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The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The decision that organic poultry producers should be allowed to continue to benefit from the EU derogation until 31 December 2010 takes account of both animal welfare issues and the viability of the UK organic poultry sector. We have also considered carefully all the representations received about the derogation; the majority supported its extension. This approach puts UK producers on an even footing with those in the rest of the European Union.
Lord Rooker: The destination triage protocol jointly developed and agreed by United Hospitals Trust, the Northern Health and Social Services Board and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service indicates that patients suspected of having cardiac chest pain should be taken to Whiteabbey Hospital between 9.00 and 17.00.
What is the target response time for ambulances attending potential patients in Northern Ireland; how response times are monitored; and what the average response times have been for each of the last five years.[HL499]
Prior to 2005, the performance of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) was measured differently. The response target up until then was 50 per cent of all 999 calls to be answered within eight minutes, or 95 per cent of all 999 calls to be answered within 18 minutes (rural) or 21 minutes (sparsely populated).
NIAS reports to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) on levels of activity and performance against that activity for each board area and for Northern Ireland as a whole. It also reports to each of the boards. NIAS uses its computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system to report on the different categories of calls.
|Year||% calls responded to within eight minutes||% calls responded to within 18 to 21 minutes|
|Year||% category A calls responded to within eight minutes||% category B and C calls responded to within 18 to 21 minutes.|
Lord Rooker: The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) is a regional service. The number of ambulances available in each board area throughout Northern Ireland on 1 January for each of the past five years is as follows:
Whether they will ensure that all staff handling nationality applications at the ethnic minorities citizenship unit of the British consulate-general in Hong Kong have received training covering part 3 of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office e-gram 31525/06 of 20 July. [HL539]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office prides itself on giving staff the best training possible to provide first-class consular services at all posts overseas. E-gram 31525/06 reminded posts of the guidance in place for handling citizenship applications received overseas. The staff of the ethnic minorities citizenship unit of the British consulate-general in Hong Kong have been fully trained in, and are complying with, the relevant guidance.
Further to the Written Answers by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 8 November (WA 166-7), and in light of the editor of the South China Morning Post agreeing to obtain approval before making any edits to the Government's response, whether they will now publish a response to the letters published on 25 September and 23 October. [HL540]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): In spite of the assurance given in respect of editorial policy, it remains the position of both the Home Office and the British consulate-general in Hong Kong that it is not appropriate to enter into correspondence via the open letters pages of newspapers.
What is the accepted time scale within which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs should respond to letters in connection with the single farm payment; and whether it is normal practice for a holding letter to be sent pending further investigation.[HL479]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) aims to provide a full response to correspondence relating to the single payment scheme (SPS) within 15 working days. If this is not possible, it is usual practice to tell the customer the reason for the delay in a holding letter. If more time is required for investigation, a further holding letter is issued to the customer after another 15 working days, explaining why a full reply is not possible.
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