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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not maintain a position on any particular complementary or alternative therapies including homeopathy. It is the responsibility of local National Health Service organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of such treatments, taking account of issues to do with safety,
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Under their terms of service, general practitioners in England are allowed to prescribe any product, including any unlicensed product such as a homeopathic remedy, which they consider to be a medicine necessary for the treatment of their patients under the National Health Service, subject to two provisos. These are that the product is not included in Schedules 1 or 2 to the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Prescription of Drugs etc) Regulations 2004, and that they are prepared to justify any challenges to their prescribing by their primary care trust.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the different considerations in collecting separate data on numbers of, medication for, and expenditure on, sufferers of diabetes 1 as opposed to diabetes 2. [HL449]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Data are currently collected on type 1 and type 2 diabetics through the National Diabetes Audit and through the Quality Outcomes Framework. We cannot fully answer this question as information on medication and expenditure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes is not currently divided, but looked at as a whole.
|Diabetes Type||Registration from Primary Care||Registrations from Secondary Care|
In the financial year 2010-11 there were 38.3 million items prescribed for diabetes (British National Formulary (BNF) section 6.1) at a net ingredient cost of £725.1 million. We do not currently separate this data into medication for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Prescribing for Diabetes in England 2005-06 to 2010-11 details costs associated to prescribed medicine usage, but not the type of diabetes, prescribed to treat. This has been placed in the Library and can be found online at the following web address: www.ic.nhs.uk/webfiles/publications/prescribing%20diabetes%20200506% 20to%20201011/Prescribing_for_Diabetes_in_ England_20056_to_201011.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that tackling inequalities is a key priority in healthcare when the funding formula for allocations to primary care trusts and clinical commissioning groups are weighted according to the number of elderly people; and, if so, how.[HL506]
From 2013-14, the NHS Commissioning Board will allocate resources to clinical commissioning groups. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 contains the first ever legal duties on health inequalities for National Health Service commissioners and the Secretary of State.
The NHS Commissioning Board is under a duty to have regard to the need to reduce inequalities in access to, and the outcomes of, healthcare. This applies to everything it does, including its approach to allocating resources.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The aim of the national human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programme is to prevent cervical cancer in women. The best way to do this is to vaccinate girls and young women.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent expert committee, keeps the eligibility criteria of all vaccination programmes under review. Research is under way to support a future assessment by JCVI of HPV vaccination of men who have sex with men.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 22 May (WA 47-8), what precautions are in place to ensure that parents whose daughters may have immune system dysfunctions are not pressurised into giving consent for their daughters to receive human papilloma virus vaccinations.[HL483]
Earl Howe: Immunisation in the United Kingdom is voluntary. Guidance on explaining about the vaccination to be given, and obtaining consent, is set out in Immunisation Against Infectious Disease-"The Green Book". This has already been placed in the Library. The medical professional providing the vaccine should
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The presence of immune system dysfunctions does not necessarily preclude receiving HPV vaccination. Individuals who are immunosuppressed may not develop a full antibody response to the vaccine, and may therefore not receive the same degree of protection against HPV.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Work to develop the liver disease outcomes strategy, and its related workstreams, continues under the clinical leadership of Professor Martin Lombard, National Clinical Director for Liver Disease. The National Health Service and public health stakeholders are working together to ensure that the response to the rising demand for liver disease services is adequate and supports improvement against the NHS outcomes framework and the public health outcomes framework.
Publication of the strategy has been delayed because of the need to reflect the new organisations described in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and how the new responsibilities and accountabilities provided by that Act will be discharged. The liver disease outcomes strategy will be published once we are satisfied it reflects accurately who will be responsible for the delivery of the changes needed to achieve the aspiration of reducing premature mortality from liver disease and improving both patient experience and the quality of care.
In the interim a number of workstreams are in hand across the NHS. NHS Liver Care has been established to provide a virtual working environment for national and local healthcare professionals involved in the planning and delivery of liver services. A series of liver disease engagement workshops is in hand across England. Workshops in primary care involve collaboration with Royal College of General Practitioners to improve primary care education about viral hepatitis, in order to improve awareness and detection of liver disease developing from this cause.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individual patients' blood samples were tested for Lyme diseases at the Southampton Lyme borreliosis unit and the Lyme borreliosis microbiology unit at
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individual patients had blood samples tested for Lyme borreliosis using ELISA test kits at Health Protection Agency microbiology laboratories, other than the Southampton Lyme borreliosis unit, for each year from 2006-10 inclusive; and how many patients received (1) positive, and (2) equivocal results for Lyme borreliosis.[HL380]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): None of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) microbiology laboratories perform confirmatory diagnostic testing for Lyme. However, HPA South West Public Health Laboratory, Bristol performs pre-screens. If positive or equivocal, these are referred to the HPA Lyme Borreliosis Unit at Southampton, where all diagnostic confirmation for Lyme disease is currently performed.
|ELISA Test Kits1||IgG EIA2||IgM EIA3|
|Western Blot7 test kits||IgG Blot8||IgM Blot9|
1 ELISA: acronym for Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay: method used to capture either specific target antigen or antibody, either in a liquid or solid phase assay, to detect the presence of these targets in clinical and other samples.
4 Positives: where an assay signal or reaction has met or satisfied defined preset criteria, eg cut off values or reaction pattern, for an interpretation to be made of presence of either a specific antigen or antibody.
5 Equivocal: where an assay signal or reaction has not met a complete set of defined preset criteria to satisfy an interpretation of positive, but is demonstrating sufficient reactivity that requires further investigation, perhaps by alternative assay or by a repeat specimen.
7 Western Blot: or alternatively called immunoblot: a system for separating target proteins/polypeptides for challenge with a clinical sample. This system increases the specificity of detection for target material where other assays may suffer lack of specificity but are more sensitive as a prescreen. Therefore, an immunoblot(Western Blot) can be used as a second tier test to confirm prescreen results.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Department published its information strategy The Power of Information: Putting Us All in Control of the Health and Care Information We Need on 21 May 2012. Copies of the strategy are available in the Library.
