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"Highway Code": Personal Security

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: No. The purpose of the Highway Code is to set out the rules of the road in a form that is easily understood and remembered by the public. It needs to be kept brief if it is to communicate the key messages effectively. Whilst there is currently a short annex to the code giving advice on vehicle security, the issue of personal security is so wide ranging that it would be difficult to incorporate this without substantially increasing the size of the code.

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House of Lords Members' Interests

Lord Avebury asked the Leader of the House:

    Whether he considers that there is a case for a review of the rules for registration and declaration of interests in the House of Lords which were decided following the recommendations of the Procedure Committee, following the Report of the sub-committee chaired by Lord Griffiths.

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): The rules regarding declaration and registration of interests are ultimately a matter for the House. The House would normally expect to receive advice from the Procedure Committee on these matters.

Firearms Administration in Scotland: Inspectorate's Report

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have been informed by Lord Cullen of the reasons why there is no mention of the Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland's thematic report into the administration of firearms in Scotland which was submitted to the inquiry into the Dunblane shootings in the appendix to that inquiry's report, and if so, what were the reasons; and whether they will place a copy of the Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland's report in the Library of the House.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): The content of the inquiry report and the question of which documents were accepted as formal submissions to the inquiry are matters for Lord Cullen. The inspectorate's draft report was, however, referred to in paragraph 2.13 of the inquiry report.

The draft report, which related to the administrative efficiency of the police operation of the existing licensing system, was never finalised because it was overtaken by the changes to the licensing system recommended by Lord Cullen and implemented in the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997. I will however place a copy of the draft in the Library of the House.

Smoking and Asthma

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about the effects of (a) smoking and (b) passive smoking on persons suffering asthma.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Smoking is strongly associated with respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and obstructive airways disease. Symptoms of smoking related respiratory tract injury are cough, sputum production, wheezing and shortness of breath. For asthma sufferers these symptoms will be exacerbated.

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A number of studies have linked children's exposure to passive smoking with wheezing and asthma.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency concluded that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure increases the number of episodes of asthma in children who already have the disease. It also concludes that ETS is a risk factor for induction of asthma in previously asymptomatic children.

The Royal College of Physicians estimated that symptoms of asthma are twice as common in the children of smokers.

Osteoporosis Report: Implementation

The Earl of Munster asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 7 July (WA 61), whether they will consult with local health authorities and NHS Trusts to ascertain what plans each local health authority or trust has in place, or under consideration, to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Group on Osteoporosis.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: We are keen to minimise the cost and time burdens which additional data collection can impose upon the National Health Service, so do not intend to request this additional information. Moreover, as I explained in my answer of 7 July, it is for local health authorities to ascertain the service needs of their local populations and to decide what priority to give such needs. We have no plans to consult them as to their local arrangements.

Osteoporosis in Men

The Earl of Munster asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the reply by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 7 July (WA 61) that the Department of Health is drafting a new men's health leaflet to include osteoporosis, what other measures they are taking to support research into (a) epidemiology and health economics (b) pathogenesis and (c) treatment (specific to men rather than women) of osteoporosis in men.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Medical Research Council is currently funding a number of research projects into osteoporosis. There are nine live projects, valued at £3,036,839, which apply equally to men and women and are either specific to osteoporosis or involve general bone research which will encompass osteoporosis. Of these, three are broadly concerned with epidemiology; five with pathogenesis and one with pathogenesis and treatment.

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Osteoporotic Fractures

The Earl of Munster asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 7 July (WA 62), whether the Department of Health will undertake to ascertain by collection of new data the frequency and cost of osteoporotic fractures secondary to steroid use, especially in patients with asthma, inflammatory connective tissue diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases and transplant patients.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: We are not convinced that the considerable cost and burden data collection would impose upon the National Health Service is likely to justify the benefits of having the information requested. It will often not be possible to infer a direct relationship between primary and secondary diagnoses, or between the diagnoses and any cause of accident or injury. Data Collection 1. In 1994-95 there were six (6) recorded episodes with a primary diagnosis of fracture (ICD9 code range 800-829) and a secondary diagnosis of osteoporosis (ICD9 code 733.0) and containing a code indicating the adverse effect of therapeutic use of hormones and synthetic substitutes (ICD9 code E932). 2. Presence of code E932 on a HES record in such cases would normally depend on relevant information being supplied by the patient, and also on the care taken in recording such details when preparing the HES record. As such, the data could be corrupted by inaccuracies in the information provided by patients and by incomplete recording of details when preparing the HES record. 3. The Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) database contains 10 million records per year detailing individual episodes of in-patient care within NHS hospitals in England. Each record contains a primary diagnosis code (the primary diagnosis is currently defined as the main condition treated or investigated). There are also six further fields that may be used to record additional details about the patients condition (the 'secondary diagnoses' or a code relating to the cause of an accident or an accident of poisoning). 4. Although there will often be a direct relationship between the primary and any secondary diagnosis (for example cataract as a primary and diabetes as a secondary--the diabetes having caused the cataract), this cannot automatically be inferred (e.g. if the primary is broken leg and the secondary is diabetes, it is clearly wrong to assume a relationship--the patient with the broken leg just happens to be diabetic).


Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer given by Lord Lucas on 23 January (WA 67-70), how many cases of BSE were (a) reported and (b) confirmed in each week so far this year.

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The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The following table shows the number of cases of BSE reported and confirmed in Great Britain during each of the first 28 weeks of this year.

Week 1997Number reported each weekNumber confirmed each week


Week 1 is the week ending on the first Friday of the year.

Confirmed cases are listed by the week in which disease was formally confirmed after laboratory examination of the brain. There is, therefore, no correlation in the table between the number of cases reported each week and the number confirmed in the same week.

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