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Mrs. Currie : A review of food legislation has been the subject of wide consultation over several years and the results were reported to Ministers. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 30 October 1987, announced that officials had been asked to review the proposals in the light of the response to consultation. The proposals under review include the suggestion that training in food hygiene should be mandatory for food handlers, along with other measures.

Such training is currently provided by the food industry itself, by local authorities and by professional bodies. Departmental officials keep in close contact with training bodies and advise where necessary.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his estimate of how many cases of food poisoning due to the bacteria listeria there have been in the last year for which figures are available ; whether there has been an increase or decrease in the incidence of such cases ; and what evidence there is that the cook-chill method of preparation encourages these bacteria to flourish.

Mr. Mellor : I am informed of one well-documented case of food- associated listeriosis in 1986. No such cases were reported in 1987. To date in 1988 there have been three cases. None of these was associated with the cook-chill system of catering. I am satisfied that provided the Department's guidelines on cook-chill catering are carefully followed, microbiologically sound food will be produced.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of food poisoning due to campylobacter there have been in the last year for which figures are available ; what indications there are as to whether the figures are declining or increasing ; and what evidence there is that refrigeration helps the bacteria to thrive in poultry and underdone meat.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : In most instances there is no evidence which specifically links individual reported cases of campylobacter infection with a particular food. In 1984 there were 20,861 laboratory reports of campylobacter enteritis. In 1987 this figure had increased to 25,900 and in a small proportion of these it was possible to identify a food vehicle. There is no evidence to show that the organism grows in food, refrigerated or otherwise.

Whitley Council

Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many appeals are currently being processed by the Whitley council procedures in (a) Sunderland health authority, (b) Hartlepool health authority and (c) Durham health authority.

Mr. Mellor : We do not hold this information centrally.

Midwifery Students

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many entrants for future student midwifery courses have withdrawn their application since 1 October.


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Mr. Mellor : We do not hold this information centrally.

Heart Transplant Programme

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom's heart transplant programme.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : The number of heart and heart-lung transplants carried out in the United Kingdom has grown significantly this year. In the period 1 January to 25 November 1988, 348 heart and heart-lung transplants were performed compared with 288 over the same period last year.

Revenue funding for the heart transplant programme will rise from £6.8 million in 1988-89 to £9.1 million in 1989-90, a cash increase of over one third. This will provide for about 50 extra heart and heart-lung transplants above current levels and for the follow-up of over 350 patients successfully transplanted in earlier years. Nearly £1 million of capital will be spent in 1989-90 on essential developments at the transplant centres. I shall also be asking the supra-regional services advisory group to advise me on the location of a fifth heart transplant which will receive central funding from April 1990.

This expanding programme, which is at the forefront of medical technology, shows the Government's determination to modernise and improve the NHS.

Opticians

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he can give information as to who was available to present evidence to the ophthalmic service committee of the Manchester family practitioner committee investigation referred to in his reply to the hon. Member for Oldham West, on 5 July, Official Report, columns 516-17.

Mr. Mellor : The ophthalmic service committee obtained written evidence from the patients and opticians involved and decided, in accordance with the National Health Service (Service Committees and Tribunal) Regulations 1974, that the investigation could be determined without a hearing.

Nursing Homes

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will consider the introduction of an arbitration officer to determine a fair level of fees for people in private residential and nursing homes.

Mrs. Currie : The level of fees charged in these homes is a matter between the proprietors and the residents, or whoever pays on the residents' behalf, and not one in which we would wish to intervene.

Prescription Charges

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish in the Official Report the prescription charges for patients who do not qualify for exemptions for each medicament included in the limited list.

Mr. Mellor : NHS patients must pay a prescription charge of £2.60 for each item prescribed at NHS expense unless they qualify for exemption. If a patient is given a private prescription for a drug or other product which is


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not available at NHS expense there is no prescription charge, but the patient must pay the pharmacist the full cost of the item supplied.

Artificial Hips

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many National Health Service artificial hip operations took place in the last year for which figures are available ; and what is the approximate average cost of this operation.

