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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): On 11 February, the Government rejected the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' recommendation that MDMA ("ecstasy") should be reclassified from a class A drug to a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average amount paid to local authorities by central government in respect of each child who is being home-educated; and how this compares to the average amount paid in respect of each child who is being educated at a maintained school. [HL1482]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Under the current dedicated schools grant system, the amount paid to local authorities by central government in respect of home-educated pupils for whom the local authority is financially responsible is the same as those who attend a maintained school. This amount is known as the guaranteed unit of funding (GUF). The average GUF for England in 2008-09 is £4,066.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the duties of the Financial Services Authority concerning the provision of information upon request; and whether they have made any assessment of the authority's performance in this regard. [HL1465]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): As required by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), the Financial Services Authority (FSA) already make substantial quantities of information available to the public.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives the public a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, including the FSA, subject to certain conditions and exemptions.
FSMA imposes restrictions, subject to criminal penalties on disclosure of information which the FSA receives in the course of carrying out its duties. In turn, the FOIA protects such information from disclosure.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is sufficient for a pig to be processed in the United Kingdom in order to be labelled British, or whether a pig has to be bred, slaughtered and processed within the United Kingdom in order to be marketed as British pork. [HL1532]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Under the World Trade Organisation rules, if pork from outside the United Kingdom underwent a last substantial change, such as processing in the UK, then the product can be labelled as British. However, the Government recognise that this can potentially mislead consumers, therefore the Food Standards Agency issued guidance in 2002 (updated in 2008), which advises that under such circumstances the actual origin of the meat should also be given.
The Government are keen to address this issue and Ministers from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs have met with some retailers to discuss how current labelling practices can be improved so that consumers have the clearest information available to them to make informed choice. They will also be meeting with representatives of manufacturers and the food service sector.
To ask the Chairman of Committees how many staff of the House are employed exclusively or primarily on press and public relations; and how this figure compares with the number of staff employed for the same purpose by (a) the House of Commons, and (b) the Scottish Parliament. [HL1457]
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These figures do not include Visitor Services staff in either the House of Commons (33) or the Scottish Parliament (18). The House of Lords contributes 30 per cent of the cost of staff working on bicameral services (such as education, outreach and visitor services), who are based in the House of Commons.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they are giving to primary care trusts regarding patients' right of choice under Choose and Book and confirming the right of general practitioners to refer patients (a) to the NHS hospital of their choice, and (b) for NHS complementary medicine treatment. [HL1503]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that primary care trusts are not restricting the choice of general practitioner and patients' choice under Choose and Book. [HL1504]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The NHS constitution includes a new right to make choices about your National Health Service care. The options available will develop over time and depend on your individual needs. From 1 April 2009, patients will have the right to choose in which trust they have treatment, when they are referred for their first out-patient appointment with a service led by consultants.
New legally binding directions from the Secretary of State to primary care trusts (PCTs) support this new right. The department issued guidance, Implementation of the Right to Choice and Information set out in the NHS Constitution, on 21 January for PCTs to help them with the implementation of the right. The guidance explains what their new duties are
25 Feb 2009 : Column WA90
Choose and Book is an enabler that supports choice and is not a constraint on how the NHS manages patient care. It is simply a tool that makes transparent the services available to support general practitioners and patients with choice and booking. Providers and PCTs agree decisions about how services are organised locally and how they are displayed on Choose and Book.
The Government do not maintain a position on any complementary or alternative medicine treatments and it is the responsibility of the NHS to make decisions on what types of services or treatments they will commission and fund.
As the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital clinical services integrate complementary and conventional therapies for specific conditions, if a primary care trust refuses to fund complementary treatments, whether a general practitioner is entitled to refer patients suffering from these conditions via Choose and Book [HL 1506]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The Government do not maintain a position on any complementary or alternative medicine treatments and it is the responsibility of the National Health Service to make decisions on what types of services or treatments they will commission and fund. In considering a referral for any type of treatment, a general practitioner (GP) would take into consideration safety, evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness as well as the availability of suitably qualified and regulated practitioners. Some primary care trusts (PCTs) may have specific policies on the commissioning or funding of complementary medicine which a GP would also have to take into account.
The Choose and Book system is an enabler and is not a constraint on how the NHS manages patient care. It is simply a tool that makes transparent, the services available to support GPs and patients with choice and booking. Providers and PCTs agree decisions about how services are organised locally and how they are displayed on Choose and Book.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department is currently implementing a national patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) programme. PROMs will provide information on patients' perception of the effectiveness of care they receive. After extensive piloting and research, PROMs is currently being implemented for four elective procedures (hip and knee replacement, groin hernia and varicose veins). Patients will receive a pre-operative questionnaire before
25 Feb 2009 : Column WA91
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many places of religious worship (a) are currently certified under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, broken down by faith denomination, and (b) were certified in each of the past five years, broken down by faith denomination. [HL1355]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 provides for places of meeting for religious worship to be certified to the Registrar General. Under this Act the Registrar General records all places of meeting for religious worship certified to him. There are currently 29,774 places of meeting for religious worship certified under the Act. These are broken down by denomination as follows:
Other Christian bodies includes those who describe themselves as Christian but do not designate themselves further. Examples of other include Assemblies of God, Latter Day Saints, Seventh Day Adventist, Greek Orthodox and Pentecostal.
|2004total of 151|
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