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Whether they have informed BAA of the risk to animal health and the economy of illegal meat imports; and, if so, what measures they have taken to obtain the co-operation of BAA to display prominently posters similar to those displayed in airports abroad warning incoming passengers not to bring any meat or meat products into the United Kingdom. [HL2473]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): As part of ongoing work to tackle illegal imports of products of animal origin (POAO), Defra and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have always worked in co-operation with stakeholders, major airlines and airport authorities. They have been made fully aware that meat, food and plants can carry animal/plant pests and diseases, which can pose a risk to our environment and our agricultural and horticultural industries.
As part of our joint strategy for raising travellers' awareness of the rules on personal imports of POAO, high visibility posters in line with the European Union (EU) model prescribed in Commission Regulation 745/2004 are displayed at ports and airports. These advise incoming passengers that meat and dairy products from non-EU countries are prohibited and have recently been refreshed and updated. Appropriate sites, including in baggage reclaim areas, are agreed with BAA and the other airport and port operators.
HMRC has local representatives who are in contact with BAA and other airport and port operators to discuss and negotiate various issues, including where posters are sited. For example, during 2005-06, in response to avian influenza outbreaks in a number of countries, HMRC arranged with BAA and other operators for additional temporary bird flu posters to be displayed at UK ports and airports. These were placed in passenger terminals at arrivals and departures and highlighted the risk of bringing illegal meat and meat products into the UK. BAA and other operators also provide facilities for the storage and removal of any seized POAO items.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 3 December 2007 (WA 170), whether in negotiating the draft European Convention on Access to Official Documents they will seek to persuade the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights to include a general guarantee of the right of access to official documents; and [HL2375]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 3 December 2007 (WA 170), whether in negotiating the draft European Convention on Access to Official Documents they will seek to persuade the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights to include a general right of access to information held by legislative bodies, judicial bodies and private bodies that exercise public functions; and [HL2376]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 3 December 2007 (WA 170), whether in negotiating the draft European Convention on Access to Official Documents they will seek to persuade the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights to provide for access to an appellate authority to challenge a denial of access to information; and [HL2377]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 3 December 2007 (WA 170), whether in negotiating the draft European Convention on Access to Official Documents they will seek to persuade the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights to specify in respect of which of the convention's provisions reservations may be made. [HL2378]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The convention should set an overarching framework of minimum standards, allowing parties to the convention to set out in their legal systems a more extensive right of access should they wish to do so. For example, the convention would give parties the option, rather than making it mandatory, of applying the convention to information held by legislative bodies, judicial bodies and private bodies that exercise public functions should they wish to do so. Courts and tribunals are not within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in respect of their judicial functions and the Government have no plans to bring them within scope. With regard to private bodies carrying out public functions Section 5 of the Freedom of Information Act provides the possibility of bringing such bodies within scope of the Act. The Government's consultation on Section 5 closed on 1 February 2008 and the Government are currently considering the responses to consultation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 (Statutory Instruments No. 1263) came into force on 30 April 2007. During the drafting of these regulations, consideration was given to the matter of blood donation from gay men.
This led to specific provision being made in the regulations, which are available at www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071263.htm.
How many reports and recommendations were published on the murder of patients by Dr Harold Shipman; what was the cost to public funds of these reports; and why the lessons drawn from the Shipman murders did not avert the murder of patients at Leeds General Infirmary by the nurse Colin Norris. [HL2525]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Shipman inquiry published six reports with a total of 228 recommendations, at a cost to public funds of £21 million. The relevant reports were published after the offences at Leeds General Infirmary which took place in 2002.
Systems for protecting patients and the general public have been greatly improved in recent years and further improvements are under way in the light of the lessons learnt from the Shipman murders. However, as the Shipman inquiry itself pointed out, it will never be possible to guard completely against the criminal activities of a future Shipman, only to ensure that such activities are very quickly identified. I understand that the Yorkshire and Humberside Strategic Health Authority is arranging for an independent investigation of the events at Leeds General Infirmary and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Warner on 7 September 2004 (WA 137) and 28 November 2005 (WA 1213), how many (a) doctors, (b) nurses, (c) ambulance staff, (d) scientists, (e) police and (f) others have been vaccinated for smallpox so as to enable them to deal with a terrorist attack; and how many of these have had complications leading to further treatment using the vaccine immunoglobulin. [HL2450]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department arranged for smallpox vaccination of a cohort of frontline health workers who would deal with any initial suspected or confirmed case of smallpox if it were to occur. The target cohort was reached in 2005 and comprised a total of 516 vaccinated personnel of whom 147 were doctors, 164 were nurses, 100 were ambulance staff, 32 were scientists and 73 held other related healthcare occupations.
How often the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board has entered someone on the specialist register after an adverse recommendation from trained assessors from the specialist committee of the relevant speciality. [HL2493]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Between its establishment on 30 September 2005 and 1 March 2008 the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) has issued just over 12,500 decisions on applications for specialist or general practitioner registration. Nearly all have had an input from the assessors of the specialist training committees of the relevant medical Royal Colleges or Faculties. Of these, PMETB has not accepted 55 adverse recommendations (0.4 per cent).
Baroness Crawley: Ministers and senior officials from London and the UK Delegation to the World Bank in Washington hold regular meetings with interested non-governmental groups and public bodies to discuss World Bank issues. During 2006 and 2007 some of these meetings covered the 15th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA 15). We also held additional meetings with non-governmental groups throughout 2007 specifically to discuss the UK's approach to the IDA negotiations.
There was a half-day session between the World Bank, IDA donors and African civil society opinion-formers as part of the second IDA 15 replenishment meeting in Maputo in June 2007. In October the
25 Mar 2008 : Column WA83
Baroness Crawley: The Department for International Development (DfID) total expenditure since 1997 is set out in the table below showing both actual expenditure and expenditure in real terms based on 2006-07 prices. Both methods show that DfID expenditure increased in all but one year, 2004-05.
|Table of total DfID expenditure in actual and real terms (£ thousands)|
|Fiscal year||Total DfID expenditure||Deflator||Total DfID expenditure at 2006-07 prices|
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vadera on 10 October 2007 (WA 16), what discussions they have had with the European Commission since October 2007 about providing support for health, water and sanitation in North Korea. [HL2526]
Baroness Crawley: Informal discussions were held with representatives of the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Affairs and AidCo on 13 November in Pyongyang. The overall position on EU assistance to North Korea remains as set out in the Answer provided by my noble friend Baroness Vadera on 10 October 2007 (Official Report, col. WA 16).
Baroness Crawley: The last visit by a Government official to North Korea to look at humanitarian aid was in November 2007. No general assessment of the humanitarian situation was made on the visit. The primary purpose of the trip was familiarisation with the work of European non-governmental organisations in providing health and water supply services.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vadera on 15 October 2007 (WA 36), what funds have since become available under the non-state actors and local authorities in development thematic programmes budget line for North Korea. [HL2529]
Baroness Crawley: Department for International Development (DfID) officials are considering a proposal from UNICEF for a water supply project. If it is approved, funds will come from the budget for humanitarian assistance.
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