Mrs. Currie : We estimate that the number of total hip replacement and other arthroplasty of hip operations performed in NHS hospitals in England in 1986 was 40,000. The average cost of such operations is about £2,400 (1988-89 prices).

Wheelchairs

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what would be the approximate cost of providing powered outdoor wheelchairs for all boys suffering from muscular dystrophy ; (2) what representations he has received regarding the provision of powered outdoor wheelchairs for boys suffering from muscular dystrophy ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : Most boys with muscular dystrophy would probably need a wheelchair for certain periods of their life. On the best information available, and depending on the type of wheelchair provided, the approximate cost may be in the region of £ million--£1 million. We have received no representations on this issue.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what is the latest estimate of the additional cost of providing a powered wheelchair that could be used outside and inside instead of just inside ;

(2) how many powered wheelchairs are currently on issue through the wheelchair service ; and what is the estimated number of those using powered indoor wheelchairs who would benefit from having a powered wheelchair that could also be used outside ;

(3) which aspects of wheelchair provision are now being handled by the regions and which remain the responsibility of the Disablement Services Authority.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the annual amount allocated to the Disablement Services Authority ; and what proportion of this amount is available for the improvement of appliances, and in particular, for improved wheelchairs.

Mr. Mellor : These are matters for the Disablement Services Authority, to which the right hon. Member should address questions.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the annual expenditure in each of the last five years on wheelchair provision ; what has been the percentage increase each year ; and what has been the percentage annual increase in expenditure on all health provision.

Mr. Mellor : The annual expenditure in each of the last five financial years on wheelchairs provision plus the percentage increases is as follows :


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Financial year |£             |Per cent.                    

------------------------------------------------------------

1983-84        |22,210,329    |-                            

1984-85        |24,592,517    |10.72                        

1985-86        |25,863,573    |5.16                         

1986-87        |27,265,645    |5.42                         

1987-88        |29,413,356    |7.87                         

National Health Service gross expenditure percentage annual increase on all health provision in England is as follows :


           |Cash terms|Real terms           

--------------------------------------------

1983-84    |5.9       |1.2                  

1984-85    |7.4       |2.8                  

1985-86    |5.8       |-0.2                 

1986-87    |7.6       |4.0                  

1987-88    |9.9       |4.6                  

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation there has been between his Department and the Disablement Services Authority regarding the provision of powered outdoor wheelchairs.

Mr. Mellor : Following a recommendation in the McColl report that powered occupant-controlled outdoor wheelchairs should be supplied by the wheelchair service, the DSA has decided to undertake a 12-month pilot study to gain information and experience in the supply of powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs. Consultationbetween the Department and the DSA has not been appropriate since this is a matter for the authority.

Pacemakers

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many National Health Service operations to implant a pacemaker took place in the last year for which figures are available ; and what is the approximate average cost of this operation.

Mrs. Currie : We estimate that in 1985 (the latest year for which we hold information centrally), there were 6,360 operations to insert pacemakers.

The average cost, based on a study by Trent regional health authority, is approximately £1,700 for the first implantation and £1, 500 for a replacement, at 1986-87 prices.

Prescribing Responsibility

Mr. Boateng : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list for 1976 and each subsequent year the number of complaints received by his Department concerning non-compliance with the policy on prescribing responsibility set out in HN(76)69 ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) if he will list for years 1986 and 1987 the complaints received by his Department concerning non-compliance with the policy on prescribing responsibility set out in HN(76)69, indicating in each case the health authority involved, the nature of the complaint, and the action taken.

Mr. Mellor : We do not hold information in the form requested. In the years 1986 and 1987 about 70 items of correspondence referring to prescribing responsibility were received from health authorities, general practitioners and others. The Department has investigated all


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complaints received regarding non-compliance with our advice on prescribing responsibility for outpatients in HN(76)69 and more recently in DA(87)10.

Cancer Screening

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate how many women are likely to be screened for breast cancer in (a) 1989, (b) 1990 and (c) 1991.