The strategy confirms that, by 2015, all general practices will be expected to make available electronic booking and cancelling of appointments, ordering of repeat prescriptions, communication with the practice and access to records to anyone registered with the practice that requests these services. Some general practitioners may decide that they can only provide online access to records and to attached letters from a specific date onward, rather than to give access to historical information (which may not have been written with patient access in mind).
In line with the recommendations of the NHS Future Forum, the Government have engaged with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to work in partnership with patient groups and other professional organisations to lead development of a plan to support people to access services and their records electronically. The NHS Commissioning Board will be asked to work with the RCGP and other partners to promote this work from 2013 onwards.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As set out in the department's information strategy, The Power of Information-Putting All of Us in Control of the Health and Care Information We Need, all general practices will be expected to make electronic booking and cancelling of appointments available by 2015. The majority of general practices already have this functionality within existing general practitioner information technology systems. The NHS Commissioning Board will be taking forward implementation of these arrangements.
From April 2013, people will be able to see which general practices make available online access to records and other transactional services-via the NHS Choices website and, later, a national, single online portal.
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) whether they are working to the 2007 National Radiotherapy Advisory Group recommendations that 90 additional linear accelerators (LINACS) are needed to deliver radiotherapy treatment in England; and, if so, when these will be purchased and operational; (2) how they intend to model demand for radiotherapy treatment after April 2013; and (3) when they intend to publish their plan for investment to ensure radiotherapy capacity is able to meet demand. [HL501]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will support a national investment plan for specialised radiotherapy equipment, including (1) imaging equipment to support image-guided radiation therapy, and (2) stereotactic body radiotherapy for lung and other cancers; and whether the Department of Health will make recommendations on the number and appropriate location of new facilities across the United Kingdom.[HL502]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe):Commissioners need to work with their providers to ensure that radiotherapy services meet the needs of local patients. Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer, published on 12 January 2011, recognised the need to improve outcomes by incentivising new radiotherapy techniques, particularly intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). It was the department's aspiration to ensure that IMRT was available in at least one centre per cancer network. This has now been achieved.
The National Radiotherapy Implementation Group (NRIG) has undertaken work to incentivise and support wider uptake of IMRT and will be publishing the outcome of a recent survey of IMRT activity in the autumn. The survey will identify those centres that continue to deliver less IMRT than might be expected for their populations alongside those that are delivering at the guideline rate or more.
In early 2008-09 there were 233 linear accelerators (linacs) in the National Health Service, and the National Radiotherapy Advisory Group (NRAG) report, Radiotherapy: Developing a World Class Service for England, published in 2007, identified that a further 90 were needed by 2016 to meet the anticipated increase in demand. The National Cancer Services Analysis Team equipment survey for 2011-12 identified 294 machines, including backup machines and machines replaced in year. An analysis of the radiotherapy data collection shows that 265 machines were in use on any given day in 2011-12.
The National Audit Office report, Managing High Value Capital Equipment in the NHS in England, published in March 2011, concluded that there was spare capacity on existing machines. For this reason, we have made a commitment to invest over £150 million more over the Spending Review period to increase the utilisation of existing capacity, to support the establishment of additional services and to ensure that all high priority patients with a need for proton beam therapy get access to it abroad.
Our Cancer Outcomes Strategy also made the commitment to analyse the radiotherapy data collection to ensure that the recommendations in the NRAG report remain meaningful and current. Radiotherapy treatment is continuously changing as technology changes, and specialist techniques and research feed rapidly into regular practice. This presents a challenge to both commissioners and providers to ensure that services are up to date and sufficiently flexible to incorporate changing practice and new treatments. The analysis of the NRAG recommendations is due to be completed this summer.
After April 2013, demand modelling for radiotherapy will be the responsibility of the NHS Commissioning
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Decisions regarding provision of radiotherapy services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are a matter for the devolved Administrations of those countries. In England, it is for providers, working with commissioners, to identify the need for specialised radiotherapy equipment and develop plans to invest. Guidance on the use of specialised radiotherapy techniques and equipment, including IMRT, is provided by NRIG, working with the professional bodies. Stereotactic body radiotherapy can be delivered on standard linacs and decisions on the need for, and location of, specialist equipment need to be taken locally.
The department has recently worked with NHS Supply Chain to launch a new procurement scheme that allows trusts to access high-value medical equipment at significantly discounted prices. The scheme allows NHS Supply Chain to purchase equipment up front through use of a central capital fund, and then pass on discounts to trusts. The scheme does not limit choice or supplier.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence clinical guideline 79 on rheumatoid arthritis in England. [HL229]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information on the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is readily available from websites such as www.nhs.uk and www.patient.co.uk. Both the clinical guideline on rheumatoid arthritis from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the curriculum statement on musculo-skeletal disease from the Royal College of General Practitioners emphasise the importance for general practitioners of communicating health information effectively to their patients.
The Government are committed to offering everyone with a long-term condition a personalised care plan. The care planning process should be managed locally, through the National Health Service, with health are
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Commissioners and providers are jointly responsible for determining how, and how quickly, to move towards implementation of NICE guidelines. From 2013, front-line clinicians in clinical commissioning groups will be directly involved in determining the priorities for improving the services which they commission. NICE has been asked to develop a quality standard for rheumatoid arthritis, as part of the library for quality standards announced earlier this year, which will set out the standards of care which patients can expect and by which they can hold commissioners to account. In the meantime patients may wish to refer to the ten key standards of care published by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society in 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to transpose, implement and publicise the provisions of EU Council Directive 2010/32/EU on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector, before the final implementation date of 11 May 2013.[HL398]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to conduct and publish a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the impact of implementing EU Council Directive 2010/32/EU on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector; and if so, when.[HL399]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking (1) to specify and implement safe procedures for using and disposing of sharp medical instruments and contaminated waste, (2) to eliminate the unnecessary use of sharps, (3) to provide medical devices incorporating safety-engineered protection mechanisms, and (4) to ban the practice of recapping, before 11 May 2013.[HL400]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to ensure that risk assessments are conducted consistently in the hospital and healthcare sector to prevent sharps injuries and protect workers and to identify how exposure could be eliminated.[HL401]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they propose to increase reporting of sharps injuries; and whether they will revise reporting procedures and mechanisms to include local, national and European-wide systems.[HL402]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what actions they are taking to ensure that the good practices to prevent sharps injuries contained in the provisions of EU Council Directive 2010/32/EU on prevention
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government have asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to prepare regulations to transpose Council Directive 2010/32/EU to come into force on 11 May 2013. HSE has prepared an impact assessment for their initial proposal for implementing Council Directive 2010/32/EU, based on the evidence currently available to them. They are preparing a full 12-week consultation process on this proposal for later this summer. The initial impact assessment will be published with the consultation document and the proposed draft health and safety regulations. Following the consultation, HSE will revise, if appropriate, the proposal and include any further evidence in its impact assessment. The final impact assessment will be published in the Government's Impact Assessment library.
