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Proton Pump Inhibitors

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Andrews: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its guidance on the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in the treatment of dyspepsia in July 2000. The guidance made a number of recommendations intended to achieve the most clinically and cost-effectiveness use of PPIs. NICE estimated that its advice, if fully implemented, could lead to a reduction in the use of PPIs. Such a reduction has not yet occurred. We anticipate that the impetus better to target these treatments will increase when NICE publishes its clinical guideline on the primary management of dyspepsia, due later this year.

Learning Disability Services

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the annual report on learning disability services.[HL2362]

Baroness Andrews: We are today publishing Making Change Happen, the Government's annual report on learning disability services. The report describes progress made in implementing the programme of action set out in the White Paper Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century (Cm 5086) and contains a response to Making Things Happen, the first annual report of the Learning Disability Task Force, published in January this year.

People with learning disabilities are among the most socially excluded and vulnerable groups in society. In March 2001 we published Valuing People, which set out an ambitious and challenging cross-government programme to improve the services they use. Over the last year we have been able to report good progress with the Valuing People programme and are now pleased to be able to report that progress is continuing. Since Valuing People was published: more advocacy groups are receiving funding and councils are spending more on advocacy; more people with learning disabilities are receiving direct payments; more people with learning disabilities are in employment; more families with severely disabled children are receiving family support; the National Forum of People with Learning Difficulties has been set up to give people with learning disabilities a national voice. The forum has members on the Learning Disability Task Force, which is itself co-chaired by someone with a learning disability.

Today's report describes the setting up of the basic framework for the implementation programme—the Valuing People support team, learning disability partnership boards, the National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities and the Learning Disability Task Force. We are now building on that framework.

Earlier this year we were pleased to welcome the task force's first annual report. The report we are publishing today includes a response to the task force and confirms our readiness to work with it as it continues to monitor the implementation of the whole Valuing People programme.

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Today's report is written in an accessible form, using pictures and straightforward, jargon-free language. It is important that people with learning disabilities can see for themselves what is being done to improve the services they use.

The Valuing People Support Team has made an excellent start in developing links with learning disability partnership boards and supporting them as they implement the White Paper's proposals at local council level. We can confirm that the support team will continue its work until 2006. We can also confirm the continuation of the Implementation Support Fund and the Learning Disability Development Fund.

Valuing People said that it would take a minimum of five years for its programme to be implemented. We have made good progress towards that target in the two years since its publication.

NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the National Health Service Purchasing and Supply Agency will publish its annual business plan.[HL2363]

Baroness Andrews: We are publishing today the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency's annual business plan. Copies have been placed in the Library.

The business plan highlights the agency's achievements in 2002–03 and sets out the key tasks and targets for the coming year.

This comprehensive plan has been formulated within the context of the agency's ongoing remit to lead the modernisation of the NHS purchasing and supply function. The agency has a strategic role to set out a major development agenda for purchasing and supply in the NHS and to develop a co-ordinated implementation plan for doing so. The business plan sets out clearly how the agency will achieve these aims.

Cabinet Office Vehicles

Lord Elton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) when Cabinet Office vehicles were converted to use both petrol and liquid petroleum gas; (b) what was the cost of conversion for each type of vehicle; (c) how much of each type of fuel has since been used by converted vehicles; and (d) what has been the average cost per mile of the fuel used by each type of vehicle before and after conversion.[HL2195]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): I refer the noble Lord to the letter written to him by Mr Nick Matheson, chief executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

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Letter from Nick Matheson, Chief Executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency, dated 1 April 2003.

The right honourable Lord Macdonald of Tradeston, Minister for the Cabinet Office, has asked me in my capacity as the chief executive responsible for the Government Car and Despatch Agency to reply to your Parliamentary Question about the number of Cabinet Office vehicles converted to use both petrol and liquid petroleum gas (LPG); the cost of these conversions; the amount of each type of fuel used; and the average cost per mile of the fuel used by each vehicle before and after conversion.

There are three vehicles provided to Cabinet Office, a car and two light vans, that run on both petrol and LPG. The car came into service in 2000 and the vans in June 2002. These vehicles were purchased already converted by the manufacturer to run on dual fuel so there were no after-purchase conversion costs incurred by this agency. A before and after comparison of running costs would be unhelpful and misleading because the vehicles did not replace similar models.

All dual fuel vehicles switch automatically between petrol and LPG during their use as determined by their fuel management systems. It is impossible therefore to say with any accuracy what consumption against each type of fuel is. However since February 2002 I have spent £2,461 on petrol and £2,105 on LPG. There are

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two reasons for the apparently high petrol costs. Firstly, the two LPG vans were introduced in the summer of 2002 and had to run on petrol only for the first 3,000 miles for technical reasons and secondly, a litre of petrol costs roughly twice as much as a litre of LPG at the pump.

I am constantly looking at ways to lessen the impact of our operations on the environment. In addition to the three vehicles mentioned above I also provide two electric-powered light vans and a hybrid petrol/electric car to the Cabinet Office. All our electric and duel fuel light vans are registered with the City of Westminster's environmentally friendly vehicle scheme. This agency also participates in the THINK @bout London electric car project. This vehicle also operates from the Cabinet Office.

BR Headquarters Staff

Baroness Scott of Needham Market asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many staff were employed in British Rail's headquarters for the years 1990 to 1993.[HL2208]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The information is not available in the form requested. In 1992, 617 people were employed at BR Headquarters. In 1994 the number had fallen to 512.

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