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Departmental Policies (Blackpool, South)

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on the Blackpool, South constituency of her Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [142232]

Mr. Stringer: The Cabinet Office is responsible for a range of functions which cover England as a whole, or in relation to non-devolved matters, Great Britain or the United Kingdom. It is therefore not possible to say what their specific impact is on a particular constituency. Additionally, any policy changes arising from reports from Cabinet Office units, such as the Social Exclusion Unit and the United Kingdom Anti-Drugs Co-ordination Unit, are implemented by the appropriate Government Department rather than by the unit itself.


BSE (France)

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on research conducted by Dr. Christl Donnelly on the incidence of BSE in France. [144334]

Ms Stuart: We welcome the research by Dr. Donnelly, of Imperial College, London, which was published in Nature on 14 December. It is important that decisions on food safety are based on sound science.

Dr. Donnelly's research showed that, if the United Kingdom's ban on the sale for human consumption of beef from animals aged over 30 months at time of slaughter is enforced, and if the French Government's controls on cattle feed have eliminated the feed-borne transmission of BSE to French cattle born after mid-1996, there is virtually no risk from French beef consumed in the UK.

The research found that even if enforcement was only 75 per cent., the risk from French beef would be comparable to that from UK beef.

OTM Beef

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the statement by the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, the right hon. Member for Gateshead, East and Washington, West (Ms Quin) of 21 December 2000, Official Report, column 558, if he will

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publish the evidence on which the Minister based her claim that over-30-month beef is not used in processed products sold in Britain. [146430]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 22 January 2001]: My right hon. Friend did not claim that, but referred to signs from manufacturers and retailers that they were using beef from cattle that were not over 30-months-old at slaughter. This information had been obtained by the Food Standards Agency and by local authorities in connection with increased enforcement checks on compliance with the generally applicable ban on the sale for human consumption of beef from cattle aged over-30-months at slaughter (the OTM rule). The Meat Hygiene Service and local authorities were required to carry out those checks by the FSA from last November. High levels of compliance were found and some companies changed their procurement arrangements to ensure that appropriate supplier documentation confirmed compliance with the OTM rule.

Broiler Chickens

Mr. Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many broiler chickens slaughtered in the United Kingdom were rejected as unfit for human consumption in 1999. [150184]

Ms Stuart: I am informed by the Food Standards Agency that responsibility for the enforcement of meat hygiene legislation in licensed poultry slaughterhouses in Great Britain rests with the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS), and in Northern Ireland with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Information relating to Great Britain is not available in the form requested as MHS data are based on cause of condemnation rather than whether the carcase was partially or fully condemned. However, it is estimated that in 1999, approximately 6.6 million whole carcases from poultry weighing under 2kg (a category that includes broiler chickens, cast hens and other poultry) were condemned as unfit for human consumption post-slaughter. This represents approximately 1 per cent. of the total throughput of poultry weighing under 2kg slaughtered in Great Britain during that period.

In Northern Ireland, 62.3 million broiler chickens were slaughtered during 1999, of which 0.6 million were subsequently rejected as unfit for human consumption.


Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his Department first contacted the hon. Member for Manchester, Central concerning his letter of 3 August 2000 regarding catering services for Manchester Central Healthcare Trust; and if he will make a statement. [150134]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 13 February 2001]: A reply to my hon. Friend's letter of the 3 August was sent on 29 March 2001. A letter from the Department's Permanent Secretary/Chief Executive was also enclosed apologising for the unacceptable delay.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to respond to the letters from Mr. D. Wardell of Woodmancote, Gloucester, dated 30 November 2000 and 31 December 2000, on the subject of the use of mobile phones. [151362]

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Ms Stuart [holding answer 26 February 2001]: A reply was sent direct to Mr. Wardell on the 6 March 2001. As both letters were relating to the same issue, one reply was sent to cover the two letters.

Cancer Treatment (Battersea)

Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action the Government have taken to improve accessibility to cancer treatments for patients in Battersea. [151153]

Yvette Cooper: The local primary care group is working actively to improve diagnosis of cancer and improve screening rates. Battersea residents will benefit from our plan to reduce cancer waiting times through the creation of clinical networks and through investment in better equipment.

New Cancer Equipment

Ambulance Staff

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to provide driver 2 training under blue lights for ambulance operational staff. [155787]

Ms Stuart: It is the responsibility of each ambulance trust to ensure that all staff who drive emergency vehicles are competent to do so. These staff must successfully

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complete a nationally recognised training course and should gain supervised driving experience under blue light conditions, before commencing full front-line duties.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is currently looking at the core competencies required for driving various kinds of emergency vehicles under blue light conditions. Any changes recommended by the DSA will be incorporated into the ambulance driver-training programme.

Opinion Polling

Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) quantitative and (b) qualitative analytical work his Department has commissioned from GGC/NOP since 1 May 1997; and what was (i) the cost of the contract and (ii) the specific nature of the work commissioned. [155664]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 28 March 2001]: The table shows quantitative and qualitative analytical work commissioned direct by my Department and via the Central Office of Information from GGC/NOP since 1 May 1997.

We are committed to consulting and involving the public to help inform both policy formulation and the delivery of a better quality public service. Responsive public services are an important part of the modernising government initiative.

We conduct or commission market or opinion research only when it is justified by the needs of the policy or programme and is the most economical, efficient and effective way to achieve the purpose.

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Nature of workCommissioned byTypeCost (£)
National Health Service White Paper research--advice on public attitudes towards the NHS to allow the identification of areas of greatest importance for public opinionPress and Publicity DivisionQualitative33,840
Research to develop National Drugs Helpline (NDH) campaignCommunications (COMMS)Qualitative19,390
Survey of pharmacists and GPs re: 'Get The Right Treatment' campaignCOMMSQuantitative16,130
Further research to develop NDH campaignCOMMSQualitative22,850
Evaluation of pilot chlamydia screening programme included surveys by NOP on: Public awareness of chlamydia. Experience of professionals participating in the pilot. Experience of screening participantsPublic Health GroupQuantitative112,000
Benchmark survey of young people re: NDH campaignCOMMSQuantitative30,000
Further research with health professionals re: 'Get The Right Treatment' campaignCOMMSQuantitative50,470

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