The four measures referred to by Baroness Masham to reduce the risk of injury to healthcare workers from sharp instruments, the requirements for assessment of those risks and the requirement to report accidents are all referred to within Council Directive 2010/32/EU. The UK measures to transpose the directive will address these, where required. However, most sharps injuries arise from failure to comply with existing, well-established standards. HSE's consultation on the proposed regulations will also seek views on how all healthcare stakeholders can contribute to raising awareness of the required standards
The directive applies only to healthcare, and is based on an agreement between HOSPEEM and EPSU, the relevant European healthcare employer and employee representative groups. Where sharp injuries are a relevant risk in other sectors, it is HSE's view that compliance with the current health and safety legislation would ensure a good standard of protection.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many United Kingdom pensioners resident in the Republic of Ireland have been regarded in the last three years as eligible to have their healthcare costs paid by the United Kingdom; how they define an eligible pensioner; and what are the current agreed annual average healthcare costs for each pensioner in the two countries.[HL246]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The number of eligible pensioners-those whom the United Kingdom has accepted liability for-in the last three years is shown in the following table:
Under current bilateral arrangements, eligible pensioners are defined as the proportion of the total number of UK pensioners resident in Ireland, assessed by applying the results of triennial surveys and application of the European regulations that govern this area. From 2014, payments will be in accordance with planned revised bilateral arrangements based upon a registration scheme of individual pensioners.
As the noble Lord will be aware, we are working towards a revised bilateral arrangement with Ireland now, and plan to base payments on a registration scheme from 2014 onwards meaning that each pension is assessed individually, rather than extrapolating results from a triennial survey of just 1,500 pensioners.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 21 October 2011 (WA 108-9), how the £400 million that is being invested over the next four years to support local authorities and the voluntary sector in their work to tackle and prevent homelessness is being distributed across local authorities.[HL346]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 21 October 2011 (WA 108-9), how many of the 1,400 "new and improved bed spaces" for rough sleepers and the homeless have been provided to date.[HL349]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The coalition Government are committed to tackling and preventing rough sleeping. We have protected Homelessness Grant funding at 2010-11 levels with £400 million over the next four years to help tackle rough sleeping. The Preventing Homelessness Grant is paid to all 326 local housing authorities and leading voluntary sector providers to support their work to tackle and prevent homelessness. It supports front-line services, including rough sleeper services, rent deposit schemes, mediation and debt advice.
A number of factors are considered in determining homelessness grant allocations, including levels of rough sleeping, temporary accommodation and bed and breakfast usage, along with funding to support particular delivery blockages in some cases. Smaller authorities
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We have acted decisively to introduce a more accurate assessment of rough sleeping levels so that there is clear information in all areas to inform service provision and action to address the problem.
Rough sleeping figures for England can be found on the department's website at http://www.communities. gov.uk/housing/homelessness.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 29 November 2011 (WA 47-9), what were the costs of the Seaside and Country Homes Scheme for each year it has been operated by the Department for Communities and Local Government or Greater London Authority.[HL340]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Department for Communities and Local Government was responsible for the Seaside and Country Homes scheme between July 2007 and March 2011. During this period, the costs of running the service were as follows:
Responsibility for the scheme was transferred to the Greater London Authority in April 2011: operating costs since that date are a matter for the Greater London Authority. In both 2011/12 and 2012/13, the department provided a grant of £400,000 to the Authority to support the operation of the scheme.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 21 October 2011 (WA 108-9), how many of the 170,000 affordable homes due to be delivered by 2015 have been delivered to date.[HL350]
Baroness Hanham: Out of the 146 successful providers through the Homes and Communities Agency's Affordable Homes Programme, 2011-15 contracts have now been signed with 122 totalling around £1.7 billion of the £1.8 billion budget and I am placing a table in the Library of the House which lists all 122. Further information on the contracts signed by the Homes and Communities Agency can also be found on their website: http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/sites/default/files/our-work/affordable/homes-programme-signed-contracts-210512.xls
We estimate that our total affordable housing investment of £4.5 billion over the spending review will lever in around £15 billion of private sector investment enabling us to deliver our 170,000 affordable homes. We have also asked the Homes and Communities Agency to explore options for accelerating delivery of their programme.
|Housing Benefit recipients in Tower Hamlets Local Authority (LA) in the Private Rented Sector, 2001 to 2012|
|All Housing Benefit recipients in Tower Hamlets LA||Housing Benefit recipients in the Private Rented Sector4|
1. Data from August 2008 onwards are derived from the new Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE) which is a monthly electronic scan of claimants level data direct from local authority computer systems, whereas earlier years are derived from quarterly aggregate returns. The latest available data are at February 2012.
2. Figures from the two sources may not be directly comparable: the introduction of SHBE has improved the accuracy of HB/CTB statistics as it is based on individual claimant records rather than summary statistics, has a higher completion rate from Local Authorities leading to less estimation of missing data, and is subject to more thorough quality assurance.
