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Labelling

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she has put in place to ensure the implementation of the Curry report recommendations for clear and honest labelling of meat products. [53703]

Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency is taking the lead in pressing for changes to European Union labelling rules to require country of origin labelling on a wider range of foods, particularly meat products. It is also pressing for changes that would prevent misleading labelling by restricting the use of terms like "produce of . . ." to those foods where the main ingredients come from, and production processes occur in, the named place or country. Other EU member states are supporting the UK's initiative on this issue. In addition, the recent

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adoption of a harmonised definition of meat across Europe for food labelling purposes means meat products will declare and quantify their meat ingredients on a common basis, making it easier for consumers to compare products and make better informed choices.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to amend the law to require the labels on imported processed food to state whether the food contains beef from animals more than 30 months old or has been processed in a country where such meat is allowed to enter the human food chain. [61590]

Ms Blears [holding answer 12 June 2002]: The Government are in favour of positive labelling giving consumers the information they need to make properly informed choices. The Food Standards Agency is taking the lead in pressing for changes to European labelling rules to require more informative country-of-origin labelling on a wider range of foods, particularly those containing meat.

However, it would not be possible to extend labelling requirements to cover imported processed food containing beef from animals over 30 months old in the way that has been suggested. The rules covering the restrictions on sale of over thirty-month imported beef are UK national measures and such additional labelling requirements may not be in conformity with EU law. In addition, it is usually not possible to tell the age of the animal from which processed beef products have been derived.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many alleged incidents of condemned meat being illegally mislabelled and sold on for consumption have been investigated in each of the last five years; and how many prosecutions have been instigated for such offences in each of these years. [62095]

Ms Blears [holding answer 17 June 2002]: The information requested is not held centrally.

Committee Mandates

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the mandate of the Committee for the Adaptation to Technical Progress of the Directive on the Removal of Technical Barriers to Trade in Colouring Matters which may be Added to Medicinal Products is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if she will list the items currently under its consideration; if she will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement. [55216]

Mr. Lammy: The committee for the adaption to technical progress of the directives on the elimination of technical barriers to trade in the sector of colouring matters which may be added to medicinal products is a regulatory committee which assists the European Commission in exercising its powers of implementation and facilitates the adoption of draft measures in the field permitted colours for medicinal products. It consists of representatives of member states with a representative of the European Commission as chairman. The UK representatives are the chief executive of the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), in relation to medicines for human use, and the chief executive of the veterinary

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medicines directorate in relation to veterinary medicines. The committee has not met during the last 12 months and no costs to public funds have been incurred. Its rules provide for a written procedure which may be invoked as an alternative to convening meetings.

Together with member states, the European Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission". The Commission has published an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February (Com(2001) 783 Final). As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the mandate of the Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [61695]

Ms Blears: The mandate for the scientific committee on animal nutrition (SCAN) is set out in European Commission Decision 1997/579/EC, as amended by Commission Decision 2000/443/EC. The committee provides opinions on scientific questions concerning animal nutrition.

The committee has met seven times in plenary session in the year ending 30 April 2002. In addition, there have been several working group meetings. SCAN is composed of independent experts who do not represent the views of the member states in which they work. Three members are based in the UK.

The committee is accountable solely to the European Commission, which pays the travel and subsistence costs of members. There are no additional costs to UK public funds. The committee is currently considering a number of dossiers for products used in animal nutrition. Minutes and current agendas of the committee's meetings can be found on the SCAN website.

European Economic Area Doctors

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors from the European Economic Area have been appointed as associate specialists in the NHS; and if he will make a statement. [62698]

Mr. Hutton: At 30 September 2001 there were 50 associate specialists working in the national health service in England who had obtained their primary medical qualification in the European Economic Area.

Smallpox Vaccine

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 15 May 2002 to the hon.

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Member for North Durham (Mr. Jones), Official Report, column 725W, on smallpox vaccine, when the new supplies of vaccine will be delivered. [59466]

Mr. Hutton: The Department is not putting information about the size of its smallpox vaccine stocks, delivery schedules or its deployment into the public domain as this is information that might be useful to terrorists.

Parliamentary Questions

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will answer the questions of 19 March from the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon on heart failure. [63381]

Ms Blears: I replied to the hon. Member on Wednesday 19 June 2002.

