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Licensing Bill: Guidance

Baroness Pitkeathley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: As part of its consideration of the Licensing Bill, the House of Lords Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform recommended that a mechanism be devised to enable Parliament to debate the guidance which it is intended would be issued to licensing authorities under Clause 177 of the Licensing Bill. The guidance is a crucial mechanism for enabling the Government to promote consistency and best practice and to respond to developments which may arise from time to time in connection with the sale of alcohol or the provision of regulated entertainment and late night refreshment. The Bill is scheduled to begin its Report stage in the House of Lords on 24 February.

At Committee stage in the House of Lords, the Government undertook to provide an opportunity for an early draft of the guidance to be available in time for the Bill's Report stage in the House of Lords. To meet our undertaking, I am today publishing a rough draft of the guidance, which has been placed in the Library of the House. This has involved advancing the timetable for producing the draft guidance considerably and the production of a rough draft in quicker time than we would have preferred.

I wish to make it clear that the draft's current form is subject to change and further development following continuing consultation with stakeholders and other government departments and agencies; to take account of any further undertakings given by Ministers during the Bill's forthcoming parliamentary stages; and of course, to reflect any amendments made to the Bill itself. There will also be a further opportunity for each House to debate the guidance when it is in its completed form later this year.

The text of the guidance document can also be found at–responsibilities/guidance–section177–licensing.pdf

Public Health Laboratories

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The laboratories transferring to National Health Service trusts are being transferred together with their current accommodation. We expect that the accommodation

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which is currently utilised for public health will continue to be used for that purpose.

It will be the role of local health protection agency public health microbiologists and the HPA regional public health microbiologist to ensure that the public health outputs of transferred, and other, laboratories are maintained.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they intend to ensure the continuance of the contribution of the Public Health Laboratory Service to health and safety after 1 April.[HL1385]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Public Health Laboratory Service board will continue to be responsible for the health and safety of its remaining employees after 1 April 2003.

Any wider contribution to health and safety by current employees of the PHLS providing expert advice will continue to be provided as appropriate.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they plan to maintain services for food, water and environmental microbiology services when the network of public health laboratories are transferred to the management of their local trusts.[HL1425]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Microbiology services for food, water and environment testing will continue to be provided to local authorities from all of the existing laboratories, including those Public Health Laboratory Service laboratories that are due to transer to National Health Service trusts. We are planning for the health protection agency, when it is created, to provide for these services and to determine minimum standards that will be followed.

Overweight and Obesity

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action has been taken or is planned to address the areas of National Health Service provision for the management of overweight and obese patients that were identified as patchy in the recent National Audit Office report Tackling Obesity in England.[HL1414]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The NHS Plan and the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease (launched after the National Audit Office survey) set standards for health authorities in partnership with local authorities, primary care teams and NHS trusts for the development and delivery of effective policies for reducing overweight and obesity, promoting healthy eating and increasing physical activity.

The NHS Priorities and Planning Framework for 2003–06 sets a target requiring practice-based registers

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and systematic treatment regimes for patients at high risk of coronary heart disease, which includes those with a body mass index greater than 30.

It is up to primary care trusts as local providers and commissioners of services to determine the most appropriate methods to deliver healthcare to their populations, based on clinical need and effectiveness, as well as local circumstance, drawing on the available evidence. The Health Development Agency is providing a report setting out the evidence base for the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity, and the maintenance of weight loss.

Pneumococcal Disease

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the number of service level agreements that will be required after 1 April to ensure the continuance of the work done by the Public Health Laboratory Service on pneumococcal disease.[HL1422]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: There will be no service level agreements to maintain the Public Health Laboratory Service co-ordinated programmes on pneumococcal disease. All work for the Department of Health by PHLS on pneumococcal disease is part of the core funding provided by the department.

Primary Care Trusts: Specialised Services

Baroness Cumberlege asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When their conclusions concerning the review of specialised services commissioning by primary care trusts will be published; and[HL1475]

    What steps are being taken to ensure continuity of specialised services commissioning by primary care trusts from April 2003; and[HL1476]

    About the preparedness of primary care trusts to assume responsibility for commissioning specialised services from April 2003.[HL1477]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Since April 2002 primary care trusts have been responsible for securing specialised health services for their local populations and, in consequence, the membership of regional specialised commissioning groups (RSCGs) is now based on PCTs rather than on health authorities.

To maintain continuity during 2002–03, PCTs are expected to honour existing consortia arrangements and previously agreed financial commitments and work programmes. RSCGs have been supporting the development of collaborative behaviour and PCTs are working together to agree their specialised services commissioning plans for 2003–04.

We will publish the results of the consultation on commissioning arrangements for specialised services shortly.

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Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the findings of the Committee on Safety of Medicines have encouraged doctors to prescribe the medical drug Ebixa for patients with Alzheimer's disease.[HL1543]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Committee on Safety of Medicines advises the licensing authority on the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines. It does not advise doctors on what products they should prescribe.

House of Lords Reform

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the event that Parliament decides in accordance with the Prime Minister's and the Lord Chancellor's opinion that the House of Lords should be wholly appointed, what will be the future position as regards (a) the total size of the House; (b) the status of elected hereditary Peers; (c) the proportions of Peers appointed to represent the interests of political parties and Cross-Bench Peers respectively; (d) the method of appointment of political Peers and Cross-Bench Peers respectively; and (e) the length of tenure of politically appointed Peers.[HL1435]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): These are, in the first instance, all issues which the Joint Committee will have to consider as part of any detailed proposals they might make for the way forward following the votes in both Houses.

Writs of Summons to the House of Lords

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What change has been made to the form of the Writ of Summons issued to Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal by the Crown Office (Forms and Proclamation Rules) (Amendment) Order 2002.[HL1565]

The Lord Chancellor: In June 2001 the noble Lord invited consideration of a minor amendment to the wording of certain Writs of Summons to the House of Lords, which then included a reference to Great Men but not to Great Women.

The Crown Office (Forms and Proclamation Rules) (Amendment) Order 2002 was promoted by my department to rectify the anomaly so that those Writs of Summons which refer to Great Men will now also refer to Great Women.

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