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Further to the Written Statement by the Lord Drayson on 19 July (WS 75), whether illness and mortality data for 199091 have been compared with data during and immediately following the second Gulf conflict in 2003; and, if so, what conclusions they have reached. [HL1491]
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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Whether any of the regional funding available for local authority and registered social landlord Gypsy sites, as mentioned by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, on 14 July (HC Deb, col. 1051), is ring-fenced; when they will issue invitations to bid for this money; and by what date applications have to be submitted. [HL1322]
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.
Whether they will encourage local authorities in whose areas there are Gypsies living on unauthorised sites to develop official sites either alone or in partnership with a registered social landlord. [HL1323]
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.
By what date local authorities have to produce the first housing needs assessment covering the needs of Gypsies and Travellers, under the Housing Act 2004; and whether local authorities are consulting with Gypsies and Travellers as part of this process. [HL1324]
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.
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.
What steps they propose to take in response to the finding of the Healthcare Commission Review that a quarter of patients are not being seen by their general practitioner within the target time of 48 hours. [HL1449]
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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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.
Whether they will reconsider their refusal of financial help for Mrs Sue Threakall, the widow of a haemophilia patient who died from hepatitis C infection contracted from National Health Service blood products, and grant her help equal to that she could have received if her husband's death had been caused by HIV infection by the same route and from the same source. [HL1422]
What is the average time lag between the granting of a licence to prescribe a drug and approval by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence; and whether a rapid approval process can be adopted for drugs, such as Herceptin, where large scale trial evidence has revealed benefits. [HL1387]
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.
|Year||Pieces of Appraisal Guidance Published||Average Number of Months Between Licensing Date and Publication of Guidance|
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