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In respect of the culturing of embryos and stem cell derivation, the HEFA has confirmed that it has nothing further to add to the responses given to the noble Lord on 3 June 2009 (WA87-8) and 24 June 2008 (WA227).

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Darzi of Denham: Newcastle Primary Care Trust has advised that it currently commissions three cycles of in vitro fertilisation for eligible patients.

Gulf War Illnesses

Question

Asked by Lord Bramall

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Government answers on the US Research Advisory Committee report have been accurate and reflect what the US authorities have publicly stated. There is no requirement for an amendment taking into account the information that has currently been made available to the Government. We have not seen the letter dated 24 April referred to by Lord Morris during the Answer given by Lord Tunnicliffe on 27 April (Official Report, col. 8-10) but we have requested a copy. If the letter dated 24 April provides further information on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) review then we will take this into account. However, we do not believe that this will alter the position that the IOM is due to publish its findings in February 2010, having been asked to review the report and make recommendations. Further information on the IOM review, provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), can be found by accessing the US House Committee on Veterans Affairs website at http://veterans.house.gov/hearings/hearing.aspx?NewsID=394.



18 Jun 2009 : Column WA227

Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): A broad indicator of the annual level of benefit currently available through the Macfarlane Trust was calculated by dividing the total number of beneficiaries into the total expenditure of the trusts, the result being an overall average of £6,400. Officials also referred to information from the trust about the amounts payable to individuals. There is no reason to adjust the £6,400 figure as the Government's response to Lord Archer's recommendations makes clear that in future all infected beneficiaries will receive £12,800 per annum.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

Lord Darzi of Denham: The Macfarlane Trust will be enabled to make flat rate payments to all infected beneficiaries of £12,800 per year with effect from 20 May 2009.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

Lord Darzi of Denham: The department received an assurance from Mrs Bullock on 11 May 2009 that she had no objection to the text of her letter referred to in the Question by Lord Roberts of Conwy being published in full. The date of that letter was 9 March 2009 and a reply was sent on 21 April 2009, and copies of both of these are being placed in the Library.



18 Jun 2009 : Column WA228

Asked by Baroness Campbell of Surbiton

Lord Darzi of Denham: The purpose of the Written Ministerial Statement on 20 May 2009 (WS 122) was to inform the House of the publication of the Government's response to the Archer report. The Government's response contains a commitment to review the Skipton Fund in 2014.

The Macfarlane and Eileen Trusts have always been able to make payments on a case by case basis to dependents of those entitled to financial relief, and that will remain the case.

Health: Drugs

Question

Asked by Lord Naseby

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): All the overseas territories have pandemic preparedness plans, which have now been activated. However, if any of the overseas territories is not able to access antivirals or vaccine (when it becomes available), we will support it by providing access to the United Kingdom (UK) stockpile. This access would be up to the equivalent level of provision as the UK and would generally be on a repayment basis. In addition, we would seek to replace any antiviral or vaccines that were taken from the UK stockpile.

Healthcare: Funding

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Primary care trusts are responsible for commissioning services that improve the health and well-being of the population, and are fair, personalised, effective and safe. To do this, they assess the needs of their population, prioritise

18 Jun 2009 : Column WA229

investment, contract with providers and monitor the quality of services. Consequently, all decisions on funding for services relating to infectious diseases and healthcare acquired infections are taken locally, and the department does not hold relevant data centrally.

Healthcare: Secondary Infection

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): We have based our infection control advice for secondary care on the best available evidence. There are a range of important factors that if not addressed will lead to increased rates of infection.

The EPIC evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of healthcare acquired infections (HCAIs), which has already been placed in the Library, set out the personal actions required to prevent HCAIs. Important factors are hand hygiene, environmental hygiene, correct antimicrobial prescribing, safe disposal of sharps, and correct aseptic technique.

