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Written Question
Trade Agreements: Mexico
15 Jul 2021

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

What plans she has to enhance the UK’s trade deal with Mexico.

Answered by Greg Hands

We have committed to start negotiations on a new upgraded trade deal with Mexico this year. Discussions will commence later in the year and will aim to secure even more benefits for British industries and go further in areas of mutual interest such as procurement, digital trade and service.


Written Question
Research: Government Assistance
25 May 2021

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

What steps his Department is taking to support UK research and development.

Answered by Amanda Solloway

We have committed to investing £14.9 billion in R&D in 2021/22, meaning Government R&D spending is now at its highest level in four decades.

We are working to ensure the benefits are felt nationwide, with our UK Innovation Strategy and R&D Places Strategy due to be published this summer.


Written Question
Apprentices: Standards
21 May 2021

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the recent decision to replace the mandatory qualification for the laboratory technician apprenticeship with a requirement for theoretical knowledge, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that standards for apprenticeships are consistent across the science sector.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

This is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked its Chief Executive, Jennifer Coupland, to write to the honourable member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Written Question
Apprentices: Standards
21 May 2021

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the recent decision to replace the mandatory qualification for the laboratory technician apprenticeship with a requirement for theoretical knowledge, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) that apprenticeship delivers sufficient scientific knowledge and skills for apprentices and (b) the career progression of apprentices is not adversely affected by that decision.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

This is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked its Chief Executive, Jennifer Coupland, to write to the honourable member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Written Question
Overseas Trade: India
25 Feb 2021

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

What steps she is taking to strengthen the UK’s trade relationship with India.

Answered by Elizabeth Truss

Earlier this month I visited India to deepen trade ties and agree a pathway towards a future FTA with the world’s biggest democracy. A closer partnership with India will help us lead the world in areas like science, tech and the green economy, driving jobs and growth across the UK.


Written Question
Health Services: Artificial Intelligence
1 Feb 2021

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to promote the use of (a) the quality and outcomes framework and (b) other incentive models to ensure the adequate uptake of proven AI health technologies at a local level.

Answered by Nadine Dorries

The National Health Service Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory was set up in 2019 to support the safe and ethical development and deployment of AI across health and care. The AI in Health and Care Awards will channel £140 million of funding to AI innovation.

The NHS AI Laboratory, is also developing the evidence base for technologies and providing guidance on best practice.


Written Question
Telemedicine
29 Jan 2021

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to strengthen outpatient care online to ensure that appropriate patients and clinicians have access to remote diagnostics alongside remote consultation.

Answered by Nadine Dorries

The first four phases of the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care award included innovations in remote diagnostics, including the Neuronostics Limited smartphone-based app which can receive EEG recordings from wireless headsets to assist with assessing epilepsy treatment; Senti Tech Limited’s project enabling remote chest examination for respiratory patients through sensors embedded into a jacket; and Healthy.io (UK) Limited’s smartphone albuminuria self-test, which uses a home test kit and a mobile app to allow patients to self-test at home with clinical grade results.


Written Question
Urinary Tract Infections: Diagnosis
26 Jan 2021

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether PHE plans to update its guidance on UTIs to recommend the use of a dipstick to diagnose UTI patients with suggestive symptoms and to reflect Scotland’s guidance SIGN 88: Management of suspected bacterial urinary tract infection in adults.

Answered by Edward Argar

The Public Health England (PHE) diagnostic urinary tract infection (UTI) guidance was last updated in October 2020 and will be reviewed again in November 2021. The current guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/urinary-tract-infection-diagnosis

PHE recommends dipstick testing in patients with one or fewer of the key UTI diagnostic symptoms (new nocturia, dysuria, or cloudy urine). The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network approach recommends using dipsticks in a slightly larger subset of patients. PHE will keep the emerging evidence on dipstick use within UTI diagnosis under review in order to inform future guidance updates.


Written Question
Farmers: Coronavirus
19 May 2020

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

What steps he is taking to support farmers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

Defra took early steps to support farmers, by designating them as key workers and temporarily relaxing drivers’ hours rules. We have worked with banks to help farmers access financial support measures outline by the Chancellor, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

We have supported dairy farmers by announcing a fund in England to help those affected by the loss of the food service sector. We have also temporarily relaxed competition law rules. We are working with AHDB and Diary UK, who have launched a new £1 million campaign to drive consumption of milk. A similar campaign is promoting beef. We are also ensuring that farmers and growers are able to recruit the workers that they require as we approach the busy harvest months.


