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Hygiene: Domestic Safety

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission research on standards of hygiene in domestic kitchens and their implications for public health. [211069]

Dawn Primarolo: The Food Standards Agency has no current plans to fund further research on standards of hygiene in the domestic kitchen, having funded a number of projects in the past. The FSA recognises the importance of good food hygiene and is actively working to promote appropriate messages to consumers to encourage best practice in the home. The FSA will consider commissioning research should specific problems or issues relating to hygiene in the domestic kitchen arise in the future.

Influenza: Disease Control

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library copies of the self-assessment audit tools issued to the NHS in November 2007 to help strengthen pandemic influenza plans, as referred to on page 16 of his Department's NHS Winter Report 2007-08, published on 9 April 2008; whether the results of the audit will be collated at a national level; what steps he is taking to support NHS organisations in addressing issues raised in the audit; and if he will make a statement. [209086]

Dawn Primarolo: Copies of the self-assessment questionnaires issued to strategic health authorities (SHAs) have been placed in the Library.

The findings of the self-assessment are currently being considered at SHA level. This will assist in identifying where further improvements are required. Additional work is being done centrally to support the national health service in its preparedness planning.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has identified groups for which the pre-exposure prophylactic use of antivirals in the event of an influenza pandemic is required. [209087]

Dawn Primarolo: We currently have a sufficient stockpile of antiviral medicines to treat 25 per cent. of the population. In November 2007 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced proposals for the stockpile to be increased to cover 50 per cent. of the population. The adoption of a policy of household prophylaxis is still being considered by the Department.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health between what dates Operation United Endeavour II ran in January 2008, as stated on page 16 of his Department's NHS Winter Report 2007-08, published on 9 April 2008; when Operation United Endeavour I was run; what the outcomes were of Operations United Endeavour (a) I and (b) II; what form the daily cross-Government pandemic influenza report takes; and if he will make a statement. [209106]

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Dawn Primarolo: Operation United Endeavour II took place between 14-18 January 2008. The previous United Endeavour exercise took place in November 2005.

The exercises demonstrated that the arrangements in place for surveillance during a pandemic are able to function effectively. A number of lessons to enhance the robustness and resilience of the system were identified in United Endeavour II which are being addressed. These include enhancements to the daily cross-Government pandemic influenza report which provides Ministers with the necessary information for key strategic and tactical decisions during a pandemic.

Organ Donors

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the data collected by the UKT Potential Donor Audit; and if he will make a statement. [209908]

Ann Keen: The UK Transplant (part of NHS Blood and Transplant) national potential donor audit (PDA) began in January 2003, as part of a series of measures to improve organ donation. The principal aim of this audit is to determine the potential number of organ donors in the United Kingdom. Data are collected on every patient death in an intensive care unit.

A PDA summary report for the 24-month period 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2007 has been placed in the Library. The report and further information are available on the UK Transplant website at


Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has had discussions with the Office of Fair Trading on surgery drug dispensaries and the proposed changes to dispensing powers outlined in the Pharmacy White Paper. [211476]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has had no such discussions since publication of the White Paper “Pharmacy in England: Building on Strengths—delivering the Future” (Cm7341) on 3 April 2008. Copies of this publication are available in the Library.

Pregnant Women

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of pregnant women who are not registered with a general practitioner; and what steps his Department is taking to identify such women. [210605]

Ann Keen: This information is not collected centrally.

Social Services: Standards

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government plan to take to improve social care provision. [211052]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: In December 2007, we published “Putting People First”, a cross-sector concordat establishing the collaboration between central and local government, the sector’s professional leadership, providers and the regulator. It set out the shared aims and values which transform adult social care and people’s experience of local support and services. At that time we also announced the Social Care Reform Grant, a new, ringfenced grant of £520 million over the three years from 2008-09 to 2010-11. The expectation is that in the next three years councils will have made significant steps towards redesigning and reshaping their adult social care services, with the majority having most of the core components of a personalised system in place by 2011.

On 10 June we published the new carers strategy, “Carers at the heart of 21(st) century families and communities: a caring system on your side, a life of your own”. The strategy sets an ambitious vision focusing on providing greater services and support for carers over the next 10 years. Specifically, in the short term, to kick-start the process of improving support for carers, we are investing an additional £150 million in providing breaks for carers, up to £38 million in helping carers combine paid employment and caring and over £6 million in support for young carers. Furthermore, we are committed, in the longer term, to reviewing the structure of the benefits available to carers in the context of wider benefit reform and the fundamental review of the care and support system. In total, we are investing £255 million in the short-term commitments included in the strategy. This investment builds on the annual carers grant for local authorities to enable them to support carers (this stands at £224 million in 2008-09).