Organisational measures needed to prevent infections are detailed in the code of practice for the prevention and control of HCAIs, which has also already been placed in the Library. These include appropriate surveillance, clear antibiotic prescribing policies, board-level assurances for HCAI performance, adequate training for all staff in infection control and co-ordination between organisations.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Darzi of Denham: We take a number of measures to ensure a co-ordinated approach between the parties mentioned.

Development and review of policies and guidance take account of views from both healthcare professionals and patient groups. Significant pieces of work, such as the Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections, are formally consulted on, and views of healthcare professionals and patients are being sought in the development of a new minimum standard for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus(M RSA).

Our advisory committee on antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infection (ARHAI) membership includes academics, healthcare professionals and a lay

18 Jun 2009 : Column WA230

member. We also provide targeted support directly to trusts on healthcare associated infections and use this experience of the front line to inform other activities.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

Lord Brett: Human rights principles underpin the UK Government's work in developing countries. The policy of the Department for International Development (DfID) is to put people, their rights and social justice at the heart of its development work and to mainstream human rights in development programmes. This approach is reinforced by the conditionality policy which bases UK aid partnerships on a shared commitment to respect human rights. DfID policy is to take partner Governments' commitment to human rights into account when decisions are made about development partnership agreements, country strategies, and providing aid.

The UK Government are committed to working with the Iraqi and Afghan Governments to ensure that the basic human rights of the peoples of those countries are protected. In Iraq, DfID is supporting key international agencies to ensure the provision of human rights—especially those related to freedom from hunger, violence and forced displacement—for vulnerable groups, including those displaced internally and in neighbouring countries. In Afghanistan the UK is working with the Afghan justice institutions to develop a national policy on non-state justice mechanisms.

Lisbon Treaty

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Lord Brett: The Lisbon treaty will help the enlarged EU work more effectively by streamlining the institutions and decision-making processes, creating a single set of clear, coherent objectives for EU activity in Europe and around the world, and by making the EU more accountable to member states and national parliaments.

Parliament has decided on the Lisbon treaty. The treaty was debated in detail in Parliament over 25 days; both Houses voted strongly in favour at every stage.



18 Jun 2009 : Column WA231

Marine and Coastal Access Bill [HL]

Question

Asked by Lord Goodlad

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): We held detailed discussions with the Planning Inspectorate in developing the objection procedure in Schedule 1A to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 which has been inserted in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. The schedule provides a process in which objections to Natural England's coastal access proposals made by a person with a relevant interest in affected land may be referred to an appointed person. We envisage that the appointed person will be an inspector from the Planning Inspectorate.

Migrant Workers: Romania and Bulgaria

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Information relating to the number of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who have registered as workers is published in the Bulgarian and Romanian Accession Statistics which are published quarterly and are available in the Libraries of the House.

Information on the number of family members who have entered in the UK is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate costs.

The Department for Work and Pensions has advised that information on the number of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals in receipt of social security benefits is not available.

Smoking

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird



18 Jun 2009 : Column WA232

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There is no intention at this time to extend the smoke free law to any outdoor places.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Darzi of Denham: In 1998 the Government's White Paper, Smoking Kills, estimated that the cost to the National Health Service of treating illness and disease caused by smoking was £1.7 billion every year.

In October 2008, Action on Smoking and Health published a report called Beyond Smoking Kills, which estimated that the costs of smoking to the NHS had risen to £2.7 billion a year.

The latest research published in the Journal of Tobacco Control in June 2009, by researchers from the University of Oxford Department of Public Health, estimates the costs of smoking to the NHS at £5.2 billion.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

Lord Brett: We welcome the Turks and Caicos Islands Government's efforts to begin to resolve the issues highlighted in Sir Robin Auld's interim report. Once we have considered the commission's final report in detail, we will set out the steps needed to address the commissioners’ recommendations. We hope that the Turks and Caicos Islands Government will continue to support the governor in order to restore good governance and sound financial management to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

UK Border Agency: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Wallace of Saltaire



18 Jun 2009 : Column WA233

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The number of staff working for the UK Border Agency posted abroad are shown in the attached table, as at 1 April 2009.


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