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National Waiting List Helpline

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The helpline is the responsibility of the College of Health. Health authorities fund the Health Information Service which can provide information on local waiting times.

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Counselling Qualifications

Lord Addington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is a nationally recognised standard for counselling qualifications; and, if so, what is it.[HL4329]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath : There are no nationally agreed standards for training and qualifications in counselling.

Within the National Health Service, employers have a responsibility to ensure that the people they employ, or to whom they refer, are qualified for the tasks they will undertake and that the treatment is the right one for the condtion being treated. A large number of professional bodies exist to promote the development of the psychotherapies, to provide training and to promote high standards.

The recently published National Service Framework for Mental Health sets out clear, evidence-based standards for service, and stresses the need for statutory bodies to work with professional organisations, education providers, national training bodies and employers to ensure that basic training programmes reflect the priorities in the National Service Framework and to develop lifelong learning and reflective practice.

Meat Hygiene Service

Lord Seaford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider the training undertaken by Spanish veterinary practitioners sub-contracted to the Official Veterinary Service to be of sufficient standard for the responsibilities devolved on them; and what steps they are taking to control any failure to discharge those responsibilities.[HL4403]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman) : All official veterinary surgeons (OVSs), including those with a degree in veterinary medicine obtained in Spain, must be members or fellows of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and be entitled to practice as veterinary surgeons in the UK. Additionally, prior to designation by Ministers, they must have attended an OVS training course, approved by agriculture departments, obtained practical experience and been assessed by the course organiser as competent to enforce the legislation and communicate effectively.

Should any failure occur in an OVS's ability to discharge his/her responsibilities, action is taken in line with the terms of the contract between the MHS and

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the contractor and may include compulsory re-training; exclusion from certain premises; cancellation of contracts; recommendation of revocation of designation; and referral of cases to the RCVS.

Salisbury Convention

Lord Campbell of Alloway asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, after the end of the current Session, the Salisbury convention and the convention that this

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    House should not amend or reject secondary legislation will continue to apply.[HL4490]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Salisbury convention and the other conventions under which this House operates give effect to the important principle that this House should not seek to thwart the will of the elected Chamber, particularly when it is acting in accordance with the elected government's manifesto. The Government believe that this principle will remain valid after the end of the current Session. However, matters of the conduct of business within the House are ultimately for the House itself to determine.

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