6. Data for 2008 onwards are published at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/hb_ctb/index.php?page=hbctb_arc.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they will put forward in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to press for follow-up action by the Government of Russia on the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of Shafiyeva v Russia with respect to the investigation in that case and the procedural violation of Article 2 that was found.[HL190]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): At Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Human Rights meetings we have urged Russia to demonstrate concrete progress on the implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgments. The judgment in the Shafiyeva v Russia case is not yet final. Therefore the Committee of Ministers is not yet engaged on this particular case.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to ensure that organised and properly authorised school and college parties are not adversely delayed on entering the United Kingdom for educational visits; and what training is given to staff at entry ports relating to these visits.[HL561]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): School groups are subject to the same checks as all other passengers at the UK Border. They are required to produce evidence of their nationality and to have their identity verified by a Border officer, although a concession is in place which allows properly authorised UK and EU school and college parties to use group passports.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what instructions are given to staff at entry ports regarding visits to the United Kingdom by properly authorised school and college parties which include students with non-European Union passports.[HL562]
Lord Henley: There is an EU agreement between all member states whereby all third country visa national school children resident in another member state are allowed to travel to the UK without obtaining a visa, providing that they attend a general education school, travel as part of an organised school group, be accompanied by a teacher; and that their names are included on the officially approved list of travellers form to be obtained by schools. Guidance on this agreement is available to all Border Force officers.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Statistics for the number of children under 18 that have been placed in immigration detention at airports since 16 December 2010 are not collected centrally.
The Home Office publishes statistics on children in detention, but these exclude short-term holding rooms at ports and airports (for less than 24 hours). These data on children in detention can be found at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/child-detention-apr2012
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many judgments have been given during the past three years in which (1) the First-tier Tribunal, (2) the Upper Tribunal, (3) the Court of Appeal, and (4) the Supreme Court, have (a) dismissed, or (b) upheld, the UK Border Agency's decision to detain an individual.[HL404]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The UK Border Agency does not hold central records of the information requested. To obtain this information, from the period of time specified, would require a manual check of case files and appeal judgments, which would incur disproportionate costs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals (1) who claim to have been tortured, (2) who claim to have mental health problems, and (3) about whom mental health problems have been observed, have been placed in immigration detention in each of the past three years or are currently in immigration detention.[HL405]
Lord Henley: The information requested is not recorded centrally and could only be provided by examination of individual records at disproportionate cost. Specifically in relation to mental health conditions, this information is held on an individual's medical file, which is confidential.
Each detainee is seen by a nurse within two hours of arrival at an immigration removal centre. They are then given an appointment to see a GP within 24 hours, unless the nurse considers an earlier examination is required.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals have (1) died, (2) committed suicide, and (3) attempted suicide while in immigration detention or during removal in each of the past three years.[HL406]
The information provided for incidents of self-harm requiring medical treatment is based on management information only and has not been subject to the detailed checks that apply for National Statistics publications. These figures are provisional and subject to change.
The UK Border Agency takes the safety of those in our care very seriously, and operates a system called Assessment Care in Detention and Teamwork (ACDT) to identify and help those who are at risk of suicide or self-harm. Notices in various languages are displayed around immigration removal centres setting out that, where there is a concern about a fellow detainee, this should be brought to the attention of a member of staff.
Lord Henley: The UK Border Agency provides standards specifications on the construction of new holding room facilities to all airport operators, and advises on the accommodation and security requirements for a holding room.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many persons entered immigration or asylum detention in 2010, 2011 and in 2012 to date; what were the average and median lengths of detention; and whether they will appoint an independent auditor of detention, with full rights of access.[HL439]
Lord Henley: Published detention figures relate to those detained solely under Immigration Act powers, and exclude both those detained for criminal purposes and those who are detained under both criminal and
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The Home Office releases statistics on detention, solely under Immigration Act powers, including length of detention on those leaving detention (dt.05 and dt.05.q) and as at the last day of each quarter (dt.09.q), on a quarterly basis, within the latest release "Immigration Statistics January-March 2012", available from the Home Office's Science, Research and Statistics website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science- research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-tabs-q1-2012/detention-q1-2012-tabs.
Immigration detention facilities are subject to independent oversight by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, who has a statutory responsibility for the UK Border Agency's immigration removal centres (IRCs), short-term holding facilities and the role of escorts. The inspectorate undertakes both announced and unannounced inspections. An Independent Monitoring Board also operates in each IRC and reports on the way in which they and short term holding facilities are run, in particular on detainee welfare issues.
Lord Henley: There are existing procedures and safeguards in place, but these are being tightened by a range of measures to improve Rule 35 processes. This includes improved written instructions, with a revised asylum casework instruction and detention services order pending publication, and training for medical practitioners, other healthcare staff working in immigration removal centres and case owners. After full implementation of these revised measures, the agency will review compliance, quality and performance through an internal audit.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the reported statement by Mr Brian Moore, head of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), that he would be content for travellers entering the United Kingdom during the Olympic Games to wait for up to four hours at UKBA checkpoints. [HL238]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): During Mr Moore's appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) on 22 May 2012, he stated that he does not anticipate seeing two, three or four hour queues during the Olympics and that we are well-prepared for the Olympics, with additional staff available for busy periods.
I can confirm that the UK Border Force is fully prepared to cope with busy periods during the Olympic period and will be implementing our well rehearsed plans-these have been used before, and are tried and tested. The UK Border Force will ensure that all immigration desks at Heathrow, and key ports and airports in the south-east, are staffed whenever necessary during peak arrival periods. Planning started nearly two years ago. The plans have been reviewed and agreed at the highest levels of government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that cuts and changes in staffing in the UK Border Agency have had any impact on the length of queues and waiting times at border control at Heathrow airport.[HL427]
Lord Henley: The service standards are to clear 95% of European Economic Area (EEA) passengers within 25 minutes and 95% of non-EEA passengers within 45 minutes. The latest data shows that 97% of passengers sampled were cleared within these service standards in 2011-12 as compared with 98% cleared within service standards in 2010-11.
A link to this published data is given below: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/clearance-of-passengers/.
There have been a few occasions recently where queue lengths reached unacceptable levels. However, the vast majority of passengers do pass through our borders quickly. Whilst we will not compromise on border security, we always aim to keep disruption to a minimum by using our staff as flexibly as possible to meet demand, and to cope with unexpected surges in arrivals which are sometimes caused by factors beyond our control.
We have taken immediate action to improve our operational response at the border. This includes the flexible redeployment of frontline staff, the use of 24/7 mobile teams and the development of a new control room at Heathrow to ensure we can co-ordinate our frontline activity as effectively as possible.
