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Lord Darzi of Denham: It will be for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to form a view, taking account of the detail of the specific research proposal at the time, on how each of the different classes of human admixed embryos described in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill could legally be cultured to form outgrowths beyond 14 days.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Darzi of Denham: Under the provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, the mixing of human deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) with animal gametes will not fall to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to be regulated unless the human DNA is in the form of a human gamete or the process of mixing the DNA results in an embryo where the animal DNA does not predominate. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill does not change the name of the HFEA.

The use of intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection to generate true hybrids to be grown beyond the two-cell stage could be of use in the understanding of serious mitochondrial diseases. No project of research may be licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority unless it is satisfied that research is necessary or desirable for one of the statutory purposes set out in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and the use of an embryo is necessary. It is unknown whether any species of animal’s gametes could successfully undergo “hybridisation” with a human gamete. The closer an animal is to humans in evolutionary terms, the more likely there would be success, but humans are significantly more advanced than any other species of

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animal, making the chances of successful “hybridisation” with any species low, no matter how closely related they are to humans.

Freedom of Information

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The figures for the number of freedom of information requests made to the Public Prosecution Service are shown in the table below. At present there are no outstanding requests. The PPS has not refused any requests. In a number of cases the information requested was deemed to be exempt under the freedom of information legislation.

200620072008 (to date)

FOI Requests Received

49

21

14

Information Exempt

7

9

5

Information Provided

42

12

9

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My department does not hold information on estimated costs of responding to individual requests. Complying with the Freedom of Information Act does not require compilation of such estimates.

Government: Draft Legislative Programme

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The consultation period for the draft legislative programme is open until 6 August, after which the Government will produce a summary of responses in the autumn. In the mean time, the Government are actively engaging with the public through events in each region and encouraging responses to be submitted through the website of the Leader of the House of Commons.



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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): We are already working with Dutch and other European colleagues on methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus ST398 and the information from Scotland will help to inform these discussions. We do not have routine contact with the Soil Association, but it is welcome to submit any new evidence that it has on this issue to the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections.

Health: Nurses

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The national workforce census shows that in 2007 there were 399,597 qualified nursing, health visiting and midwifery staff working in the National Health Service in England. In 2001 the census recorded 350,381 qualified nursing, health visiting and midwifery staff. This is an increase of 49,216 qualified nursing staff or 14 per cent.

Health: Waiting Lists

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The average median waiting time for in-patient treatment has fallen from 8.3 weeks in April 2005 to 4.0 weeks in April 2008. The average median waiting time for first consultant-led out-patient appointment has fallen from 4.4 weeks to 2.2 weeks over the same period.

Referral to treatment data were published for the first time in March 2007 for admitted patients and in August 2007 for non-admitted patients. These data show that 48 per cent of patients admitted for treatment and 76 per cent of non-admitted patients started treatment within 18 weeks from referral. Latest figures for March 2008 show 87 per cent of admitted patients receiving treatment within 18 weeks and 93 per cent of non-admitted patients receiving treatment within 18 weeks.

By the end of December 2008, no patient will have to wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred by their general practitioner for treatment unless they choose to do so, or it is clinically appropriate.



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Immigration: Breastfeeding

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Healthcare provision within removal centres ensures that all detainees, including nursing mothers, are provided with access to the same quality of service and advice as they would receive from the NHS.

Malaria prophylaxis is available upon recommendation of healthcare staff to mothers with small infants being removed to countries where malaria is prevalent and the UK Border Agency will allow sufficient time for the treatment to take effect before they travel.

A copy of the instructions for operational officers on the provision of malaria prophylaxis is available on the UK Border Agency's website.

Indonesia: Religious Minorities

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): On 3 June, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Meg Munn, raised parliamentary and public concern about the situation of the Ahmadiyya community with the Indonesian ambassador. Our ambassador in Jakarta raised the matter with the Indonesian authorities on 28 April. The EU also expressed concern to the Indonesian authorities on 28 May. At the UN Human Rights Council's examination of Indonesia under the universal periodic review in Geneva on 9 April, the UK raised the treatment of the Ahmadiyya community. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and look for opportunities to raise the issue of respect for religious freedom with the Indonesian authorities.

Northern Ireland Office: Mobile Phones

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Rooker: The cost of the contract for the provision of mobile phones with O2 (UK) Ltd during the financial year 2007-08 was £3,268.90. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Northern Ireland: Bill of Rights

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I refer the noble Lord to my Written Answer of 3 March 2008, Official Report, col. WA 160, in which I said that the Bill of Rights Forum is classed, according to guidance from the Cabinet Office, as a non-statutory, ad hoc advisory group.

This guidance is available on the Cabinet Office website at http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/public/appointments.asp.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given today, 19 June, (HL2518).

When a letter is sent as a result of a Parliamentary Question it is customary to place a copy of the letter in Hansard.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission remains independent of government. Where Questions relate to our sponsorship of the commission, including its mandate as set out in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and its budget as allocated by the Northern Ireland Office, we will attempt to provide as substantive a response as possible.

Where a Question refers to a policy or operational matter of the commission, I will ask the noble Lord to take this up directly with it. I am advised that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is happy to discuss any concerns, either in person or in writing.



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Northern Ireland: Murder Prosecutions

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: In relation to the 15 cases referred to in my written response to the noble Lord on 12 May, there are no current plans for further reinvestigation.

The remaining 188 cases that have yet to be completed will continue to be investigated, and will undergo the same process as the 15 cases that have been completed.


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