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23 Feb 2010 : Column 394W—continued


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his estimate is of the proportion of fish procured by the public sector which has stewardship council certification; [318031]

(2) which public sector organisations have implemented the public sector procurement initiative guidance on procuring sustainable fish to date. [318032]

Huw Irranca-Davies: Data from the 2007-08 financial year as reported in the publication 'Proportion of domestically produced food used by Government Departments and also supplied to hospitals and prisons under contracts negotiated by NHS Supply Chain and National Offender Management Service (previously HM Prison Service)' show that of the 18 Departments for which we have information, five source 100 per cent. of fish from managed sources and a further seven source 70 per cent. or more of their fish from managed sources. The average of the figures provided is 70 per cent.. A 'managed source' is defined here as managed and harvested in ways that do not lead to over-fishing or depletion of exploited populations, e.g. are covered under standards and schemes such as organic certification and Marine Stewardship Council.

The Departments which reported more than 70 per cent. of fish from managed sources were: DCMS, DCSF, DEFRA, DFID, DCLG, BIS, DFT, DWP, HMT, MOJ, NHS Supply Chain, MOD.

Data on the use of the guidance by wider public sector are not available.

Parrots: Animal Welfare

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what minimum standards and size of caging his Department has set for parrots under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. [317532]

Jim Fitzpatrick: There are no minimum cage sizes for parrots under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Under the Act owners must provide for the welfare needs of their animals and this includes a suitable environment.

Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) coverage and (b) consistency of its long-term monitoring of the marine environment. [317959]

Huw Irranca-Davies: In response to the recommendations from 'Charting Progress', the Government's State of the Seas Report published in 2005, the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) was created. The UKMMAS is comprises of approximately 250 stakeholders from more than 20 organisations, including Government Departments and devolved Administrations, and has developed a co-ordinated approach to marine monitoring across the UK as a whole.

UKMMAS co-ordinates and brings together data, including that of long-term monitoring, from a large variety of sources. It is currently involved in producing 'Charting Progress 2'-the second integrated
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assessment of the state of UK seas, which is internationally peer-reviewed. This is scheduled for publication in July 2010.

DEFRA also funds a number of research projects and data initiatives, some of which have helped continue important data series so that we can make assessments of marine trends over time and monitor progress. One such project, funded since 2002, is the Marine Environmental Change Network (MECN). The network consists of UK and Isle of Man organisations working together to collect long-term time series information for marine waters. It also brings together scientists working on various components of marine ecosystems, enabling them to share data and carry out more robust analysis of trends. One of the project aims is to be able to analyse marine environmental change over long periods and determine what is being driven by humans (anthropogenic change) and what change is due to natural variation.

The Government have recently published the first UK Marine Science Strategy, produced by the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC). The strategy recognises the key importance of sustained observations to marine science and includes a commitment by the Committee to work with others to develop a prioritisation framework to ensure the provision of secure, long-term data sets. This action is being taken forward by the MSCC's Long-Term Monitoring Working Group.

Northern Ireland

Departmental Disabled Staff

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what proportion of staff in (a) his Department and (b) the executive agencies for which he is responsible are disabled; and what the average salary in (i) his Department and (ii) the executive agencies is of (A) full-time disabled staff, (B) full-time non-disabled staff, (C) part-time disabled staff and (D) part-time non-disabled staff. [317895]

Paul Goggins: A total of 49 staff (3.4 per cent.) in the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and 36 staff (4.2 per cent.) in its executive agencies have advised the Department that they have a disability.

The following table gives details the average basic salary costs for all general service staff in the NIO. Staff are paid in line with the pay scale for each grade irrespective of whether or not they have a disability. All staff who work reduced hours receive a pro-rata amount based on hours worked.

Grade Northern Ireland civil servants Home civil servants


SCS (Pay Band 1)



Grade A



Grade B1



Grade B2



Grade C



Grade Dl



Grade D2






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Smoking Ban

15. Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to extend the areas in which the smoking ban operates. [317485]

Gillian Merron: We have no plans at present to extend the areas required to be smoke free in accordance with the Health Act 2006.

We gave a commitment to review the smoke free law after three years and that review will be carried out later this year.

Breast Cancer Research

16. Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the future funding of breast cancer research; and if he will make a statement. [317486]

Ann Keen: The Government (along with their research partners) invest substantially in breast cancer research. That investment will continue.

