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20 May 2008 : Column 192W—continued

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Transport: Research

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what analytical issues are subject to consideration by the Eddington Friends group; and if she will make a statement. [206139]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Eddington Friends consider a broad range of implementation issues arising from the ‘Towards a Sustainable Transport System’ report.

This includes advice on technical appraisal, the appraisal of wider productivity impacts, climate change analysis and analysis of scheme costs and benefits.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the next meeting of his Department's Burma stakeholder group will be held; and what the Government's objectives for the meeting are. [206023]

Meg Munn: The most recent meeting of Burma stakeholders took place on 14 May, at which there was an exchange of views on the situation following Cyclone Nargis. There is no set date for the next meeting but it is our intention to maintain regular dialogue with stakeholders. The objective for all our stakeholder meetings is to exchange views and information with those groups and individuals that have an interest in Burma's future.

China: Human Rights

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the sentences handed down in China to demonstrators and human rights activists over Tibet; and if he will make a statement. [206282]

Meg Munn: We are deeply concerned about the recent sentencing of Tibetans in connection with the demonstrations in Lhasa in March. Together, with EU partners, we continue to urge China to guarantee fair trials for all the accused, including access for defendants to Counsel of their choice and access for independent observers to trials.

Cuba: Political Prisoners

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of political prisoners in Cuba; and what recent representations he has made to the Government of Cuba on this matter. [206203]

Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Buckingham (John Bercow) on 13 May 2008, Official Report, column 1478W.

The EU Common Position on Cuba calls for the release of all political prisoners. We regularly raise the situation of political prisoners with the Cuban
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authorities, both in London and Havana, and call for their immediate release. Most recently, I raised the release of political prisoners with Jaime Crombert Hernandez-Baquero, Vice President of the National Assembly of People’s Power, in November 2007 and Cuban Vice Foreign Minister, Eumelio Caballero, in April 2008.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many unique visitors there have been to each site on his Department's bloggers platform in the last 12 months. [206179]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The statistics available to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the blogging platform are for the site as a whole and show the number of sessions. From September 2007 (when the site was set up) to 14 May 2008, there were 2,393,244 individual sessions on the platform. The statistics are not broken down by individual blog, nor can we say how many unique visitors there were.

Simon Mann

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he was last given any substantive information about the (a) welfare of, (b) proposed trial of and (c) other matters relevant to Mr. Simon Mann by the Equatorial Guinea authorities. [206290]

Meg Munn: The Equatorial Guinea authorities have recently given us assurances about Simon Mann’s welfare. We have not been given any further information about the proposed trial.

Somalia: Peace Negotiations

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to engage civil society in Somalia in the peace process. [205754]

Meg Munn: Our high commission in Nairobi maintains regular contact with representatives of civil society groups in Somalia. In the UK, we maintain contact with representatives of the British Somali communities who also have an important role in supporting civil society groups in Somalia.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould Abdalla, held an international civil society meeting in Uganda from 11-13 March 2008, which was funded by the European Commission and attended by high commission officials. The meeting explored ways for civil society to contribute to reconciliation and peace building in Somalia.

The UK supports the efforts of the UN Special Representative for Somalia to engage with civil society and to help bring about social and political reconciliation that will lead to greater respect for human rights and religious freedoms for all Somalis.

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Somalia: Piracy

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a UN Security Council Resolution on Somalia addressing piracy issues is expected. [205803]

Meg Munn: The UN Security Council is currently considering a draft Resolution on piracy, which has been co-sponsored by the UK. We hope the Resolution will be adopted as soon as possible once discussion in the Council is complete.

Sudan: Peace Negotiations

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the organisation of peace talks on Darfur in London between the Government of Sudan, rebel groups and other stakeholders, following the Prime Minister's offer in April 2008 to host such talks; and whether a date has been agreed for the talks. [205804]

Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has offered further UK support for international efforts, including a possible meeting in the UK, if that would help revitalise the Darfur political process. We are exploring the scope for this with the UN, the African Union, Sudan's neighbours, international partners, the Government of Sudan and the Darfur Movements.

Sudan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions have been held with the AU and UN Special Envoys to Darfur, Salid Ahmed Salim and Jan Eliasson; and what the outcome was of those discussions. [205805]

Meg Munn: We have had contacts with the African Union (AU) and UN Special Envoys at ministerial and official level. We also have regular contacts with their staff. These discussions are part of our ongoing efforts to support AU/UN activity to move the Darfur political process forward.

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) troops and (b) civilian personnel made up the UN-AU Joint Hybrid Mission to Darfur on 1 May; and if he will make a statement. [205806]

Meg Munn: As of 1 May the UN-African Union (AU) Mission in Darfur consisted of approximately 7,500 troops, 1,700 police, and 1,500 civilian personnel. We are working closely with the UN, the AU and international partners to support the full deployment of the mission as soon as possible.

Uganda: Peace Negotiations

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he is providing to the process of peace-building in Northern Uganda. [205781]

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Meg Munn: Over the last two years, the UK has provided over £40 million in humanitarian aid, and other assistance, to Northern Uganda, These resources have been used to help displaced people return to their homes and support other activities identified as priorities in the Government of Uganda’s peace, recovery and development plan for the north. The UK has also contributed £1 million to the Juba Initiative Fund, to help support the Juba peace talks.


