Sleep Apnoea

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to ensure that GPs are aware of the warning signs of obstructive sleep apnoea and are screening for that condition using (a) the Epworth sleepiness test and (b) other recognised tests. [192181]

Jane Ellison: NHS England is committed to working with partners across the health system to reduce mortality and improve outcomes for people with respiratory disease.

Local clinical commissioning groups are responsible for commissioning services for patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. Management of the condition is governed by clinical guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England would expect clinical commissioning groups to ensure that services are available to patients in line with these national guidelines and the needs of their local populations.

General practitioners (GPs) have to demonstrate that they are actively maintaining their skills through continual professional development and are aware of new clinical guidelines which are regularly published by NICE and disseminated to GPs.

Trade Union Officials

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding his Department provided for staff to carry out trade union activities in each of the last three years; and how many days staff spent on those activities in those years. [191024]

Dr Poulter: The Department and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) operate a joint trade union facility time agreement. Details of the funding that the Department has allocated centrally for trade union activity for the last three years can be found in the following table.

Financial yearFunding for departmental trade union activities (£)

2011-12

265,859

2012-13

275,280

2013-14

228,850

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Information on the number of days accredited trade union representatives carry out trade union activities is not collected centrally. The Department and the MHRA currently share trade union facility time of a small number of staff elected by trade unions whose work time is fully allocated to trade union activities.

Tuberculosis

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to find new treatments to tackle multi-drug-resistant TB; and if he will make a statement. [192066]

Jane Ellison: Over the past 12 years, gradual increases in the proportion of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases in the United Kingdom has amounted to a significant upward trend, from 0.7% (25/3529) in 2001, to 1.6% (81/5,151) in 2012. The proportion of MDR-TB cases remained stable at 1.6% (81 cases).

The World Health Organization has stated that elimination of TB will depend on new diagnostics and more effective drugs and vaccines. Several international initiatives have generated a pipeline of potential new antimicrobials, and Bedaquiline is now available for MDR-TB.

As part of the UK's 2013 strategy to address antimicrobial resistance we are seeking to identify a sustainable model to incentivise research and development into new antibiotics, diagnostics and novel therapies, which balances conservation and commercial incentives to build support with international partners to deliver this model in practice.

The current vaccine, BCG, is generally safe, but has variable efficacy globally (0-80%). The introduction of new effective TB vaccines is an essential component of the global strategy to eliminate tuberculosis by 2050 (UN Millennium Goal 6C). There are a number of novel TB vaccine candidates under development which will need to be tested through a hierarchy of preclinical models of increasing complexity. Similar models are also being applied to the evaluation of new drugs.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of multi-drug-resistant TB were recorded in each region in the last three years. [192067]

Jane Ellison: The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the United Kingdom is assessed through systematic analysis of notification data obtained from the Enhanced Tuberculosis Surveillance System run by Public Health England (PHE).

In 2012, a total of 81 multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases were reported in the UK, 84 MDR-TB cases were reported in 2011, and 66 MDR-TB cases were reported in 2010. A breakdown of MDR-TB cases by PHE region and country for the period 2010-2012 is provided in the following table.

PHE region/country201020112012Total

PHE region

    

London

29

34

36

99

Midlands and East of England

14

24

21

59

North of England

15

15

12

42

South of England

6

6

9

21

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Country

    

England

64

79

78

221

Northern Ireland

1

2

0

3

Wales

0

1

1

2

Scotland

1

2

2

5

United Kingdom

66

84

81

231

Source: PHE Enhanced Tuberculosis Surveillance (ETS), Scottish Enhanced Surveillance of Mycobacterial Infections (ESMI).

Deputy Prime Minister

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures are in place to monitor the effectiveness of the funding to improve electoral registration engagement; and when he plans to report to Parliament on the effectiveness of this initiative. [192117]

Greg Clark: Funding has been provided to all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain and five national organisations to support the costs of activities to maximise registration.

