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Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government: What is their estimate of the capital sum required to build a new hospital similar to an existing hospital such as Bart's and to generate enough annual income to cover its running costs.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): A typical medium sized district general hospital of 800 beds will have a building construction cost of about £100 million. The cost per bed is estimated at about £135,000. Typically, other costs will add between 50 to 100 per cent. to these building costs. These costs are hard to relate to the design of an old hospital such as Bart's. Estimates such as these are complex. That for any particular new hospital will rest on a particular business case. It is not possible to say illustratively whether such an investment would generate enough income to cover its running costs. The design of a new hospital takes account of the services which health authorities are ready to commission and pay for.
The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government: What research they have conducted into the possible links between the high incidence of CJD in humans and BSE in cattle, and exposure to flourocetamide and other organochlorides and organophosphates used in pesticides and veterinary medicines within a five mile radius of the factory involved in the Smarden poisoning incident.
Lord Lucas: There is no evidence of any link between BSE and exposure to flourocetamide, organochlorides and organophosphates used in pesticides and veterinary medicines. The use of organophosphorus compounds as insecticides, which has been claimed either to cause BSE or render cows susceptible to BSE, has been considered by the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (Addendum to Chapter 6 of the Committee's report on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies--A Summary of Present Knowledge and Research). The original BSE epidemiological investigation considered any possible association between the use of agricultural chemicals, including organophosphate pesticides, and the occurrence of BSE. None was found. The lesions of delayed neurotoxicity induced by organophosphorus compounds are clearly distinguishable from those in BSE. Many other countries without BSE use organophosphorus compounds on cattle. There is no geographical clustering of BSE cases in the Smarden
|Under 2½ years||79||1||80|
|Over 3½ years||150,363||426||150,789|
|Under 2½ years||0||0||0|
|Over 3½ years||1,691||2||1,693|
Lord Lucas: The theory that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) could have been caused by the exposure of cattle to organophosphate (OP) pesticides as a treatment for warble fly infestation has been considered in detail by scientists in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Department of Health and the Medical Research Council. A report
The Toxicology Unit of the Medical Research Council conducted a specific experiment to test a basic concept in the theory of Mr. Mark Purdey that an organophosphate could bind to "normal" prion protein, However, they found that the predictions of the theory did not come true. The Government have no plans to make further funds available for research in this area.
Lord Lucas: My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food represented the United Kingdom at the Agriculture Council on 3rd-4th June in Luxembourg. He was accompanied by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Welsh Office, and my noble friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office.
The Council considered the proposal by the Commission to lift the EU-wide export ban on UK produced gelatine, tallow and bull semen. This proposal had failed to attract a qualified majority in the EU Standing Veterinary Committee on 20th May, and the Commission therefore submitted it to the Council for a decision. The proposal was supported in the Council by nine member states but as this did not amount to a qualified majority, the Agriculture Commissioner announced that the Commission would implement the proposal under its own powers. It is likely that this will take effect from 10th June.
My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food presented to the Agriculture Council the United Kingdom's comprehensive eradication programme for BSE, a copy of which is in the Library of this House. He expects that the programme will be examined in detail by EU veterinary experts in the near future.
The Council also discussed a proposal from the Commission to increase the payments to EU beef producers by way of top ups to the 1995 beef special premium and suckler cow premium schemes in order to give some urgent income support to those affected by the BSE crisis. The proposal envisages in addition
The Presidency also undertook further bilateral contacts with member states on the reform of the EU fruit and vegetable regime. It is expected that, in the light of these discussions, a compromise proposal will be put before the late June Agriculture Council meeting.
Lord Lucas: The Kent River Board became the Kent River Authority which was subsumed into the Southern Water Authority, and then since water privatisation in 1989, part of the National Rivers Authority which is now part of the Environment Agency. The Kent River Board assisted with the sampling and testing of water in the vicinity of Smarden. However files recording the outcome of the testing no longer exist and I am therefore unable to provide any details.
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