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Medicines Policy

Sir Gerard Vaughan : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is her policy in respect of printing the retail price recommended by the manufacturer on all packs of prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

Dr. Mawhinney : We have no plans to show the price of national health service prescription medicines on the label. The sale of over the counter medicines is governed by retail price maintenance and is a matter for the suppliers.

Nurse Practitioner Training

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what resources have been devoted to the training of nurse practitioners in each of the last five years ;

(2) what was the number of nurse practitioners practising in each of the last five years.

Mr. Sackville : Health authorities commission education and training to meet demand forecasts for qualified nursing staff. Information on the resources devoted to the training of nurse practitioners and the number in post is not available centrally.

Temazepam

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will indicate the level of intravenous abuse of Temazepam capsules.

Mr. Bowis : The information available is contained in the drug misuse statistics for the six months to March 1993 published by the Department last month. This includes some information on drug misusers reporting benzodiazepine misuse, including injecting misuse, of which temazepam is one such drug. Copies of the drug misuse statistics are available in the Library.

Pharmacists

Sir Gerard Vaughan : To ask the Secretary of state for Health (1) how much is paid by patients to the community pharmacist over and above the cost of the prescribed medicine for a private, non-NHS, prescription ;

(2) if her Department will consider laying down firm fees which pharmacists can charge for dispensing private prescriptions.

Dr. Mawhinney : Guidance on the dispensing of private prescriptions is a matter for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Information on charges levied by community pharmacists for dispensing private prescriptions is not collected by the Department.

Junior Doctors

Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many junior doctors are employed in each of London's regional health authorities ; and how many were employed in each year since 1990-91.


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Dr. Mawhinney : The available information is shown in the table.


Junior doctors in the London regional     

health authorities:                       

30 September 1990, 1991 and 1992          

                  |1990 |1991 |1992       

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

Total             |7,240|7,290|7,270      

North West Thames |2,030|2,070|1,840      

North East Thames |2,170|2,170|2,270      

South East Thames |1,800|1,770|1,840      

South West Thames |1,240|1,280|1,320      

Source: Medical and Dental Manpower       

Census September 1992.                    

Age Discrimination

Mr. Davidson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what current NHS rules and practice enable the age of a patient to be taken into account by a general practitioner or a general practitioner practice when determining whether to accept a new patient on to their lists ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : None.

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations she has had from the Pensioners Liaison Forum North-west, in regard to equal access to health care for elderly people ; what reply she is sending ; what action she is taking ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received a letter from the Pensioners Liaison Forum North-west on this subject. Our reply will reaffirm that it is the duty of the national health service to provide health services for all, regardless of age, on the basis of clinical need.

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to publish guidelines for general practitioner fundholders in relation to taking patients off their lists ; and what plans she has to investigate any fundholding GP practices which remove patients from their list on the basis of the patients' age.

Dr. Mawhinney : None. The requirements for general practitioner fundholders are exactly the same as for other GPs in this respect.

Paracetamol-Methionin Product

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to make a paracetamol-methionin product available on NHS prescription.

Dr. Mawhinney : None.

Luton and Dunstable Trust Hospital

Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 22 March, Official Report, column 163, whether her Department is conducting an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Mrs. Avril Dongworth, chief executive at Luton and Dunstable trust hospital.

Dr. Mawhinney : No.


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Patients Charter

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to add to the patients charter rights for children damaged by vaccines.

Mr. Sackville : None.

The Vaccine Damage Payment Act 1979 provides a scheme of one off, lump sum payments where it can be shown on the balance of probability that damage has resulted from vaccination. Receipt of a payment does not prejudice the individual's right to pursue a private claim for damages through the courts.

