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Guidance is also given to users in the form of a Prison Service instruction which highlights the importance of data quality to the organisation.

Drugs: Ecstasy

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

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.

Education: Home Schooling

Question

Asked by Lord Lucas

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.

Equality and Human Rights Commission: Religions and Faiths

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi



25 Feb 2009 : Column WA88

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Equality and Human Rights Commission recognises all religions and faiths.

Financial Services Authority

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

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.

Decisions by the FSA not to disclose information can be referred to the Information Commissioner and, ultimately, to the Information Tribunal.

Food: Pork and Bacon

Question

Asked by Lord Rowe-Beddoe

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.



25 Feb 2009 : Column WA89

House of Lords: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Norton of Louth

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The figures requested are as follows:

House of LordsHouse of CommonsScottish Parliament

Staff directly involved in press and public relations work (information, marketing, education and outreach) 10

10

50

44

—of which, press/media officers

2

10

10

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.

NHS: Patients' Choice

Questions

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

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

and sets out some of the levers for implementing the new duties. The guidance does not refer to Choose and Book.

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.

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

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.

NHS: Patients' Treatment

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

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

the procedure and a post-operative questionnaire is then sent out between three and six months after the procedure. The questionnaires are then compared to assess patients perspective of effectiveness. Patient participation is voluntary; however, a high level of participation was recorded in the pilots.

Places of Religious Worship

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

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:

Roman Catholic

3,663

Methodist

7,151

Congregationalist

1,357

Baptist

3,277

United Reformed

1,638

Calvinistic Methodist

1,147

Brethren

945

Salvation Army

896

Unitarian

175

Society of Friends

367

Jehovah's Witness

927

Other Christian bodies

6237

Jews

370

Muslim

837

“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.

During the past five years the following places of meeting for religious worship have been certified by denomination:



25 Feb 2009 : Column WA92

2004—total of 151

Roman Catholic

4

Methodist

9

Congregationalist

0

Baptist

8

United Reformed

2

Calvinistic Methodist

1

Brethren

2

Salvation Army

6

Unitarian

0

Society of Friends

2

Jehovah's Witness

7

Other Christian bodies

24

Jews

2

Muslim

25

Sikh

3

Other

56

2005—total 170

Roman Catholic

8

Methodist

10

Congregationalist

0

Baptist 4

9

United Reformed

4

Calvinistic Methodist

2

Brethren

5

Salvation Army

3

Unitarian

1

Society of Friends

0

Jehovah's Witness

9

Other Christian bodies

32

Jews

1

Muslim

18

Sikh

8

Other

60

2006—total 183

Roman Catholic

4

Methodist

7

Congregationalist

1

Baptist

15

United Reformed

0

Calvinistic Methodist

0

Brethren

1

Salvation Army

3

Unitarian

0

Society of Friends

1

Jehovah's Witness

7

Other Christian bodies

43

Jews

2

Muslim

31

Sikh

8

Other

60


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