Previous Section Index Home Page


Child Mortality (Medical Errors)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children died in England and Wales during 1997 as a result of medical errors which occurred while the children were in hospital. [40910]

Mr. Milburn: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) on 3 February 1998, Official Report, column 614.

8 May 1998 : Column: 536

Child Mental Health Services

Mrs. Golding: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's priorities regarding child and adolescent mental health services. [40674]

Mr. Boateng: The importance of developing comprehensive child and adolescent mental health services was recognised as a medium term priority and objective in the Priorities and Planning Guidance for the National Health Service in 1996-97 and 1997-98, and

8 May 1998 : Column: 537

cross-referencing emphasis was included in the Children's Services Planning Guidance for Local Authorities issued in 1996. Enabling people of all ages with mental illness to receive effective care and treatment in the most appropriate setting in accordance with their needs is identified as a development area in the Priorities and Planning Guidance for 1998-99. Implementation of national policy guidance on child and adolescent mental health is being led by the regional offices of the NHS Executive in collaboration with social care regions. A number of reviews of services have been undertaken and local action plans developed.

Public Bodies

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of his Department's appointees to non-departmental public bodies are (i) aged under 25, (ii) aged 25 to 30 and (iii) aged 31 to 35 years. [40737]

Mr. Milburn: Of the 632 appointees to the Department's non-departmental public bodies, (i) none are aged under 25 (0 per cent.); (ii) 1 is aged 25 to 30 (0.16 per cent.); and (iii) 4 are aged 31 to 35 years (0.63 per cent.).

The Department, like all Government Departments, is committed to encouraging a wide range of candidates to apply for positions on the boards of its public bodies, reflecting the diverse society in which we live. This includes encouraging more young people to put themselves forward as potential candidates for public appointments. All appointments are made on merit and candidates must demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience to match the needs of the public body on which they wish to serve.

Non-amalgam Fillings

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has commissioned on the health risks of leaching from non-amalgam fillings. [41020]

Mr. Milburn: None at present. We are awaiting recommendations from the European Commission which has established an expert group to consider dental amalgam within the Medical Devices Directive. The group, which has also given some consideration to other restorative materials, is expected to report later this year.

Departmental Research

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of applications, in relation to his Department's research budget, were from women, for (a) project grants, (b) programme grants, (c) special grants intended for new investigators, (d) studentships and (e) fellowships, in 1997 and each of the two previous years; [40877]

8 May 1998 : Column: 538

Ms Jowell: The Department does not consider applications for research grants as such. Research supported directly by the Department is commissioned according to Departmental needs. Research contracts are awarded on scientific merit, following competitive tendering exercises and peer review by qualified referees. The Department does not collect information on the gender of those bidding for Departmental research and development contracts.

The National Health Service research and development programme includes some provision at a regional level for research projects and capacity development which are awarded in response to applications from researchers. However, information on the gender of applicants is not collected.

Community Health Councils

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the relationship he proposes between community health councils and the new primary care groups. [41112]

Mr. Milburn: Primary Care Groups are expected to have effective arrangements for public involvement, including establishing a suitable relationship with community health councils.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes he is planning to the role and remit of community health councils; and if he will make a statement. [41111]

Mr. Milburn: No immediate changes to the role and remit of community health councils are planned.

Ritalin

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evaluation his Department has made of (a) the effectiveness and (b) the side-effects of Ritalin; and what guidance it provides on prescribing the drug. [41208]

Mr. Milburn: Ritalin (methylphenidate) has been assessed by the normal procedures for licensing of medicinal products in the United Kingdom to ensure its efficacy, safety and quality. The safety and adverse effects of Ritalin continue to be monitored by the Medicines Control Agency. Ritalin has controlled drug status, which imposes restrictions on prescribing and handling. Treatment should be under the supervision of a specialist in childhood behavioural disorders. Guidance on prescribing Ritalin is provided in the product information which is produced by the manufacturer and authorised by the Licensing Authority.

Drug Misuse

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was allocated to treatment programmes for drug misusers in Coventry in each of the last five years. [40899]

8 May 1998 : Column: 539

Mr. Milburn: Spending by Coventry Health Authority and the local authority on drug misuse treatment programmes over the last 5 years is listed:

£
1993-94348,000
1994-95388,000
1995-96449,000
1996-97452,000
1997-98538,000

Source:

Coventry Health Authority

The majority of this expenditure was National Health Service related in the provision of community services and inpatient detoxification programmes.


FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Sierra Leone

Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will set up an independent inquiry into the allegations that a British firm or firms were involved in the supply of arms to Sierra Leone; [41186]

8 May 1998 : Column: 540

Mr. Robin Cook: I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the answer I gave to the Private Notice Question he tabled on 6 May 1998, Official Report, columns 721-731.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the Government's policy towards arms sales to Sierra Leone. [41113]

Mr. Robin Cook: Our policy is clear. We were instrumental in drawing up UN Security Council Resolution 1132, which prohibits the sale of arms and related material of all types to Sierra Leone.

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) on what date Ministers in his Department were first informed that his Department had asked Her Majesty's Customs and Excise to investigate arms sales to Sierra Leone; [41339]

Mr. Robin Cook: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Private Notice Question tabled by the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) on 6 May 1998, Official Report, columns 721-31.