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Chemical Allergies

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into health problems (i) caused by chemical allergies and (ii) associated with the use of fire-retardant chemicals. [74959]

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Ms Jowell: The Department's policy research programme and the National Health Service research and development programmes are supporting a range of research on allergies and will continue to do so. Details of these projects can be found on the National Research Register, a copy of which is available in the Library on CD-Rom. The Department undertakes reviews of the health hazards of a wide range of specific chemicals and data on the potential allergenicity of a chemical would be evaluated as part of the review.

During the inquiry by the Expert Group to Investigate Cot Death Theories (Toxic Gas Hypothesis), the Department commissioned research to a total cost of about £400,000 to investigate the hypothesis that antimony--or phosphorus--containing compounds used as fire retardants in PVC and other cot mattresses are a cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The Expert Group concluded in its Final Report, published in May 1998, that there was no reason to believe that chemicals used as fire retardants in cot mattress materials pose any health risk to infants.

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people have died in each of the last five years as a result of (a) a chemical allergy and (b) an allergic reaction to fire-retardant chemicals; [74955]

Ms Jowell: The information requested is not available.

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the annual cost to the NHS of treating chemical allergies. [74958]

Ms Jowell: Information is not available centrally on the costs to the National Health Service of individual medical conditions.


Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to announce the allocations to health authorities for their (a) HIV treatment and care budgets and (b) HIV prevention work for the next financial year. [75131]

Ms Jowell: We are currently considering options on these budgets in the light both of the work undertaken by the HIV/AIDS Stocktake Group and the forthcoming HIV/AIDS Strategy. We will announce decisions on these issues shortly.

Nurses' Pay

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the average pay for Grade D nurses; and if he will list the five NHS trusts that have the lowest pay for Grade D nurses for the year 1998-99. [75026]

Mr. Denham: Average earnings of grade D nurses are estimated at £16,400, as at December 1998. The minimum point of the national grade D scale is set at £12,855, however, this will rise by 12 per cent. to £14,400 from 1 April. Information on earnings for individual trusts is held centrally only for the sample of 170 trusts used in the Department of Health earnings survey.

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Patient Discharges

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate (a) by health authority, (b) by region and (c) nationally the number of patients staying past their original discharge date in NHS beds before moving to social service beds; and if he will estimate the cost to the NHS of this delayed discharge. [75040]

Mr. Hutton: The specific information requested is not collected centrally. Information is collected quarterly on the total number of patients aged 75 and over ready for discharge, but still occupying an acute bed in hospital (excluding those under the care of a psychiatric consultant) because of the following principal reasons: assessment completed but awaiting local authority funding, or, care plan agreed but patient awaiting placement in a non National Health Service-funded nursing home or residential care home. This information for the quarter ending December 1998 has been placed in the Library.

Information on the cost of delayed discharges is not reported. Nor is expenditure information available in sufficient detail to be able to estimate, with any accuracy, the cost of the delayed discharge to the NHS.

Chief Executives (Pay)

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the average pay for chief executives of NHS trusts for each of the last 10 years; and if he will list the pay of the five highest paid chief executives of NHS trusts for the year 1998-99. [75025]

Mr. Denham: The remuneration of chief executives of National Health Service trusts in England has been separately identified in trusts' annual reports since the 1994-95 financial year. 1998-1999 information will be available this August, when trusts have published their annual reports. Information on the average pay for Chief Executives' posts for the years 1994-95 to 1997-98 is as follows.

NHS Trusts (England)--Remuneration of Chief Executives
Average remuneration

Basic salaryTotal remuneration


1. Information relating to the remuneration of NHS Trust Chief Executives was not collected centrally before 1994-95.

2. Total Remuneration comprises: basic salary, benefits, and performance related bonuses.

3. Remuneration relates to total remuneration of all office holders during year.

4. Average values are based on the number of NHS Trusts in each year; i.e. 1994-95 419, 1995-96 433, 1996-97 429, 1997-98 425.

5. In the years 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1997-98 reported figures were identified as both "Remuneration as Director" and as "Other Remuneration". To ensure consistency these figures have been aggregated as above.

6. Information for 1998-99 will be available in August 1999.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to NHS trusts and health authorities on 29 January 1998, stating that in-year pay rises of managerial staff should

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not exceed 2.7 per cent. in 1998-99. On 1 February 1999, the NHS Executive Chief Executive wrote to trust chief executives indicating that

    in 1999-2000.

Health Authority Budgets

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the surplus or deficit of each health authority in 1998-99. [75035]

Mr. Denham: The information requested will be placed in the Library.

Service Reconfiguration

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list by region the hospitals which have in the last 10 years consulted their local community health council on service reconfiguration; and how many beds have been gained or lost following each of these reconfigurations. [75037]

Mr. Denham: In line with the practice of previous administrations, this information is not collected centrally.

Registered Homes Act 1984

Mr. Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward a proposal under the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 to amend the Registered Homes Act 1984 as recommended by the Better Regulation Task Force in its report on long-term care. [74961]

Mr. Hutton: No. Proposals for reforming the current regulatory system for social services are contained in our White Paper "Modernising Social Services".

Telecommunications Masts

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the public health implications of the siting and use of telecommunications masts. [74973]

Ms Jowell: The expansion of the mobile phone network has been accompanied by inquiries to the Department, mainly from members of the public, about the alleged public health implications of mobile phone base stations. Representations have also been made by the mobile phone communications companies. A consultation document on "Land Use Planning and Electromagnetic Fields", was issued in December jointly with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Responses were requested by 19 February and are currently being considered.

Digital Signals

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the non-thermal effects of digital signals. [74974]

Ms Jowell: The Government obtain advice on restricting human exposure to electromagnetic fields from the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) who have published guidelines which apply to both digital and analogue signals. For radio frequencies, these are based on well-established thermal effects. Both the NRPB and

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the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection agree that there is no clear evidence of adverse non-thermal health effects from either digital or analogue signals to which the public are normally exposed. Thus, the alleged non-thermal health effects cannot provide a basis for setting exposure restrictions, however they are the subject of current research.

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