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NHS Professionals

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: In 2002–03, NHS Professionals was allocated £2 million to support roll out. The Government are committed to the delivery of NHS Professionals as a long-term investment to achieve a national approach to temporary staffing, raising standards, reducing costs and improving working lives of temporary healthcare professionals across the country.

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The aim is that NHS Professionals will be used by all National Health Service organisations as the primary supplier of all temporary staffing requirements for the NHS with, as and when necessary, contracts agreed with commercial agencies to meet any surplus demand.

NHS Professionals is a locally delivered service based on national standards to ensure that temporary staff have fair and supportive employment conditions that give staff security and the confidence to build a career in the NHS.

Hospital Consultants under Suspension

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: There are 32 doctors currently under suspension. Of these, 26 (81 per cent) are hospital consultants. This represents 0.0011 per cent of the total number of consultants. ralph

Hospices

Lord Hayhoe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions are taking place with strategic health authorities to determine whether the additional funds intended for hospices are reaching the front line services; and what action is contemplated if shortfalls are established or suspected.[HL281]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Ministers have asked the National Cancer Director to work with the National Health Service and the voluntary sector to develop proposals for a new approach to specialist palliative care funding. The joint NHS and voluntary sector working group set up by the Director is charged to ensure delivery of the pledge in the NHS Cancer Plan to increase investment in specialist palliative care by £50 million by 2004 and to develop a mechanism to secure long term funding and planning. Representatives from strategic health authorities (StHAs) are members of the working group.

To support this initiative the Secretary of State for Health has made available an extra £10 million for specialist palliative care services, including hospices, in 2002-03. This funding has been distributed to primary care trusts (PCTs) with clear instructions that it must be spent on specialist palliative care. Strategic health authorities have been asked to ensure joint NHS and voluntary sector agreement to the use of the money. Strategic health authorities are required to authorise investment and outturn reports from PCTs which demonstrate appropriate use of this additional resource.

Cancer Services

Baroness Hayman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish figures for the actual spending on cancer services funded under allocations announced under the Cancer Plan for the financial year 2001-02.[HL312]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: An additional £255 million was made available to health authorities for cancer services in 2001-02. We know that all areas invested in cancer services in that period. The National Cancer Director, Professor Mike Richards, is working with chief executives of strategic health authorities to ensure that the money allcoated for cancer services this year and next year gets through to cancer services and that Cancer Plan targets are met.

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Foot and Mouth: Local Roles and Recovery Responsibilities

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government: ralph

    Whether they believe that county councils such as Cumbria County Council which have been seriously affected by foot and mouth disease should seek to establish a forum in which the public sector agencies covering environment and health would meet on an annual and more frequent basis; and[HL70]

    Whether they believe that, where appropriate, county councils such as Cumbria County Council which have been seriously affected by foot and mouth disease should build on the foot and mouth disease task force model and create similar, but smaller, groups to help take forward initiatives related to the county's post-foot and mouth disease recovery and regeneration; and[HL71]

    Whether in counties seriously affected by foot and mouth disease they will encourage the relevant development agencies and county councils to build on existing initiatives to establish an intensive programme of regional economic monitoring that will provide the detailed up-to-date data necessary to allow business support initiatives to be targeted to the needs of economic regeneration; and[HL101]

    Whether they will encourage county councils in counties seriously affected by foot and mouth disease to build on the work of the Restriction Review Team to establish regular meetings between responsible bodies and key stakeholders to develop methods and policies to protect and enhance countryside access.[HL103]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): It is for individual county councils, in partnership with regional development agencies and other regional and local partners, to decide how best to take forward the continuing recovery from the effects of the foot and mouth outbreak, including countryside access. I welcome the example which has recently been set by the Cumbria County Council and North West Development Agency in creating the Cumbria Rural Action Zone arrangements for co-ordinating and monitoring a major programme of rural regeneration in the county.

Rural Proofing

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Rural Proofing report (page 10), in which departments the distribution of the checklist was limited or delayed; and if any, where it still has not been fully implemented.[HL315]

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Lord Whitty: Since April 2002 checklists have been distributed and fully implemented in all government departments listed in the report.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Rural Proofing report, whether all departments have now appointed a liaison person with a cross-cutting or corporate function.[HL316] ralph

Lord Whitty: All government departments have an appointed person who works as an initial departmental contact for rural issues.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which departments were unable to arrange for the chairman of the Countryside Agency to meet the Secretary of State in connection with the Rural Proofing report.[HL322]

Lord Whitty: Since the publication of the Rural Proofing 2001–02 report, the chairman of the Countryside Agency has met with either Secretaries of State or Ministers from all departments with which meetings were requested.

Arrangements have also been put in place for the chair of the Countryside Agency to go with the Minister of State for Rural Affairs to meet other departments and consider their view of rural areas.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made in implementing rural proofing region by region.[HL324]

Lord Whitty: Considerable progress has been made in Government Offices for the Regions, with all eight (outside London) taking steps to implement rural proofing. Since April Defra and the Countryside Agency have worked with the Government Office Defra Directors to define the Government Office rural proofing tasks and priorities, and to produce a rural proofing checklist tailored to Government Office needs.

Defra: Spending

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Whitty on 24 September (WA251), whether tables 5.1 to 5.5 in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs departmental report for 2002 have yet been reissued in corrected form.[HL318]

Lord Whitty: No, tables 5.1 to 5.5 of Defra's departmental report for 2002 have not yet been reissued. This is because reloading of our data on central databases has taken longer than expected since it involved major restructuring of the data. This has proved to be a complex process. We are working to issue revised data as soon as we are satisfied it is correct.

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Pet Travel Scheme

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they keep records of owners using the Pet Travel Scheme; and whether these records include the names, addresses and details of the owners and their pets.[HL334]

Lord Whitty: A person accompanying an animal entering England under the Pet Travel Scheme is required to complete a declaration that the animal has not been outside any of the scheme's qualifying countries in the previous six months. This form records the animal's microchip number, the name and address in the UK of a person accompanying it and, if entering this country by car, the registration number. Copies of this form are retained by Defra.

Local veterinary inspectors and animal health offices also retain copies of Pet Travel Scheme veterinary certification issued in the UK. This contains the microchip number and the breed and

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colour of the animal, as well as the name and address of the owner or keeper of the animal.

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the event of an outbreak of rabies, they are satisfied that the records of owners and their pets using the Pet Travel Scheme would enable them to track down any pet suspected of bringing in the disease.[HL335]

Lord Whitty: The rules of the Pet Travel Scheme are intended to minimise the risk of a pet cat and dog bringing rabies into the UK. It is more likely that rabies would be introduced by a smuggled animal, not necessarily a cat or dog, on which there would be no information.

The Pet Travel Scheme information retained by Defra would not necessarily enable any animal which had travelled under the Pet Travel Scheme to be located as there is no requirement for notification of change of address of the owner, or of change of ownership of the animal.

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