These are available in the Vote Office and the most recent report, covering 2010, is at: www.ipt-uk.com/docs/Interception_of_Communications_2406.pdf.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Where a Head of State is subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant we urge all states to co-operate with the ICC and we work with key partners to enforce the warrant. Should the Head of State seek to evade arrest we would ensure that contact was kept to a minimum for essential reasons only.
The UK develops economic and diplomatic polices in order to maintain relations with countries as a whole and not simply to maintain relationships with Governments or individual Heads of State. To inform
11 Jun 2012 : Column WA201
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many complaints were made to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, and how many were successful, in each
11 Jun 2012 : Column WA202
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Information regarding the number of complaints made to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal is publicly available and set out in its annual report for 2010, which contains the number of complaints made annually since 2001, and the rulings and outcomes of those complaints made in 2010. The report will be placed in the Library and can be found at: http://www.ipt-uk.com/docs/IPTAnnualReportFINAL.PDF.
Further detail of cases which the tribunal has found in favour of complainants can be found on the IPT website at: www.ipt-uk.com
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the latest round of international sanctions on Iran is working effectively to dissuade the Government of Iran from pursuing a nuclear enrichment programme.[HL494]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We believe that the dual track process-pressure in the form of robust sanctions, and engagement in the form of negotiations-offers the best chance of achieving a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue. Recent sanctions have slowed the Iranian nuclear programme and brought pressure to bear on the Iranian regime to negotiate with the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany. Sanctions will only be lifted in response to genuine and significant steps by Iran to address the international community's concerns. Until we see those steps, we will keep up the pressure on Iran through sanctions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Iraq about the continued detention of the Lebanese citizen Mr Ali Daqduq after his acquittal by a court. [HL366]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government are aware of the recent decision to acquit Mr Ali Daqduq by an Iraqi court for allegations of terrorism. We understand that he currently remains in detention awaiting the outcome of an appeal against this decision. As Mr Daqduq is not a British citizen, the Government are not in a position to make representations on his behalf. We do, however, make regular representations to the Government of Iraq to ensure that all those in detention have access to legal counsel and a fair trial.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Iraq about allegations by Human Rights Watch regarding a secret prison in the Green Zone in central Baghdad where persons are held without charge and subjected to torture.[HL367]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We are aware of recent allegations about secret prisons operating in Baghdad and our ambassador to Iraq discussed the issue with the spokesman for the Iraqi Prime Minister's office on 17 May. However, we are not aware or have seen any concrete evidence that these allegations are correct. We regularly make representations to the Government of Iraq on a range of issues of concern to us. We will continue to do this.
Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK is aware of allegations made by the Al-Iraqiya List of torture in Iraqi prisons. We are unable to comment on the substance of the allegations which are properly for the Iraqi courts to address. We do, however, remain concerned over allegations of torture and mistreatment in Iraqi prisons. We regularly raise these concerns with the
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Iraq about allegations from Sulaymaniyah that the Jihadist Muslim Movement has threatened the Kurdish residents of Jalawla in Diyala province, causing the majority of them to leave.[HL391]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK is aware of media reports alleging forceful displacement of Kurdish residents from the Jalawa district. We have raised the issue with the Kurdistan Regional Government, who made no official comment. We will continue to monitor the situation around Iraq's disputed internal boundaries. We support the United Nations's disputed internal boundaries work, and continue to raise the need for Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and Erbil to engage in constructive dialogue.
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions, when and with whom they have raised with the Government of Israel the human rights, humanitarian, international law and political consequences of the military detention of children and young people.[HL313]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We discuss Israel's policies on arrest and detention regularly, most recently in the past month with the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the National Security Council, the Israeli Prison Service and the office of the Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
We remain concerned about the treatment of Palestinian children under the Israeli military court system. We continue to lobby the Israeli authorities for improvements, including a reduction in the number of arrests that occur at night, an end to shackling and the introduction of audio-visual recording of interrogations.
We welcomed Israel's decision of 4 October 2011 to raise the age of legal majority for Palestinian children in the Israeli military justice system, a step we had advocated. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), raised the implementation of this decision with the Israel Ambassador on 23 February.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are making representations to the Government of Israel about the reported permission granted to conduct hydrocarbon exploration in the occupied Golan Heights, and about the compatibility of such exploration with the Fourth Geneva Convention. [HL392]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We regularly raise with the Israeli authorities their obligations under international law. While our officials in Israel are aware of these allegations, our lobbying of the Israeli Government focuses on the most urgent issues, including those that pose the greatest threat to the Middle East peace process or to the lives of ordinary citizens in the region. This specific issue has not been raised with the Israeli authorities.
Lord Howell of Guildford: While our officials in Israel are aware of these reports, our lobbying of the Israeli Government focuses on the most urgent issues including those that pose the greatest threat to the Middle East peace process or to the lives of ordinary citizens in the region. This specific issue has not been raised with the Israeli authorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 30 April (WA 401), whether the financing agreement requires Israel to spend money provided by the European Union without discrimination towards Arab Israelis or Palestinians in the Occupied Territories; and whether they have discussed any evidence of failure to avoid discrimination with the Government of Israel.[HL472]
Baroness Northover: The financing agreement under the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan does not specifically mention the need for Israel to treat Israeli Arabs in the same manner as Jewish Israelis. However, the Action Plan does include references to promoting and protecting the rights of minorities, including enhancing political, economic, social and cultural opportunities for all citizens and lawful residents.
