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Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: DTI-funded research into innovative fission reactors stopped in 1994 with the cessation of the fast reactor programme. No expenditure for research in this area is included in current DTI spending plans for the next three years. DTI funding is reviewed annually and support for research on innovative fission reactor systems will next be considered as part of the 2004 spending review, which covers the period 2005–08.

It is expected that there will be opportunities over the next three years for researchers from industry and academia to receive funding for international collaboration on fission innovative reactors through the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP6 Euratom) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) SUPERGEN Programme.

DTI provides funding in the region of £16 million a year for the fusion energy research.

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The assessment of new designs of nuclear plant, including the advanced passive designs and the pebble bed modular high temperature reactors, relies mainly on engaging existing knowledge/technology and is, in the first instance, a commercial matter for the nuclear industry.

It is for the Health and Safety Executive's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to decide on what research should be undertaken to equip it to assess the merits as regards safety of designs of proposed new nuclear plant.

Food Supplements

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

2 Jul 2003 : Column WA112

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): According to information provided by industry, around 300 nutrients and nutrient sources presently used in food supplements in the United Kingdom market are currently missing from the lists of permitted substances in the annexes to the Food Supplements Directive. Industry representatives have informed the Food Standards Agency that safety dossiers are currently being prepared to support the addition of 24 missing substances to the permitted lists. If each of those 24 dossiers, and no additional dossiers, are submitted to the European Commission by 12 July 2005, that would mean that sale of food supplements containing any of around 276 nutrients and nutrient sources would be prohibited from 1 August 2005.

Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre, Manchester

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What equipment funding they have given to the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre in Manchester; what this funding represents as a percentage of the total cost of building, equipping, recruiting staff for and running the centre over the next five years; and whether, in consultation with Professors Pat Rice and Terry Jones, they will consider further funding in recognition of its status as a world-class centre of excellence in molecular imaging of patients to advance cancer treatment and the investigation of brain disorders.[HL3540]

Lord Warner: There is no direct National Health Service involvement in the funding of the Wolfson Centre. The centre is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Christie Hospital Trust Charitable Fund and the University of Manchester.

The centre has received funding from National Translational Cancer Research Network (NTRAC) Manchester to appoint three core posts: radiochemist, radiographer and a data analyst/modeller. Further funding from NTRAC Manchester will be decided at a local level.

Pulmonary Disease and Rehabilitation

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether pulmonary rehabilitation should be available to all patients who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and who would benefit from such treatment; and [HL3541]

    What proportion of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are able to access pulmonary rehabilitation; and[HL3542]

2 Jul 2003 : Column WA113

    Whether current guidance on the provision of pulmonary rehabilitation is adequate; and [HL3543]

    Whether the current funding of pulmonary rehabilitation is adequate.[HL3544]

Lord Warner: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is currently developing a guideline on the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in primary and secondary care. It is due to publish the guideline in 2004. In January 2003 the Respiratory Alliance published its guidance Bridging the Gap which aims to help primary care trusts to commission and deliver high quality allergy and respiratory care.

A wide range of patients can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation. These include those with chronic lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, bronchiectasis, interstitial lung disease, or lung tumours. Most pulmonary rehabilitation programmes include medical management, education, emotional support, exercise, breathing retraining, and nutritional counselling. The objective is to help people to gain the highest level of function and independence possible, and to improve overall quality of life. Local British Lung Foundation Breathe Easy groups often reinforce pulmonary rehabilitation programmes. There is now research evidence showing pulmonary rehabilitation programmes improve quality of life and reduce hospital admissions.

Information is not held centrally regarding the proportion of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who can access pulmonary rehabilitation. However, a recent survey by the British Lung Foundation and British Thoracic Society found that 160 out of 266 hospitals across the country provide some form of pulmonary rehabilitation to lung patients.

Substantial new investment in both health and social care services were announced in the 2002 Budget. This amounts to the largest sustained increase in funding of any five-year period in the history of the National Health Service. Over the years 2003–04 to 2007–08, these plans mean that expenditure on the NHS in England will increase on average by 7.4 per cent a year over and above inflation—a total increase over the period of 43 per cent in real terms. This means that over the same five-year period, there will be an increase of £34 billion.

It is the role of strategic health authorities, in partnership with primary care trusts, to decide what services to provide for their populations, including those with respiratory conditions. They are best placed to understand local health needs and commission services to meet them. bjc

Health Inequalities

Baroness Golding asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish details of their implementation plans for tackling health inequalities in England.[HL3762]

2 Jul 2003 : Column WA114

Lord Warner: We are today publishing details of the Government's implementation plans for tackling health inequalities in England. The plans set out how our strategy (published on 15 November 2002) to narrow the health gap between disadvantaged groups, areas and the rest of the population will be delivered.

Copies of the publication, Health inequalities; a programme of action, have been placed in the Library.

Modern Apprenticeships

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the numbers who completed a modern apprenticeship in each of the past five years in England and Northern Ireland.[HL3467]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Statistics on modern apprenticeships are collected and published in different ways in England and Northern Ireland and comparisons are difficult.

In England, figures are not yet available for those completing a modern apprenticeship framework. These figures are due to be published for the first time on 24 July 2003. However, figures are available on the percentage of those leaving modern apprenticeships who gained a qualification. The latest full year for which advanced modern apprenticeship qualification information is available is August 1999 to July 2000. Foundation modern apprenticeship information is only available for August 1999 to July 2000.

Percentage of leavers from Advanced Modern Apprenticeships who:
Gained any full/part qualificationGained any full qualification
Aug 1995–Jul 19964637
Aug 1996–Jul 19975243
Aug 1997–Jul 19985850
Aug 1998–Jul 19996760
Aug 1999–Jul 20007569

Percentage of leavers from Foundation Modern Apprenticeships who:

Gained any full/part qualificationGained any full qualification
Aug 1999–Jul 20005144

In Northern Ireland, a total of 2,800 young people have successfully completed a modern apprenticeship since the programme was introduced in 1996.

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