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The authority to carry capability will be available from October 2008, with a manual response process to inform carriers. A fully automated response to carriers is a future service under the e-Borders contract.

Embryology

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There is no published evidence which suggests that any insemination of an animal with human sperm, whether as part of a scientific study or not, has resulted in a pregnancy.

There are biological mechanisms in place that prevent cross-species fertilisation. For a sperm to fertilise an egg there has to be compatibility between proteins present on the sperm and on either the zona pellucida (the shell surrounding the egg) or on the membrane of the egg itself, or both. It is for this reason that the hamster egg fertility test requires the zona to be removed first, before human sperm are added, otherwise the sperm will never penetrate the

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zona. Humans also have a different number of chromosomes to any other species of animal and are significantly more advanced as a species, making the chances of successful embryonic development low.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill provides for the creation of true hybrids for research to allow scope for potential developments in embryological research techniques which require the use of animal eggs or sperm, thereby future-proofing in this fast-moving field. The Bill provides consistency with the creation of true hybrids being permitted under the 1990 Act for the testing of human sperm fertility or normality using hamster eggs.

Any licence application to create a “true hybrid” for research will need to prove that its use is necessary. No true hybrid embryo created may be implanted into a woman or an animal, and may not be cultured for more than 14 days or after the appearance of the primitive streak.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Applications to the research councils involving stem cells are assessed on the basis of approach, taking into account the methods, tools and resources needed to answer the question(s) posed. While this is likely to include an assessment of the most appropriate source of stem cells for the research proposed, unless there were a particular ethical concern, applications would not be awarded or declined solely on this basis. The Medical Research Council (MRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the three councils that receive applications of this type, do not routinely compile data on unsuccessful applications relating to the type of stem cells proposed.

Food

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Her Majesty's Government take the issue of food emergencies and contamination cases very seriously. There is full co-ordination between government departments, including the Food Standards Agency, with the aim of preventing such events as well as having in place comprehensive

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procedures to respond to any such cases. These procedures include collaboration and co-ordination with all relevant parties including the Food and Drink Federation.

Health: Branded Generic Medicines

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): In its market study report The Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. An Office of Fair Trading Market Study on the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme published in February 2007, the Office of Fair Trading concluded that there are no potential savings from the sale of branded medicines priced below the drug tariff price and that, in aggregate, these sales result in higher costs than otherwise would be the case.

Health: Clinical Trials

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): When the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) publishes its technology appraisal guidance on new drugs and other interventions, it also publishes on its website the full supporting evidence that was put before the appraisal committee in reaching its conclusions. This will include any information on clinical trial evidence submitted by a manufacturer or derived from other research. NICE may occasionally be asked by a drugs manufacturer to withhold some specific information on the grounds of commercial confidentiality, but every effort is made to keep this to a minimum.

Health: Organophosphates

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government are not aware of any research that involved deliberate controlled chronic exposure of humans to diazinon.



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Health: Osteopathy

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department welcomes the establishment of the forum. We hope that better collaboration between national registers in osteopathy across Europe will help to raise standards across all participating member states.

Health: Single-sex Wards

Lord Dixon asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Since 1997, the department has issued a number of documents relating to the elimination of mixed-sex accommodation and these are set out below. While these do not relate solely to new build, they do make our expectations clear with regard to segregation.

Specific guidance relating to new build has focused on the provision of single rooms. Since 2001, the department's guidance is that the proportion of single rooms in new hospital developments should aim to be 50 per cent but should not fall below 20 per cent and must be higher than the facilities they are replacing. Each trust makes an informed choice regarding the appropriate percentage of single room provision based on practical considerations such as site restrictions and affordability as well as clinical and operational limitations.