Mrs. Currie : I regret that we do not have this information available centrally. The breast cancer screening programme is being implemented over the three years to 1990. We shall collect statistics centrally on the number of women screened once the service has been fully implemented. We hope that by 1993 all women aged between 50 and 64 will have been invited for screening.

Ambulancemen

Mr. Terry Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the report from the Ambulance Council working party on "The Problems of Long Serving Ambulancemen", which concluded its report in September 1985.

Mr. Mellor : We intend giving the contents of the final report careful consideration including a decision about publication when it is submitted to Ministers.

Erythroprotein

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether any financial assistance is to be provided to renal units to enable them to purchase stocks of erythroprotein ; (2) whether erythroprotein has passed its clinical trials ; and how soon he expects it to be generally available to renal units.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 12 December 1988] : Information about whether a product licence application under the Medicines Act 1968 has been made or the results of any associated trials is treated as confidential and it is not possible to say if or when this product will become generally available and on what terms.

Doctors' Pay

58. Mr. Charles Wardle : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the real terms increase in doctors' remuneration since 1979.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 13 December 1988] : 25.5 per cent. between 1978-79 and 1987-88.

Orthotists

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many orthotists there are in England ; and how many orthotists there are in England per 100,000 people.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 13 December 1988] : Most orthotists in England are employed by the private sector and we do not collect information on their numbers. Orthotists employed by the NHS in England are graded as medical physics technicians and are not identified separately on manpower returns.

South Western RHA

Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the sources of funding for the South Western


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regional health authority's regional computer centre and regional design service, which enable them to be self- financing.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 13 December 1988] : The regional computer centre and the design service charge fees for the services that they provide. Their customers are primarily health authorities within the South Western region and elsewhere.

Project 2000

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding arrangements have been made for the implementation of nurse training under Project 2000 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 13 December 1988] : In the Autumn Statement the Government announced additional funding for the NHS in 1989- 90 which included £12 million for nurse education and training. This is additional to the provision already made for nurse education by health authorities from their existing allocations and is intended to provide extra funds for post-basic education and Project 2000. Decisions on the allocation of the additional funds for Project 2000 will be taken when authorities submit costed implementation plans to the Department. They have been asked to submit these by the end of February 1989.

Health Authorities (Meetings)

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make it his policy that minutes of district and regional health authority sub-committee meetings be made available to community health councils, providing that patient, staff and commercial confidentiality is maintained ;

(2) whether he has any plans to open to the public district health authority meetings or their sub-committee meetings ;

(3) if he will make it his policy that minutes of district and regional health authority sub-committee meetings should be made available to the public, providing that patient, staff and commercial confidentiality is maintained.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 13 December 1988] : Under the provisions of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 health authority meetings are open to the public and their agendas and related papers available on request, except when confidential matters are under consideration. Most regional and district health authorities conduct their business in an open manner, as is reasonable. I do not believe that any useful purpose would be served by extending these provisions to sub- committees at the present time.

EMPLOYMENT

YTS

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of companies, employing 100 or more YTS trainees, hire no YTS trainees from (a) the Afro-Caribbean community, (b) the Asian community and (c) ethnic minorities, respectively, in (i) the United Kingdom, (ii) the east midlands and (iii) Leicestershire.


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Mr. Cope : I regret that the information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people are without a YTS place after their entitlement to child benefit or bridging allowance ran out ; and how many were temporarily in this position during 1988.

Mr. Cope : It is not possible to provide this information. Young people are not obliged to report what they are doing after bridging allowance ceases.

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will provide figures on the number of young people no longer on bridging allowance who have not yet been allocated a YTS place.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 13 December 1988] : It is not possible to provide this information. Young people are not obliged to report what they are doing after bridging allowance ceases.

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the total expenditure on YTS for 1986, 1987 and the estimated expenditure for 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 13 December 1988] : Figures for Great Britain for financial years are published in the 1988 Public Expenditure White Paper. Taking into account the changes made by the winter supplementary Estimates the figures are :


           |£ millions           

---------------------------------

1986-87    |874                  

1987-88    |<1>1,006             

1988-89    |<2>1,145             

1989-90    |<2>1,189             

1990-91    |<2>1,156             

<1>Estimated outturn.            

