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Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what quantity of each individual type of benzodiazepine was prescribed by community pharmacists in England in (a) 1996 and (b) 1997. [50446]

Mr. Milburn: Pharmacists do not prescribe any medication. The information on prescriptions written by doctors is shown in the table.

Benzodiazepines: number of prescription items dispensed in the community
England, 1996 and 1997 Thousand

Drug group19961997


1. Date cover all prescriptions dispensed in the community, i.e. by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered

2. An "O" indicates less than 500 prescription items

3. Figures may not add up due to rounding

Hepatitis C

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to provide financial assistance for people with haemophilia infected with the hepatitis C virus. [50436]

Ms Jowell: We are considering the representations which have been made to us on this subject and will announce the outcome as soon as we are in a position to do so.


Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money his Department spent in each of the last three years on research into (a) breast (b) lung and (c) prostate cancer. [50206]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 14 July 1998]: We are committed to encouraging research into the causes, prevention, early detection and treatment of all cancers.

20 Jul 1998 : Column: 415

Departmental expenditure on research into (a) breast, (b) lung and (c) prostate cancer is:

Breast cancer
Department's policy research programme (PRP)849637304
National Health Service research and development programme123316528
Lung cancer
Department's PRP1442310
NHS research and development27197187
Prostate cancer
Department's PRP202117
NHS research and development494712

In addition, the Medical Research Council (which is funded by grant-in-aid from the Department of Trade and Industry and is the main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research) invested in 1997-98: £3.3 million in breast cancer research, £691,000 in lung cancer research and £18,000 in prostate cancer research.Cancer charities and industry are also major investors, spending an estimated total of £122 million and £115 million per year respectively on cancer research.

NHS resources also support the NHS service costs of projects funded by non-commercial funders of research and development. This could include cancer research projects in the above areas.

Departmental resources going into cancer research complement these other funders, and the fluctuating spend stems from the cycle of commissioning as projects and programmes start and finish rather than any established policy to change funding levels.

NHS Trust Boards

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) men and (b) women he has appointed to National Health Service trust boards since 1 May 1997. [50731]

Mr. Milburn: Since 1 May 1997 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has appointed 469 women and 451 men as non-executive directors of National Health Service trusts, including chairmen.

Health Visitors

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of ending the separate registration of health visitors on public safety and quality of nursing care. [50829]

Mr. Milburn: This is an issue which was raised during the consultation stage of the current review of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979. United Kingdom Health Ministers expect to receive the review report shortly and will be considering its recommendations over the summer.

20 Jul 1998 : Column: 416

Nursing Students

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to implement the increase to non-means-tested nursing student bursaries announced at the recent Royal College of Nursing Congress. [51208]

Mr. Milburn: 1 September 1998.

General Practitioner Lists

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people (a) in total and (b) aged over state retirement age, were removed from their general practitioner list in 1997. [51146]

Mr. Milburn: Information on the number of people removed from their general practitioner's list is collected annually and is published in the GMP Census Additional Data Collection, copies of which are available in the Library.

The latest published information relates to the year 1995-96.

No information is held centrally analysing these figures within age bands.

Medical Records

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has taken to ensure that patients are not obstructed from access to their medical records by general practitioners. [51043]

Mr. Milburn [holding answer 17 July 1998]: All general practitioners are bound by the provisions of the Access to Health Records Act 1990 and the Department has issued clear guidance on the operation of the Act. When instances of apparent flagrant violation of the Act are brought to our attention (for example excessive charging), we have written to the record-holder concerned reminding them of their responsibilities under the Act. Further, since 1 April 1996, patients have been able to pursue complaints about any aspect of how an application under the Act has been handled under the National Health Service Complaints Procedure. This provides an opportunity for the complaint to be heard by an independent review panel if local complaints officers are unable to resolve the matter satisfactorily.

Linear Accelerators

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Royal College of Radiologists' recent report, if he will assess the cost to public funds of (a) providing 48 new linear accelerators and (b) replacing 44 existing linear accelerators. [50949]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 17 July 1998]: Linear accelerators cost around £1 million each depending on local circumstances such as the model selected and optional extras. The pair of reports from the Royal College of Radiologists will provide valuable information for local planning of services; the National Health Service Executive, health authorities and trusts will find them useful for formulating and assessing proposals for radiotherapy services.

20 Jul 1998 : Column: 417

Residential and Domiciliary Care

Mr. Burst: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the percentage increase in charges to service users for (a) domiciliary care services, (b) day care and (c) meals on wheels for the latest year for which figures are available for each local authority. [51508]

Ms Jowell: Information on charges made to individuals for social services provision is not collected centrally. However, the total amounts reported by local authorities as having been received from clients in the form of fees and charges, in 1996-97, for different services are collected centrally, and are available in the form of computer tables on the DH World Wide Web pages for all local authorities in England (Internet reference http:\\

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons his Department has not issued guidance under section 7 of the Local Government Act 1970 to local authorities on the provisions of section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983. [51503]

Ms Jowell: Section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 places a duty on health authorities and local social services authorities to provide after-care services to a specified group of patients. It is a responsibility imposed on both authorities. Guidance on section 117 is contained in the Code of Practice to the Mental Health Act 1983.

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