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Mr. Lammy: The review of the domiciliary oxygen service has not yet been concluded. We hope to be in a position shortly to say what steps we propose to take in the light of the work which has been done so far.
Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of (a) the cost to the health service and (b) consequences for patients of the practice among pharmaceutical companies of withdrawing branded drugs from the market shortly before the expiry of their patents and replacing them with similar patented formulations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department is aware of only two instances of companies withdrawing a branded drug from the market shortly before patent expiry. In both cases, the "replacement" products were no more expensive than those that were withdrawn, and there was every reason to expect that generics would be available when the patent on the withdrawn product expired. In both cases, therapeutic alternatives were available for patients.
Mr. Lammy: Levonorgestrel 0.75 mg (the morning-after pill) was authorised in the UK as a prescription only medicine in November 1999. This followed advice from the committee on safety of medicines (CSM) who were satisfied as to the evidence of quality, safety and efficacy of levonorgestrel 0.75 mg for emergency contraception. The evidence considered by CSM included two World Health Organisation (WHO) sponsored pivotal studies. One study involving approximately 2000 women in 14 countries including the UK, has been published in the Lancet (1998). The other, published in the journal Human Reproduction (1993), involved 880 women. Copies are available in the Library.
The WHO study published in the Lancet demonstrated that this method of emergency hormonal contraception prevented 86 per cent. of pregnancies when treatment was initiated within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The trial also showed that the efficacy is higher the sooner the product is taken after unprotected intercourse. If it is taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex the product is 95 per cent. effective, and this falls to about 56 per cent. if taken within 49 to 72 hours.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the labelling with the Union flag of food products processed in the United Kingdom but originating in other countries; and if he will make it his policy to restrict the use of the Union flag to food products originating within the UK. 
Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency has issued guidance to enforcement authorities on interpretation of the law on country of origin labelling. The guidance makes it clear that the use of the Union flag, or any other indication of United Kingdom origin, on foods produced from ingredients sourced outside the UK may contravene legislation prohibiting misleading labelling. The agency is
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Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Food Standards Agency's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition's sub-group on salt received copies of the references, studies, research and evidence listed in the submissions. 
Ms Blears: Members of the salt subgroup requested a range of evidence in addition to that highlighted in submissions by stakeholders. This evidence is listed in the minutes of the meetings placed on the scientific advisory committee on nutrition website (www.sacn.gov.uk).
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Food Standards Agency's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition expects to contact the interested parties who submitted evidence to its review on salt and inform them of the procedure involved in the assessment of evidence. 
Ms Blears: Information on the procedure used by the salt subgroup to assess evidence is available to stakeholders through the minutes and papers of the meetings which have been placed on the scientific advisory committee on nutrition web site (www.sacn.gov.uk).
Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact an increase in induced medical abortions in the community will have on the hospital services of the NHS. 
Ms Blears: Within the National Health Service, abortions have traditionally been carried out in gynaecology wards and day care units. A 1999 survey showed that women can wait up to four or five weeks for an abortion in some parts of the country. There is clear evidence that the earlier in pregnancy an abortion is performed the lower the risk of complications. We therefore want to ensure that women who have legal grounds can access an abortion within three weeks as recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists evidence based clinical guideline The Care of Women Seeking Induced Abortion.
We plan to test, at a very limited number of sites on hospital premises, whether providing early medical abortions in a setting such as a family planning clinic can help to reduce waiting times. We will also monitor the impact on local hospital services, particularly whether greater use of medical abortion reduces waiting times for surgical abortion and whether staff and operating theatre time is released for other procedures.
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Ms Blears: One of the central aims of the teenage pregnancy strategy is to help young people develop the skills to make informed choices about sexual relationships, to resist pressure to have early sex and to protect themselves from abuse and exploitation.
This is being done through improving sex and relationship education and increasing young people's confidence in accessing professional advice and support. All guidance issued by the teenage pregnancy unit to professionals working with young people makes clear that it may be necessary to breach the usual confidentiality arrangements if there are serious child protection concerns, in order to engage further support for the young person.
The Government is currently engaged in a comprehensive review of sex offences legislation and is considering how it should be modernised and strengthened to ensure that it protects everyone, particularly children and vulnerable people, from sexual abuse and exploitation. We plan to publish our proposals for legislative reform in the Autumn.
Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many non-executive directors on the (a) Doncaster Royal Infirmary/Mexborough Montagu/Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust, (b) Barnsley PCT, (c) Barnsley District General Hospital Trust and (d) Doncaster West PCT live in the Barnsley East and Mexborough constituency. 
Mr. Lammy: Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals National Health Service Trust, Barnsley Primary Care Trust and Doncaster West Primary Care Trust each have one non-executive board member who lives in the the Barnsley East and Mexborough constituency. None of the board members of Barnsley District General Hospital NHS Trust live in Barnsley East and Mexborough.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was in the (a) Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and (b) South East Hampshire Health Authority for treatment of breast cancer in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Monitoring of the 1 month target from diagnosis to first definitive treatment for breast cancer began in January 2002. The first available data, therefore, is Quarter 4 of 200102, JanuaryMarch 2002. The table below shows the performance against the 1 month target for Portsmouth Hospitals National Health Service Trust and Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust. These NHS trusts were hosted by the former Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Health Authority. The Publication of Quarter 1 200203 data will be in September 2002.
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|NHS Trust||Percentage of patients treated within 31 days||Total patients treated||Number of patients treated within 31 days|
|Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust||98.5||67||66|
|Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust||100.0||31||31|
Department of Health form QMCW.
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