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EU: Financial Services

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Economic Secretary to the Treasury wrote to Commissioner McCreevy to support his efforts to maintain pressure on member states to implement the markets in financial instruments directive (MiFID). The letter was well received.

Food: Plastic Packaging

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is aware of these suggested sources of dioxins in food but has not found any evidence to substantiate them. The FSA regularly monitors food for the presence of these persistent environmental contaminants. Based on its monitoring data, the estimated total dietary intake of dioxins by United Kingdom consumers has fallen by about 50 per cent since 1997.

G8: Doha Round

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The World Trade Organisation (WTO) round of trade negotiations remains the UK’s top trade priority. Ministers from the G4 countries (EU, US, Brazil and India) are scheduled to meet from 19 to 23 June in Potsdam, with the aim of reaching broad agreement on the core issues, including agricultural market access, domestic support for agriculture and industrial tariffs. We want to see an ambitious, pro-development outcome to the WTO round. We will work with our EU partners, the European Commission and other WTO members to ensure that the interests of the poorest countries are taken into account in any broader WTO deal.

At Heiligendamm, G8 members issued a trade statement calling for the round to be completed by the end of 2007, for progress in the coming weeks, and for all WTO members to demonstrate the constructive flexibility needed to bring the round to a prompt, successful conclusion.

Health: Blood Transfusions

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

To what extent the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is expected to consider the ethical implications of any decision it reaches when issuing guidance; and whether National Health Service practitioners may deny erythropoietin to patients with chemotherapy-induced anaemia who for religious reasons refuse to receive blood transfusions. [HL4139]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath):The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), through its Citizens’

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Council, considers ethical implications of decisions reached when developing and issuing its guidance. NICE’s published documentation on the social value judgments that it applies in the development of its guidance recommends that guidance developers recognise the importance of respecting individuals’ systems of values as well as their cultural attitudes and religious views. A copy of NICE’s Social Value Judgments: Principles for the Development of NICE Guidance is available on its website at www.nice.org.uk/page.aspx?o=283494

It is a matter for clinicians and their patients to agree the most appropriate form of treatment in individual cases.

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The cost of a unit of red blood cell is £134. There is currently no licensed blood screening test for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) therefore we cannot evaluate the cost increase for the introduction of a screening test for vCJD.

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The type of treatment offered to patients is a matter of individual clinical judgment and discussion with the patient concerned.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is currently appraising erythropoietin for the treatment of anaemia induced by cancer treatment and expects to publish final guidance to the National Health Service in November 2007.

Health: Contraceptive Services

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The department is using the results to inform Best Practice Guidance onReproductive Healthcare, which we will publish later in 2007. It will also inform the sexual health commissioning framework which the department is planning to publish in 2007-08.

Contraception service commissioners and providers are using the findings of the review to address gaps in service provision locally. In addition,

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this information will be useful to make comparisons with other areas of similar demographics and geography and to provide a national overview.

Health: Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

Lord Bradley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Neither the department nor the Medical Research Council has directly funded research on Henoch-Schönlein Purpura in the past 10 years.

Over that time, the main part of the department’s total expenditure on health research has been devolved to and managed by National Health Service organisations. Details of individual NHS-supported research projects, including a small number concerned with Henoch-Schönlein Purpura, are available on the national research register at www.dh.gov.uk/research.

Health: Human Papilloma Virus

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is in the process of thoroughly examining the vaccine safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness evidence concerning human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines, including the options for a catch-up campaign. The work is being taken forward by a sub-group of JCVI, which will present its findings to the parent committee. Ministers will then consider the advice from the JCVI.

If the decision is taken to introduce HPV vaccines, the options for implementation, including the role of general practitioners, will be considered carefully.

Health: NICE Guidance

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) Guide to the

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Methods of Technology Appraisal
makes clear that submissions from patient/carer groups as part of the guidance production process should examine the difference that health technology might make to the lifestyle and choices that matter to patients and their carers. NICE also recognises that, while respect for autonomy and individual choice are important for the National Health Service and its users, they should not have the consequence of promoting the use of interventions that are not clinically effective and/or cost-effective.

