Previous Section Index Home Page


Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Albanians apprehended for illegal activity by UK members of KFOR in the last two months were handed over to (a) KFOR authorities and (b) Camp Bondsteel. [149380]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 8 February 2001]: Sixty-one ethnic Albanians were apprehended for illegal activity by British troops operating as part of the KFOR reserve in support of Multi-National Brigade (East) (MNB(E)), in the past two months (December 2000 and January 2001) and were handed over to KFOR authorities at the detention facility, Camp Bondsteel.

Weapon Components

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence where the components for (a) the L15 and (b) the M107 rounds for the A590 gun are (i) manufactured and (ii) assembled. [149353]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 8 February 2001]: Components for the L15 round are manufactured by RO Defence, at its sites in Birtley, Bridgwater, Bishopton, Blackburn and Glascoed. The final assembly of the L15 round takes place at Glascoed, Gwent.

The M107, a cheaper training projectile, is no longer procured for use by the British Army. The last batch of M107 was received in July 1999 and was procured through NAMSA from the Italian contractor, Simmel, by competitive tender. We have no knowledge of where the components were manufactured and assembled, which really is a matter for the contractor. Approximately 1,100 M107 projectiles remain and will be consumed at training during this year.


Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body

Mrs. Fitzsimons: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the supplementary report of the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body. [150087]

Mr. Denham: I am responding on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the supplementary report of the review body on doctors and dentists remuneration (DDRB), I understand that a similar announcement is being made by the First Minister and the Minister for Health and Community Care in Scotland. Copies of the reports are available in the Vote Office and the Library. I am grateful to the chairman and members of the DDRB for their hard work.

9 Feb 2001 : Column: 709W

We announced on 18 December that the pay recommendations of the DDRB were being accepted in full and without staging. The DDRB recommended an overall pay increase of 3.9 per cent. for salaried doctors and dentists and general medical and dental practitioners.

To encourage the retention of general medical practitioners, the DDRB has also recommended a 7 per cent. increase in seniority allowances, worth in the region of £500 for a general medical practitioner with 25 years service. This is in addition to the 3.9 per cent. increase in intended average net remuneration.

The supplementary report from the DDRB covers areas of GPs income aimed at meeting the expense of running their practices and any balancing recovery from debts owed by the profession. In its considerations of what provision to make for indirectly reimbursed practice expenses and the operation of the balancing correction the review body have recommended:

The Government share DDRB's concerns about the operation of the balancing mechanism, the setting of practice expenses and the management of the cumulative debt. We have decided that the BMA and the Health departments should put work in hand immediately to develop a review of these issues. That being the case, the Government have decided to suspend the balancing mechanism pending the outcome of the review.

The average GP will benefit by a further £248 above what the DDRB have recommended. In addition, we will consider constructively how to manage the cumulative debt of the profession (around £80 million) for the benefit of patients and the development of practices.

DDRB also recommended that urgent agreement was needed on flu vaccination payments. Higher payments to GPs were introduced in last autumn's campaign to increase vaccination coverage of people aged 65 and over. We now propose that the whole cost of these payments, not just the proportion relating to the extra coverage achieved, should remain available for investment in general practice.

The gross income of GPs will therefore increase to £80,300 per annum, as shown in the table, with effect from 1 April 2001.


April 2000April 2001
1. IANI (includes 2001 seniority increase)54,22056,510
2. Expenses provision24,51023,790
3. IANI plus Expenses (1+2)78,73080,300
4. Balancing recovery(261)(3)(248)
5. IAGI (3+4)78,46980,300

(3) Suspended

Tattoos and Piercings

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations he has received concerning the safety of tattoos and piercings; [147522]

9 Feb 2001 : Column: 710W

Yvette Cooper: We have received a small number of representations about the safety of skin piercing, including tattooing.

The Department has not commissioned any research into the safety of skin piercing.

If proper hygienic precautions are not taken, there is a risk of blood-borne virus infection and localised wound infections. Localised wound infections may also occur after skin piercing, if the tattooing or piercing is touched by the client with dirty hands or comes into contact with soiled clothes, towels or bedlinen. Non-infectious and usually not serious complications may occur such as swelling around the piercing and bleeding.

Advice on the risk of blood-borne virus transmission via skin piercing has been included in leaflets for the public on sexual health for young people, HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C published by Health Promotion England. The Department's leaflets on general health advice for travellers and specific advice on avoiding the risks of HIV infection while abroad provide similar information. Local authorities, which are responsible for regulating skin piercing businesses, have also produced information for the public.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his support for the establishment of a House of Lords Select Committee on Embryonic Stem Cell Research is conditional on its membership being balanced and representative of different views on the subject. [148275]

Yvette Cooper: Membership of House of Lords Select Committees is a matter for the Lords' Committee of Selection. We look forward to working with the Committee and will, as we have said, consider its conclusions carefully.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the commitment of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Hunt, in the House of Lords on 22 January 2001, House of Lords, Official Report, column 121, to review regulations in the light of the report of a House of Lords Select Committee on Embryonic Stem Cell Research includes annulling those regulations if the Committee concludes that such research is not necessary; and if he will make a statement. [148273]

Yvette Cooper: We have made it clear that we will consider very carefully the conclusions of the House of Lords Select Committee and will review the regulations in the light of those conclusions. However, the Committee has not yet begun its deliberations and it is not possible to speculate on whether action may be appropriate when its conclusions are known.

9 Feb 2001 : Column: 711W

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority intends to adopt for assessing, in connection with project licence applications it receives, whether research upon embryonic stem cells offers potential for progress which could not be made using adult stem cells. [148272]

Yvette Cooper: Research involving the use of human embryos can be carried out only if it meets the strict conditions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and a licence has been issued by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Among other things, the 1990 Act requires the HFEA to be satisfied that any proposed use of embryos is necessary for the purposes of the research. If the proposed use of embryos is not considered necessary for any reason, a licence will not be granted.

The HFEA may grant licenses for research projects only for the purposes set out in the 1990 Act and in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Research Purposes) Regulations.

For each research project the HFEA requires a detailed application describing:

The application must also include:

The HFEA requires research applications to have Research Ethics Committee approval. The project must explain its objectives, protocols and why the research is necessary. Before considering a research application the HFEA obtains at least two peer review reports on the project's merits covering:

An HFEA Licence Committee is arranged to consider each application and the peer review reports. It will also consider the information given to donors.

Research is monitored through:

9 Feb 2001 : Column: 712W

Next Section Index Home Page