While information about the number of hospitals that have single-sex wards is not collected centrally, progress in respect of privacy and dignity is measured through a range of indicators as follows. This includes some information about mixed-sex accommodation:

the Healthcare Commission monitors two relevant national standards via the annual health check assessments. The standards are: healthcare organisations have systems in place to ensure that staff treat patients, their relatives and carers with dignity and respect; and healthcare services are provided in environments which promote effective care and optimise health outcomes by being supportive of patient privacy and confidentiality;

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under arrangements of the National Patient Safety Agency, Patient Environment Teams (PEAT) undertake assessment of aspects of privacy and dignity; and the annual national in-patient survey, undertaken by the Healthcare Commission, contains a question on whether patients shared their sleeping area with members of the opposite sex.

Furthermore, this year's operating framework—The NHS in England: The Operating Framework for 2008-09—requires primary care trusts to set and publish challenging local plans for improvement in respect of single-sex accommodation. The plans will be made public.

Published guidance comprises:

EL97 (43): The Patient's Charter: Privacy and Dignity and the Provision of Single-sex Hospital Accommodation.Health Building Note 04-01 In-patient Accommodation: Options for Choice, published 1997. HSC 1998/143: Mixed-sex hospital accommodation monitoring tool.Safety, Privacy and Dignity in Mental Health Units: Guidance on Mixed-Sex Accommodation for Mental Health Services. Published by the NHS Executive 2000.Healthcare Capital Investment, supplement to Quarterly Briefing, Volume 12 No 1 2002-03.Privacy and Dignity—A Report by the Chief Nursing Officer into Mixed-Sex Accommodation in Hospitals. Published 2007.Privacy and Dignity. The Elimination of Mixed-Sex Accommodation. Good Practice Guidance and Self Assessment Checklist. Published by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, 2007.The NHS in England: The Operating Framework for 2007-08; The NHS in England: The Operating Framework for 2008-09.

Health: Training

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Post-registration training needs for National Health Service staff are decided against local National Health Service priorities, through appraisal processes and training needs analyses informed by local delivery plans and the needs of the service.

Access to training is affected by a number of factors such as the availability of funding, whether staff can be released, and the availability of appropriate training interventions, mentors and assessors. It would not be practical for the centre to be prescriptive on this.



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House of Lords: Envelopes

Lord Tyler asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The additional cost of providing pre-franked windowed envelopes for use by Members in comparison to pre-franked plain envelopes would depend on the size and quantity of the envelopes ordered. The current cost of pre-franked windowed envelopes and pre-franked plain envelopes (based on a minimum order of 5,000 envelopes) for the three main lines of envelopes provided is as follows:

Envelope sizePlain envelopesWindowed envelopesCost difference

110 x 220 mm

£841

£1245

£404

229 x 162 mm

£290

£300

£10

324 x 229 mm

£321

£331

£10

Immigration: Failed Asylum Seekers

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Immigration detention is authorised under the statutory powers contained in Schedules 2 and 3 to the Immigration Act 1971, and Section 62 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

In line with the Government's stated policy on the use of these powers, persons may be detained in the following circumstances: initially, while their identity and basis of claim are being established; where there is reason to believe that a person will fail to comply with the conditions attached to the grant of temporary admission or release; as part of a fast-track asylum process; or to effect removal.

Detention is not arbitrary. Each case is considered on its individual merits and all factors arguing for and against detention are weighed carefully before a decision to detain is made. The decision to detain is authorised at specified levels within the UK Border Agency depending on the nature of the case concerned and is kept under review on a regular basis at successively higher levels within the agency to ensure that persons only remain in detention where this continues to be justified.



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Immigration: Indefinite Leave to Remain

Lord Thomas of Gresford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office service standard for making decisions on applications for indefinite leave to remain are published on the UK Borders Agency web site as follows:

decide 70 per cent of postal applications within 20 working days;decide 90 per cent of postal applications within 70 working days; anddecide 98 per cent of applications made in person at a public enquiry office within 24 hours.

These standards were in place throughout the financial year 2007-08 and there are no plans to change these for 2008-09.


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