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The total value of work commissioned by each of the business areas varied between £10,500 and £87,700. The overall value of work was £271,700. In each case the work involved services to support a number of recruitment exercises to fill posts within the core Department and membership of committees.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many press releases were issued by his Department (a) between 1 May and 31 December 1997 and (b) in each year from 1998 to 2001 inclusive. 
|1 May 1997 to end of year||230|
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were employed in a press or public relations function in his Department on 1 January in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000, (e) 2001 and (f) 2002. 
|Number of staff in Media CentrePress Officers||15||16||18||21||22||24|
|Number of staff in Campaigns/PR||16||16||15||17||28||31|
|Number of staff in Leeds (NHS Communications)||11||10||11||16||23||24|
|Number of staff inComms Regional Offices||15||15||18||19||23||19|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 26 February 2002, Official Report, column 1064W, if he will list the names of the members of the Technologies Advisory Group and their declared interests. 
Ms Blears: At present, most members of the Technologies Advisory Group are officials in the Department or in the National Assembly for Wales, who serve on the group as part of their responsibilities within the two Departments rather than in a personal capacity. The officials who attend meetings may also vary depending on their availability and the topics under discussion. For these reasons we do not consider it would be appropriate to list individual names. We are currently consulting on proposals to extend the membership of the group and we will consider, in the light of replies to consultation, whether there would be a case in future for listing the names of individual members.
20 Mar 2002 : Column 435W
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is his policy that there should be one e-mail system through which NHS employees can communicate with each other; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: Yes. Our programme for modernising the national health service (NHS) as set out in the NHS plan will rely on the provision of efficient and effective information systems to enable the benefits for patients and the public to be achieved. A common e-mail system is one component of this; by opting for a common system across the NHS the maximum benefits of value for money will be obtained. To this end, the NHS information authority is currently conducting a formal open procurement exercise for e-mail and directory services for the NHS. It is expected that subject to successful completion of negotiations a preferred bidder will be announced shortly.
Ms Blears: The Department does not keep separate information about the cost of hotel accommodation but I am able to provide information about the cost of night subsistence for departmental staff working away from home. This will include hotel accommodation, meals and some incidental expenses. The cost of night subsistence, including overseas, for the last four financial years for which information is available is as follows:
|Year||Hotel and subsistence costs (£)|
Ms Blears: The NHS plan says that the Department will be implementing the national strategy to tackle alcohol misuse by 2004. The Department is on course to achieve this target and we expect to publish a consultation paper for the strategy this summer.
Jacqui Smith: The healthy living centre initiative is managed by the New Opportunities Fund (NOF). There are currently no healthy living centres in Northumberland, however, there are a number of applications under consideration and a decision on one from the Northumberland area is expected from the NOF Healthy Living Centre Committee shortly.
20 Mar 2002 : Column 436W
Ms Blears: The '"Dangerousness of drugs"' report published last year by the national addiction centre states that there is evidence of an association between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but the significance of this association is unclear. Cannabis can exacerbate the symptoms of schizophrenia in affected individuals and is linked with relapse in schizophrenia.
The report also states that there is no conclusive evidence that cannabis causes cancer in humans, but may be an important risk factor for the development of respiratory cancer. However, smoking tobacco as well or using tobacco as a vehicle for smoking cannabis resin is a confounding factor.
Yvette Cooper: The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) was set up in 1970 under the Radiological Protection Act as a corporate body with functions concerning the protection of people from radiation hazards. It is a non-departmental public body. The chairman and members of the statutory board are appointed by Health Ministers, following Nolan/Neill principles, to ensure an appropriate mix of independent experts. Responsibility for setting the overall strategic direction of the work of NRPB, for monitoring the programme and ensuring that advice is impartial, authoritative and independent of Government and others bodies, rests with the chairman and the appointed members.
The board benefits from the advice of three independent advisory groups composed of non-NRPB experts. The Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation and the Advisory Group on Ionising Radiation review the evidence on the biological and medical effects of radiation. They also advise the board on future research priorities. A new advisory groupthe Radiation, Risk and Society Advisory Grouphas been set up to help NRPB to improve its communication in a practical way.
20 Mar 2002 : Column 437W
Yvette Cooper: The considerations underlying the National Radiological Protection Board's guidance on exposure to electromagnetic fields is contained in Documents of the NRPB Volume 4 Number 5, 1993 and Documents of the NRPB Volume 10 Number 2, 1999.
Insofar as magnetic fields are concerned, the exposure guidelines are developed to prevent adverse effects of induced current in the body. The current density level given in the above NRPB advice to avoid adverse biological effects on the central nervous system is 10 milliamperes per square metre.
Calculations were made to relate the external magnetic field to the induced current density using a dosimetric model. The model chosen was considered to be conservative hence exceeding the investigation level (1600T) does not necessarily imply an "unsafe" level.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether it is within the remit of the NRPB to present to the public a statement of the effects of (a) ionising and (b) non-ionising radiation. 
Yvette Cooper: The Radiological Protection Act 1970 provided for the establishment of a National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) with functions concerning the protection of people from radiation hazards; and for connected purposes. The Act defines "radiation hazards" as the dangers of ionising radiations emitted by radioactive substances or other sources and radiations which are electromagnetic but not ionising. The reference to non-ionising radiation was added by Statutory Instrument 1974 No. 1230.
Yvette Cooper: The National Radiological Protection Board advice on electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure guidelines is contained in Documents of the NRPB Volume 4 Number 5, 1993 and Documents of the NRPB Volume 10 Number 2, 1998.
To consider where information may be lacking, discuss any need to invoke a precautionary approach and what that might be.
20 Mar 2002 : Column 438W
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