To maintain its status as a functional democracy it is essential that Israel behaves consistently toward all its citizens including the sizeable Arab minority. The UK makes this clear in its bilateral contact with Israeli officials and ministers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 28 March (WA 271), whether they will amend the immigration rules to prevent entry to the United Kingdom of Israeli citizens who have illegally settled on land in Occupied Palestinian Territories and any officials or Ministers who have allowed or encouraged such settlements.[HL476]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Israeli citizens who hold a valid travel document and meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules are allowed to enter the UK regardless of their area of residence. There are no current plans to amend the Immigration Rules.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning the Israeli Defence Force's use of high velocity tear gas canisters and injuries caused to demonstrators.[HL540]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt) and our ambassador to Tel Aviv have regularly raised the need for full investigation of incidents of injuries and deaths caused by Israeli Defence Force action, including the tragic death of Mr Tamimi, killed by a tear-gas canister fired by an Israeli soldier during a non-violent protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on 9 December 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they will make to the Government of Israel concerning their order on 25 April to Palestinian farmers in the Wadi Qana area of the West Bank to uproot olive trees.[HL241]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware that nine farmers in the village of Deir Istiya in the West Bank have received orders from the Israeli authorities to uproot 1,400 olive trees planted in private land which they farm within the Wadi Qana valley. We understand the Israeli military authorities have designated the area as a national reserve. We also note the particular sensitivities around olive trees, given their status as a national symbol and the sole source of income for many Palestinian farmers.
Our embassy in Tel Aviv has raised our concerns over these orders with the relevant Israeli authorities, in particular the office of the Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, as well as with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have emphasised that actions taken by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories must be in compliance with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential impact on the Palestinian economy in the West Bank of recent efforts by some trade unions to boycott trade with Israel.[HL377]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We have not made an assessment of the potential impact on the Palestinian economy of a possible boycott of Israeli trade by some trade unions in the UK. We believe that imposing sanctions on Israel or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts would lessen our influence, not increase it, and would do nothing to promote the peace process.
The key economic constraints on the West Bank are Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinian people and goods internally and externally, and on access to natural resources. These restrictions have meant that the Occupied Palestinian Territories are dependent on foreign aid to prevent a humanitarian crisis and to allow the Palestinian Authority to deliver basic services. The West Bank has recently experienced an increase in economic growth due to a slight lifting of the restrictions in 2010 and 2011 and high aid flows. However, this is from a very low baseline.
The Department for International Development provides technical and financial assistance to the Occupied Palestinian Territories in order to promote economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza. The UK will provide £349 million in support of Palestinian development between 2011-15.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of legislation in Israel which would legalise property built on private Palestinian land; what representations they have made to the Government of Israel regarding proposals for new houses situated near Gilo, east of the Green Line; and whether they will raise both matters with the Quartet.[HL393]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We have consistently made clear that Israel should be removing-not legalising-illegal outposts, in line with its Roadmap commitments. On 24 April, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) released a statement strongly condemning the Israeli Government's decision to legalise three outposts in the West Bank (Bruchin, Rechelim and Sansana). The Foreign Secretary made clear that this decision set a dangerous precedent for future outposts and risked sending the message that Israel was not serious about its commitment to the two-state solution. He called on Israel to rescind this decision.
The Foreign Secretary most recently raised concerns about Israel's settlement policy during the visit in May 2012 of the Israeli National Security Adviser. Our ambassador to Tel Aviv has also raised our concerns about settlements and legalising outposts with senior Israeli officials, including proposals for Gilo and draft legislation on authorising the compulsory purchase of private land for settlement building that is .currently pending before the Knesset.
We have regular discussions with European and Quartet partners with regards to the issues of Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. On 14 May, the European Union Foreign Affairs Council issued conclusions that expressed concern at Israel's settlement policy and decisions regarding the status of certain outposts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to the Government of Israel about the transfer of Palestinian child prisoners to detention facilities located in Israel, in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and about the ability of families to visit those children, in the light of travel restrictions.[HL536]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We remain concerned about the treatment of Palestinian children under the Israeli military court system. We continue to lobby the Israeli authorities for improvements, including a reduction in the number of arrests that occur at night, an end to shackling and the introduction of audio-visual recording of interrogations. We also regularly raise the issue of visitation rights for all detainees. We have not recently raised the specific issue of the transfer of Palestinian child prisoners to detention facilities in Israel.
In addition to our lobbying of the Israeli authorities, the UK is supporting research into this issue by leading UK and international lawyers; a report is due to be issued soon. We have also funded the work of Defence for Children International and No Legal Frontiers on the rights of Palestinian child detainees.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they have conducted on the make-up of a possible two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict; and whether that research assumes that Arab-Israelis who are currently citizens of Israel would remain in a future Jewish state or be transferred to the new state of Palestine.[HL537]
Lord Howell of Guildford: It is the policy of the United Kingdom to support a negotiated two-state solution. This involves helping to create the conditions that allow us to encourage the parties to reach an agreement through direct negotiations, including through the auspices of the Middle East Quartet. We are clear that a sustainable two-state solution must involve a viable Palestinian State existing beside a safe and secure Israel. We aim to keep up to date with the various formal and informal proposals for resolving the conflict. However, it is important not to pre-judge the outcome of negotiations. With respect to Arab Israelis living in Israel, we expect their rights to be respected as is the case with any other Israeli citizen. Final status negotiations would determine whether other options were available to them in a two-state solution.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not conducted its own internal research into the make-up of a possible two-state solution. The Geneva Initiative, probably the most comprehensive Track Two attempt to date to outline a two state solution, came to the conclusion that Arab Israelis would likely remain in Israel. Most recently in 2011, the Washington Institute conducted a comprehensive piece of research on this issue which outlined five possible options for the make-up of the two states. One of the five options outlined what the two states would look like in the event Arab Israelis became part of a Palestinian state.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are taking action to protect the water and sanitation projects for communities living in caves around Hebron funded by the United Kingdom from being destroyed by the Israeli Defence Force.[HL539]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The fair and effective distribution of shared water resources across the Middle East is of great concern to us. We remain concerned about demolitions of Palestinian property in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including water and sanitation projects. We continue to urge Israel to desist from such demolitions, which we consider to be contrary to Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law; harmful to the peace process; as well as causing unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians.
The UK is focused on preventing demolitions in the first place. We are working with other European Union member states to make clear to Israel the need for significant streamlining of the procedure for Palestinians to gain planning permission in Israeli controlled areas of the West Bank and the need to halt all demolitions until a more effective process is in place. We will continue to lobby the Israeli Government, bilaterally and with European Union partners, on the issue of demolitions and related human rights concerns.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Israel concerning the democratic right to peaceful protest, in the light of the report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (occupied Palestinian territory), stating that in April 131 Palestinians were injured in demonstrations, and that the monthly average of people hit with tear gas canisters was almost twice the rate of 2011.[HL541]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The Government support the general right to peaceful protest everywhere, including Palestinians' legitimate right to protest non-violently against the occupation. We have taken note of the incidents recorded in the regular reports of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. We urge all parties to ensure that everything is done to avoid violent clashes and casualties.
