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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Food law makes it an offence to mislead the consumer as to the origin of food. Therefore, imported fresh fruit should not bear the union flag, as it may imply the fruit is grown in the United Kingdom.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in the light of their statements about the safety of genetically modified crops, what assessment they have made of the paper by Velmirov A, Binter C and Zentek J (2008) entitled Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in mice, which found that genetically modified maize damages reproductive function; and what action they will take in the light of its findings. [HL147]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): This report was published, prior to peer review, by the Austrian Ministries for Health and Agriculture on 12 November 2008 and was examined by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes when it met on 20 November. The committee advised that the publication is not sufficiently detailed to draw any conclusions about the implications of this research for the safety of food or feed derived from NK603xMON810 maize and it identified a number of technical questions related to the research. The European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) Genetically Modified Organism Panel scrutinised this report when it met on 3 and 4 December and has published a statement, which also advises that no conclusions can be drawn from this report. The EFSA panel has highlighted inconsistencies and uncertainties in the reporting of the part of the research that is claimed to show an effect on reproductive function.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in the light of their statements about the safety of genetically modified crops, what assessment they have made of the paper by Finamore A, Roselli M, Britti S, Monastra G, Ambra R, Turrini A and Mengheri E (2008) entitled Intestinal and peripheral immune response to MON810 maize ingestion in weaning and old mice (published in J Agric Food Chem on 16 November 2008), which examined disturbances in the immune system of young and old mice; and what measures they propose in the light of its findings. [HL148]
To ask Her Majesty's Government in the light of their statements about the safety of genetically modified crops, what assessment they have made of the paper by A Kilic and M T Akay (2008) entitled A three generation study with genetically modified corn in rats: Biochemical and histopathological investigation (published in Food Chem. Toxicol.
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To ask Her Majesty's Government in the light of their statements about the safety of genetically modified crops, what assessment they have made of the paper by Manuela Malatesta, Fredrica Boraldi, Guilia Annovi, Beatrice Baldelli, Serafina Battistelli, Marco Biggiogera, and Daniela Quaglino (2008) entitled A Long Term Study on Female Mice fed on a Genetically Modified Soybean: Effects on Liver Ageing (published in Histochem Cell Biol. on 22 July 2008: 18648843), which examined the effect of genetically modified soy on metabolic rates and the speed of the ageing process; and what measures they propose in the light of its findings. [HL150]
Lord Darzi of Denham: Officials in the Food Standards Agency are aware of the research reported in these publications and will be seeking advice from the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes on the implications.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 25 November (WA 284), how much the Medical Research Council spent in total in conducting its review of relevant Gulf War veterans' research, including both United Kingdom and overseas studies; how much of the cost was funded by the Ministry of Defence; and who undertook the review for the council. [HL87]
The Minister of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Drayson): In 2003 the Medical Research Council asked the Military Health Research Advisory Group (MHRAG) to undertake a comprehensive review of relevant Gulf research. The review made a number of recommendations on where future research might focus and provided additional advice to the Ministry of Defence.
The MRC met the costs of the 2003 review, which are estimated to have been between £20,000 and £25,000. The main costs were MRC staff time, travel and hotel costs for the non-MRC staff involved, and administration. The Ministry of Defence reimbursed the MRC with approximately £17,000 for the travel and hotel costs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to respond to the scientific findings and recommendations of the United States Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, published in November 2008; and, if so, when. [HL200]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): We are now assessing carefully the US report following its publication on 17 November. We note that the US Department of
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to further their focus on improving the long-term health of Gulf War veterans, following their initial response to the report of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, mandated by the United States Congress and published on 17 November. [HL204]
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to respond in detail to the findings of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, mandated by the United States Congress and published on 17 November, with particular reference to new policy for research and redress for United Kingdom veterans affected. [HL205]
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: We are now carefully assessing the US report following its publication on 17 November. We note that the US Department of Veterans Affairs has sent the report to the Institute of Medicine for review and we will await the outcome of this process before making any comments on the report. In 2003 the Medical Research Council (MRC) undertook a comprehensive review of relevant Gulf veterans' research, including both UK and overseas studies. The key recommendation of the review was that future studies should focus on improving the long-term health of Gulf veterans with persisting symptoms. The focus of our research effort is therefore to identify suitable rehabilitative interventions for those veterans and a contract has been awarded to a group at Cardiff University, acknowledged experts in this field. Benefits are available to eligible veterans and dependants through MoD war pension and Armed Forces occupational pension schemes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to implement the recent National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommendations on the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [HL138]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether attention deficit hyperactivity disorder services are adequate to meet the requirements of sufferers and their families. [HL139]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): In September 2008, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its clinical guideline on Diagnosis and Management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children, Young
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This advice considers implementation issues that are specific to the guideline on ADHD. It aims to provide practical advice to help those responsible for planning and implementing the guideline. It will help implementers identify recommendations in the guideline that are not part of current practice, and suggests actions to be taken.