They have been provided with guidance to support them in evaluating the success of activity delivered through this funding. Cabinet Office officials will continue to work closely with funding recipients to monitor and measure the outcomes.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his Department's funding of £3.6 million to improve electoral registration will be given to local authorities which have not used local government databases to improve electoral registration in the individual electoral registration dry run. [192118]

Greg Clark: All electoral registration officers (EROs) have received funding, based on their levels of under-registration, to support local activities to maximise registration, as part of the transition to individual electoral registration. EROs are best placed to decide how to improve the completeness and accuracy of their registers.

Performance standard one of the Electoral Commission's framework encourages EROs to use local data sources to build understanding of local challenges and to identify potential new electors. The Electoral Commission monitors and reports on the performance of EROs against the performance standards. All EROs met performance standard one in 2012 and the commission will report on the 2013 performance shortly.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if his Department's funding to improve registration will be given to local authorities that are spending (a) more than and (b) less than the average on voter registration. [192179]

Greg Clark: All electoral registration officers (EROs) have received funding, based on their levels of under-registration, to help with the costs of local activities to maximise registration, as part of the transition to individual electoral registration.

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Funding allocations were based on the number of non-registered people, comparing the size of the register to the 16+ population. An element was based on the number of 16 to 18-year-olds to encourage activity in schools to register attainers.

Hereditary Peers

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will introduce legislative proposals to provide that the heirs of people who disclaim hereditary peerages cannot claim any hereditary right to membership of the House of Lords; and if he will publish details of how many people entitled to hereditary peerages have renounced their titles where their oldest eligible son has subsequently claimed the title on their death. [191910]

The Deputy Prime Minister: The Government's proposals introduced to the House of Commons on 10 July 2012 included plans to end hereditary peerages altogether. The Government have no further specific plans to legislate in this area. Currently anyone in this position has every right to disclaim the title should they so wish.

Eighteen people have disclaimed their titles since the passage of the 1963 Peerage Act, the first being the late Tony Benn. Of those disclaimed peerages, seven have subsequently been claimed by the entitled heir.

Lobbying

Paul Flynn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he has taken to restrict access to departmental meetings by lobbyists since 2011. [191955]

Greg Clark: Details of meetings held by Ministers and permanent secretaries with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on Gov.UK. That transparency will be further extended by the recently enacted Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act, Part 1, which will require consultant lobbyists who meet with Ministers and senior officials to declare their clients on a publicly available register.

Returning Officers: Wales

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from (a) the Electoral Commission, (b) the Welsh Government and (c) Carmarthenshire County Council on the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council and his responsibilities as Returning Officer. [191697]

Greg Clark: I have not received any such representations.

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Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the suitability of the chief executives of Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council acting as returning officers in future elections. [191698]

Greg Clark: It is the responsibility of individual local authorities to appoint an officer of the council to be the returning officer for local government elections in their area. Electoral law provides that returning officers for local government elections shall also be local returning officers for European Parliamentary elections. It therefore does not fall to the Government to assess the suitability of individuals carrying out these roles.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will meet the Electoral Commission to discuss the suitability of the chief executives of Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council for their roles as returning officers at the forthcoming European election. [191699]

Greg Clark: I have regular meetings with the Chair of the Electoral Commission.

Cabinet Office officials have been working closely with the Electoral Commission, and have discussed a range of issues, to support the efficient and effective administration of the forthcoming European Parliamentary election.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will amend the guidance given to the Electoral Commission on whether prohibiting public officials who are suspended or under criminal investigation retain their responsibilities as returning officers. [191700]

Greg Clark: The Government do not provide guidance to the Electoral Commission on the status of returning officers.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Electoral Commission on returning officer responsibilities in Carmarthenshire at the forthcoming European elections. [191701]

Greg Clark: I have regular meetings with the Chair of the Electoral Commission.

Cabinet Office officials have been working closely with the Electoral Commission and have discussed a range of issues to support the efficient and effective running of the forthcoming European Parliamentary election.