Israel and Palestine: Arab League Peace Plan

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Arab League’s re-endorsement of the 2002 Beirut Declaration at the Arab summit in Riyadh is a welcome step. It offers the prospect of normal relations between Israel and the Arab world. The Arab League has a key role to play in promoting reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians and moving forward the peace process.

In its statement on 30 May, the quartet (EU, US, UN and Russia) noted its positive meeting with the Arab League in Sharm el-Sheikh on 4 May and looked forward to continued engagement with the Arab states. It welcomed the intention of the Arab League to engage Israel on the 2002 Arab League initiative and Israeli receptiveness to such engagement. The quartet encouraged continued and expanded Arab contacts with Israel and Israeli action to address concerns raised in the 18 April Arab League follow-up committee meeting, including a cessation of settlement expansion and the removal of illegal outposts, as called for in the road map.

Israeli Foreign Minister Livni met President Mubarak and the Egyptian and Jordanian Foreign Ministers in Cairo on 10 May to discuss subsequent action. The quartet principals agreed to meet in the region with members of the Arab League to follow up on the Arab peace initiative and efforts to advance the regional track.

We support the Arab League’s engagement with the parties and welcome the meetings since the re-endorsement of the Arab League initiative. We hope that that will create confidence between the parties to restart negotiations.

Israel and Palestine: Peace Talks

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We, along with the US, have consistently called for Israel to follow international law with regard to its actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We continue to work closely with the US and the EU on the peace process and agree that the road map is the way forward. We, and the US, both want to see an end to violence and the creation of a two-state solution.

Any final status issues will need to be negotiated between the parties. These negotiations should take into account all aspects of international law and key UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and 1373, to which we remain committed.

Israel and Palestine: Recognition

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Hamas has not yet made clear its position regarding recognition of Israel. We do not believe that, by offering to discuss a link between Gaza and the West Bank, accepting the Mecca agreement, entering the National Unity Government and accepting their platform, Hamas has necessarily given de facto recognition of Israel. Despite these actions, Hamas has shown in other ways that it has not recognised Israel.

We have repeatedly made clear that we are ready to engage with any Palestinian Government who are based on the quartet principles: renunciation of violence; recognition of Israel; and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the road map.

Lebanon: UN Interim Force

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 in August 2006, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has not been in action against armed militants or terrorists. As a consequence, no casualties have been received or inflicted. UNIFIL has not made any arrests or detained any personnel. Any arrests or detentions have been carried out by the Lebanese authorities, as UNIFIL is not mandated to carry out these tasks.

Marine Environment: Conservation

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Consultation on a marine Bill White Paper, which includes proposals for a new mechanism to designate and manage marine conservation zones, ended on 8 June 2007. We are considering nearly 300 individual responses to the consultation from a wide range of interest groups and the public, and around 8,000 postcards and letters in support of marine Bill campaigns by non-government organisations. We will publish a summary of the responses within three months of the end of the consultation period.

Obesity

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Addressing obesity means fundamentally changing behaviour among the population. This is a long-term process, as reflected in the fact that the public service agreement (PSA) target to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity among children under 11 by 2010, in the context of a broader strategy to tackle obesity in the population as a whole, is jointly owned by three government departments, to lead on a concerted, joined-up effort across government and other national and local stakeholders. As childhood obesity often tracks into adulthood, the PSA-owning departments are working to support families to eat more healthily and be more active.

Present action to tackle obesity in adults includes: the care pathways for National Health Service primary care professionals; a self-help guide, Your Weight Your Health; the National Heart Forum’s toolkit, Lightening the Load: Tackling Overweight and Obesity; work on foods high in salt, fat and sugar; front-of-pack labelling as an easy-to-understand way of helping individuals and families to make healthier

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food choices; the general practice physical activity questionnaire; local exercise action pilots and the national step-o-meter programme.

We will also continue to work closely with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to support dissemination and implementation of its guidance on physical activity public health intervention and on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children.


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