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Primary care trusts already have arrangements in place for antiviral collection points as part of pandemic flu planning. Strategic health authorities have been reviewing this earlier this year to ensure that plans are robust, that a good spread is available across each PCT geographically and that sufficient collection points can be up and running to meet the needs of the population. All PCTs are able to establish an initial antiviral collection point (ACP) within 48 hours, to
provide at least one ACP which can be operational on a 24/7 basis with the remainder offering a range of opening hours dependent upon demand. Within seven days of the request to mobilise PCTs are able to have sufficient ACPs up and running to meet the needs of the population as necessary. Timing of mobilisation of collection points and locations will depend upon the level of demand from swine flu in each local area. PCTs in each area are providing local communications in each area to tell the population where collection points are located. The detail of where all collection points are operating is not held centrally.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the statement of 12 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1052-63, on swine flu update, for what reasons the National Pandemic Flu Line service will not be operational until the autumn; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the change to the timetable for the establishment of the full service. 
Gillian Merron: The full National Pandemic Flu service continues to be planned for operation during the autumn, if required. As a result of the swine flu outbreak the build of the original 'flu line' system was put on hold so that an interim solution, including additional antiviral collection point functionality, could be developed and tested to be available more quickly if needed. The additional costs related to building the interim solution amount to approximately £2.5 million and are the only additional system build costs incurred to date in respect of the interim solution.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the statement of 12 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1052-63, on swine flu update, who the members of the strategic advisory group of experts are; on which dates the group has met; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each such meeting. 
Gillian Merron: On 12 June 2009, the Secretary of State for Health mentioned "SAGE" but in error referred to the strategic advisory group of experts, which advises the World Health Organisation on immunisation. He intended to refer to the scientific advisory group for emergencies (SAGE), which has been established to provide cross government scientific advice regarding the outbreak of swine flu.
Professor John Beddington (Co-Chair)
Professor Sir Gordon Duff (Co-Chair)
Professor David Harper (Lead Government Department)
Professor Sir Roy Anderson
Professor Dame Sally Davies (Departmental Chief Scientific Adviser)
Dr. Meirion Evans
Professor Neil Ferguson
Professor George Griffin
Dr. Peter Grove
Professor Andrew Hall
Dr. Stephen Inglis
Dr. Steve Leach
Professor Susan Michie
Professor Angus Nicoll
Professor Karl Nicholson
Professor Peter Openshaw
Professor Deenan Pillay
Sir John Skehel
Professor Jonathan Van Tam
Professor Maria Zambon
5, 8, 12, 18, 20, 26 May
2, 9, 15, 22, 29 June
We will not be placing copies of the minutes of each SAGE meeting in the Library at the present time. The majority of SAGE work is directly commenting on or providing input to the formulation of Government policy. In addition, in order for SAGE to work effectively, members need to be free to discuss issues openly, including confidential evidence in their deliberations. The publication of the minutes may therefore prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. However, we will keep the publication of minutes under review.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the statement of 12 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1052-62, on swine flu update, what decisions the Health Minister took regarding pandemic influenza in 2007. 
Gillian Merron: Departmental Ministers have been fully engaged in preparations for pandemic influenza for many years. Final decisions on pandemic preparedness have been the responsibility of the Secretary of State.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to enable people to purchase anti-pyretics in greater quantities over the counter for preparation in the event of them contracting swine influenza. 
Gillian Merron: There are no current plans to do this. Antipyretics such as paracetamol and aspirin are available in packs of 16 tablets or capsules from general sale outlets such as supermarkets and up to two packs can be purchased at any one time. Larger packs of 32 tablets or capsules are designated as pharmacy medicines and are sold by or under the supervision of a pharmacist. Pharmacists have the professional discretion to sell up to 100 tablets or capsules without a prescription if they consider this is in the best interests of the patient. The need for professional advice and supervision when supplying these medicines does not reduce during a pandemic.
Gillian Merron: Each primary care trust, or where demand from swine flu has been very modest across a number of PCTs has been asked to mobilise at least one antiviral collection point locally. More have been opened to respond to the level of demand from patients and the public for rapid access to antivirals.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of intensive care beds occupied by people diagnosed with swine influenza at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Gillian Merron: In the 24 hours up to 8 am on 8 July 2009, 43 in-patients with swine influenza (swabbed or clinically presumed) were receiving critical care in national health service trusts in England.
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 29 June 2009]: The Department has not evaluated any research on the teratogenic properties of thalidomide. Toxicity trials for pharmaceutical products, including tests for their teratogenic properties, are the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies.
