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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many of his officials attended conferences

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(a) in the United Kingdom and (b) overseas; and how many and what percentage made (i) oral and (ii) written contributions to the matters under discussion in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [31174]

Ms Jowell: The information available is shown in the table.

United Kingdom conferencesOverseas conferences
Officials attended conferences between 1-2-97 and 1-2-98 (totals)1,559250
Number of officials who made oral contributions at those conferences (totals)851177
Number of officials who made written contributions to those conferences (totals)26675

The Department does not maintain centralised records of individual attendance of conferences. The information provided in the table was obtained through a trawl of officials' diaries and is the best available. Only conferences which were organised from outside the Department are included. Where an official attended more than one conference during the year the figure included in the table reflects the number of conferences attended. The Department values officials participating in selected conferences to share knowledge and keep up to date with relevant developments and to ensure, in the international context, that the United Kingdom perspective is adequately represented.

Unpasteurised Milk

Mr. Singh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the number of people made ill over the last 10 years by (a) unpasteurised milk and (b) its products. [31306]

Ms Jowell: The majority of cases of food poisoning are sporadic and the vehicle of infection is not known. Cases may also occur as part of outbreaks and for some of these the vehicle of infection may be established. Information on the number of people affected in general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease in England and Wales associated with (a) unpasteurised milk, and (b) its products can be found in a detailed table, copies of which have been placed in the Library.

Elderly People

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 13 February 1998, Official Report, column 432, if he will introduce measures to require social services to backdate financial assistance for elderly people living in residential or nursing homes who did not claim assistance immediately their savings fell below £16,000 because they were unaware that assistance was available. [31873]

Mr. Boateng: We have no plans to introduce backdating provisions for financial assistance for elderly people in residential care or nursing homes to cover a period before they were assessed by the social services department as requiring such care.

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Dental Services (East Midlands)

Sir Richard Body: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the ratio of dentists to population in the area of each health authority in the East Midlands. [32001]

Mr. Milburn: The information requested is given in the table.

General Dental Service: population per dentist on health authority lists at 31 December 1997. Trent Regional (East Midlands)

Health AuthorityNumber of persons per dentist on health authority lists
South Humber4,264
North Derbyshire3,673
North Nottinghamshire3,799
South Derbyshire3,348

3M Capital Hip System

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he received from the Medical Devices Agency about the 3M Capital Hip system. [31978]

Mr. Milburn: In January 1998 we were advised of the anecdotal information on the poor performance of the Capital hip system and that the Medical Devices Agency (MDA) was investigating the clinicians' experience at several United Kingdom centres. We have been regularly updated on the latest information as it has become available to the MDA. Conclusive data confirming the unacceptably high rates were established in February 1998 by the MDA. Advice to the National Health Service was issued as a Hazard Notice on 18 February 1998.

Ambulance Service

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if response times of ambulances to emergency calls are monitored from the time the call is received or from the time the call is answered. [35097]

Mr. Milburn: Until recently ambulance services varied in when they started recording response times. However, from 1 April 1998 ambulance response times are monitored from when the following essential details are obtained:

This is set out in the "Review of Ambulance Performance Standards--Final Report" (July 1996), copies of which are in the Library.


Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the reviews instituted in his Department since

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1 May 1997; what is the estimated cost of the reviews; and which reviews have reported and when the others will be completed. [41553]

Ms Jowell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) on 14 May 1998, Official Report, columns 207-08.

In addition, three reviews instituted in the Department since 1 May 1997 have already reported. Information on these reviews is set out in the table.

ReviewDate of reportCosts £
Review of the breast screening programme in Devon and the implications for the breast cancer screening programme as a whole3 November 1997(10)11,700
Strategic review of health services in London18 November 1997(11)90,000
Independent review of proposals for the transfer of bulk blood processing from Liverpool to Manchester8 April 1998(11)3,600

(10) Costs include officials' time since in this case they can be differentiated from the normal running costs of Departmental business

(11) Costs exclude officials' time since they cannot be differentiated from the normal running costs of Departmental business

Public Bodies

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what is the average salary of (a) male and (b) female members of boards of non-departmental public bodies responsible to his Department; [42826]

Mr. Milburn: Full details of all payments to members of non-departmental public bodies are given in the Cabinet Office publication, Public Bodies 1997, copies of which are available in the Library.

Complementary Medicine

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make complementary medicine therapies more readily available under the NHS to those on lower incomes. [42566]

Ms Jowell: Health authorities are able to include complementary therapies within the range of services commissioned to meet local health needs, if they wish to do so. No charges are made to patients for such services when provided in the National Health Service. Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not the patient's ability to pay.

Availability of complementary therapies within the NHS reflects, therefore, the decisions taken locally by health authorities and general practitioners about the clinical and cost effectiveness of such services, and the priority to be given to their provision in the light of other competing demands for the resources made available for local health needs.

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NHS Estates Agency

Mr. Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the corporate plan and key tasks and targets for 1998-99 for the NHS Estates Agency. [43179]

Mr. Milburn: I have agreed the Agency's corporate plan, and key tasks and targets for 1998-99 and have placed copies in Library.

Kent and Canterbury NHS Trust

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) to what extent problems over cervical screening arrangements in the NHS contributed to the retirement of Mr. Edward Pearson as Chief Executive of the Kent and Canterbury NHS Trust; [42290]

Mr. Milburn: Sir William Wells, Chair of the National Health Service Executive South Thames Regional Office, led an independent review on cervical screening at Kent and Canterbury Hospitals NHS Trust which was published in October 1997. Mr. Edward Pearson was interviewed as part of this review.

On 7 July 1997, Mr. Pearson took early retirement because, as Chief Executive, he felt personally accountable for what happened at the hospital. Mr. Pearson received a pension in accordance with the regulations set out in the NHS superannuation scheme.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if Mr. James Bird, former chairman of the Kent and Canterbury NHS Trust, received any consideration on his retirement as chairman. [42293]

Mr. Milburn: Mr. Bird was entitled to receive appropriate remuneration as trust chairman up to and including his last day in office. He did not receive, nor was he entitled to receive, any additional consideration on standing down.

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