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Baroness Jay of Paddington: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the National Health Service Pensions Agency under the Chief Executive, Mr. A. F. Cowan. I have asked him to write to the noble Viscount.
We only have the information in the format you request from 28 May 1997 to 3 July 1998. I must emphasise that the information we have is only for ambulance staff who opted to join the NHS Pension Scheme and covers all categories of employment.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Public Health Laboratory Service's Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens (LEP) does not routinely carry out tests for the molecular discrimination of isolates of Escherichia coli 0157 from sporadic cases of infection. Molecular typing is used for: all fatal cases; clusters of cases notified to the LEP even in the absence of evidence of an outbreak; apparent clusters of cases identified from the LEP typing data--for example, clusters of unusual phage types; cases with known or suspected contact with animals or where there appears to be a link with a particular food; and other cases as required--for example, possible laboratory acquired infections.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: Decisions on the testing of clinical specimens are a matter for local laboratory managers. Routine testing of clinical specimens using immunomagnetic separation is unnecessary as this procedure provides only a marginal improvement in detection of Escherichia coli 0157.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The report is being drafted by the local Outbreak Control Team with assistance from the Public Health Laboratory Service and will be available shortly. Copies will be placed in the Library.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: In the absence of documentary evidence, Ducketts advised Sedgemoor District Council verbally that one Escherichia coli 0157 positive sample related to cheese produced in the last week of April. For the cheese in question, Mendip District Council had established a delivery date to the retailer of 30 April. This is also the purchase date shown on the microbiological examination report prepared by the Public Health Laboratory Service, Exeter.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: No such advice is currently in the product information for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or in the relevant section of the British National Formulary. Some patient information leaflets advise that the medicine should be taken with food or milk. We are not aware of data to suggest that it would be beneficial for NSAIDS to be taken in the manner described.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The Prime Minister has recently received a letter from the Secretary General of the Royal British Legion concerning Gulf veterans' illnesses, which includes a call for a public inquiry. In addition, the Prime Minister has received a petition, delivered to No. 10 Downing Street by representatives of the
Lord Gilbert: The Government have made it clear that they are committed to addressing Gulf veterans' concerns, and they have devoted significant resources to ensuring that questions from the veterans, or those asked on their behalf, are properly researched and considered.
In preparing their answers on this issue, the Government seek to be as informative as possible and have waived the normal practice of declining to answer questions where the relevant information is not held centrally, or where to do so would require disproportionate costs to be incurred. The MoD Gulf Veterans' Illness Unit has been allocated the necessary resources, including 35 staff, to deal with questions and letters from MPs and the public, and to deal with its other roles. Whenever the preparation of a response to a question or letter requires more time, we let the enquirer know that further work is needed.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The members of the Independent Commission on the Voting System were selected on the basis of their experience and expertise and to represent a broad spectrum of political views.
The Independent Commission on the Voting System has clear terms of reference. The question of political funding is being considered separately by the Committee on Standards in Public Life chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Neill of Bladon.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Provisional figures show that at 31 March 1998 there were 126,944 police officers (down 214 from March 1997) in England and Wales, including 98,387 constables (up 255 from March 1997).
|March 1997||March 1998||Increase/ decrease|
|Avon & Somerset||2,988.8||2,975.9||-12.9|
|City of London||858.9||824.9||-34.0|
|Devon & Cornwall||2,864.5||2,961.5||97.0|
|March 1997||March 1998||Increase/ decrease|
|Avon & Somerset||2,314.8||2,307.9||-6.9|
|City of London||655.9||634.1||-21.8|
|Devon & Cornwall||2,233.5||2,322.9||89.4|
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