John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 October 2008, Official Report, columns 524-25W, how much of the funding of £4 million from the community hospitals and services programme for the redevelopment of Thame hospital, Oxfordshire had been spent as at 1 July 2009, and what the timetable is for the completion of the re-development. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Thame community hospital programme is one of 28 schemes that has secured funding from the community hospital programme. The latest project programme from the primary care trust indicates that work on the new unit is planned to start on site in August 2010 and completion in September 2011. The PCT schedule indicates a requirement for funding of £2.28 million in 2010-11 and £1.72 million in 2011-12. Additional refurbishment of older buildings takes place from October 2011 to March 2012, and the PCT tells us that it will be operational in March or April 2012.
Gillian Merron: The addiction to prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines is a very important issue and a number of steps have been taken to tackle this problem with the main focus on advice to prevent such dependence occurring in the first place, by warning general practitioners of the potential side-effects of prescribed medicines and the dangers of involuntary addiction to benzodiazepines.
Over the coming months the Department will be reviewing its policy on addiction to prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, including tranquillisers.
This review will identify where and how policy should advanced, so that those addicted to prescription or OTC drugs receive high quality, effective services.
John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the investigation commissioned by the Healthcare Commission in April 2008 into the West London Mental Health Trust will be (a) completed and (b) published. 
Phil Hope: The Healthcare Commission's successor organisation, the Care Quality Commission, has informed us that it has completed its investigation into West London Mental Health NHS Trust. It will publish its report on its website on 21 July 2009.
Gillian Merron: The Minister who lead on Public Health had responsibility for the Young People's Development Programme. This pilot programme ran from 2004 to 2007 at a total cost of £6 million. The programme finished in spring 2007.
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) no longer publicises staff numbers for country offices, following an assessment of DFID's work in insecure environments by the National Audit Office in October 2008, and a range of improvements to our security policies and procedures.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development who is responsible for the reconstruction and development programme following the completion of Operation Panther's Claw in Helmand; and how much funding (a) his Department and (b) other agencies have allocated for the programme. 
Mr. Michael Foster: Support to reconstruction and development in Helmand is led by an interdepartmental, civilian-military, multinational provincial reconstruction team (PRT), led by a UK Senior Representative from the Foreign Office. Four staff members of the Department for International Development (DFID) are integrated into the Helmand PRT.
The PRT has developed a stabilisation plan around Operation Panther's Claw and the Babaji area. This includes work on supporting the Afghan Government to establish itself in cleared areas, to deliver health, education and policing services and to set up polling stations for the elections in August. The cross-Government stabilisation aid fund has set aside almost £15 million for district stabilisation across Helmand this year.
The Asian Development Bank has pledged $50 million to co-fund two major infrastructure projects with DFID: a road linking Lashkar Gah and Gereshk (which goes around Babaji) and a hydro-power plant in Gereshk (also funded by Denmark). USAID will deliver a major agricultural programme across Helmand over the next year.
Mr. Michael Foster: The Bolan Park was built in Bolan, Lashkar Gah, in 2007 at the request of the Governor of Helmand and in response to an identified local need: it functions as a symbol for security and development in the area. The park is providing much-needed recreational space and facilities for the people of Lashkar Gar and the surrounding area. It is open to men, women and children with one day each week being set aside for women's exclusive use. One of the first major events hosted there was a US-funded agricultural fair to promote legal livelihoods attended by 1,700 Afghans. The park was also used for a successful cultural event organised by the Helmand Governor, which attracted more than 2,000 people.
The UK provided funding for the park through the Provincial Reconstruction Team. The park cost around £420,000 and was built alongside the Helmand River. The costs reflect the fact that during construction gabion walls were put in place to support the river bank, which helps prevent erosion, and to support the Bolan Bridge. In addition, the park has extensive lighting which is important for improving security at night.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what categories of personal information about members of the public are contained on each relevant database managed by his Department and its agencies; on what date each category of information began to be collected; and if he will make a statement. 
Financial and Projects systems (ARIES, MIS and Coda) are used for administration of projects and accounts. These databases contain DFID suppliers and customers' contact and bank details
(name, address, company registration number, VAT number, bank details and payment terms). Information on these categories has been collected since February 1998.
The overseas pensions system supports administration and payment of pensions to former colonial servants. This database contains personal, bank and payment data (name, address, telephone number, bank details, next of kin) on former colonial servants, and was collected from February 1998.
Correspondence systems enable tracking of parliamentary and public correspondence. These systems contain names and contact details (address, telephone, telephone number, email address) of correspondents. The information has been collected since December 1999.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what categories of personal information on members of the public will be held on each database expected to become operational in the next five years and which will be managed by his Department or one of its agencies; what estimate he has made of the likely number of individuals' details each such database will hold when fully operational; and if he will make a statement. 
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