Baroness Northover: The UK is supporting the UN Relief and Works Agency to provide essential services to refugees living in Area C of the West Bank and the
11 Jun 2012 : Column WA209
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have raised with the governments concerned the possibility of arranging independent arbitration for the disputed Shebaa farms lying between Lebanon, Israel and Syria.[HL522]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We welcome the respect by all parties of the current ceasefire on the Israel-Lebanon border. Our long-standing position is to urge all the governments concerned to conduct negotiations towards achieving a permanent peace, settling all outstanding border disputes including the Shebaa farms. We also urge both countries to fulfil all their obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 and to avoid any provocative actions. We are clear that peace in the Middle East cannot be complete without peace between Lebanon and Israel, and between Syria and Israel.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made regarding the formal investigation of the circumstances of the escape from custody of John Anslow and Andrew Farndon in January 2012; and when they expect to publish the report and recommendations.[HL428]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Prison Service investigations into both incidents have now been completed and the recommendations made as a result of those inquiries are being implemented. Criminal investigations into both cases continue; to ensure that these are not compromised, there are no plans at present to release the Prison Service reports in their entirety. It is anticipated that suitable summaries of the investigations, agreed with the police and which reflect the gist of the reports, will be placed in the House Library before Summer Recess.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what permission is required, and what agreements have to be sought, for a bail hostel to be designated as a hostel for prisoners released on licence; and, in those circumstances, whether a change of use has to be sought to any existing agreements.[HL430]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Under section 13 of the Offender Management Act 2007, any premises can be approved by the Secretary of State-"an approved premises"-for the provision of accommodation for people granted bail in criminal proceedings, or for or in connection with the supervision or rehabilitation of offenders. No separate authorisation is needed to allow an approved premises to accommodate licensees as distinct from bailees.
No new approved premises have been developed since the commencement of the Offender Management Act 2007. If a new one were to be developed, planning permission would be needed as well as Secretary of State authorisation. A new detailed specification and manual for approved premises services were issued last year and will form the basis for the commissioning of any new approved premises in future. A process for approving any new premises in accordance with the specification will be developed to support the introduction of commissioning.
Lord McNally: The average cost of running an Approved Premises across England and Wales in 2010-11 was £583,000. This is the most recent year for which we have separate figures. Approved Premises are no longer funded separately from other probation operations and to distinguish current spending on them would incur disproportionate cost.
The cost of running an Approved Premises does not depend on the number of beds. This is because all Approved Premises, regardless of size, are required to have at least two staff on duty at all times, and will generally have more than that during daylight hours. Staff costs comprise the majority of Approved Premises costs, so the overall cost tends to be uniform across the country, apart from London.
There is no optimum number of staff. Trusts and independent Approved Premises operators are free to set their own staff complement and skills, provided they can meet the requirements of the Approved Premises Specification.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessments have been conducted of the effect of a suspect on bail being placed in an Approved Premises with a prisoner released on licence; and whether this is considered to be an appropriate placement.[HL432]
Lord McNally: All referrals to Approved Premises include consideration of risk to the person being referred from other residents, and risk to other residents from the person being referred. There is no assumption that either offenders on licence or bailees as a group automatically present greater risks to other residents. A referral will not go ahead and other accommodation will be found instead if the risks cannot be managed effectively.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they intend to make to enable the youngest and most vulnerable people to travel to youth courts outside Chorley in the event that Chorley Youth Court is closed.[HL221]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): There is a requirement in respect of all children and young people under the age of 17 to be accompanied at all court hearings by a responsible adult, and therefore those below that age should not be travelling alone to and from court. This would usually require at least one or preferably both parents or the child's legal guardian to accompany his/her/their son or daughter to court. Any looked-after child would be the responsibility of the relevant local authority, e.g. Lancashire County Council.
Any child or young person who is detained by the police and considered to be vulnerable may be detained in police custody as a place of safety for his/her own protection, pending his/her being brought before the next sitting of the Youth Court.
Vulnerable children and young people will continue to be protected in this way although some children and young persons will be required to travel a longer distance to the Youth Court at Preston Magistrates' Court, in the future. However, there is no empirical evidence that demonstrates that youths would be substantially affected if these proposals were introduced. For those residing closer to Preston it would be a benefit. For those living further away, and assuming that they would travel through Chorley, it would mean minimal additional travelling time. Under the proposals, almost all of Lancashire will be no more than circa 10 miles from a Youth Court venue.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Lebanon in relation to their implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 regarding the Israeli-Lebanese border area.[HL493]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have regular discussions with the governments of Lebanon and Israel on the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1701 and 1559. Whilst
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they concur with the assessment of the Church Urban Fund that life expectancy for people living in the most deprived parishes is up to 20 years lower than for those in affluent parishes.[HL507]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Question asking whether we concur with the assessment of the Church Urban Fund that life expectancy for people living in the most deprived parishes is up to 20 years lower than for those in affluent parishes [HL507].
The life expectancy figures presented in the Church Urban Fund's online tool are based on life expectancy at birth for wards in England and Wales for the period 1999-2003. These figures are produced by ONS and are available at: www ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health4/life-expec-birth-wards-eng-wal/index.html.
There are very large differences between the highest and lowest life expectancy estimates at ward level. Many of these extreme life expectancies are outlying values that may be a product of local factors, such as a high care home population. Such factors cause a degree of uncertainty around the estimate, which is indicated using confidence intervals For example, for females the ward with the lowest life expectancy in 1999-2003 was East Dean, with a life expectancy of 69.8 years at birth. However, the confidence intervals range from 51.8 years to 87.9 years. Due to the level of uncertainty around ward level estimates, it is important to consider the size of the confidence intervals when making comparisons between areas.