<2>Plans.                        

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate the cost of publicity of the YTS programme.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 13 December 1988] : The planned YTS marketing budget for 1988-89 is £5.9 million.

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many unfilled places by region, there were on YTS at the most recently available date and at the same date one year previously.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 12 December 1988] : The number of unfilled YTS places as at 31 October 1987 and 1988 is given in the table.


Region                    |31 October 1987|31 October 1988                

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

South East                |20,109         |15,698                         

London                    |16,030         |10,064                         

South West                |14,763         |11,456                         

West Midlands             |26,899         |20,663                         

East Midlands and Eastern |18,300         |13,973                         

Yorkshire and Humberside  |15,050         |9,245                          

North West                |26,837         |14,268                         

Northern                  |11,761         |6,904                          

Wales                     |8,365          |3,352                          

Scotland                  |19,571         |12,835                         

Great Britain             |177,685        |118,458                        

Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people have experienced benefit penalties for leaving YTS early since it was designated an approved training scheme.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I have been asked to reply.

The youth training scheme (YTS) was designated an approved training scheme on 10 March 1983. Between December 1983 and April 1988, the period for which information is available, a total of 24,204 people had their supplementary benefit reduced for leaving courses early.

Community Opportunity Posts

Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what criteria were operated in deciding how many community opportunities posts were allocated to each training area ; what is the decision making process operated by Training Agency area offices whereby host organisations are awarded community opportunities posts ; and what value-for-money measurements are applied in this process.

Mr. Nicholls : In developing the arrangements for community opportunities, Training Agency area offices took into account the make-up of their area, the likely size of the client group, and the buoyancy of the local labour market.

In selecting host organisations area office staff considered the following criteria :

(i) proven experience in arranging voluntary activity for individuals ;

(ii) ability to access a range of voluntary activity to meet the differing needs of clients ;

(iii) ability to relate to, and well established links with, voluntary organisations in the community ;

(iv) a local base in the area, together with the necessary facilities to accommodate a co-ordinator on their premises ; (v) operation of an equal opportunities policy.

Account was also taken of the effectiveness with which the host organisation could organise the opportunities for employment training leavers, and the performance of host organisations will be carefully monitored.

Training Places (Merseyside)

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many Employment training scheme places have been taken up on Merseyside service since the inception of the scheme.

Mr. Nicholls : At 2 December 1988, there were 3,446 people training on employment training on Merseyside.

Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many employment training scheme places have been taken up in Blyth Valley.

Mr. Nicholls : At 2 December 1988, there were 1,682 people training on employment training in the north Tyne area, including Blyth Valley.

Disabled People

Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of disabled people of working age are employed in Blyth Valley ; and what action he is taking to increase job opportunities for disabled people in Blyth Valley.


Column 611

Mr. Nicholls : The information requested in the first part of the question is not available.

My Department maintains a comprehensive network of services to help people with disabilities find and retain jobs through advice, assessment, rehabilitation and training ; and in the case of people with severe disabilities, support in the form of sheltered employment. My officers are continuing to give all possible help to people with disabilities in Blyth Valley through the application of these services against a background of increasing employment opportunities.

Creche Facilities

Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what inquiries his Department is making to establish the effect lack of creche facilities has on employment.

Mr. Nicholls : My Department is currently participating in the work of the ministerial group on women's issues on childcare in the context of women's employment. Among other aspects the group is considering the availability of childcare and the effects that the lack of it may have on women's employment.

Benefits (Adjudications)

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current average waiting time for adjudications relating to reasons of dismissal in cases where claimants were waiting for unemployment benefit.

Mr. Nicholls : Information is not available in the precise form requested. However the speed with which adjudication officers make decisions--that is, the time taken between their receiving a referral and reaching a decision after making all the necessary inquiries--is monitored in a 5 per cent. sample of cases.

The sample shows that, for the three-month period ending 30 June 1988, the percentage of cases decided within four weeks of referral to an adjudication officer, on whether a claimant was dismissed due to misconduct, was 62.6 per cent.


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