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Lord Gilbert: Her Majesty's Government are unaware of any plans that Senator Pinochet may have had to visit Royal Ordnance during his recent visit to the UK. These would have been a matter for the Senator and Royal Ordnance plc. The export of missiles is controlled under entry ML4, and that of designs of such missiles, under ML22 in Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994. It would be necessary to examine all the export licences that covered the export to any destination, at any time, of goods with these ratings in order to establish whether or not any of them covered the specified missile or designs for the missile. This work could only be undertaken at disproportionate cost.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The statutory requirements of the Local Government Commission in undertaking a periodic electoral review are to secure effective and convenient local government and to reflect the interests and identities of local communities. Numerical equality is one of a number of factors to which the Commission will have regard in fulfilling these requirements.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): It is already a requirement under EC law that foods are labelled, to inform consumers, when their content has been genetically modified.
Lord Donoughue: The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and other relevant departments have made further inquiries into the research reported in the press last summer and have been assured that it was conducted in accordance with the international guidelines which govern human volunteer studies. Through the operation of the Health and Safety at Work Act, the COSHH Regulations and the national and international protocols (such as the Declaration of
The studies in question were performed for overseas clients to support a registration in the United States for a pesticide product. Given the nature of these studies and the level of dose involved the Government do not consider that the work has specific biological or chemical warfare implications.
Lord Donoughue: The Government fully support a precautionary approach in cases where there may be a serious risk to health. As I stated in my previous reply, the WTO rules provide that, in cases where relevant scientific information is insufficient, members may provisionally adopt measures on the basis of available pertinent information. They must then seek to obtain the additional information necessary for a more objective assessment of risk and also review the measure within a reasonable period of time. In sum, the rules allow for the use of the precautionary principle, while seeking to avoid its abuse through the introduction or maintenance of protectionist measures where there are no reasonable grounds for doing so.
Whether the Department of Health plans to assess to what extent general practitioners have changed their practice in accordance with the recommendations of the guidelines on the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.[HL561]
Baroness Hayman: The osteoporosis strategy, which includes clinical guidelines (to be published by the Royal College of Physicians in March) and a quick reference primary care guide on the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, is evidence based. It highlights the importance and benefits of targeting action at particularly high risk groups and also includes information that is accessible to the public. It was brought to the attention of all Health Authority chief executives, Directors of Public Health, and Regional Directors of Public Health in England through Health Service Circular 1998/124, with the expectation that these guidelines now be used as the basis for the development of local osteoporosis strategies.
The department continues to work closely with the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS), which was closely involved in the development of the strategy. The NOS conducts regular surveys of health authorities to determine the extent and range of osteoporosis service provision. This work is invaluable to the department in assessing progress in this area.
Thirty thousand copies of the primary care guide have already been ordered, showing that front line service providers are aware of the strategy and ready to follow its recommendations. This should ensure that clinical practice is consistent. Furthermore, the NOS is planning
The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Northern Ireland has also publicised the primary care guide through discussion with the medical profession at the Specialty Advisory Committee on General Medicine in October 1998; and through discussion at the General Medical Care Subcommittee of the Central Medical Advisory Committee in November 1998. The DHSS is awaiting the publication of the Clinical Guidelines for Strategies to Prevent and Treat Osteoporosis by the Royal College of Physicians in March before developing guidelines more relevant to services in Northern Ireland.
The Department of Health in Wales is encouraging health authorities to take the guidelines into consideration when developing their strategies on osteoporosis. General practitioners will be expected to approach osteoporosis cases in a way consistent with good practice and the strategy adopted by their local authority. No formal assessment of the guidelines or how they work in practice is planned.
A report in April 1997 by the Scottish Needs Assessment Programme reviewed existing osteoporosis services for prevention, detection and management of the disease. The report, while acknowledging that health boards in Scotland would have to decide the priority to be given to the disease, made a number of recommendations on how services should be applied in primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. The Green Paper Working Together for a Healthier Scotland published in February 1998 recognised the problem in the context of addressing lifestyle issues that cause ill health, in particular the negative effects of smoking and the benefits of physical activity.
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