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What is their response to the proposal that a band of forest along the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela should be designated as the Essequibo Peace Park, monitored by the United Nations, in which the indigenous people would have designated land rights. [HL939]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Vadera): The UK does not take a view on the proposal for a UN-monitored peace park on the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela. We do, however, welcome the reiteration of support from Guyana and Venezuela for the Good Offices Process of the United Nations Secretary-General in addressing the dispute between the two countries.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): A bilateral meeting with Guyana was held on 12 December at the UN climate change negotiations in Bali to discuss the offer of using their forests to help mitigate climate change. The Environment Minister, my honourable friend for Oldham East and Saddleworth, requested further information on the proposal and agreed that the UK Government would discuss the offer with Guyana again following the results of the UK review of financing mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation announced in September.
In considering the proposal we shall need to understand, first, how to value the additional protection required to maintain existing forest carbon stocks, as distinct from reducing actual deforestation rates; and, secondly, how this valuation relates to the wider ecosystem services that the forests provide.
What communications they have had with the Government of Guyana about the proposal made by President Jagdeo on 1 December that Guyana's rainforests be preserved from development in return for compensation; and whether a more general mechanism for preventing further exploitation of the world's rainforests should be proposed at the United Nations climate change conference in Bali. [HL941]
Lord Rooker: The Government have been in correspondence with President Jagdeo and a bilateral meeting was held with Guyana's Minister for Agriculture on 12 December at the UN climate change negotiations in Bali to discuss the details of the proposal. The Environment Minister, my honourable friend for Oldham East and Saddleworth, requested further information and agreed that the UK would discuss the proposal with them again after having sight of the results of the review of financing mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation which the Government announced in September.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The latest published workforce census showed there were 1,766 qualified audiologists employed by the National Health Service in England as at September 2006, an increase of 184 or 12 per cent since 2004.
Improving Access to Audiology Services in England, published on 6 March 2007, advises primary care trusts to assess the audiological needs of their local populations and any capacity gaps and to develop and commission the right amount of appropriate pathways to substantially reduce waits across the whole patient pathway.
Whether they will contact the strategic health authorities responsible for primary care trusts (PCTs) in areas where specialist foot services for people with diabetes are no longer provided to explain what action the PCTs are taking to remedy the lack of provision; and what information they have on the number and locations of PCTs failing to make any such provision. [HL1073]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There are no central plans to request information about the provision of foot care services. It is for primary care trusts to commission these services to meet local needs and for strategic health authorities to ensure they fulfil this duty.
What assessment has been made by the Department of Health, or by the Health Protection Agency, of the effectiveness of using hydroxyl radical generators which reproduce the disinfecting qualities of open air in reducing the prevalence of hospital-acquired infections. [HL1037]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Rapid Review Panel (RRP) was established by the Department of Health in 2004. The panel is serviced by the Health Protection Agency and provides a prompt assessment of the potential of new and novel equipment, materials, and other products or protocols that may support the National Health Service in improving hospital infection control and reducing hospital-acquired infections.
The panel has reviewed 198 products to date, providing feedback and opinion in one of seven categories. Six products have been awarded category 1 (basic research and development, validation and recent in-use evaluations have shown benefits that should be available to NHS bodies to include as appropriate in their cleaning, hygiene or infection control protocols). Twenty one products have been awarded category 2 (basic research and development has been completed and the product may have potential value; in-use evaluations/trials are now needed in an NHS clinical setting).
Further information on the RRP and on the products it has considered to date can be found at www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/rapid_review/default.htm.
For each year between 1992 and 2006, or as early and as late as data are available between those years, whether they will provide, in tabular form, the proportion among the total population and among the five to 15 age group, or nearest available range, of (a) obese people; (b) people with a body mass index greater than or equal to 30; and (c) people with a body mass index greater than or equal to 26. [HL1007]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The information is not available in the exact format requested. The Health Survey for EnglandUpdating of Trend Tables to Include 2005 Data, published by the Information Centre for Health and Social Care, is available in the Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The National Stroke Strategy is designed as a guide for developing stroke services throughout the country that provide specialist care to the majority of people affected by stroke, those in adulthood. The treatment of stroke in children requires a very different care pathway from that needed for the treatment of stroke in adults. This is because the causes of stroke for children and hence any prevention or management of the condition are very different from the causes of stroke in adults.