Alcoholic Drinks

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to raise public awareness of the size of alcohol units in relation to standard measures served; and whether his Department has undertaken research to discover levels of public awareness of appropriate levels of alcohol consumption. [204901]

Dawn Primarolo: On 19 May, the Government launched the first major advertising campaign to raise awareness about units and to help people to estimate how much alcohol they drink. The Government will spend £10 million this year on national alcohol campaigns.

The units strand of the Know Your Limits campaign includes a series of adverts on television, radio, billboards and press. A new online calculator can be downloaded to help people add up the units in their drinks. There are free materials, including posters and leaflets.

The inclusion of unit content and sensible drinking advice on most drinks labels by the end of 2008, by agreement with the alcohol industry, will also raise awareness of units and health risks.

The “Drinking: adults’ behaviour and knowledge in 2007” report is based on information collected by the Office for National Statistics Omnibus survey covering adults in the United Kingdom. The latest report published in January is the seventh in a series and includes information on peoples’ knowledge of alcohol units and benchmarks (the sensible drinking guidelines on regular daily intake), their awareness of unit labelling, what people drink, where and with whom and whether they had discussed drinking with a medical professional.

The report found that in Great Britain in 2007, 85 per cent. of adults had heard of measuring alcohol consumption in units, compared with 79 per cent. in 1997. It also found that there has been an increase from 54 per cent. in 1997 to 69 per cent. in 2007 in the proportion of adults who had heard of the sensible drinking guidelines on regular daily intake. In 2007, around 40 per cent. of these adults did not know what the benchmarks were.

The Government commissioned a YouGov poll to inform the new alcohol units campaign described above. The YouGov poll shows that the majority of men (78 per cent.) and women (76 per cent.) do not know how many units are in a large glass of wine and that 56 per cent. of men and 60 per cent. of women do not know how many units are in a double gin and tonic.

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Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of people attending accident and emergency departments in England presented with (a) alcohol-related conditions and (b) injuries in which alcohol was a contributory cause in each of the last three years, broken down by region. [204380]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not held centrally.

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the numbers of people admitted to hospital accident and emergency departments as a result of binge drinking in the latest period for which figures are available. [206020]

Dawn Primarolo: Information on numbers of people who attend accident and emergency departments as a result of binge drinking is not held centrally.

Blood: Medical Treatments

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS treatments involving (a) adult and (b) cord blood stem cells are ongoing; and if he will make a statement. [206128]

Dawn Primarolo: One of the most successful exploitations of adult stem cells to date has been in the use of bone marrow transplantation for a variety of conditions including leukaemia and lymphoma. More than 2,500 bone marrow transplantations are performed each year in the United Kingdom. More recently, cord blood stem cells have been used as an alternative source of stem cells. In the past three years, the NHS Cord Blood Bank has issued both unrelated and directed cord blood units to treat 115 patients and these numbers continue to grow annually.

Cancer: East of England

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance his Department has issued to the East of England Strategic Health Authority on the provision of oncological services in the region in the last three years; [205397]

(2) what provisions there are in the private finance initiative agreement between his Department and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the number of (a) oncological procedures and (b) head and neck cancer procedures to be carried out at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. [205433]

Ann Keen: It is for local primary care trusts (PCTs) in conjunction with their strategic health authorities (SHAs) and other stakeholders to plan and commission services for their local populations, including oncological services. The Department has not issued any guidance to the East of England SHA on the provision of oncological services in the region.

Since May 2005, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued Improving
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Outcomes Guidance (IOG) to the national health service on four cancer tumour sites—Children and Young People with Cancer (August 2005), Skin Tumours including melanoma (February 2006), Sarcoma (March 2006) and Brain (June 2006). The IOG series sets out recommendations on how services for patients with cancers should be organised in order to ensure the best outcomes. Implementation of NICE guidance is a developmental standard and the Healthcare Commission is responsible for assessing progress of healthcare organisations towards achieving developmental standards.

Private finance initiative contracts are held locally between NHS trusts and the contractors, and contain no clauses for the provision of clinical services.

Cervical Cancer: Screening

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of women in (a) Hemsworth constituency and (b) England received cervical smear tests within the recommended period of time in the last 12 months. [206042]

Ann Keen: I refer my hon. Friend to the response I gave the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness (Mark Simmonds) on 31 January 2008, Official Report, columns 617-36W, which provides information on cervical screening coverage across England, broken down by primary care trust.

Coverage is the percentage of eligible women who have had a cervical screening test result in the previous five years.

Drugs: Rehabilitation

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions were dispensed for (a) subutex, (b) methadone and (c) other opiate replacements in each strategic health authority in each of the last five years. [197960]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is set out in the following tables.

The Government have made a substantial investment in drug treatment with £604 million being spent in 2007-08 compared to £287 million in 2001-02. The increased dispensing is largely a reflection of the significant increase in the numbers of patients in drug treatment over the past 10 years, increases in dosages and people staying in treatment longer (a measure of effectiveness) thereby receiving more prescriptions.

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Prescription items for subutex( 1 ) dispensed in the community in England
Strategic health authority (SHA) February to December 2003( 2) 2004 2005 2006 2007

East of England












North East






North West






South Central






South East Coast






South West






West Midlands






Yorkshire and the Humber












Source: Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA).

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