NHS Treatment: Waiting Times

17. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the median waiting time was for (a) in-patient and (b) out-patient NHS treatment (i) in 2005 and (ii) on the latest date for which figures are available. [317487]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The median waiting time for in-patient admissions was 8.5 weeks in March 2005, and 4.9 weeks in December 2009, which is the latest date for which figures are available. The median waiting time for first out-patient appointment in March 2005 was 4.8 weeks, and 3.4 weeks in December 2009.

Respite Care

18. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which primary care trusts use funding provided to them for respite care for carers. [317488]

Phil Hope: The Department of Health does not determine how PCTs spend their money. It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) to decide their priorities for investment locally, taking into account their local circumstances and priorities as set out in the NHS Operating Framework.

However, the Department's Directors of NHS Performance and Adult Social Care Performance recently wrote to Strategic Health Authority Directors of Performance asking them to identify those PCTs that have agreed with their local authority to prioritise carers' support for the current year and those that are likely to prioritise it for the next year. The information will help ensure we have a rounded picture when considering the priority afforded carers in future planning rounds. I am placing a copy of the letter in the Library in the House.

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NHS Service Provision

19. Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the balance between public and private sector provision of NHS services; and if he will make a statement. [317489]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: There is no target for the balance between public or private provision of NHS services. The balance must be driven by the best interests of patients and citizens. The NHS is the preferred provider, but we recognise the important contribution of the independent and third sectors where they can add capacity, drive up quality, increase patient choice and enable innovation.

Alcoholic Drinks: Pricing

20. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the pricing of alcoholic drinks on the level of alcohol abuse; and if he will make a statement. [317490]

Gillian Merron: In 2008, an independent review by Sheffield university found a link between cheap alcohol, increased consumption and harm.

We are determined to take action while respecting the rights of responsible consumers and are doing further research.

We are already banning the worst irresponsible promotions such as 'all you can drink for £10'.

Health Protection Agency: Product Registration

21. Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether registration of products manufactured by the Health Protection Agency at the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response at Porton Down is tied to the site of manufacture. [317491]

Gillian Merron: The address of the registration holder for a medicinal product licence and the address for the site of manufacture can be, and often are, different. Either address can be changed using the formal process of a variation submission to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the Department's medicines agency.

National Curriculum: First Aid Training

22. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on the introduction of first aid training as part of the national curriculum. [317492]

Ann Keen: We have had no recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families announced on 28 April 2009 that personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education will form part of the statutory curriculum from 2011.

Under the current non-statutory provisions, at key stages 1 and 2 children learn about some basic aspects of first aid; the programme of study for PSHE at key
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stage 3 includes ways of recognising and reducing risk, minimising harm and getting help in emergency and risky situations; at key stage 4 it includes how to use basic and emergency first aid. It is for schools to retain flexibility over how topics included within PSHE should be delivered to meet the needs of their pupils.

Nursing Care

24. Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to improve standards of nursing care in hospitals. [317494]

Ann Keen: We have developed a number of important systems to improve the standard of nursing care in hospitals including the introduction of senior clinical roles such as modern matrons and nurse consultants. These are having a real impact, as patient surveys continue to demonstrate.


25. Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in England were diagnosed with melanoma between 1997 and 2007. [317495]

Ann Keen: Between 1997 and 2007, there were 74,967 newly diagnosed cases of melanoma in England.

Asthma: Drugs

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of medication prescribed could be used to treat asthma-related conditions in each of the last five years. [316987]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The table provides the number of prescription items dispensed in the community, in England, overall, together with the number for asthma drugs and the percentage this represents of overall drugs dispensed.

Number of prescription items dispensed in the community, in England, for drugs used to treat asthma, as defined in the British National Formulary (BNF)
Calendar year Number of items dispensed overall (thousand) Number of items of asthma drugs (thousand) Percentage of total items dispensed used to treat asthma (percentage)





















Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) system

Asthma drugs are defined as those listed within BNF sections 3.1.1 Adrenoceptor agonists, 3.1.2 Antimuscarinic bronchodilators, 3.1.3 Theophylline, 3.2 Corticosteroids, 3.3.1 Cromoglicate and related therapy, 3.3.2 Leukotriene receptor antagonists and 3.4.2 Allergen Immunotherapy. Some of these medicines are also indicated for conditions other than asthma.

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