Previous Section Index Home Page


Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the no-fly zone in Northern Iraq applies to military aircraft of the Turkish air force. [155065]

Mr. Hoon: I have been asked to reply.

The northern no-fly zone was established on humanitarian grounds in an effort to prevent Saddam Hussein from repressing the Kurdish civilian population from the air. The zone was not established to monitor the activity of our NATO allies. We therefore routinely collect information only on the activity of Iraqi aircraft.

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 450W


Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what NHS provision there is for sufferers of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome; and if he will make a statement; [141639]

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 451W

Yvette Cooper: The National Health Service provides Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) services for anyone who needs them in the same way as for other rare genetic disorders. These are funded from general allocations.

The National Specialist Commission Advisory Group is working closely with Wales to consider whether EDS services should be commissioned nationally.

MRI Scanners

Mr. Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will identify the NHS trusts which are to receive funding for an MRI scanner. [147705]

Yvette Cooper: Those National Health Service trusts identified to receive funding for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners through the new opportunities fund have already been notified and announced.

The NHS Plan announced funding for 50 additional MRI scanners and we anticipate that the recipient NHS trusts will be identified in the financial year 2001-02.

MMR Vaccine

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many of MMR vaccines his Department is committed to purchasing; and over what period of time. [150177]

Yvette Cooper: Measles mumps rubella vaccine is routinely contracted on a yearly basis. A new contract for 1.2 million doses has been let to cover the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002.

World Health Organisation

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what commitment Her Majesty's Government have made to the WHO on measures to eradicate measles; and what time scale is proposed for achieving its eradication. [150176]

Yvette Cooper: There is no World Health Organisation (WHO) strategy to eradicate measles nor a target date to achieve eradication. No commitments have therefore been made to WHO.

The United Kingdom has set a target of 95 per cent. measles mumps rubella vaccine uptake as this, based on guidance from WHO, is the level of uptake required to avoid outbreaks of measles, mumps and rubella. This level is sufficient to prevent long-term accumulation of pools of susceptible individuals that provide the opportunity for transmission of these diseases.

NHS Funding

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the expected funding of the NHS in England per head of population is in 2000-01. [150225]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 13 February 2001]: Public expenditure on the National Health Service in England is expected to be around £890 per head of population in 2000-01.

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 452W


Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what precautions against vCJD are taken in surgical procedures other than tonsillectomies; what organs are known to incubate vCJD; and if he will make a statement. [150433]

Yvette Cooper: On 4 January 2001 the Department announced a precautionary strategy for reducing the theoretical risk of transmission of variant Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease (vCJD) from patient to patient via surgical instruments.

The strategy focuses first and foremost on ensuring high standards of decontamination. This has been identified by the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) to be a key step in reducing risk. In October 2000, the Department required all National Health Service trusts and health authorities to conduct comprehensive reviews of their decontamination services. As part of this work, decontamination facilities at neurology and posterior ophthalmology centres have recently been inspected and any necessary improvements identified. A comprehensive strategy to modernise NHS decontamination facilities, backed by £200 million funding announced on 4 January and based on the trust reviews, is currently being prepared. This strategy will be published once it is complete.

The "Risk Assessment for the transmission of vCJD via surgical instruments" published by the Department on 16 March (available from the Department's website at confirms that the risks of transmission are significantly reduced if instrument decontamination is carried out to the highest standards. On body organs, the risk assessment also shows that the central nervous system and the back of the eye would carry the highest potential infectivity, whereas lymphatic tissue such as tonsils, and front of the eye tissue are of a lesser order of risk.

When the Department's strategy was presented to SEAC at its meeting in November 2000, the committee welcomed it and the advances being made on decontamination. The committee also endorsed the concept of using tonsillectomy as a pilot scheme to see how single-use instruments would work in practice.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investment he has made with regard for a diagnostic test for vCJD. [151269]

Yvette Cooper: The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Medical Research Council (MRC) on 15 March 2001 issued a call to scientists for proposals to develop quick, effective and reliable diagnostic tests for diseases such as BSE and variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD). This latest co-ordinated drive aims to push the boundaries in as many ways as possible and break new ground towards creating usable diagnostic tools. The MRC is co-ordinating this call on behalf of United Kingdom Government Departments and agencies who fund public research into transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Funding decisions are expected from autumn 2001 onwards.

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 453W

General Osteopathic Council

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of the membership of the osteopathic council is registered by the General Osteopathic Council; [152778]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 8 March 2001]: I understand that, at 7 March 2001, 2,796 osteopaths had been registered with the General Osteopathic Council. This included 175 osteopaths who are ineligible to vote because they live and work outside the United Kingdom. Of the remaining 2,621 registrants who work in the UK, 551 are conditionally registered and are therefore ineligible to vote in any General Osteopathic Council elections. Approximately 200 further practitioners did not apply for registration until just before the deadline for doing so. As they have not yet completed the registration process they are also ineligible to vote. Thus 79 per cent. of registered UK osteopaths will be able to vote in the forthcoming election of osteopathic members.

According to the General Osteopathic Council's published register, 13 serving members of the General Osteopathic Council are themselves registered as practising osteopaths. This comprises the 11 osteopathic members of the Council and the two education members who were drawn from the osteopathic profession. There are a further nine members--one education member and eight lay members. Thus registrants make up 59 per cent. of the current council.

We are still investigating the concerns about operation of the Osteopaths Act 1993 that were raised in the Adjournment debate on 25 October last year. The issues are complex and require careful consideration. This has taken some time but I hope to be in a position to report back to the hon. Members who raised concerns--and all those to whom I have promised to copy my views--in the near future.

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recognition his Department accords to the New Democratic Osteopathic Council; and if he will make a statement. [154054]

Yvette Cooper: While it is open for any organisation or group within the osteopathic profession to establish itself as a representative body for osteopaths, the General Osteopathic Council (GOC) is the only body with the legal authority to register osteopaths within the United Kingdom. Those who register with the GOC may legally call themselves osteopaths. Anyone not registering with the council is committing an offence if he or she says or implies that he is any kind of osteopath, whatever other representative body he may choose to join.

Next Section Index Home Page