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Health: MRSA

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Health Protection Agency's staphylococcus reference laboratory has not, so far, identified any methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which have been non-typeable by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).

The Scottish reference laboratory has done PFGE typing on all patient isolates of MRSA referred in the past three years—about 7,000 isolates a year. Two patient isolates, both referred in 2007, have been non-typeable by standard PFGE methods.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Darzi of Denham: Community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are more likely to produce panton-valentine leukocidin (PVL) than hospital-associated MRSA, and this is used as a proxy for community infections. The Health Protection Agency's staphylococcus reference laboratory (SRL) has been actively screening isolates for PVL in England and Wale s since 2005.

In 2005, 1,281 were tested and 117 were identified as PVL-MRSA. In 2006, 1,755 were tested and 159 were identified as PVL-MRSA.

The Scottish reference laboratory looks for the PVL gene in all MRSA isolates which have antibiotic

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susceptibility patterns suggesting that they might be of community-type (and in a few others).

In 2005, 300 were tested and 71 were positive.

In 2006, 481 were tested and 93 were positive.

So far in 2007, 483 have been tested and 116 have been positive. Duplicates have not been excluded from these figures.

Health: Sexually Transmitted Infections

Lord Fowler asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The information on the number of people living with HIV and new diagnoses of HIV in the United Kingdom is shown in the following table.

YearEstimated total number of adults (aged 15 to 59) living with HIV in the United Kingdom (diagnosed and undiagnosed)New HIV diagnoses in the United Kingdom

1998

29,700

2,863

20061

69,4002

7,8003

Source: Health Protection Agency
Notes
1. 2006 is the latest year for which data are available.
2. In 2006, the HPA also estimated that there were 73,000 people of all ages living with HIV in the United Kingdom.
3. The 2006 figure is an estimate based on the number of reports of new HIV diagnoses in 2006 received by the Health Protection Agency by the end of June 2007 (7,093) adjusted for new HIV diagnoses made in 2006 that are still expected to be reported.

The increase in the number of people living with HIV and in the number of new HIV diagnoses has occurred for several reasons including:

increased testing for HIV of groups at risk of infection;the introduction of HIV antenatal screening;diagnosis of infections in the United Kingdom that were acquired abroad in countries of HIV prevalence;

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continuing transmission of HIV in the United Kingdom, sexually transmitted between men; andthe introduction of effective antiretroviral drug therapies in the mid-1990s, which has resulted in a marked reduction in the number of AIDS diagnoses and deaths and may have led to an increase in HIV testing.

Information on the number of diagnoses of chlamydia, syphilis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in genito-urinary clinics (GUM) in the United Kingdom in 1998 and 2006, the latest date for which figures are available, are shown in the following table:

19982006

Uncomplicated chlamydial infection

48,726

113,585

Primary and secondary infectious syphilis

139

2,766

New STI diagnoses

244,282

376,508

Other STI diagnoses*

145,544

244,804

Other GUM clinical diagnoses**

297,618

334,314

Source: Health Protection Agency, KC60 returns and STI Surveillance Scotland (STISS) data.
Notes:
* Includes recurrent and follow-up presentations.
** Includes other conditions requiring treatment, such as candidiasis and urinary-tract infections.
1. The data available from the KC60 statutory returns and STISS are for diagnoses made in GUM clinics only. Diagnoses made in other clinical settings, such as general practice, are not recorded in the dataset.
2. The data available from the KC60 statutory returns are the number of diagnoses made, not the number of patients diagnosed. Individual patients may have more than one diagnosis in a year.
3. The information provided has been adjusted for missing clinic data.
4. The figures include data from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In addition to diagnoses made in GUM clinics, the national chlamydia screening programme has been running since 2003 in England. The number of people diagnosed with chlamydia under the age of 25, in 2003-04 and 2006-07, are shown in the following table.

2003-042006-07

Chlamydial infection

1,753

14,950

Source: national chlamydia screening programme.
Notes:
1. The data from the NCSP are for diagnoses made outside of GUM clinics only and do not include diagnoses made by the Boots pathfinder project.
2. The data available from the NCSP are the number of diagnoses made and not the number of patients diagnosed.
3. The NCSP was launched in 2003. Therefore data are not available for 1998.
4. The NCSP follows the financial year.

In England, the rate of increase in STIs has slowed and we consider this reflects the impact of the work that has been undertaken to date to implement the sexual health and HIV strategy.



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For example, our target is to offer everyone who needs it an appointment at a GUM clinic within 48 hours by March 2008. In September 2007, 88 per cent of patients were offered an appointment to be seen and 78 per cent were seen within 48 hours. In May 2005, only 45 per cent were offered an appointment to be seen within 48 hours. This is helping to speed up detection and reducing onward transmission.

We are keen to improve access to a wide range of sexual-health services—offering people more convenient options for getting screening and testing, including further education colleges and private pharmacies. That is why we are rolling out the national chlamydia screening programme and working with Boots the Chemist to pilot a two-year chlamydia testing service in high street pharmacies across the capital for 16 to 24 year-olds.

Housing: Market Renewal

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The National Audit Office report has now been considered by the Public Accounts Committee, which will report in due course. The Government will then respond to its recommendations.

Immigration: Removals

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The training provided to all immigration escorting and holding-room staff is approved by the relevant contract monitor, a Crown servant who closely reviews and audits the contractors’ performance.

Licensing: Live Music

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government intend to publish the survey's results in December. The earlier publication date was changed in order to ensure that the methodology was as consistent as possible with that for the 2004 survey.

The revised date was announced on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's website on 5 November.

Passports

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): British passports are not stamped to show the office of issue. However, the personal details page includes an entry to show the issuing authority. In the case of passports issued at the British embassy in Dublin, and at all other Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts outside the UK, this is shown as FCO.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: British passports are issued only to those who hold British nationality, as defined principally in the British Nationality Act 1981, and residence in the Irish Republic does not of itself qualify a person to hold a British passport. The British embassy in Dublin issues passports to British nationals who reside in the Irish Republic.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: No. British nationality depends on specified connections with either the United Kingdom or with a British Overseas Territory.

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The necessary connections are defined principally in the British Nationality Act 1981. Nationality law was not affected by the Belfast agreement.

Planning: Environment Agency Advice

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Since the flooding direction, which covers major developments in flood-risk areas, came into force on 1 January 2007, 12 planning applications have been referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government under it. Three have been called in and two are under consideration. The remaining seven have not been called in, as objections from the Environment Agency have been resolved because of the pressure imposed by the direction.

Planning: Flood Plains

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Environment Agency is best placed to collect statistics on planning applications made and approved against its advice in flood plain areas. Its HLT5* report to the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Food and Rural Affairs, from which the table below is drawn, shows a year-on-year decline in the number of planning applications that are approved against Environment Agency advice.

2002-032003-042004-052005-062006-07

Number of applications on which the EA was consulted on flood-risk grounds

20,452

22,067

13,937

11,403

10,854

Number of applications on which the EA objected on flood-risk grounds

4,523

5,077

4,634

4,201

4,750

Number of applications approved contrary to EA advice

221

323

248

136

110

* The Environment Agency's High Level Target 5 Development and Flood Risk in England 2006-07 report to CLG and Defra, which covers all planning applications (ie major and minor).

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:


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