Sleeping Drugs

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what restrictions are in place on advertising drugs available without prescription which are designed to aid sleep ; what checks are carried out to ensure that addictive or potentially harmful drugs are not advertised for mass consumption ; what health warnings should be given in such advertisements ; in what ways regulations or guidelines on the advertisement of such drugs have been amended or relaxed within the past five years ; what plans she has to introduce new legislation, statutory orders or guidelines to regulate the promotion of aids to sleep which are available without prescription ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : Licensed medicines may be advertised only under the stringent controls of the Medicines Act 1968 and supporting regulations. These ensure that the advertising is in accordance with the product licence and is not misleading. Products which are available without prescription may be advertised to the public, in compliance with the Medicines (Labelling and Advertising to the Public) Regulations 1978. These regulations prohibit the advertising of a treatment for sleeplessness or insomnia, advertising for the relief of temporary sleeplessness is not prohibited.

Medicines which we consider to be addictive or potentially harmful when used without medical supervision are only available on prescription and may not be advertised to the public. Proposed legislation to amend the 1978 regulations in order to implement Council directive 92/28/EEC is currently under consideration.

Local Government Reorganisation

Mr. Hincliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if any new local authority established, following the review of local government, will be required by statute to establish a social services committee and to appoint a director of social services adequately qualified to perform the responsibilities of that position.

Mr. Bowis : The Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 requires all social services authorities to establish social services committees and appoint directors of social services. It also allows for these to be joint appointments or arrangements.

The Act does not make any provision as regards the qualifications of directors of social services. That is a matter for individual authorities.


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Unregistered Residential Homes

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the fees of residents in unregistered residential homes may be met from public funds.

Mr. Bowis : Local authorities may purchase services from homes which are not required to register under the Registered Care Homes Act 1984, where that would be appropriate for the individual user concerned.

Health Services, Leeds

Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many GP practices participated in the fundholding initiative in the area covered by the Leeds family health services authority in 1993-94 ; and how many it is estimated will participate in 1994-95.

Dr. Mawhinney : Regional health authorities manage the general practitioner fundholding scheme in their areas. The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman of Northern and Yorkshire regional health authority for local details.

Exercise Diver Mist

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many personnel from her Department were involved in Exercise Diver Mist ; in what capacities they serve ; and what was the cost to her Department of this involvement.

Mr. Sackville : None.

District Ethical Committees

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what responsibility there is for general practitioners to seek permission from district ethical committees prior to embarking on research in primary care ; and what is the composition of these committees.

Dr. Mawhinney : Local research ethics committees should be consulted about any research proposal involving national health service patients or their records. This applies to proposals from general practitioners in the same way as it does to all others. Departmental guidance states that the committees should have eight to 12 members, including hospital medical staff, nurses, general practitioners, and two or more lay people. Copies of the guidance, "Local Research Ethics Committees", are available in the Library.

ENVIRONMENT

Benzene

Sir Malcolm Thornton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the findings of his Department's expert panel on air quality standards on the proportion of benzene in the air that is emitted from petrol engine exhausts ; what action he will take to reduce this source of pollution ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : In the first report of my Department's expert panel on air quality standards, a copy of which is in the Library, it was estimated that petrol engine exhausts contributed about 78 per cent. of the total 1991 national


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emissions of benzene, the bulk of which were derived from non-catalyst equipped vehicles. Since December 1992, regulations have been in place which effectively require all new petrol- engined passenger cars to be fitted with catalytic convertors which reduce emissions of benzene by around 80 per cent.

Further regulations are already in place which will also extend the catalyst requirement to new petrol-driven car-derived vans from 1 October 1994. A new European Parliament and Council Directive, 94/12/EC, OJ L100/42 of 19 April 1994 has been adopted which will require further reduction in emissions from new cars from 1 January 1997, necessitating additional improvements in catalyst efficiency which will also further reduce benzene emissions. An estimated 2.5 million cars are already fitted with these devices and, as the decade advances, there will be a natural progression towards an almost total catalyst equipped fleet by the year 2003.

Vacant Housing

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of local authority housing is left vacant ; and what proportion of this is marked either in need of renovation, repairs or unfit, or for rehousing for clearance purposes for each local authority in England ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir George Young : I have today placed in the Library a table giving the available information reported on the 1993 housing investment programme --HIP1--returns by local authorities about their own dwellings which were vacant at 1 April 1993.