ONS publishes life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for England by area deprivation quintile The most recent figures, for the period 2006-09, show that life expectancy at birth estimates range from 73.3 to 81.4 years for males and 78.9 to 84.5 years for females between areas in the most deprived quintile
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Lithuania about the honouring of Juozas Ambrazevicius, the head of the Lithuanian Provisional Government in 1941.[HL585]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has raised this matter with the Lithuanian Government. We will continue to talk to them about minority rights and post-Holocaust issues.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 1 May (WA 459-60), what assessment they have made of the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) conclusion that International Passenger Survey (IPS) figures are the most appropriate source for the calculation of migration figures, given the difference between the ONS Annual Population Survey figure of the increase in the Romanian-born population in the United Kingdom between 2007 and 2010, and the IPS figure used to calculate the Long-Term International Migration assessment of the number of Romanians migrating to the United Kingdom. [HL311]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question, To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 1 May (WA 459-60), what assessment they have made of the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) conclusion that International Passenger Survey (IPS) figures are the most appropriate source for the calculation of migration figures, given the difference between the ONS Annual Population Survey figure of the increase in the Romanian-born population in the United Kingdom between 2007 and 2010, and the IPS figure used to calculate the Long-Term International Migration assessment of the number of Romanians migrating to the United Kingdom [HL311].
As detailed in PQ response HL1694, we have made an assessment of the different sources of data on international migration and published a report, available at the following link: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/migration1/population-by-country-of-birth-and-nationality/sources-of-international-migration-data/differences-between-sources-of-international-migration-data.pdf.
We concluded that the International Passenger Survey (IPS) is currently the most appropriate source for the calculation of long-term international migration based on the UN definition of a long-term migrant, which states that a long-term migrant is a person who changes his or her country of usual residence for a period of at least a year.
We have looked at the Annual Population Survey (APS), but concluded that it is not an appropriate measure of long-term migration flows as it measures "stocks" of migrants and does not differentiate between long and short-term migrants.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of recent fatalities on Mount Everest and the number of British citizens attempting to climb the mountain, whether they will make representations to the Government of Nepal regarding the number of licences granted to expeditions.[HL524]
Papers for this meeting can be found at the following link, along with a live web feed at www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Yes. Under the proposals set out in Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, and enshrined in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, clinical commissioning groups will have the freedom to decide which commissioning activities they do themselves and those, if any, that they choose to buy in from external organisations, including National Health Service entities, local authorities, private and voluntary sector bodies.
Earl Howe: A large number of private finance initiative (PFI) schemes were let under the previous Government, and these entail significant long-term financial commitments for local National Health Service budgets. A small number of these schemes were procured by primary care trusts (PCTs), based on their assessment of the service needs of their populations.
In preparation for the abolition of PCTs in April 2013, plans are being developed to transfer all PCTs' contractual obligations to other bodies. However, the destination for PCTs' obligations under PFI contracts remains under consideration.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, over the last 12-month period for which figures are available, on how many occasions on which an ambulance crew were instructed to stand off pending the arrival of the police, the police took (1) more than 30 minutes, and (2) more than 1 hour, to arrive; and on how many occasions they did not arrive at all.[HL605]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the efficacy of whistle-blowing procedures with regard to Serco's operation of out-of-hours general practitioner services in Cornwall. [HL610]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This Government have made no assessment of Serco's whistleblowing procedures. The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) forms part of the wider employment rights legislation and gives legal protection to all staff (employees and workers as defined in PIDA) who make disclosures in the public interest, providing they follow the procedures set out in it. PIDA applies to all staff working in the National Health Service.
Although PIDA does not require organisations to set up whistleblowing policies and procedures, it does provide an impetus for doing so. Guidance issued by the department in 2003, and further updated in 2010, Speak up for a Healthy NHS, made clear that NHS organisations should put in place local policies and procedures that comply with the Act and set out minimum requirements for such policies. A copy of this guidance has been placed in the Library. A letter reminding all trusts of their obligations in respect of PIDA was issued by the department in January 2012.
I understand that the primary care trust cluster's medical director and executive nurse will be writing to Serco's medical director and to all out-of-hours clinicians reminding them of whistleblowing policies and of their duty to raise concerns where patient safety issues are identified or suspected.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The provision of local health services is the responsibility of the local National Health Service. The department does not keep a record of the number of services that have been decommissioned or restricted by primary care trusts.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The turnover figures for National Health Service staff are published monthly. However, these figures do not separately identify the NHS staff responsible for monitoring care quality.
The quality and safety of care being provided to NHS patients is paramount to this Government. The modernisation of the NHS will improve the quality and safety of care being delivered and deliver outcomes among the best in the world.
The Government have made it clear that quality of care is the ultimate responsibility of the leadership within providers. Organisations providing NHS care must monitor the quality and safety of care during the transition and in the new system.
The National Quality Board has issued guidance on what good governance for quality looks like (March 2011); how quality should be maintained during the transition (March 2011); and how organisations should hand over information about the quality of services being delivered (May 2012).
Earl Howe: The Appointments Commission has confirmed that that this was an open competition and complied with the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made towards fulfilling the undertaking given in the context of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that existing nuclear powers would prioritise the reduction and elimination of their own stocks of nuclear weapons.[HL300]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK has made particularly strong progress in fulfilling our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) disarmament obligations, for example announcing in 2010 that we would reduce our overall nuclear weapon stockpile to no more than 180 warheads. The reductions in United States of America and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons through the new START treaty (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) represent important progress towards our shared long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The UK looks forward to discussing further concrete measures towards nuclear disarmament with the other NPT-recognised nuclear-weapon states (the five permanent members of the United National Security Council-the P5) at the third P5 conference in Washington in June.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to promote the case for nuclear weapons-free zones in the world, particularly in the Middle East; and how they view the nuclear potential of Israel in this context.[HL301]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We attach great importance to nuclear weapons-free zones. They make a valuable contribution to reducing the number of nuclear weapons worldwide. The UK has signed and ratified protocols in respect of three nuclear weapons-free zones, granting treaty-based negative security assurances to almost 100 countries. There was also recent agreement between the P5 (the five permanent members of the United Security Council) and the Association of South East Asian Nations on the P5 protocol to the south-east Asia nuclear weapons-free zone.
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