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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Over the last 28 months there have been no deaths reported to the Medical Devices Agency resulting from malfunction of infusion devices, however there have been seven deaths reported associated with the misuse of infusion devices.
The Medical Devices Agency has investigated all reported incidents involving infusion devices and issued individual safety warning notices and recommendations for corrective action to hospitals as necessary. Also the agency has persuaded manufacturers to improve the design of infusion devices and participated in national and international safety standards committees. In addition, the agency has issued revised comprehensive advice to the Health Service (Device Bulletin DB9503 May 1995) which includes recommendations, based on experience gained from investigating reported incidents and evaluating new devices, on training, purchasing and management, including user record keeping. Copies of this document are available in the Library. Two comparative evaluation reports covering infusion devices currently for sale are about to be published.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): We have no plans to conduct a nuclear weapon test explosion and are working actively to conclude negotiations on an effective comprehensive test ban treaty in the first half of this year. Last year the United Kingdom made a substantial contribution to securing international agreement for the indefinite extension of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. In addition, we support the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international export control regimes. Within Europe, nuclear weapons continue to remain a powerful force for preserving stability. We remain committed to maintaining a minimal nuclear deterrent and do not believe that a nuclear weapons convention or no-first use undertaking would be consistent with our security requirements.
Earl Howe: The review of the recruitment policy for the armed forces regarding the nationality of an applicant's parents is being undertaken by the Ministry of Defence. This review is still in progress but is expected to be completed within six months.
The Cabinet Office review to which the Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne) referred in the last paragraph of his Written Answer of 5th April (WA 22) concerned an internal review of Cabinet Office recruitment policy in relation to place of birth and parental nationality rules for its own staff. That review was completed later in 1995 and, as a result, those rules were withdrawn with effect from 1st September 1995 for recruitment to the Cabinet Office generally though they may be applied in exceptional circumstances to safeguard the national interest.
Earl Howe: The United Kingdom's armed forces are trained and equipped to carry out operations without the benefits of the Global Positioning System. We have no plans to research or procure a comparable British system.
Earl Howe: There are at present no British military personnel in Sierra Leone engaged in training members of the republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces (RSLMF). A British military liaison officer is currently in Freetown providing advice on restructuring the RSLMF. On current plans we intend to maintain this post in 1996-97.
Earl Howe: The RAF flying training scheme is adequate to meet the requirements of Britain's defence policy, as set out in the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1995. The Statement sets out our response to unforeseen contingencies.
The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): The Government very much welcomes the announcement by the Millennium Commission of its decision to stage a national millennium exhibition in Greenwich. This visionary and exciting scheme will enable the whole nation to mark this significant event in a wholly appropriate way. It should also encourage large numbers of overseas visitors to join in our national celebrations during the millennium year.
In order to ensure that the Government's participation in this significant national event is well planned and co-ordinated, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has asked the First Secretary of State and Deputy Prime Minister, to convene a Ministerial Group with the following terms of reference:
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