Locum Doctors

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent by each acute trust on agency locum doctors as (a) a total annual amount, (b) a proportion of the annual expenditure on doctors' salaries and (c) as a proportion of the total operating expenses in each of the last five years for which records are available. [47996]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the savings which NHS trusts can make by recruiting locums from NHS Professionals rather than private agencies. [59442]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 24 May 2002]: NHS Professionals for doctors will improve the quality of patient care by establishing a national database of doctors outside managed organisations, improving standards and providing locum doctors with suitable appraisal and in due course support for general medical Council revalidation.

NHS Professionals are non-profit making service designed for, and led by, the national health service. We expect it to provide a high quality competitive service as the first-choice supplier to the NHS. It is difficult to predict the precise savings as NHS employers have a variety of different arrangements with the private sector agencies.

Heart Disease Treatment

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on waiting times for heart disease treatment, broken down by (a) regional health areas and (b) PCT areas. [53320]

Ms Blears [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Data on waiting times by primary care trust area are not yet available as many primary care trusts have only recently been formed. The following data show numbers waiting over nine months for coronary artery by-pass surgery and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty on 31 March 2002, by region and health authority, as was.

Waiting times have been substantially reduced since the publication of the national service framework for coronary heart disease in March 2000. At that time 1,093 patients had been waiting for more than 12 months for a heart operation. By March 2002 we have achieved, with the exception of 20 patients who declined earlier dates, a 12-month maximum wait for revascularisation.

Coronary revascularisation, position at 31 December 2001

CABG PTCA
Region/HA code/HA name9–11 months12+ months9–11 months12+ months
Northern and Yorkshire
QDD Bradford11300
QDE County Durham and Darlington19330
QDF East Riding and Hull30310
QDG Gateshead and South Tyneside6000
QDH Leeds0000
QDJ Newcastle and North Tyneside11010
QDK North Cumbria25000
QDM Northumberland3000
QDN Sunderland4000
QDP Tees16100
QDQ Wakefield4100
QDR North Yorkshire21300
QDT Calderdale and Kirklees26340
1761790
Trent
QCG Barnsley1010
QCH North Derbyshire1410
QCJ Southern Derbyshire0021
QCK Doncaster10010
QCL Leicestershire331101
QCM Lincolnshire34111
QCN North Nottinghamshire0111
QCP Nottingham01510
QCQ Rotherham6000
QCR Sheffield7000
QDL South Humber0000
92181114
West Midlands
QD9 Birmingham415871
QEA Coventry11400
QEC Dudley171331
QED Herefordshire8710
QEE Sandwell222010
QEF Shropshire0000
QEG Solihull81100
QEH North Staffordshire6800
QEJ South Staffordshire121110
QEK Walsall181520
QEL Warwickshire14900
QEM Wolverhampton202340
QEN Worcestershire172301
194202193
North West
QC1 South Lancashire15730
QC2 Liverpool201030
QC3 Manchester19610
QC4 Morecambe Bay211100
QC5 St. Helens and Knowsley16911
QC6 Salford and Trafford10200
QC7 Sefton6020
QC8 Stockport9800
QC9 West Pennine9500
QCT Bury and Rochdale16500
QCV North Cheshire7611
QCW South Cheshire16720
QCX East Lancashire15582
QCY North West Lancashire207151
QDA Wigan and Bolton11300
QDC Wirral6510
21696375
Eastern
QA6 Bedfordshire2200
QAX North Essex25610
QAY South Essex411200
QCF Suffolk20110
QER Cambridgeshire19020
QET Norfolk19110
QEX Hertfordshire601191
18633141
London
QA2 Hillingdon1000
QA3 Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster0000
QA5 Redbridge and Waltham Forest291500
QAD Croydon0060
QAG Kingston and Richmond7020
QAH Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham0000
QAJ Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth30140
QAP Barking and Havering 15600
QAR Brent and Harrow3050
QAT Camden and Islington3200
QAV Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow0000
QAW East London and City17700
QEW Barnet, Enfield and Haringey1700
QEY Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich3210
8239280
South East
QA7 Berkshire15021
QA8 Buckinghamshire13110
QAE East Kent7000
QAF West Kent9110
QAK East Surrey0000
QAL West Surrey2030
QAM East Sussex Brighton and Hove29200
QAN West Sussex12100
QCC Northamptonshire13200
QCE Oxfordshire HA7300
QD1 North and Mid Hampshire8130
QD3 Southampton and SW Hampshire9341
QEV Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire6700
13021142
South West
QD5 Somerset191010
QD6 South and West Devon14810
QD7 Wiltshire13030
QD8 Avon121055
QDV Cornwall and Isles of Scilly20740
QDW Dorset0000
QDX North and East Devon4010
QDY Gloucestershire15000
79342415
England1,15546015640

Source:

Department of Health form QF01


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