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Lord Darzi of Denham: This information is not available as there is no national register or database for sickle cell disease. It is estimated that there are approximately 12,500 patients living with sickle cell disease in the United Kingdom.
The risk of stroke is highest in the most commonly detected type of sickle cell diseaseSickle Cell Anaemia Hb SS. Previous United States of America studies have estimated that currently around 4 per cent of those with this type have suffered a stroke. In addition, the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme picks up around 300 new individuals each year, and 10 per cent of these patients would experience some neurological damage by the age of 20 years.
Lord Darzi of Denham: It is likely that there will be an increase in the number of people with sickle cell disease over the next 10 years, due to an increase in the number of new migrants with family origins that have a higher prevalence of sickle cell disease (outside of northern Europe) and, as Office for National Statistics data have shown, have higher fertility rates, although the numbers could stabilise as a result of the acceptability of antenatal screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia and an increase in the number of babies born with parents of different or mixed family origins.
Why, under the high hedges legislation contained in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, the Local Government Ombudsman does not recognise loss of enjoyment of home and garden as an injustice that can accrue a monetary value.[HL1087]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Local Government Ombudsman would normally get involved in a high hedge complaint only when it considered that there had been maladministration by a local authority which had caused an injustice. In appropriate circumstances, the ombudsman would be able to consider whether loss of enjoyment of home and garden was an injustice which warranted financial compensation.
Whether, under the high hedges legislation contained in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, the only recourse complainants have is to the Local Government Ombudsman and judicial review where (a) a council refuses to accept a formal complaint; (b) a council makes an error in the remedial notice and refuses to issue a correction; and (c) the council fails to enforce the remedial notice. [HL1088]
Baroness Andrews: A complainant may challenge the administrative processes through the council's own complaints officer, the Local Government Ombudsman or judicial review. There are no rights of appeal in the scenarios quoted. Another option would be for the complainant to submit a new complaint that met the requirements of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 when a council refuse to accept a formal complaint. It may also be possible for a complainant to bring a private prosecution against the hedge owner where a council fails to enforce a remedial notice.
What assessment they have made of the guidelines issued to councils, High Hedges Complaints: Prevention and Cure; and, in particular, whether they have assessed the accuracy of the preface which states that, when using this Guide, two points need to be borne in mind. First, Councils and others are not required to follow the advice given. Secondly, it should not be relied on as a definitive statement of the law. [HL1089]
Baroness Andrews: No formal assessment of the guide, High Hedges Complaints: Prevention and Cure, has been made. We will be carrying out a review of this guidance when Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 is reviewed in 2010.
The guide sets out the Government's policy advice on administering complaints about high hedges under Part 8 of the Act. It is not statutory guidance. It outlines the law and suggests ways in which councils can run the system in line with good administration practice but it is for local authorities themselves to determine how they administer complaints. Ultimately, it is for the courts to interpret the law and its application.
Whether they have held any discussions with other European Union member state Governments on the eventual introduction of a harmonised European Union identity card and registration system; and, if so, whether they support this proposal. [HL576]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We have held no such discussions as there is no proposal for a harmonised European Union identity card. Twenty four out of the 27 EU member states currently have their own national identity card schemes, and whether they issue identity cards to their own nationals is a matter for the individual member state.
In December 2005, during the United Kingdom presidency of the EU, a set of council conclusions was agreed on the minimum security standards for national identity cards issued by member states, but these are not binding on member states. The EU Lisbon treaty will bring the format of national identity cards within Community competence, such competence already existing in relation to the format of passports.
How many NHS Links have benefited from the development awareness grants offered by the Department for International Development over the last five years; and what proportion grants to NHS Links form of the total expenditure on such grants. [HL1099]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Vadera): The Development Awareness Fund has not allocated any grants for NHS Links during the past five years.
What kinds of government funds are accessible to NHS Links that are already established but need small-scale investment in order to grow and diversify their contribution to international development goals. [HL1100]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government support the Tropical Health and Education Trust to encourage and support NHS Links. The funding for this is through a grant of £500,000, over three years. In addition, the Government fund the trust's health strategy adviser, whose primary role is to encourage the participation of United Kingdom health institutions in forming partnerships in developing countries.
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