age. The Government’s healthy eating advice is to drink plenty of water.

Duchy of Lancaster

Departments: Consultants

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what meetings Ministers in his Department have held with Deborah Mattinson of Opinion Leader Research in the last 12 months. [147030]

Edward Miliband: Ministers meet many people as part of the process of policy development. It is not normal practice to disclose details of such meetings.

Members: Correspondence

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when his Department will respond to the letter dated 4 June from the hon. Member for North Norfolk on guests to Chequers. [148772]

Edward Miliband: A response was sent to the hon. Member on 10 July 2007.

Official Hospitality: Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the cost to the public purse was of the event for special advisers held in No. 10 Downing street on 15 June. [147029]

Edward Miliband: There was no cost to the public purse.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Detainees

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under what charge Ahmed Belhada is being detained at Guantanamo Bay. [148361]

Dr. Howells: I understand that the hon. Member may be referring to an Algerian national named Mr. Ahmed Belbacha who is detained at Guantanamo Bay. We are not aware that Mr. Belbacha has been charged by the US authorities.

Burma: Human Rights

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for measures to (a) promote human rights and democracy and (b) encourage dialogue between parties in conflict in Burma. [147694]

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Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) identifies Burma as a country of concern in our 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights. Our aim is to promote full respect for human rights in Burma, encouraging the rule of law, democracy and good governance, and the freedom of association and speech in accordance with international human rights law. We are at the forefront of international efforts to encourage the military regime to restore democracy and to respect human rights.

We take every opportunity to raise human rights issues with the regime and remind them of their obligations to adhere to international human rights law, most recently when our ambassador in Rangoon met the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister and the Ministers of Planning and Health on 12-13 June. Our embassy in Rangoon is also delivering capacity building assistance through the FCO Global Opportunities Fund in support of these objectives.

We believe the UN has a key role to play in addressing the political and humanitarian challenges in Burma. We shall continue to support the efforts of the UN, including the good offices mandate of the Secretary-General.

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