Finally, on 12 May 2008 the Government launched a process for extensive public engagement, which will lead to a Green Paper identifying key issues and options for reform of the core and support system to be published in early 2009.


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 (i) causes and (ii) means of prevention of a transient ischaemic attack; when his Department last undertook a review of those matters that took into account (A) UK and (B) international research; and if he will make a statement. [210523]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department funds national health service research and development through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR Health Technology Assessment, Service Development and Organisation, and Research for Patient Benefit programmes have each supported recently completed or current research of direct relevance to the hon. Member's question.

The work programme of the Institute's Oxford Biomedical Research Centre has a stroke theme, of which part is devoted to the early prevention of stroke. Two NIHR programme grants with a total value of £2.8 million have been awarded for projects also concerned with stroke prevention. Further details are available on the NIHR website at

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The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. In 2006-07 the MRC spent £6.8 million on stroke-related research, much of which will be of relevance to transient ischaemic attack.

The Department, together with academics, clinicians, the voluntary sector and stroke survivors and their carers, looked at the available evidence in relation to the treatment and prevention of transient ischaemic attack when preparing the National Stroke Strategy. The strategy was published in December 2007 and makes recommendations to the NHS about the most effective way to treat those who have a transient ischaemic attack. Copies of the strategy are available in the Library.

Prime Minister

Intelligence and Security Committee: Manpower

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Prime Minister who the (a) clerk is and (b) secretariat are of the Intelligence and Security Committee. [211978]

The Prime Minister: The clerk and secretariat of the Intelligence and Security Committee are civil servants employed by the Cabinet Office. They are appointed in accordance with the rules governing all civil service appointments.


Criminal Proceedings

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2008, Official Report, column 1111W, on criminal proceedings, (1) when the working group on the Very High Cost Case (VHCC) scheme will make its proposals for the next VHCC scheme; and whether these will be published; [210298]

(2) how frequently the working group on the Very High Cost Case scheme meets. [210299]

Maria Eagle: The working group on Very High Cost Cases (VHCC) aims to present initial proposals for the next VHCC scheme by 8 July 2008. Detailed proposals will then be developed and will be subject to public consultation in due course.

The working group meets on a regular basis at appropriate points, rather than following a particular pattern of meetings.

Departmental Aviation

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether staff in (a) his Department and (b) the Central Office of Information who are entitled to travel on a business class or first class air fare on official
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business are permitted to travel in a cheaper class; and what (i) financial and (ii) other benefits staff are permitted to accrue from any saving. [211159]

Mr. Wills: Staff entitled to travel business or first class are permitted to travel in a cheaper class.

Staff are not permitted to accrue any financial cost or other benefits from any savings made as a result of a downgrade in the class of air fare.

As the Department meets the financial cost of official travel, any savings made would be accrued by the Department and not the travelling officer.

The Central Office of Information is not a component of the Ministry of Justice and we are therefore unable to respond on its behalf. The Central Office of Information's Chief Executive reports to the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Departmental Postal Services

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on sending mail overseas in each year since 2001, broken down by delivery company. [208520]

Mr. Wills: My Department does not hold central records of the amount spent on sending mail overseas. Such information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Public Participation

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Maidenhead of 22 April 2008, Official Report, columns 2012-24W, on departmental public participation, if he will place in the Library a copy of each report and the data from the Constitution directorate tracker survey conducted by Ipsos MORI in the last 12 months. [210930]

Mr. Wills: The constitution directorate tracker survey was conducted in three stages during the 2007-08 financial year, with fieldwork taking place in July, November and March. Departmental statisticians have produced six reports based on the raw survey datasets, two for each wave, containing all of the headline data. Copies of these reports have been placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Security

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many departmental identity cards or departmental passes have been reported lost or stolen in the last 24 months in (a) his Department and (b) each of its executive agencies. [210860]

Mr. Wills: The numbers of reported losses and thefts are as follows:

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Department HMCS HMPS Office of Public Guardian

Lost passes











2008 to May

No record




Stolen passes











2008 to May





(1) No record.

Only one identity card has been reported lost or stolen in the last 24 months

It has not been possible to split all 2006 figures to show the last 24 months but figures are included for the period to May 2008. Records of card replacement for the Tribunals Service and the new HQ system do not indicate the reason.

In the Ministry of Justice, the responsibility for administering the issue and return of security passes sits with respective business areas rather than centrally. As a consequence, details for the Probation Service (whose services are administered via 42 separate business areas) could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

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