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Baroness Blackstone: As part of its consideration of the Licensing Bill, the House of Lords Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform recommended that a mechanism be devised to enable Parliament to debate the guidance which it is intended would be issued to licensing authorities under Clause 177 of the Licensing Bill. The guidance is a crucial mechanism for enabling the Government to promote consistency and best practice and to respond to developments which may arise from time to time in connection with the sale of alcohol or the provision of regulated entertainment and late night refreshment. The Bill is scheduled to begin its Report stage in the House of Lords on 24 February.
At Committee stage in the House of Lords, the Government undertook to provide an opportunity for an early draft of the guidance to be available in time for the Bill's Report stage in the House of Lords. To meet our undertaking, I am today publishing a rough draft of the guidance, which has been placed in the Library of the House. This has involved advancing the timetable for producing the draft guidance considerably and the production of a rough draft in quicker time than we would have preferred.
I wish to make it clear that the draft's current form is subject to change and further development following continuing consultation with stakeholders and other government departments and agencies; to take account of any further undertakings given by Ministers during the Bill's forthcoming parliamentary stages; and of course, to reflect any amendments made to the Bill itself. There will also be a further opportunity for each House to debate the guidance when it is in its completed form later this year.
How they plan to ensure that accommodation currently used for public health work is protected when the management of public health laboratories transfers to their local National Health Service trusts.[HL1384]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The laboratories transferring to National Health Service trusts are being transferred together with their current accommodation. We expect that the accommodation
It will be the role of local health protection agency public health microbiologists and the HPA regional public health microbiologist to ensure that the public health outputs of transferred, and other, laboratories are maintained.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Microbiology services for food, water and environment testing will continue to be provided to local authorities from all of the existing laboratories, including those Public Health Laboratory Service laboratories that are due to transer to National Health Service trusts. We are planning for the health protection agency, when it is created, to provide for these services and to determine minimum standards that will be followed.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The NHS Plan and the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease (launched after the National Audit Office survey) set standards for health authorities in partnership with local authorities, primary care teams and NHS trusts for the development and delivery of effective policies for reducing overweight and obesity, promoting healthy eating and increasing physical activity.
It is up to primary care trusts as local providers and commissioners of services to determine the most appropriate methods to deliver healthcare to their populations, based on clinical need and effectiveness, as well as local circumstance, drawing on the available evidence. The Health Development Agency is providing a report setting out the evidence base for the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity, and the maintenance of weight loss.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: There will be no service level agreements to maintain the Public Health Laboratory Service co-ordinated programmes on pneumococcal disease. All work for the Department of Health by PHLS on pneumococcal disease is part of the core funding provided by the department.
What steps are being taken to ensure continuity of specialised services commissioning by primary care trusts from April 2003; and[HL1476]
About the preparedness of primary care trusts to assume responsibility for commissioning specialised services from April 2003.[HL1477]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Since April 2002 primary care trusts have been responsible for securing specialised health services for their local populations and, in consequence, the membership of regional specialised commissioning groups (RSCGs) is now based on PCTs rather than on health authorities.
To maintain continuity during 200203, PCTs are expected to honour existing consortia arrangements and previously agreed financial commitments and work programmes. RSCGs have been supporting the development of collaborative behaviour and PCTs are working together to agree their specialised services commissioning plans for 200304.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Committee on Safety of Medicines advises the licensing authority on the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines. It does not advise doctors on what products they should prescribe.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): These are, in the first instance, all issues which the Joint Committee will have to consider as part of any detailed proposals they might make for the way forward following the votes in both Houses.
The Lord Chancellor: In June 2001 the noble Lord invited consideration of a minor amendment to the wording of certain Writs of Summons to the House of Lords, which then included a reference to Great Men but not to Great Women.
The Crown Office (Forms and Proclamation Rules) (Amendment) Order 2002 was promoted by my department to rectify the anomaly so that those Writs of Summons which refer to Great Men will now also refer to Great Women.
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