Renovation Grants

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how widely distributed is information given to promote the availability and procedures for obtaining mandatory renovation grants ; and what estimate he has of the number of home owners or private landlords who are not aware of such availability or the procedures involved.

Sir George Young : Copies of a joint Department of the Environment and Welsh Office booklet, "House Renovation Grants", are freely available on application to the Department. Local authorities, home improvement agencies, citizens advice bureaux and similar bodies have the function of informing potential applicants about these grants.

Home Improvement Grants

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) when he expects to announce his decisions arising from the consultation on renovation grants ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what plans there are for the future development of mandatory home improvement grants ;

(3) what plans he has to move to the prioritisation of mandatory home improvement grants on to unfit privately rented properties ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir George Young : We will announce our conclusions on the future of private sector renewal programmes, following last year's consultation exercise, in due course.


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Local Government

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to ensure that any new local authorities established as a result of the current review of local government have a population of at least 200,000 ; and what estimate he has made as to the population base that will normally be required for the effective delivery of social services in more rural areas.

Mr. Curry : Our policy guidance to the Local Government Commission makes it clear that there need be no maximum or minimum size for the area or population covered by a unitary authority. As to the delivery of social services, population size does not determine effectiveness ; we will look at each set of final recommendations by the commission on its merits. There are various ways in which local authorities can work together, if necessary, to provide specialist services.

Housing Associations

Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the Government's proposals following their access to local authority housing association tenancies consultation.

Sir George Young : I refer the hon. Lady to the answers I gave on 12 and 21 April respectively to the hon. Members for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) and for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes), Official Report, columns 132 and 587.

Urban Development Corporations

Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the expected staff and administration costs and gross expenditure of the Leeds UDC and the Central Manchester UDC.

Mr. Baldry : The staff and administration costs and gross expenditure of these UDCs are contained in the Supply Estimates, 1994-95, class VII--Environment.

Record Offices

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list (a) the record offices in England, (b) the number of people they employ, both paid and voluntary and (c) the number of people that use the service annually and the amount of revenue they receive.

Mr. Baldry [holding answer 26 April 1994] : Records of central Government are the responsibility of the Public Record Office, for which my right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor is responsible. Local authority record offices are listed in the table. Their staffing and operation are the responsibility of the individual local authorities, and information on employees and users is not held centrally. In their 1992-93 expenditure returns local authorities recorded income from achive services totalling around £3.5 million.

Local Authority Record Offices in England

County councils

Bedfordshire

Berkshire

Buckinghamshire

Cambridgeshire

Cheshire

Cleveland

Cornwall

Cumbria

Derbyshire

Durham

Essex

Gloucestershire

Hampshire


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Hereford and Worcester

Hertfordshire

Humberside

Isle of Wight

Kent

Lancashire

Leicestershire

Lincolnshire

Norfolk

Northamptonshire

Northumberland

North Yorkshire

Oxfordshire

Shropshire

Somerset

Staffordshire

Suffolk

Surrey

Warwickshire

West Sussex

Wiltshire

London boroughs

Barking and Dagenham

Barnet

Bexley

Brent

Bromley

Corporation of London

Enfield

Greenwich

Hackney

Haringey

Hounslow

Kensington and Chelsea

Kingston upon Thames

Southwark

Tower Hamlets

Waltham Forest

Westminster

Metropolitan district councils

Bolton

Bury

Calderdale

Coventry

Doncaster

Dudley

Kirklees

Liverpool

Manchester

Rotherham

St. Helens

Salford

Sheffield

Stockport

Tyne and Wear

Wakefield

West Yorkshire archive service (comprises Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield)

Walsall

Wigan

Wirral

Wolverhampton

District councils

Bath

Bristol

Canterbury

Chester

Epsom and Ewell

Glanford

Hull

North Wiltshire

Peterborough

Poole

Portsmouth

Ribble Valley

Rochester upon Medway

Southampton

Thurrock

York


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