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Leonard Cheshire Foundation: Disability Access Report

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: The Government welcome this report and the Minister of State for Health, who attended its launch on 26 March wrote to the Leonard Cheshire Foundation on 25 April setting out the actions the Government are already taking to offer better access to people with disabilities, and the further actions now planned. These include the establishment of a joint group with the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) to develop a programme to address disability equality issues; placing a new duty on National Health Service bodies to involve and consult patients and the public (including disabled people and groups) in developing services; as part of a wider equalities and diversity strategy for the NHS workforce commissioning the NHS University to lead development of a disabilities awareness training plan which will consider with the Leonard Cheshire Foundation and the DRC how best to use the "Working with Disability" learning package; and supporting primary care providers in ensuring that their premises comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.


Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: We would like to provide an update to the Statement on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) given on 28 April at cols. 512–525.

World-wide reported cases total 7,296 as at 10 May, with 526 deaths. The situation in Toronto is now such that Canada has been removed from the World Health

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Organisation and United Kingdom travel advisories. However, WHO has now extended its travel advice to cover Tianjin, Inner Mongolia Province and Taipei. The UK followed suit and amended its advice for UK travellers on 8 May.

The UK total of "probable" cases now stands at four. This figure includes one case diagnosed retrospectively from March as a result of a review of the clinical findings. At the same time, other cases have been removed following confirmation of alternative diagnoses. The last case in the UK was admitted to hospital on 10 April, and all those diagnosed as probable cases have now recovered.

The UK has now been removed from the World Health Organisation's list of "affected countries". We were listed as a result of our last case having acquired the illness in London following a face-to-face meeting with a Hong Kong businessman who was passing through, and who was diagnosed with SARS on his return to Hong Kong. There have been no other cases associated with this incident.

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health outlined a five-point plan of further action following advice from the Chief Medical Officer. Progress on implementing these is as follows:

First, a letter went to all chief executives of National Health Service and primary care trusts on 29 April, reminding them of the action they need to take in their own organisations as a precaution in case of further possible cases presenting to the NHS. This included advice on healthcare workers recruited to the NHS from SARS affected areas. A summary of this letter has gone to all general practitioners.

Secondly, observers have been to Hong Kong and Singapore to look at their exit health screening procedures in relation to the guidance issued by the World Health Organisation. Plans are in train to send a further observer to Beijing, this time in association with WHO.

Thirdly, we have secured agreement with UK carriers and Air China on the distribution of information to passengers leaving SARS-affected areas, and are continuing to take this work forward with the other non-UK carriers.

Fourthly, a letter has been sent, incorporating relevant parts of the aircraft regulations, to remind airlines of the laws which apply to them. This includes in particular their obligations to provide an aircraft declaration of health when a plane arrives in this country should the medical officer require it; and for the commander of an aircraft to report details of an individual suffering from an infectious disease (or with symptoms which may indicate the presence of an infectious disease) before arrival at destination.

Fifthly, the Department of Health is taking forward the proposal for a meeting of Ministers alongside the World Health Assembly later this month. In the meantime a special European Health Council met last week at which my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr Lammy) led the UK delegation. The council agreed draft conclusions. It endorsed the measures

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taken so far and set out actions to strengthen European preparedness. The council will review the situation at its meeting on 2 June.

Iraq: Antiquities

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they can undertake under present United Nations sanctions to prevent the sale of Iraqi antiquities through the Internet; what steps they are undertaking to monitor such sales; and whether such sales are being undertaken by dealers based in the United Kingdom or through Internet servers located in the United Kingdom.[HL2643]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: HM Customs & Excise is responsible for the enforcement of UN sanctions, which include the illegal import of Iraqi antiquities. It will follow up any specific information relating to breaches of those sanctions whether the items were obtained in Iraq, via the Internet or obtained from any other source.

Customs have alerted staff to the risk of looted Iraqi antiquities reaching the UK. They will detain any suspect items and can seize them and prosecute offenders in appropriate cases.

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Customs are in contact with Department of Culture, Media and Sport, UK Police and Interpol to share information on suspected stolen Iraqi antiquities. However, the Government cannot comment publicly on Customs' information sources or areas of research; Exemption 4 (Law enforcement and legal proceedings) of the Open Government Code applies.


Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many local government wards have a rate of adult male unemployment above 10 per cent; and what is the breakdown of those wards by region.[HL2704]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter to the Earl Russell from the National Statistician, dated 13 May 2003.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question about unemployment rates (HL2704).

The data you request will become available on 30 June 2003, when the data for wards from the 2001 census are published.

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