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Hospital Waiting Lists (Essex)

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust area have been waiting for treatment for more than (a) 18 months and (b) 12 months at the latest available date; and what were the figures on (i) 30 September 1997 and (ii) 31 March 1997. [25663]

Mr. Milburn: Information on patients awaiting admission to Mid-Essex Hospital Services National Health Service Trust on 31 March 1997 and on 30 September 1997, the latest published figures available, is given in the table.

Number waiting
At 31 March 1997At 30 September 1997
For 12 months or more104(32)441
For 18 months or more03

(32) Figure is final one and differs from provisional figure supplied in the reply given to the hon. Gentleman on 24 November 1997, Official Report, column 429.


Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust area have been waiting to see a consultant for

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more than (a) 18 months, (b) 12 months and (c) 6 months at the latest available date; and what were the figures on (i) 31 March 1997 and (ii) 30 September 1997. [25664]

Mr. Milburn: Information collected centrally shows the numbers of patients waiting for their first outpatient appointment with a consultant, following written referral by their general practitioner, who were still waiting after 13 to 26 weeks and after more than 26 weeks. Figures giving the position on 31 March 1997 and 30 September 1997, the latest available, are in the table.

Patients still waiting for a first outpatient appointment with a consultant, following GP written referral, at Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

Number of patients waiting:
as at 31 March 1997as at 30 September 1997
13 to less than 26 weeks481972
26 weeks and over74122

Drug Injection

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the methods of injecting drugs or insulin which (a) are and (b) are not prescribable; when these decisions were made; and if they are under review. [25039]

Mr. Milburn: Injection devices which may be prescribed by general practitioners on the National Health Service are listed in Part IX of the Drug Tariff and include a variety of hypodermic syringes and syringe needles. Disposable injection pens which come prefilled with insulin are regarded as a container for the insulin and because of that may also be prescribed. Reusable injection pens, and pen needles, may not be prescribed though we are considering whether they should be. Listing decisions have been made at different times over a period of several years.

Medical Schools

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to establish a new medical school in the United kingdom. [23434]

Mr. Milburn: One of the main recommendations in the Third Report of the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee (MWSAC) is a 20 per cent. increase in the annual intake to United Kingdom medical schools. This recommendation has very significant implications, and needs careful examination. The Government will announce their decisions on all of MWSAC's recommendations in a few months' time, in the light of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review.

Millennium Compliance

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he notifies potential purchasers of obsolete information technology equipment sold by his Department that such equipment may not be millennium compliant. [25655]

Mr. Milburn: When it is decided to sell redundant computer equipment that no longer meets the Department's business requirements, companies are invited to bid. The letter of invitation gives the companies the opportunity to inspect the equipment beforehand and

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makes it clear that it is sold "as seen" with no guarantee that it is fit for any particular purpose. The same approach is adopted within the Department's agencies.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 16 Janaury 1998, Official Report, column 368, how many (a) kidney dialysis machines, (b) intensive care cots for premature babies and (c) intensive care units cannot be repaired or replaced before 31 December 1999. [25659]

Mr. Milburn: An indication of those devices that are potentially affected by the Year 2000 problem will become available in April 1998 when individual site inventories are complete. Information as to which devices are not actually compliant will come mainly from the device manufacturers and in many cases this will not be available until after April 1998.

Head Lice

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to issue new guidelines on the treatment of head lice. [25429]

Mr. Boateng: The Department's poster and leaflet campaign launched in April 1996--The Prevention and Treatment of Head Lice--gives parents and teachers advice on the options for dealing with head lice. It has been well received by community health workers who mount local campaigns as the need arises. We also continue to work with the Department for Education and Employment to promote best practice, focusing on a "whole school approach", where action is taken at the same time to detect and treat every case of head lice within the school thus minimising opportunities for re-infestation. In addition consultants in communicable disease control, who have local responsibility for public health programmes, are currently working on a review document on head lice.

Scottish Executive

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 20 Janaury 1998, Official Report, column 502, (1) in what areas a non-statutory agreement between his Department and the Scottish Executive will give the lead role in policy formation to his Department; to what extent it will include mechanisms to harmonise policy between Scotland and his Department on devolved matters; and if he will make a statement; [25574]

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Mr. Milburn: Discussions are being held between departments, both at official level and at Ministerial level, on all matters relating to non-statutory agreements between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Executive. These discussions are in their early stages because such agreements cannot be finalised until the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive are established. Parliament will be kept informed on progress on these matters.

Vitamins and Minerals

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the percentage of United Kingdom adults who consume less than the recommended daily allowance of (a) vitamin A, (b) thiamin,

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(c) riboflavin, (d) vitamin C, (e) vitamin D, (f) iron and (g) calcium; and if he will make a statement on the trend for these figures over the last 10 years. [24460]

Mr. Rooker: I have been asked to reply.

Recommended daily allowances have been replaced by reference nutrient intakes (RNI). The RNIs and their scientific basis are set out in the Department of Health Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy's 1991 report on dietary reference values.

If average intakes are at or above the RNI, the likelihood of deficiency in any group is small. Therefore, up to 50 per cent. of individuals in any group with adequate dietary intakes may consume less than the RNI. Table 1 gives information on the proportion of adults found in a survey in 1986-87 to have intakes below the RNI for the named nutrients. Vitamin D is not included in the table as there is no RNI for this nutrient in adults under 65 years of age.

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Table 1: Proportion of adults with intakes below the RNI, 1986-87

Per cent
NutrientMenWomen
16-18 years19-50 years51-64 years16-18 years19-50 years51-64 years
Vitamin A442718443121
Thiamin108410127
Riboflavin19129372117
Vitamin C212622293429
Iron361212938934
Calcium642516714843

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Data on trends are not available in the same format. However, data since 1989 on trends in the estimated average intake of nutrients for the whole population,

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expressed as a percentage of the relevant RNIs, are available from MAFF's National Food Survey (Table 2).

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Table 2: Intake per person per day as a percentage of RNI, 1989-96

NutrientIntake as percentage RNI
19891990199119921993199419951996
Vitamin A199179181185179165164139
Thiamin159154153150149153161173
Riboflavin146144144142139140139141
Vitamin C142138144131134139136143
Iron102101979695939297
Calcium123120118120118118118120

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