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Occupied Territories: Business

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to encourage business investment in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank. [211194]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Private sector investment is a priority for the Department for International Development's programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). The UK funded the Investment Climate Assessment conducted by the World Bank in 2007, which was critical to identifying the challenges and needs for business to recover in the OPTs. DFID, in partnership with the World Bank, has allocated £3 million over three years to make Palestinian businesses more competitive.

DFID was a leading partner of the Palestine Investment Conference (PIC) that took place in Bethlehem on 21-23 May. I hosted a “curtain-raiser” event for it here in London on 2 May. The conference itself was successful. With DFID support, investment projects totalling £1 billion were prepared for the conference. These have the potential to create 50,000 new jobs, which is critical to economic recovery and a sense of hope, particularly among young people. Ten investment agreements were signed for a total of over £700 million, primarily in housing, infrastructure and telecommunications with Arab companies. At the conference, I launched a new private sector initiative—the £3.7 million New Market Development Initiative—to support Palestinian businesses to compete in new markets and enhance exports. DFID will provide £3 million and the World Bank £0.7 million. We will continue to work to help make investment promises a reality.

Overseas Aid

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to improve the safety of British aid workers overseas. [211054]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Department for International Development staff posted abroad receive security briefing and training. While they are in country, office and home accommodation and local travel are security risk-assessed and appropriate security safeguards adopted.

Consultants and contractors employed by DFID are responsible for their own security and safety arrangements. However, DFID will seek to ensure that they are appropriately briefed on security matters.

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Consultants and contractors and other British aid staff working independently of DFID, such as NGOs, will have access to Foreign and Commonwealth Office consular services as well as the advice offered on travel to countries as listed on the FCO website.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to improve the distribution of aid. [211055]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Over the past year, the Department for International Development has improved the distribution of its bilateral aid by putting in place a formal two-stage process to support allocation decisions. The first stage uses a model to guide allocations to low-income countries based on need and their ability to use the aid effectively. The second stage takes the allocations proposed by the model and considers how other country-level considerations, such as the likelihood of countries’ getting into conflict or their progress in reaching the millennium development goals, may affect their allocations.

In addition, DFID is committed to improving distribution of aid through the multilateral system by strengthening the evidence base for multilateral effectiveness. DFID produces multilateral development effectiveness summaries which measure multilateral organisations according to their country level and global results, how they manage resources and partnerships with others, and how they build for the future. DFID is also working with other donors through the multilateral organisations performance assessment network (MOPAN) to develop a method of measuring the effectiveness of multilateral aid for use by the joint donor group.

Further information on aid allocation and distribution is available in chapters 5 and 10 of the DFID annual report 2008, copies of which are in the Library of the House.


NHS Dentistry

10. Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are waiting to be registered with an NHS dentist in the Hemsworth constituency. [211299]

Ann Keen: The information requested is not collected centrally. It is for primary care trusts to determine how best to manage patients seeking NHS dental services.

Care of the Elderly

11. Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve the provision to care of the elderly. [211300]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: These are what we already have to improve the provision of care:

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Cross-border NHS Services

12. Sir Alan Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with Scottish Executive Ministers on the cross-border availability of NHS services. [211301]

Mr. Bradshaw: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is due to meet Nicola Sturgeon MSP soon.

Senior officials routinely discuss cross-border issues.

Two-Tier Work Force Guidance

13. Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how he monitors the use in the NHS of Office of Government Commerce guidance on the two-tier work force. [211302]

Ann Keen: The Department monitors the use in the NHS of the Office of Government Commerce guidance on the two-tier work force, known as the Cabinet Office code of practice on workforce matters, through regular meetings with trade unions, the CBI, the Business Services Association and NHS Employers.

There are also similar arrangements with other Government Departments through the Public Services Forum.

Epilepsy and Autism

14. Ms Barlow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has evaluated on the co-morbidity of epilepsy and autism. [211303]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have not evaluated any research on the co-morbidity of epilepsy and autism. The main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, via the Science and Innovation Group.

We recently announced our intention to fund a prevalence study focusing on adults with autism and Asperger's Syndrome. This study will include people with epilepsy.

Accident and Emergency Departments

15. Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to reimburse accident and emergency departments for the treatment costs incurred in treating patients from other NHS trust areas. [211304]

Mr. Bradshaw: National health service trusts are reimbursed for the patients they treat, regardless of where the patient lives. This year, for the first time, hospitals can claim reimbursement for accident and emergency services from primary care trusts outside the local area.

