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Broadmoor Hospital

Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions have taken place with the staff social club at Broadmoor Hospital to resolve the difficulties raised over the future provision of services at the hospital. [156672]

Mr. Hutton: Broadmoor Hospital Authority has been in protracted negotiations over the past 12 months with the privately managed staff recreation club regarding relocation.

The hospital authority has also consulted staff and staff side representatives about proposals for the future provision of staff recreational facilities.

Bayer Plant (Closure)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the World Drug Federation regarding the closure of the Bayer plant in the USA. [156358]

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Mr. Denham: I have had no discussion with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) has discussed the temporary curtailment of supply of the Bayer synthetic Factor VIII product with the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA). It is licensed by the EMEA under the European centralised licensing procedure and accordingly the agency has responsibility in Europe for co-ordinating relevant licensing issues. The MCA understands that the EMEA was only recently advised of these supply problems.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he is giving haemophilia patients regarding the safety of human plasma-derived factor 8 with respect to (a) hepatitis A, B, C, (b) Aids and (c) CJD. [156360]

Mr. Denham: Since the mid 1980s, blood products for haemophiliacs have been treated to destroy hepatitis C and HIV as well as a range of other viruses. The United Kingdom haemophilia centre doctors organisation guidelines state that all patients who are not immune to hepatitis A or B and who receive blood products should be vaccinated. There is no evidence world-wide that CJD of any type has been transmitted via blood or blood products, although the possibility cannot be ruled out entirely. All blood products used by the National Health Service in England are made from imported plasma.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to obtain supplies of synthetic Factor VIII for the treatment of haemophilia in the United Kingdom while the Bayer plant in the USA is closed. [156359]

Mr. Denham: The Department has been advised by Bayer that the rate of supply of their synthetic Factor VIII has been curtailed for a limited period following an inspection of their manufacturing facility in the United States by the Food and Drugs Administration. During this period officials are working closely with the United Kingdom haemophilia centre doctors organisation and other suppliers of clotting factors to manage the situation in a way that best meets the needs of haemophilia patients.

Health Professions

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he proposes to take to develop a comprehensive health service for health care professionals. [155966]

Mr. Denham: Occupational health services are of major importance to the National Health Service. 99 per cent. of NHS workers in the acute sector have access to some form of occupational health, the extent and the quality of which varies greatly from region to region. As part of the improving working lives initiative, service delivery standards will shortly be introduced to trusts and health authorities.

To date there is no provision for occupational health for the primary care sector. However, £21 million over the next three years will be invested in occupational health for general medical practitioners and their staff.

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish his proposals for the future regulation of health professions. [156890]

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Mr. Denham: We have today published draft orders under the Health Act 1999 containing provisions to set up a new Nursing and Midwifery Council and a new Health Professions Council. These will replace the existing United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting and the four national Boards, and the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine. The orders will be published for three months before debate in Parliament. A period of consultation will last until 1 June 2001. Copies of both draft orders will be placed in the Library.

Appointments to the shadow Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health Professions Council are under way. These appointments should be made in early April for the shadow Councils to start work as soon as possible afterwards. The shadow Councils will have the status of advisory groups until the new Councils are statutorily established in April 2002.

Spectacle Fees

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on dispensing fees for contact lens and spectacle dispensing from 1 June; [155736]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The Government have no plans to charge VAT on the specific dispensing services of pharmacists or opticians. A House of Lords ruling given in January this year in the "Card Protection Plan" case has far-reaching implications for the VAT treatment of supplies made by many businesses, where one supply is incidental to another.


Private Pensions

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the impact of the abolition of advanced corporation tax dividend credit on the future provision of private pensions. [154882]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) on 5 March 2001, Official Report, columns 91-92W.

Departmental Policies (Southwark)

Ms Harman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the London borough of Southwark, the effects on the London borough of Southwark of his Department's policies and actions since May 2 1997. [155978]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The London borough of Southwark, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, is benefiting from the long-term action we have taken to build economic stability and secure high and stable levels of growth and employment. Since the General Election, claimant unemployment in the borough has fallen by

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5,235 or 36 per cent., youth unemployment is down by 74 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 58 per cent.

Macro-economic stability is being complemented at the micro-economic level by the Government's policies to ease the transition from welfare into work and to make work pay. To the end of December 2000, the New Deal for 18 to 24-year-olds had helped 5,062 young people in the London borough of Southwark gain valuable skills and experience--1,883 (37 per cent.) of whom had moved into employment. The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), introduced in October 1999, is helping to make work pay for low and middle income families. In August 2000, 3,800 families in the borough were benefiting from WFTC.

The Government are also committed to policies that enable pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. All pensioners, including 32,000 in the London borough of Southwark, will receive an above- inflation increase in the basic state pension from April 2001. Single pensioners will receive an extra £5 a week, and couples will receive an extra £8 a week. All pensioners aged 75 or over have also been entitled to a free TV licence since November 2000--including around 20,000 in the London borough of Southwark.

Lump Sum Tax Payments

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what factors the Inland Revenue takes into account when deciding whether to allow an individual to make an agreed lump sum payment in lieu of submitting a tax return; [152506]

Dawn Primarolo: The agreements in question do not absolve individuals from their obligations to file tax returns. They establish the tax liability or tax treatment of certain income or gains for future years, which must then be reflected in the returns for those years. The circumstances in which these agreements have been made are varied. Typically they agree a practical basis for taxing future income or gains where there would otherwise be particular difficulties in establishing an exact figure.

Most of the agreements currently in existence were entered into in the periods 1988-91 and 1995-97.

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