The independent review of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), commissioned by the Secretaries of State for Health and for Children, Schools and Families, considered how to address current challenges and deliver better outcomes for all children and young people with mental health problems, including those with ADHD. The final report of the CAMHS review was published on 18 November 2008 and a copy has been placed in the Library, together with the government response.
Lord Darzi of Denham: This information is not held centrally and would not be collected regionally either. To collect it would involve contacting all primary care trusts (PCTs) and 138 prisons. Individual conditions such as these would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. PCTs are responsible for ensuring that appropriate services are commissioned to meet the needs of their community, including any prisons in their catchment area. Anyone presenting with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder would be assessed and treated according to NHS guidelines.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): All matters relating to the regulation of clinical physiologists will be resolved as part of a separate consultation on proposals for the regulation of the roles described in The Futureof the Healthcare Science WorkforceModernising Scientific CareersThe Next Steps: AConsultation published on 26 November 2008, as healthcare scientist practitioner (HCSP) and healthcare scientist (HCS).
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 17 November (WA 167), what guidance will be given to general practitioners administering vascular checks on which tests to select and under what circumstances they should be used, so that patients with appropriate, established risk factors are tested for diabetes; and how the quality of the general practitioners' decision-making will be monitored. [HL195]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Vascular checks will be offered to everyone between the ages of 40 and 74 who have no existing, diagnosed vascular disease. Each component of the risk assessment element of the vascular check will be specified nationally. The Vascular Checks: Risk Assessment and Management: Next Steps Guidance, published on 13 November, provides details of these. A copy has already been placed in the Library.
Current National Screening Committee advice is that it is not clinically and cost-effective to offer diabetes screening to the whole population. However, it has recommended that screening certain subgroups of the population who are at high risk of type 2 diabetes is feasible, but that it should be undertaken as part of an integrated programme to detect and manage cardiovascular risk factors.
As part of the commissioning process, primary care trusts will be responsible for ensuring that those they commission to deliver the vascular checks programme do so in accordance with their contractual obligations. This should include ensuring those conducting the checks do so in accordance with agreed standard operating procedures to assure the quality and consistency of the vascular check. The department will be issuing guidance in the new year on the standard operating procedures for conducting the vascular check.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 17 November (WA 168), when the External Quality Assurance process will produce its first reports; what form these reports will take; and how the information will be used by the national clinical director for diabetes and the key stakeholders to improve services. [HL196]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 17 November (WA 168), whether there will be an additional section in the annual report on the national screening programme for diabetic retinopathy covering management of the patient's blood sugar and blood pressure by their general practitioner. [HL197]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The national screening programme (NSP) for sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy produces peer-review reports following each external quality assurance visit. These make an assessment against the service objectives and quality assurance standards for the programme. The reports are shared with key stakeholders including local commissioners so that action can be taken to ensure that errors are dealt with competently and sensitively and professionals and organisations can make year-on-year improvements in service. The NSP is in regular contact with the national clinical director so that any appropriate action can be taken at national level to improve service.
The NSP does not currently collect information on management of the patient's blood sugar and blood pressure by their general practitioner to include in the annual report. After a patient has been screened, a report is sent to the health professional managing the patient's diabetes care. Advice is given in information leaflets to both patients and to health professionals about the importance of managing blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and the quality and outcomes framework rewards general practitioners for measuring and improving these levels.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the cross-border commissioning arrangements for specialised neuromuscular services in England and Wales to ensure that people with rare and very rare conditions can receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis. [HL165]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review commissioning arrangements for specialised neuromuscular services in England and Wales in view of the evidence from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign about the effect on life expectancy and quality of life of poor health care provided for some people with rare and very rare conditions. [HL166]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): We have no current plans to review commissioning arrangements between England and Wales for specialised neuromuscular services. We may need to look at broader arrangements for the cross-border commissioning of specialised services in the light of consultation and publication of Delivering the New NHS for Wales.
The national specialised commissioning team has been involved in ongoing discussions with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign (MDC) about these issues over the past 12 months and has brought the MDC's concerns to the attention of specialised commissioning groups in England.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Health Commission Wales regarding the funding of diagnostic tests at recognised specialist centres in England for Welsh patients with rare and very rare neuromuscular conditions. [HL167]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Health Commission Wales regarding the funding of specialised physiotherapy services for patients in Wales with neuromuscular conditions to enable them to access services in England. [HL168]
Lord Darzi of Denham: Representatives of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign met the Minister of State for Health on 18 November 2008 and raised these issues. As a result of that meeting, officials of the national specialised commissioning group were asked to take action with their opposite numbers at Health Commission Wales to identify and resolve any difficulties relating to the access of Welsh residents to English specialised services for rare neuromuscular disorders. These discussions are currently taking place.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Interest rates are set by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England, to meet the Government's inflation target of 2 per cent, as measured by the 12-month increase in the consumer price index.
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