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Evidence to date shows that dental fluorosis remains the only effect which the fluoridation of water has besides protecting against tooth decay. We are supporting the research into the assessment of fluorosis using intra-oral cameras. If, as we expect it shows that the measurement of dental fluorosis can be standardised, we will undertake a further study of its prevalence and aesthetic impact. We would review the one part per million concentration used in fluoridation schemes if the study showed there was a significant level of aesthetically unacceptable fluorosis.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 5 December 2007 (WA 192), what steps they have taken to ensure that decisions on fluoridation taken locally are predicated on full, up-to-date and unbiased scientific information. [HL1333]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The National Fluoride Information Centre (NFIC) at the University of Manchester is funded by the department and provides independent, unbiased and evidence-based scientific information to strategic health authorities and primary care trusts on research studies carried out into the effects of adding fluoride to water. The information is also available through the NFIC website at www.fluorideinformation.com/default1.aspx.
Why the Food Standards Agency has declined to publish details of the fluoride concentration in the water consumed by each subject in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2003; and whether they will take steps to ensure that those figures are made public. [HL1588]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The analysis that we commissioned with the agreement of the Food Standards Agency showed that most of the samples of the water, drunk by the respondents who had supplied urine samples, contained very low concentrations of fluoride83 per cent of samples contained below 0.19 parts per million (ppm) fluoride and 91 per cent were below 0.38 ppm. In this light and taking account of our view that fluoride in urine is mostly determined by recent fluoride intake and is not therefore a good index of long-term intake, we concluded that the results of the analysis did not merit publication. The chief dental officer would be happy to discuss the findings with the noble Earl, Lord Baldwin of Bewdley.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 14 January 2008 (WA 240), whether, in following the recommendations in section 12.9.1 of the York report to study fluoridation's potential benefits to adults, they will take note of the accompanying statements in that section that (a) It would be logical to include an assessment of adverse effects alongside any future study of caries; and (b) proper adjustment should be made for confounding factors, while Blinding of observers should be attempted and at least standardisation of the assessment would be essential to reduce the potential impact of observer bias. [HL1589]
Lord Darzi of Denham: We are resolved that any future study of the effects of fluoridation should be carried out to the highest research standards such as those set in the systematic review of fluoridation published by the University of York in September 2000. I can confirm that the proposal currently under consideration for a comprehensive examination of the risks, benefits and costs of existing water fluoridation programmes, including any potential benefits to adults, contains measures to take account of both sources of bias in the measurement of results and any confounding factors which might have affected these results.
Lord Rooker: As 1 January was a public holiday, all government departments were closed. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State was on leave on 2, 3 and 4 January and undertook official engagements on 7 January, including a reception for Cardinal Brady at Hillsborough Castle.
Information is available on the numbers of patients seen by a National Health Service dentist in England, at primary care trusts and strategic health authority level. This can be found in Table C1 of Annexe 3 of the NHS Dental Statistics for England, Quarter One: 30 June 2007 report, for the 24 month periods ending 31 March 2006, 31 March 2007 and 30 June 2007.
This report, published on 28 November 2007, is available in the Library and is also available online at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dentstatsq10708.
This report, published on 23 August 2007 is available in the Library and is available at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dental0607.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government set up the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a special health authority in 1999. It is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
In December 2006, NICE published a clinical guideline on obesity: it made a number of recommendations on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults, This includes recommendations on obesity surgery, drugs and other interventions. Information on this guidance is available on NICE website at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/index.jsp?action=byID&o=11000.
Whether any projects in the Department for Work and Pensions have been suspended or delayed due to concerns about identity security; if so, which projects have been delayed; and what the impact on the overall performance and work of the department will be. [HL1566]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): There have been no issues arising from identity security within the department which have prompted the need to suspend or delay any projects.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 17 January (WA 279), whether they will seek via the United Kingdom's diplomatic representation in Tokyo the fullest possible information on the apology made and agreement reached by the Government of Japan with people there infected with hepatitis C by contaminated blood products approved by that Government, in order to decide whether the agreement reached in Japan could in any way affect policy in the United Kingdom; and whether they will place the information in the Library of the House. [HL1533]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government have great sympathy for people infected with contaminated blood products following National Health Service treatment in the United Kingdom. The position in Japan does not affect UK policy, therefore we have no plans to obtain further information about the agreement in Japan.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We share the concerns of the international community over the conduct of the presidential election. Concerns were highlighted in independent election observer mission reports, including those from the Commonwealth, the East African Community, domestic observers, as well as in the initial findings of the European Union's mission.
The Government recognise states, not Governments. Given that none of the independent international observers to the elections believes the tallying met international standards it is difficult to have any confidence in the announced result. Against that background, we are supporting the mediation efforts of Kofi Annan and his African colleagues to ensure an agreement between the two sides in Kenya on a Government that will enjoy Kenyan and international confidence.
What level of efficiency savings they are requiring from each government department in each year in the three-year period starting with the current year; and what proportion of the revenue spending this amounts to in each year. [HL1432]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Departmental targets for delivering efficiency and value for money savings were agreed in both the 2004 Spending Review and the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review for three-year periods. These are not broken down into annual targets.
A list of departmental efficiency and value for money targets can be found in Table 1.1. of 2004 Spending Reviewefficiency progress to June 2007 and in the departmental chapters in the Comprehensive Spending Review White Paper, both of which have been placed in the Library.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Information on local authority spending in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is published in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses in April 2007 (Cm 7091), in particular chapters 7 and 9. Table 9.18 shows local authority identifiable expenditure on services by country. Population figures by country are published by ONS.
Whether they will defer consideration of the application by the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust for foundation trust status in view of the trust's patient care, hospital organisation, personnel matters and budget management. [HL1336]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Aspirant National Health Service foundation trusts (NHSFTs) need the support of their strategic health authority (SHA) before submitting a formal application for Secretary of State's support. East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust's application for NHSFT status is currently undergoing final assessment by the north-west SHA. Assessment to date suggests that the trust will be in a position to make a formal application for the Secretary of State's support at the end of January.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Total health expenditure per head in England in 2006-07 was £1,610. Details of health expenditure for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are available from the devolved administrations.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government are committed to the hosting of the London 2012 Games, which will deliver a lasting sporting, economic and environmental legacy not only for London but for the whole of the UK. The Minister for the Olympics has announced the budget for the 2012 Games to the
30 Jan 2008 : Column WA129
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 22 October 2007 (WA 734) and in light of the experience of some councils with the present concessionary fares schemes and concerns about the situation which will arise in April 2008, whether they will reassess the allocations of funding. [HL1593]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport consulted local authorities and others last autumn on the formula basis for the distribution of the special grant for the national bus concession to be implemented from April this year. The provisional distribution was announced on 6 December 2007. This proposed distribution is based on the most popular option in the consultation responses, and, following comments received during the consultation, adjustments were made to the formula to result in a funding distribution that better reflects where the likely burden of costs of the national bus concession will fall between different categories of authority. A report on the proposed special grant distribution will be laid before Parliament in due course.
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