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Mr. Lammy [holding answer 8 July 2002]: The UK Standard Clinical Products Reference Source will comprise four distinct elements. Of these, two are already in production: The SNOMED CT drug core, under the terms of the contract between the Department and the College of American Pathologists, and the primary care drug dictionary, on behalf of the Department by the prescription pricing authority.
The remaining two elements are the secondary care drug dictionary and the medical devices dictionary. I can confirm that the maintenance of both these dictionaries will be undertaken in accordance with public procurement European Union and Official Journal of the European Communities regulations and with the National Health Service information authority's procedures for the letting of contracts.
Mr. Lammy: The organisations in the former eastern region will be expected to follow the procurement process agreed as part of the national implementation programme for information technology in the National Health Service, announced in June 2002.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he intends to introduce a single procurement process for electronic patient record systems for the Thames Valley, Kent and Birmingham area NHS trusts. 
Mr. Lammy: The organisations in Thames Valley, Kent and Birmingham will be expected to follow the procurement process agreed as part of the national implementation programme for information technology in the National Health Service, announced by Ministers in June 2002.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS Executive officials directly involved in the establishment of single procurement arrangements for NHS trusts in the south-west were previously involved in (a) development and (b) management of the Hospital Information Support Systems initiative. 
Mr. Lammy: One Departmental official, previously involved with the hospital information support systems initiative, was involved in the initiation of the south west regional procurement process. This official played no part in the project team, and left the project at the time the Official Journal of the European Commission was published. The south west regional procurement process has been run by National Health Service staff, with a project support office hosted by a health authority.
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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he will take to ensure the fairness and transparency of the procurement processes to be used in implementation of the new NHS ICT strategy; 
(3) by what process NHS ICT suppliers will be shortlisted nationally for accreditation; 
(4) what progress has been made concerning the short list of prime contractors to implement the new NHS ICT programme; 
(5) what procurement processes will be used for the implementation of the new NHS ICT strategy; 
(6) What role value for money will play in choosing ICT preferred suppliers to implement the new NHS ICT strategy. 
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 8 July 2002]: We are currently developing with colleagues in the National Health Service Purchasing and Supply Agency a procurement strategy to facilitate the acquisition of the necessary goods and services to support "Delivering 21 Century IT" for the NHS. We will publish outline details of the new procurement strategy in the near future.
Procurements are underway in many parts of the country to deliver electronic patient records and other systems and these procurements need to proceed. All public sector procurements have to follow the principle of best value, rather than cheapest price.
Strict rules govern the procurement of goods and services for the public services, including rules published in European Union Directives, by Her Majesty's Treasury and the Department. These will be adhered to adhered to in all cases.
Ms Blears [holding answer 9 July 2002]: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that the basis of their recommendation to the European Commission that sheep intestine be banned as specified risk material is outlined in a report compiled by a group of stakeholders endorsed by the board of the FSA on 13 June 2002. The report considers the potential risk reduction, costs and practicability of a range of further precautionary measures against the theoretical risk of BSE in sheep. Estimates provided by the Meat and Livestock Commission, one of the stakeholders on the group, indicate that the turnover of the sheep sausage casings sector is £24 million per annum, and that the loss of income to licensed abattoirs from the sales of sheep intestine to the sausage casings industry would be approximately £6.5 million per annum. No analysis has been made of the compensating increase
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in turnover for other suppliers that could arise if other sausage casings were to be substituted for those made from sheep intestines.
Ms Blears [holding answer 9 July]: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that all imports of meat and meat products from third countries must come from establishments which are approved or authorised by the European Commission and which satisfy the health conditions set out in the relevant EC legislation.
Third country imports must enter the European Union through a designated border inspection post, where they are subject to documentary and physical checks. Consignments must be accompanied by commercial documentation indicating the nature of the product, and the name and identification number of the originating plant. EU establishments receiving consignments of products such as natural animal casings are required to keep the accompanying commercial documents for at least one year after receipt and make them available on request to the enforcement authority.
In addition, meat and meat products containing sheep material imported from third countries must be accompanied by a veterinary declaration certifying that the product does not contain, nor is it derived from, specified risk material.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for issuing regulations on guidance on fat content on menus in restaurants in the UK in a similar way to that on food bought in supermarkets. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 22 July 2002]: I have no such plans. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is exploring practical ways to help those who wish to choose a healthy diet to select appropriate options when eating out. The FSA has commissioned the British Nutrition Foundation to examine practice in other countries and relevant research, and to identify actions it might take. The FSA plans to publish the report of this study and discuss the recommendations it makes in detail with interested parties later this year.
Ms Blears: We have in place major programmes to tackle the inequalities that exist in access to healthy food. This includes a Welfare Food Scheme that provides milk for low-income families and a Five-a-Day Programme to increase access to, and availability of fruit and vegetables. Following a successful pilots stage, the new opportunities fund is providing £10 million to set up sixty-six Five-a-day community programmes led by primary care
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trusts based in deprived areas. A further £42 million is being invested to extend the National School Fruit Scheme to cover over 1 million children from 2002 to 2004.
Ms Blears: The Department has not funded research specifically on the effects of salt and fat in the diet of pre-school and school aged children. However a range of projects has been funded looking at the influence of children's eating habits and other childhood factors impacting on health in later life, such as in the development of adult obesity. The Government have also commissioned national diet and nutrition surveys (NDNS) which provide information on the diet, individual nutrient intakes and nutritional status of the population including pre-school and school aged children. The NDNS for children aged one and a half to four and a half years was published in 1995 and the survey on young people aged four to eighteen years in 2000. Copies are available in the Library.
We are committed in the NHS Plan to working with the Food Standards Agency and the food industry to improve the overall balance of the diet including reductions in the salt, fat and sugar content of processed foods.
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