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14 July 2008 : Column WA113

Health: Haemophilia

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Haemophilia Society has received core funding under the Section 64 general scheme of grants for a number of years. In 2006-07, its grant was £100,000. In 2006, a decision was taken, in line with the established criteria for the Section 64 scheme, to taper the Section 64 grant to £30,000 over two years. The Haemophilia Society was informed of its future funding in 2006 in order to allow it to plan for this change.

The following level of funding was agreed.

2007-08—£60,000;2008-09—£30,000; and 2009-10—£30,000.

All decisions on Section 64 funding are taken by the Minister responsible for the relevant area of policy.

Health: Hepatitis B

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Hepatitis B vaccine is currently offered to individuals at high risk of exposure to the virus or complications of the disease.

The issue of universal vaccination for Hepatitis B is currently under consideration by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which provides independent expert advice to the Secretary of State.

Health: HIV

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department is working with the Department for International Development to support implementation of Achieving Universal Access, copies of which are available in the Library, through its membership of the Whitehall working group on tackling AIDS in the developing world and the action set out in Achieving Universal Access. This includes implementation of the National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV (currently being reviewed), the commitments set out in the forthcoming global health strategy and action taken by the department to strengthen the code of practice on recruitment of healthcare workers from overseas.

Health: Sickle Cell Disease

Lord Smith of Clifton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Revenue allocations are made to primary care trusts (PCTs) on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. The weighted capitation formula is used to determine PCTs' target shares of available resources, to enable them to commission similar levels of health services for populations in similar need.

The components of the formula are used to weight each PCT's crude population according to their relative need (age, and additional need) for healthcare and the unavoidable geographical differences in the cost of providing healthcare (the market forces factor).

Although there is no specific consideration made for sickle-cell-related disease in determining revenue allocations to PCTs, it will be picked up in the models of utilisation of healthcare in the need element of the formula. The formula used to inform the revenue allocations to PCTs in 2008-09 takes account of “unmet need” to support certain groups within the population, e.g. ethnic minorities groups, which may not receive healthcare services to the same level as others with similar health characteristics.

Once the department has made allocations to PCTs, it is for PCTs to determine how to use the funding allocated to them to commission the services they require to meet the healthcare needs of the local populations they serve. There is no ring-fenced allocation to PCTs to spend on sickle cell disease.

The department deliberately does not break down PCT allocations into funding for individual policy programmes, as this would constrain local innovation and decision taking.



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Instead, the approach the department takes is to be clear about the priorities for the NHS through the operating framework. It is then for the National Health Service to decide how best to achieve those outcomes in the light of local needs and circumstances, including the level of resources to invest.

Lord Smith of Clifton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Darzi of Denham: Work is under way on these initiatives, but a formal timetable for implementation has not been agreed.

Health: Training

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Under current arrangements, strategic health authorities (SHAs) receive an indicative allocation of funding for the multi-professional education and training budget (MPET), of which the non-medical education and training (NMET) budget is a component, as part of a bundle of funding. SHAs are free to set budgets and vary expenditure between different priority areas within the bundle, subject to the achievement of necessary performance objectives. In some cases, SHAs may use local flexibility to vary MPET spend between financial years in line with local priorities.

The extent to which the SHAs underspent their budgets for NMET in 2007-08, is set out in the following table.

SHAOver/Underspend on NMET budget £000's

East Midlands

0

East of England

816

London

-38,246

North East

375

North West

-5,568

South Central

-520

South East Coast

-661

South West SHA

0

West Midlands

-13,434

Yorkshire and Humberside

-981

England Total

-58,220



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Human Rights: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The internal review on communications encompassed not only the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission but all bodies sponsored by the Northern Ireland Office.

The review was to establish best practice for answering Parliamentary Questions relating to these bodies, and was carried out by Northern Ireland Office officials and endorsed by Ministers and the departmental board. It has now been completed, but procedures are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Iran: Nuclear Facilities

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government of Iran and Iranian authorities have stated publicly on several occasions that they would retaliate to any attack. We regularly consider the implications of such statements, including assessing feasibility and likelihood of a variety of potential Iranian responses to any attack, and the implications for UK interests.

We have, of course, made clear that we are fully committed to finding a diplomatic resolution to the international community's serious concerns about the behaviour of the Government of Iran, including their pursuit of a uranium enrichment programme in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). The Government will continue to act in the UN, the EU and bilaterally to persuade Iran to comply with the demands of successive UNSCRs, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international community.

Israel and Palestine: Quartet

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We maintain a regular dialogue with the Government of Israel and urge them

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to fulfil their obligations under the quartet road map. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary most recently spoke to the Israeli Foreign Minister on 24 June. The UK actively supports the quartet representative and his office, who are working on a number of confidence-building measures. Our posts in the region also feed evidence into the US-led road map monitoring process.

Navy: Carrier Battle Groups

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Several types of vessels will be available to accompany the new aircraft carriers in carrier strike groups, including frigates, destroyers and submarines. The numbers and types of vessels employed will depend on the operational circumstances. Our present shipbuilding programmes, which are delivering the new Type 45 destroyers, Astute class nuclear submarines and, in the longer term, the Future Surface Combatant, will ensure that strike groups centred on the new aircraft carriers will consist of modern and highly capable warships.

Northern Ireland Office

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Union flag is the official flag of Northern Ireland and is flown over the London offices of the Northern Ireland Office in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport entitled Protocol for Hoisting Flags on Government Buildings. This document can be found at: www.culture.gov.uk/flagflying/protocol.html.

The building is owned by Her Majesty's Security Service (MI5).

Northern Ireland Office: Business Cases

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Northern Ireland Office ensures that formal mechanisms are in place for all funding. Business cases are one of these formal mechanisms, but there are other agreed processes that may be used

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such as applications, submission of estimates and management statements. To provide details of all funding to organisations since 1998 which have been provided using a control process other than a business case could only be provided at disproportionate cost.


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