Written Question
Ageing: Research
31 Oct 2019

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding is being invested by UKRI in understanding the biological mechanisms of ageing.

Answered by Chris Skidmore

Through the Ageing Society Grand Challenge (ASGC), the Government has set an ambitious mission to “ensure that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035”.

UKRI is a key part in addressing this Challenge. We have announced £98m of funding for healthcare innovation to support healthy aging, through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and £69.5 million through UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund to unlock new treatments that allow people to lead healthier and longer lives.

In 2018/19, UKRI spent £81.9m on a huge breadth of healthy ageing research. Within this, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC) are the main funders of research into the biological mechanism of ageing. In 2017/18:

  • MRC spent £39.1m on research directly related to ageing, as part of this, £14.9m was specifically for research directly relating to the biological mechanisms of ageing.
  • BBSRC spent £16.8m on research that covers the biological mechanisms for ageing.


Written Question
Pharmacy
29 Oct 2019

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

What steps he is taking to improve community pharmacies.

Answered by Jo Churchill

In July, we set out plans in our landmark five-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework deal. This outlined our ambition for community pharmacies to be fully integrated in to the National Health Service, support patients get the best from their medicines and provide advice to the public to help them stay healthy for longer.

As part of this, today we have launched a new national service referring patients suffering from minor illness to our highly-skilled community pharmacists through NHS 111.


Written Question
Immigration
28 Oct 2019

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

What plans she has for the UK’s future immigration system.

Answered by Brandon Lewis

Our vision is for a truly global nation – where we welcome the brightest and best.

We have been clear that we will introduce an Australian style points-based system, where it is the skills, talent and contribution people bring to the UK that matters – not where they come from.

That is why we have commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee as the first step in creating our new and fair immigration system.


Written Question
Exercise
22 Oct 2019

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Government targets for physical activity are accessible to all regardless of age, ability and current health.

Answered by Jo Churchill

The updated Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines for physical activity were published in September 2019. These guidelines provide recommendations and targets for different age groups and for people with disability. Interventions to meet these targets are designed and implemented by local authorities.


Written Question
Health: Older People
22 Oct 2019

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to meet the Government’s ageing society target of five extra healthier, more independent years of life as identified in the Industrial Strategy.

Answered by Caroline Dinenage

Delivering the Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge will require complex systems thinking across a number of areas including housing, financial support, workforce as well as health and care. We are working with a range of partners across Government, industry, academia and the voluntary sector and we are taking steps in number of areas. These include building United Kingdom business awareness of the longevity economy and age-diverse workforce; supporting local places through Local Industrial Strategies to address the opportunities and challenges of an ageing society; and building research and innovation collaborations with international partners.


Written Question
Health: Older People
22 Oct 2019

Questioner: Stephen Metcalfe (CON - South Basildon and East Thurrock)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to incorporate research and evidence into healthy nutrition and physical activity into the Government’s ageing society target of five healthier, more independent years of life as identified in the Industrial Strategy.

Answered by Caroline Dinenage

The Department’s consultation document ‘Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s’, was published in July 2019. It sets out proposals to support the achievement of the Ageing Society Grand Challenge Mission for everyone to enjoy five extra years of healthy, independent living by 2035 whilst narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest.

‘Advancing our Health’ included the third chapter of the childhood obesity plan which sets out further measures to help meet our ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030. All chapters of the plan were informed by the latest research and emerging evidence, including from debates in Parliament and various reports from key stakeholders. We have also captured analysis from the National Institute for Health Research Obesity Policy Research Unit, which was established as part of the initial plan, through £5 million investment over five years.

Government nutrition advice is underpinned by the best available scientific evidence, which is regularly reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Committee for Nutrition. In the United Kingdom the Eatwell Guide represents current government recommendations on a healthy, balanced diet to promote long term health at a population level. The Eatwell Guide applies to most people over the age of five and is available to view at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/528193/Eatwell_guide_colour.pdf

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ physical activity guidelines published in September 2019 reflect the most up to date review of evidence for muscle and balance health. These guidelines provide recommendations and targets for different age groups and for people with disability.

‘Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s’ is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/advancing-our-health-prevention-in-the-2020s