Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


AIDS: Support Grant

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

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.

27 Oct 1998 : Column WA207

MMR Vaccine

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the annual additional cost to the NHS of changing from three separate vaccines to a single MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine from 1988 onwards.[HL3458]

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.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What the annual additional cost to the NHS would be of changing from a single MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to three separate vaccines.[HL3459]

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.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What national tracking of adverse responses to current MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines is taking place in the National Health Service.[HL3511]

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

27 Oct 1998 : Column WA208

entered on to a national database operated by the MCA, which regularly screens the data and, when necessary initiates further investigations.

National Blood Authority

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have approved the operational plan of the National Blood Authority which was produced in August of this year.[HL3473]

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.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether National Health Service trusts will be fully reimbursed for the additional costs of blood products charged by the National Blood Authority in the year 1999-2000.[HL3474]

Baroness Hayman: Trusts will be funded by health authorities in the usual way for the handling charges for blood components and for the costs of manufactured blood products.

Autism: Incidence

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department of Health is currently collecting and holding centrally information on the incidence of autism among children as recommended by the House of Commons Health Select Committee in February 1997.[HL3475]

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.

Ministerial Committee on Economic Affairs

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish an updated membership list for the Ministerial Committee on Economic Affairs.[HL3594]

27 Oct 1998 : Column WA209

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:

Ministerial Committee on Economic Affairs (EA)

Composition:


    Chancellor of the Exchequer (Chair)


    Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions


    Secretary of State of the Home Department


    Secretary of State for Education and Employment


    President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons


    Minister for the Cabinet Office


    Secretary of State for Scotland


    Secretary of State for Health


    Parliamentary Secretary, Treasury and Chief Whip


    Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport


    Secretary of State for Northern Ireland


    Secretary of State for Wales


    Secretary of State for Social Security


    Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


    Secretary of State for Trade and Industry


    Chief Secretary, Treasury


    Minister of Transport


    Minister of State, Cabinet Office

Other Ministers are invited to attend for items in which they have a departmental interest.

The Chief Scientific Adviser attends for issues relating to science and technology.

Terms of Reference:


    "To consider issues relating to the Government's economic policies."

Sustainable Development: UK Round Table Reports

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will respond to the reports by the UK Round Table on Sustainable Development on (a) Getting the Best out of Indicators and (b) Economic Regulators.[HL3593]

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

27 Oct 1998 : Column WA210

regard to policy and communication. The new government indicators will, for the first time, include economic and social aspects of sustainable development together with a small group of headline indicators. The full set of indicators will be launched early in the new year together with the revised UK Sustainable Development Strategy.

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.

We have placed copies of both the responses in the Library.

Highways Agency

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they propose to undertake a periodic review of the Highways Agency.[HL3592]

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.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page