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Funding (Leeds)

Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional funding, above that planned by the previous Government, the Government have allocated to Leeds Health Authority for the years 1997-98 and 1998-99. [25027]

Mr. Milburn: For 1997-98 we have allocated £3.1 million winter pressure moneys and an additional £145,000 for breast cancer services to the Leeds Health Authority over the allocation made by the previous administration.

The increase in funding for 1998-99 of £1 billion for the National Health Service in England more than doubles the increase planned by the previous Government. Leeds HA were allocated £339.9 million. This represents an increase of £15.9 million (£4.90 per cent). This is above the England average increase of 4.70 per cent.

GPs (Pharmaceutical Dispensing)

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on differences in practice between (a) England and Wales and (b) Scotland in respect of the capacity of general practitioners to dispense pharmaceuticals directly to their patients; and if he will assess the advantages of adopting the Scottish regime in England and Wales. [25441]

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 354

Mr. Milburn: Pharmaceutical services are provided to patients in both England and Wales and in Scotland mainly by pharmacists. However, general medical practitioners in all three countries may dispense medicines to patients who would otherwise have difficult access to them. In England and Wales patients must be resident in a designated rural area more than one mile from a community pharmacy, otherwise they must satisfy the health authority that they would have serious difficulty obtaining medicines. In Scotland, Health Boards instruct doctors to provide such services where they conclude that patients would not have access to a pharmacy. It is not clear that the Scottish system offers any major advantages over that operating in England and Wales.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the use of regulations providing for general practitioners to dispense drugs directly in rural areas, by practices in market towns to dispense to patients in surrounding villages. [25811]

Mr. Milburn: The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 1992 allow dispensing doctors to dispense to patients living more than a mile from the nearest pharmacy, within a controlled locality (designated by the health authority). We have received a number of representations from pharmacists about doctors dispensing medicines to patients in outlying areas from a surgery located in a market town or adjacent to a community pharmacy.

Hospital Consultants (Distinction Awards)

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of non-white hospital consultants who receive distinction awards; [25406]

Mr. Milburn: Officials have recently had discussions with the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) regarding the disparity in the numbers of awards granted to consultants from ethnic minorities. A number of measures are being introduced in the 1998 awards round to secure better data, monitoring of outcomes, and representation of ethnic minority consultants on awards committees. Some changes to the criteria for awards were also suggested by the CRE, and accepted for implementation in the 1998 awards round. The revised criteria are set out in the published Guide to the NHS Consultants' Distinction Awards Scheme, copies of which are available in the Library. These measures have been welcomed by the CRE. We are considering what further action might be taken to assist in addressing this issue.

NHS Staff

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the ratio of women to men among (a) medical students, (b) house officers, (c) senior house officers, (d) registrars, (e) senior registrars, (f) consultants, (g) full-time general practitioners and (h) part-time general practitioners in the NHS. [25527]

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Mr. Milburn: The latest available information is shown in the table:

MaleFemaleMale : Female
(a) Medical Student11,33011,5401.0 : 1
(b) House Officer1,6701,5501.1 : 1
(c) Senior House Officer8,1605,6201.5 : 1
(d) Registrar3,5201,6802.1 : 1
(e) Senior/Specialist Registrar3,7701,8702.0 : 1
(f) Consultant15,5203,7504.1 : 1
(g) full-time GPs18,7105,9903.0 : 1
(h) part-time GPs1,1203,1300.4 : 1


All figures are rounded to the nearest ten.

Ratios are calculated on unrounded figures.

(a) Undergraduate Medical students studying in 1995-96.

Data source: Higher Education Statistics Agency.

(b) to (f) Hospital medical staff in England by grade as at 30 September 1996.

Data source: Department of Health's Medical and Dental Census.

(g) to (h) These figures exclude 175 London Initiative Zone (LIZ) assistants for which commitments are unavailable.

Data source: Department of Health General Medical Services Census 1 October 1996.

Health Screening (Men)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for health screening for men, with particular reference to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and prostate cancer. [25520]

Ms Jowell: The National Screening Committee, chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, advises the Government about implementing national population screening programmes and reviewing the effectiveness of new and existing population screening programmes in the light of emerging evidence. After taking its advice, we decided that the National Health Service should not routinely offer screening for prostate cancer as the risks outweigh the benefits.

The National Screening Committee will be considering a number of new research studies this year, and it is likely these will include one about selective screening for stroke and the treatment of high blood pressure.

We are aware that, compared to women, men are often reluctant to use health care services. Our aim is to increase awareness amongst men of the health and lifestyle factors that can affect their health and encourage them to access medical services.

Long-term Care

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the yearly cost to the NHS in (a) England and (b) Great Britain of meeting the nursing costs of long-term care. [25914]

Mr. Milburn: We have made no separate assessment centrally of the nursing costs of long term care in England. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales, for Scotland and for Northern Ireland will reply on behalf of their respective parts of Great Britain. As part of our evidence to the Royal Commission we have identified this issue for their consideration on the funding of long term care.

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Sustainable Development

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms he has put in place to ensure the Government's objective of promoting sustainable development is reflected in the outcome of the comprehensive spending reviews for his Department. [25901]

Mr. Milburn: The Comprehensive Spending Review in the Department is considering how best to contribute to all the Government's commitments and objectives including the promotion of sustainable development.


Official Functions

Mr. Redwood: To ask the President of the Board of Trade on what occasions she has held official receptions in her Admiralty flat; and at what cost to public funds. [23707]

Mrs. Beckett: Since May 1997 I have held official receptions at my Admiralty House Flat for the General Council of the TUC, the President's Council of the CBI and other businessmen, and regional businesses at a cost of some £3,350.

Official Engagements

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will list, (a) the official engagements undertaken by the Minister with responsibility for small and medium businesses between 1 December 1997 and 15 January 1998 and (b) the number of days she has been in the Department between 1 December 1997 and 12 January 1998. [24375]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 20 January 1998]: During the period in question I undertook an extensive programme of official engagements.

Nuclear Waste (Reprocessing)

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what quantities of spent nuclear fuel, from which (a) countries and (b) utilities, is stockpiled at Sellafield awaiting reprocessing; and what information she has received from British Nuclear Fuels in regard to when it will be reprocessed. [25062]

Mr. Battle: The Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) has a total of 7,000 tonnes of fuel to be reprocessed during the Baseload (first ten year) period. I understand that, as at end of 1996-97, there were over 6,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel awaiting reprocessing at Thorp and approximately 550 tonnes of spent magnox fuel, awaiting reprocessing at the magnox reprocessing plant. This fuel is owned by utilities in the United Kingdom and in overseas countries, including Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. Decisions relating to the timing of reprocessing of the contracted quantities of spent nuclear fuel owned by individual utilities are an operational matter for BNFL.

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