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Cardiac Rehabilitation

16. Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards achieving the Government's target of providing cardiac rehabilitation for 85 per cent. of heart attack and re-vascularisation patients. [211305]

Ann Keen: Chapter 7 of the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease, published in 2000, issued appropriate guidance to the national health services regarding the provision of cardiac rehabilitation services. Implementation of this guidance is a matter for the local NHS, working in partnership with stakeholders and the local community. It is for NHS organisations to plan and develop services based on their specific local knowledge and expertise.


17. Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the consultation on GP-led health centres and polyclinics will begin. [211306]

Mr. Bradshaw: Local consultations on proposals for GP-led health centres have already begun in most primary care trust areas, which should include the hon. Member's area.

GP Dispensing

18. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on dispensing arrangements for GP practices in rural areas; and if he will make a statement. [211307]

Dawn Primarolo: Following publication of the White Paper "Pharmacy in England: Building on Strengths—Delivering the Future", there have been a number of representations—through the Listening Events and through correspondence—concerning the future arrangements for dispensing by GPs including those in rural areas. Copies of this publication are available in the Library.

Formal consultation on our intentions to reform pharmacy services to improve services for patients will begin before the summer recess.

Family Nurse Partnerships

20. Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on family nurse partnerships. [211309]

Ann Keen: The Family Nurse Partnership is currently being tested in 10 areas in England. Over the next year we will extend this pilot to another 20 areas. We still have much to learn about the programme and its impact on children and families in this country, but we are pleased to say that early signs are promising.

Carers Strategy

21. Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the carers strategy. [211311]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: Last Tuesday we announced our new 10-year Carers Strategy, “Carers at the heart of 21st century families and communities: a caring system on your side, a life of your own.” The strategy sets an ambitious vision focusing on providing more services and support for carers over the next 10 years.

Long-Term Conditions

22. Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in meeting the targets within the national service framework for long-term conditions. [211312]

Ann Keen: The “National Service Framework for Long-Term conditions” (NSF) has a 10-year implementation programme from its publication in March 2005, with flexibility for organisations to set the pace of change to take account of local priorities and needs.

The NSF Good Practice Guide demonstrates that some organisations have successfully addressed aspects of the NSF's service delivery. Copies of the NSF are available in the Library.


23. Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to assist people with diabetes who are unable to take out insurance against critical illness. [211313]

Ann Keen: The decision whether to take out private medical insurance and/or critical illness cover is a personal one.

We continue to support the national health service in implementing the standards set out in the Diabetes National Service Framework (NSF) to improve services for people with diabetes.


24. Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in England diagnosed with HIV are ineligible for treatment. [211314]

Dawn Primarolo: National HIV surveillance data collated at the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections does not collect information on eligibility for treatment. All people who are ordinarily resident in England are entitled to free national health service treatment, including treatment for HIV, and latest data show that in 2006 there were 48,480 diagnosed HIV-infected individuals who accessed HIV-related care at national health service sites in England.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department (a) has commissioned, (b) plans to commission and (c) has evaluated on the causes of spontaneous abortion; when his Department last undertook a review of the causes of spontaneous abortion that took into account (i) UK and (ii) international research; and if he will make a statement. [209118]

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Dawn Primarolo: The Hammersmith, St Mary's and Imperial College Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), formed as part of the implementation of the Government's research strategy “Best Research for Best Health” and funded by the Department, is undertaking research that aims to further understanding of the mechanisms underlying recurrent miscarriage. Copies of the strategy are available in the Library. The Cambridge University Hospitals and University of Cambridge BRC is separately working to develop an integrated method of screening pregnant women to determine their risk of, and to identify novel genetic and molecular markers for, adverse perinatal outcome.

The Medical Research Council supports a wide portfolio of research related to premature birth and related conditions, reproductive tract research and underpinning reproductive medicine and paediatric research and has recently funded two projects directly related to spontaneous abortion.

The Department has not undertaken a review of the causes of spontaneous abortion. We are however aware of work by organisations such as the Miscarriage Association, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Association of Early Pregnancy Units in this area. In addition, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on antenatal care include guidance to reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Arthritis: Occupational Health

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on the proportion of rheumatoid arthritis patients who, when treated with anti-TNF medications, respond positively to the treatment and are enable to remain at work. [210868]

Ann Keen: Information on the number of people with rheumatoid arthritis who are able to remain in work after treatment is not collected.

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