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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): The level of AIDS support grant for the next financial year will be £15.5 million (an increase of almost 12 per cent. on 1998-99) and the planning figures for 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 are £16 million and £16.5 million respectively.
Baroness Hayman: The three separate vaccines have never been recommended in the United Kingdom. Prior to the introduction of MMR in 1988, measles vaccine was given to children aged 12 to 18 months and rubella vaccine was given to girls at age 10 to 14 years. Mumps vaccine was not routinely given at all. It is not possible to give the annual additional cost of the change in vaccine regimen as the costs to the National Health Service of giving measles and rubella vaccine prior to 1988 are not held centrally.
Baroness Hayman: No estimates as to the cost of introducing separate vaccines have been made as separate vaccines have never been part of the national childhood immunisation programme and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which provides expert and independent advice on vaccination, advises against it. The use of single vaccines in place of MMR is not recommended since there is no evidence that doing this has any benefit and it may even be harmful. Government policy is to ensure parents are provided with factual information about immunisation and that immunisation recommendations are backed up by sound scientific research. The administration of separate measles, mumps and rubella vaccines instead of MMR is not supported by any studies into its safety or efficacy.
Baroness Hayman: The safety of vaccines is carefully monitored both by the Committee on Safety of Medicines and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advise United Kingdom Health Ministers. The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) of the Department of Health receives spontaneous reports of suspected adverse reactions to vaccines from coroners, doctors and pharmacists under the voluntary Yellow Card Scheme. There is also a statutory requirement for pharmaceutical companies to report reactions to vaccines to the MCA. Reports of adverse reactions are
Baroness Hayman: The National Blood Authority's operational plan, dated August 1998, has not yet been approved by the Government. The draft plan placed in the Library in reply to the noble Lord's previous Question answered on 14 October 1998 at col. WA 102 is currently being finalised by the authority in discussion with Department of Health officials. A copy of the plan, as finally approved, will be placed in the Library as soon as it is available.
Baroness Hayman: The Department of Health does not currently collect and hold centrally information on the incidence of autism among children. It would be difficult to collect meaningful information because of the lack of a widely agreed definition of autism. It is for the local statutory authorities to determine the needs of children with autism in their area and work together effectively to ensure that these needs are met.
The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Minister of Transport was inadvertently omitted from the composition of the Ministerial Committee on Economic Affairs shown in H.L. Deb., [col. WA 162] on 21 October 1998. The correct composition for this committee is as follows:
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The Government have today published responses to these two reports by the UK Round Table on Sustainable Development.
Getting the Best out of Indicators has made a valuable contribution to the Government's development of a new set of indicators, as the report focused on strategic issues relating to their use and development and gave particular
The report on economic regulators was considered very carefully in light of the consultation for 'A Fair Deal for Consumers' published by DTI in March. We are pleased to have been able to respond positively to many of the Round Table's recommendations--for instance, setting up a framework for regulation and issuing statutory guidance on the social and environmental objectives.
The Government value the work of the Round Table in helping to take forward the sustainable development agenda and we wish to express our gratitude to Sir Richard Southwood and the Round Table for their continued work.
Lord Whitty: We have announced today that we are to commence a periodic review of the Highways Agency. The performance of the agency since its launch will be evaluated and a review of the options for the best management of its functions will be undertaken. It is also an appropriate moment for a review, as we set the agency a new aim and objectives this summer, reflecting this Government's new vision for integrated transport in relation to the English trunk road network. The review will build on the work done during the integrated transport and roads reviews. We hope to announce the results of the review next spring.
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