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Additionally, food commodity standards and specifications are reviewed regularly to accommodate the requirements of a changeable and diverse consumer base. As a minimum they are scrutinised prior to any tendering exercise.

Freedom of Information

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: The Department for International Development (DfID) 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.

Gibraltar: Police

Baroness Harris of Richmond asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): HQ British Forces Gibraltar issued for consultation the terms of reference document for the Gibraltar policing and security review to the Gibraltar Services Police Staff Association (GSPSA) and other interested parties on 4 June 2007. They responded on 19 June 2007 and conduct of the review commenced on 20 June 2007. The GSPSA has been kept informed on the progress of the review. Should the review determine an option that changes the current status or structure of the Gibraltar Services Police, the normal process of consultation will take place in line with standard departmental procedures.

Baroness Harris of Richmond asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Taylor of Bolton: We have not reached any decision on the future of the Gibraltar Services Police (GSP). Work is continuing, and part of this process will involve discussions between HQ British Forces Gibraltar and the Government of Gibraltar on future policing options. Once these discussions have concluded, there will be a full appraisal of the options for the

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future of the GSP before any final decision is taken. Accordingly, there have been no consultations with the GSP on a possible transfer to the Royal Gibraltar Police. Over the past year, the GSP has actively engaged in the security review. While there has been some low-level engagement with the Royal Gibraltar Police, detailed discussions and consultation will be undertaken with the Government of Gibraltar in due course.

Government: Home Office Laptops and Phones

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We only have accurate information for the past three years.

In 2005, there were 26 mobiles recorded as lost, seven as stolen and four as missing. Three laptops were reported as lost, and 11 laptops were reported as stolen.

In 2006, there were seven mobiles recorded as lost and three as missing. Three laptops were reported as lost, one as missing and 10 were reported as stolen.

In 2007, 43 mobile telephones were reported as lost and four were reported as stolen. Three laptops were reported as lost and 12 were reported as stolen.

Government: IT Contracts

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: A list has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses showing IT contracts entered into by the Department for Transport and its agencies in the previous three complete financial years. The total value of these contracts was £115,095,680.

Government: Regional Ministers

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Regional Ministers do not have executive powers, and it is for departmental Ministers to answer Parliamentary Questions on issues pertaining to their department’s responsibilities. The Government believe, however, that regional Ministers should be accountable

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to Parliament for their activities and fulfilling the roles set out in The Governance of Britain Green Paper, and have made proposals accordingly in their response to the third report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Modernisation of the House, of the current Session, into regional accountability, published on 21 July (Cm 7376).

We have announced that provision should be made in the Commons for regional Grand Committees in each English region (excluding London, at least initially), at which there would be oral questions to regional Ministers on their activities in their capacity as regional Ministers and other proceedings in which regional Ministers will participate. The Government’s response also proposes the establishment of regional Select Committees, which could seek evidence from regional Ministers, among other witnesses. The Government hope to bring forward motions to implement these proposals in the autumn.

Health: Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government are grateful to the Chief Medical Officer for his annual report. It raises important issues, to which the Government will give careful consideration.

Health: Commissions

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be an independent body, with powers to carry out special reviews of the provision of National Health Service care or adult social services. The CQC will consult on and publish its programme of reviews.

The department has been working very closely with the existing commissions and the shadow chair of the CQC to ensure plans are in place to minimise any risks arising from the organisational change involved in the creation of the new regulator and to achieve a smooth transition. It is our expectation that where the existing commissions undertake special reviews during 2008-09, those reviews will be completed and published by the end of that year so that the CQC can properly plan its own programme of future reviews.

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Earl Howe asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Darzi of Denham: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will become responsible for the regulation of health and adult social care providers from April 2009. To ensure continuity, the CQC will, in designing the systems and methodologies necessary for carrying out its regulatory functions, build on the work of the bodies that it will replace. This will include taking into account any recommendations made by its predecessor bodies about any particular provider to ensure that patient safety is not compromised and providers continue to meet all necessary regulatory requirements. From April 2010, the new CQC will move to a common system of registration for all providers of regulated health and adult social care.

The department recently carried out a 12-week consultation on what the essential requirements of safety and quality of care should be that providers have to meet in order to maintain their registration. The responses to the consultation are currently being analysed and the Government’s response will be published in due course.

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Darzi of Denham: The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has confirmed that she will take responsibility for any complaint that has been received by the Healthcare Commission and has not been concluded prior to its abolition.

Health: Cord Blood

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The NHS Cord Blood Bank asks prospective mothers, when they register to donate their cord blood, to consent to its use for transplantation and research purposes. If the cord blood donation is not suitable for clinical or research purposes or if consent has not been given to use it for research, then it is disposed of appropriately.

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Health: Drug Tariff

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The National Health Service efficiency target is one of the factors used in the annual uplift formula for pharmacy remuneration through the fees and allowances set out in the drug tariff.

Health: Herbal Products

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Chromatographic fingerprinting is an accepted methodology in the analysis of herbal products and has been included in European guidelines and the European Pharmacopoeia since the early 1990s. With regard to multi-ingredient herbal medicinal products, it is recognised that identification and assay of individual herbal ingredients in the herbal product is difficult to perform and sometimes impossible. The European Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products has recently developed a guideline, in consultation with industry, that addresses the issue of multi-ingredient herbal products. The guideline states that if testing for identity or assay or to demonstrate stability cannot be performed in the herbal product, alternative strategies may be considered. The guideline refers to appropriate fingerprint chromatograms, appropriate overall methods of assay and physical or other appropriate tests. The applicant is therefore able to select appropriate methods and justify their use.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) submitted evidence in 2007 to the Commission’s review of directive 2004/24/EC. In addition, the MHRA has had a number of opportunities—for example, through sharing a platform at conferences—to

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update Commission officials on the agency’s early experience of the expending number of companies submitting applications under the traditional herbal registration scheme.

Health: Medical Records

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Patients are able to opt out of having their clinical information uploaded to the “spine”, the national database of key information about patients' health and care within the NHS Care Records Service, by choosing not to have summary care record. Clinicians are none the less required by their professional bodies, and for clinical governance and medico-legal reasons, to keep clear, accurate, legible and contemporaneous patient records, and to keep these secure and confidential.

It is good practice for all those who provide care to patients to discuss and agree with them what they are going to record and, if asked, to show what they have recorded and to provide copies of any letters they write. In this way all patients are able to have responsibility for the content, accuracy and completeness of their own records in whatever form they are kept.

Since December 2003, we have provided the facility for patients to store their personal health information on a secure website, HealthSpace. This effectively provides people with their own on-line personal health organiser. It is a free service available to all National Health Service patients living in England aged 16 and over. HealthSpace offers a set of basic features to support people in managing their health, including a diary feature with a calendar/reminder service and address book; personal health history with the ability to record key metrics for chronic disease management, for example weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels; a search system for local NHS services information; and access to the choose and book online booking service.

In 2007, HealthSpace also started providing people in areas covered by the NHS Summary Care Record Early Adopter Programme with the option of on-line access to their summary care records. Eventually, this option will be available to all NHS patients in England.

Health: Urology Appliances

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty’s Government:

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