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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the latest health evidence on the safety of TETRA masts. [8567]

Ms Blears: A report by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) (the Stewart Report) provided a comprehensive and authoritative review of possible health effects of emissions from mobile phone masts. The report concluded that the balance of evidence indicated that there is no general risk to the health of people living near to base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of guidelines. The group was concerned that there could be indirect adverse effects on people's wellbeing in some cases and efforts have been made by Government to improve the availability of information about the siting and emissions from base stations.

The Report also indicated that there are some unique features of emissions from terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) telecommunication systems that may be a cause for concern. This was addressed in a report by the National Radiological Protection Board's (NRPB's) Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation at the request of the Government. This report was published on the NRPB web site at the end of July 2001. In relation to exposures from TETRA base stations it concluded that exposures of the public would be small fractions of exposure guidelines and comparable to those arising from the operation of other telecommunication systems.

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the role of health visitors in the new Nursing and Midwifery Council. [8571]

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Mr. Hutton: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 3 July 2001, Official Report, column 150W.

Global Warming

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to assess the effects of global warming on health. [4697]

Ms Blears: In 1999 the Department commissioned an expert group on climate change and health in the United Kingdom to advise on the likely effects of climate change on health in the UK. The group included experts from meteorological and climate change fields as well as from public health, physiology, epidemiology and microbiology.

The review "Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK" was published for comment in February this year, and posted on the departmental website. The responses, together with the conclusions contained in the report, are currently being evaluated and a final version will be published later this year.


Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to establish a register of podiatrists to include private practitioners; and if he will make a statement. [8218]

Mr. Hutton: The new Health Professions Council will determine arrangements for the admission to its register for each of the professions it regulates. The Council will have a duty to consult and involve all those likely to be affected.


Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what clinical and prescribing advice has been given for Lorazepam with specific reference to the dosage and the period of time over which it is usual to administer the drug. [8215]

Ms Blears: All licensed medical products have an approved summary of product characteristics (SPC) which includes clinical and prescribing information.

Lorazepam is licensed for the short-term (two to four weeks) treatment of severe anxiety occurring alone or in association with insomnia or psychosomatic, organic or psychotic illness.

The usual dose for adults is 1–4 milligrammes daily in divided doses. Lower doses may be used in patients with renal or hepatic impairment, or in the elderly.

The dosage section of the SPC advises that Lorazepam should not be used for long-term chronic use, and that routine repeat prescriptions should be avoided.

The therapeutic indications section of the SPC specifies short-term use for two to four weeks.

The potential for the development of tolerance and dependence are discussed in the special warnings and precautions section of the SPC, where there is also

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additional discussion of the need for the duration of treatment to be as short as possible. The potential for rebound (withdrawal) symptoms is also discussed.

Generic Medicines

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the outcome of the review under Article 4 of the Council Directive 89/105/EEC of the statutory maximum price scheme for generic medicines dispensed in the NHS in the Community. [9040]

Ms Blears: We are today announcing our decision, taken in the light of consultation with interested parties, to roll forward, unchanged, the maximum price scheme for generic medicines. The scheme will remain in place pending decision on longer-term arrangements for the supply and reimbursement of generic medicines. The statutory maximum price will continue to be set on a United Kingdom-wide basis.

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Domestic Terrorism

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on domestic terrorism following 11 September and the declaration of an international war on terrorism; and if he will make a statement. [7894]

Mr. Blunkett: I have been asked to reply.

The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that we will take all the action we judge necessary to deal with terrorism wherever it occurs—whether inside the United Kingdom or outside, or whether it is international or domestic. I would refer the hon. Member to the statement I made on 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 923, which sets out some of that action relating both to international and domestic terrorism.