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Gulf Veterans: Mortality Data

Lord Craig of Radley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: No comparison of mortality data for the 1990-91 Gulf veterans has yet been made with mortality figures for the second Gulf conflict (Operation TELIC), although it is our intention to do so in the longer term. Statistics for Operation TELIC are still being developed and collected, but this is a complex and lengthy process: In the first instance, we plan to release mortality data for Operation TELIC in respect of serving Armed Forces personnel, and in the longer term our aim is to include those who have been discharged.
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Gypsies and Travellers

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced in December 2004 that funding for new Gypsy and Traveller sites would be met from the regional housing pots.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced in March 2005 that the Gypsy Site Refurbishment Grant would also be included as part of this funding from 2006-07. The funds available from the Regional Housing Pot are not ring fenced. Guidance on the process for assessing and allocating funding for Gypsy and Traveller sites will be issued in due course.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: One of the primary objectives of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's newly established Gypsy and Traveller Unit is to promote new site provision. It will be working very closely with the Government Offices in those regions which are currently experiencing high levels of unauthorised camping and unauthorised development of land by Gypsies and Travellers, in order to support and encourage local authorities and others to provide sites for Gypsies and Travellers.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: There is no set date on which the local housing needs assessments must be produced, however local authorities will be required to complete their local housing needs assessments as part of developing the evidence base for the preparation of development plan documents as part of their local development framework. The timescales for the preparation of the local development framework is set out in the authorities' local development schemes.

The discussion paper on the local housing needs assessment process, published in March 2005, states that "it is crucial that the accommodation needs of the whole Gypsy and Traveller population are understood and that any study of accommodation requirements obtains
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robust data that are directly comparable to data about the rest of the population". The methodological options for assessing the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers include the use of secondary data and expert knowledge in conjunction with information obtained directly from the Gypsy and Traveller community through local housing surveys.

Gypsy and Traveller Unit

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: A budget of some £550,000 has been allocated for the staff and related costs of the Gypsy and Traveller Unit during its first year of operation (2005-06). This budget excludes central overheads (mainly rent, rates, IT) which are managed centrally. No decision has been taken about the formal split between London and the Government Offices for the Regions.

Healthcare Commission Review

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: The aim of the primary care access target is that everyone should be able to see a general practitioner within 48 hours, not that they may only be seen within this time frame. Latest official figures show that virtually all patients can now do so. The Healthcare Commission's findings are not directly comparable. They are based on a survey of patients earlier this year and the 25 per cent. seen outside the target timeframe include patients who chose to wait longer.

The Government, however, accept that there is a gap between the data reported to the Department of Health by primary care trusts (PCTs) from their practices and public perception of access, as reported in patient surveys. PCTs are being encouraged to work with their practices to close that gap. A number of best practice resources are available to help PCTs and general practice to do this, including support from the national primary care trust development team and a leaflet on adopting patient-sensitive appointment systems.
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Healthcare Professionals from Developing Countries

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: Data on the number of doctors, nurses and other staff working in the private health sector from developing countries are not centrally available.

The Department of Health has however, brokered a groundbreaking agreement for the Code of Practice for International Recruitment of Healthcare Professionals to apply to major players in the independent healthcare sector. The Independent Healthcare Forum and the Registered Nursing Home Association both endorse the code of practice

Where national contracts are signed to increase capacity in the National Health Service, compliance with the code of practice is a contractual obligation for all independent sector providers and recruitment agencies.

Hepatitis C and HIV Inadvertent Blood Infection: Payment Schemes

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: I refer the noble Lord to the reply given by the Baroness Andrews to the Lord Morris of Manchester on 23 February 2005 at col. WA 214.


Lord Turnberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Warner: The Government have asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to conduct an appraisal of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of Herceptin for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Herceptin is not yet licensed for early-stage breast cancer in England, and NICE cannot complete its appraisal until the drug receives its licence for this indication.

The average length of time per year between a cancer drug being licensed since 2000 and NICE producing guidance on that drug is shown in the table. The figures include the time taken by the Department of Health to refer the topic to NICE, as well as NICE's work on each appraisal.
YearPieces of Appraisal Guidance PublishedAverage Number of Months Between Licensing Date and Publication of Guidance

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