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NHS Revenue Resource Allocation

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The formula used to allocate National Health Service revenue resources has been reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA).

The work to update the need element of the formula was carried out by a team of researchers led by the University of Glasgow and the Information and Statistics Division, Common Services Agency, NHS Scotland. They have published their report. It can be found at http:[email protected][email protected]

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ACRA fully endorsed the team's report. It recommended adopting a new method for constructing the age cost curve and new need indices, including unmet need variables.

Anthrax Vaccine

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 12 December (WA57-58), whether they can now state whether the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research at Porton Down is content that combining the anthrax vaccine with other vaccines and protective measures could not involve harmful long-term effects.[HL748]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, a special health authority, which reports to the Department of Health, manufactures anthrax vaccine. The vaccine is licensed. The vaccine licence holder is the Secretary of State for Health.

The product licence summary of characteristics states that the vaccine should be used alone. This information is included in the product summary provided to doctors with the vaccine. The patient information leaflet also asks patients to inform their doctor if they are taking any other medicines.

Smoking-related Diseases

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many men and how many women have (a) been treated for and (b) died from disease caused by active smoking in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and[HL983]

    How many men and how many women have (a) been treated for and (b) died from disease caused by passive smoking in each of the last five years for which figures are available.[HL984]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Information is not routinely collected on the number of men and women who have been treated for diseases caused by active or passive smoking.

It is estimated that smoking causes 120,000 deaths in the UK each year. (Source: The UK Smoking Epidemic: Deaths in 1995, Health Education Authority). Comparable figures are not available for other years.

The Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) in its 1998 report concluded that, "exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of lung cancer and, in those with long term exposure, the increased risk is in the order of 20-30 per cent". The committee repeated the explanation of this risk set out in the Fourth Report of the Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health, ie, "a 20-30 per cent increased risk in exposed non-smokers would be a rate of 12-13

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per 100,000 per year. Thus we would expect an additional two to three lung cancer cases a year per 100,000 non-smokers regularly exposed to ETS. The numbers of people so exposed are not known precisely but an estimate would suggest about several hundred extra lung cancer deaths a year are caused by exposure to passive smoking.

vCJD

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether irradiation can be helpful in decontaminating surgical instruments in cases in which there may be a risk of the transmission of vCJD and other blood-borne viruses.[HL1035]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Sterilization by ionizing radiation is an industrial process and is particularly suited to the sterilization of large batches of similar products. Irradiation can cause serious physical deterioration of materials, particularly those subjected to a previous sterilization process. Advice received from the Microbiological Advisory Committee is that, because of issues around the validation of the process and the routine monitoring required for small batches of product, as well as the effect of radiation on the materials concerned, irradiation is not suited to health service use.

Irish Language Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What funds, in addition to the annual vote of the agency, are available to the Irish Language Agency.[HL749]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The agencies of the North/South Language Body may retain any income generated, subject to the approval of the departments and the departments of finance. Such income would be used to defray the cost of running the agencies. In the case of the Irish Language Agency, such income includes the commission generated from the sale of books through Aisinteacht Dailiuchan Leabhar and income from the sale of educational and other publications through An Gum. The agencies may also avail themselves of other opportunities to generate funding, inter alia, from European Union sources. Neither agency has generated additional funds from these sources.

Ulster-Scots Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 11 December (WA37) concerning appointments to the Irish Agency, whether the Ulster-Scots Agency asked the appropriate departments to process four-and-a-half posts in

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    July; and why the Ulster-Scots Agency was not afforded the same treatment in terms of access to the North/South Ministerial Council as the two posts for the Irish Agency.[HL753]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In July 2002 the Ulster-Scots Agency advised the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure that it wished the Business Development Service (BDS) to develop an organisational structure involving initially a review of four core administrative posts. BDS, on 2 October, recommended a structure involving four-and-a-half core administrative posts.

The necessary departmental approvals for these posts were not obtained in time for the matter to be considered at the North/South Ministerial Council meeting on 9 October 2002.

For the reasons explained in my Answer of 11 December 2002 (WA37), the timing of departmental approvals enabled the two posts for the Irish Language Agency to be considered at the North/South Ministerial Council meeting on 9 October 2002. NSMC approval of the posts in the Ulster-Scots Agency would have been sought at that meeting had the matter then been sufficiently far advanced.

Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 9 December (WA 2) concerning the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Linguistic Diversity Branch, whether the branch does not contain officials with expertise in the Irish language and in Ulster-Scots language and culture; and, if not, why not.[HL804]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I refer the noble Lord to my previous Answers on 6 November (WA 123) and 9 December 2002 (WA 2).

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a consultant from the Community Relations Council has in the past two years been employed by the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to examine the area of

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    cultural traditions; if so, what was the criterion used for appointment; who interviewed the candidates; what was the job specification; whether there have been any reports; when the work will be completed and what was the cost.[HL865]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has not employed a consultant from the Community Relations Council to examine the area of cultural traditions. The department in progressing its commitment to Face to Face—a Vision for Arts and Culture in Northern Ireland has however engaged the services of the Community Relations Council from September 2001 to assist in developing a cultural diversity policy framework. The Community Relations Council assigned a consultant with the ability to provide specialist support for DCAL in taking forward Face to Face. To date, no formal reports have been completed. It is the intention of the department however to issue the proposed cultural diversity framework based on this work for consultation in line with Programme for Government. The contract with the Community Relations Council will be terminated with effect from 31 January 2003. The cost of the project to date has been £34,506.

Northern Ireland National Museums and Galleries

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the national museums and galleries of Northern Ireland have a linguistic diversity policy which treats Ulster Scots on an equal footing with Irish, as required in the Belfast Agreement of 1998; and, if not, why and when one will be available.[HL908]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The national museums and galleries of Northern Ireland have developed a draft linguistic diversity policy which treats Ullans on an equal footing with Irish. The policy continues to have draft status at present because the outgoing board of trustees did not have an opportunity to approve it before the end of its term of office. However, it is hoped that the new board will formally adopt the draft policy in time for it to be fully implemented by autumn 2003.



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