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Genetically Modified Crops

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the antibiotics to which marker genes used in the production of genetically modified crops convey resistance and the medical uses of those antibiotics. [86317]

Ms Jowell: The antibiotic marker genes and the antibiotics to which they convey resistance that are used in the production of genetic modification of plant crops are Kanamycin; Ampicillin; Hygromycin; Streptomycin; Spectinomycin; Tetracycline; Amikacin and Gentamycin. There are no currently licensed indications for Hygromycin.

The licensed indications for the others are:

    For the treatment of infections due to gram-negative organisms resistant to other antibiotics. It may also be used in the treatment of certain staphylococcal infections due to multi-resistant strains, and in gonorrhoea.


    Urinary-tract infections, otitis media, sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, invasive salmonellosis, gonorrhoea.


    Tuberculosis, in combination with other drugs; adjunct to doxycycline in brucellosis.


    Exacerbations of chronic bronchitis; brucellosis, chlamydia; mycoplasma, and rickettsia; acne vulgaris, rosacea.


    Gonorrhoea caused by penicillin-resistant.


    Serious Gram-negative infections resistant to gentamicin.


    Septicaemia and neonatal sepsis; meningitis and other CNS infections; biliary-tract infection, acute pyelonephritis or prostatitis, endocarditis caused by viridans streptococci or Enterococcus faecalis (with penicillin); pneumonia in hospital patients adjunct in listerial meningitus.

30 Jun 1999 : Column: 218

Surgical Detritus

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 20 May 1999, Official Report, column 425, how much compensation has been paid (a) to persons left with surgical detritus inside them following an operation and (b) to the relatives of those who died as a consequence of such negligence in each of the last three years. [86650]

Mr. Denham: The National Health Service Litigation Authority reports that payments in respect of claims arising from a foreign body left inside a patient following surgery amounted to £1,073,192 in the period 1 April 1995 to date.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many actions were brought against NHS trusts alleging negligence arising from surgical detritus left in wounds following an operation for the most recent year for which figures are available. [87671]

Mr. Denham: 252 claims arising from foreign bodies left inside a patient were reported to the National Health Service Litigation Authority in the period 1 April 1995 to date.


Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish the report on the review of radiotherapy provision. [87970]

Mr. Hutton: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 14 June 1999, Official Report, column 11.

NHS Management Posts

Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress the Government have made on reducing management posts in the NHS. [88216]

Mr. Denham: We recognise the importance of good management in improving health and modernising the National Health Service. We have no plans, therefore, to set targets to reduce the number of management posts in the NHS. However, we remain committed to tackling unnecessary bureaucracy to ensure that a greater proportion of every pound spent in the NHS is directed towards patient care.

Action taken to reduce NHS management costs in 1997-98 and 1998-99 have already freed up £¼ billion by 1999-2000 that would otherwise have been spent on bureaucracy. Further reductions are planned in 1999-2000.

Long-term Care

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many long-term care beds for elderly and mentally disabled people were available in each health authority area in England on 1 May. [88227]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested on the number of long-term care beds in each Health Authority is not available centrally.

The available information on the number of residential care beds and beds in wards open 24 hours within each health authority area in England for 1997-98 has been placed in the Library.

30 Jun 1999 : Column: 219

Allergy Bracelets

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make funds available to Medic Alert in order to defray the costs of re-engraving allergy bracelets for those on low incomes following the proposed changes to telephone numbers in the Central London area. [88656]

Mr. Hutton: The Department has no funds available for this purpose. Telephone numbering is a matter for the Office of Telecommunications.

Waiting Times (South Staffordshire)

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the average waiting times from GP referral to inpatient admission for patients living in the South Staffordshire Health Authority area for each of the last four years for which data are available. [88446]

Mr. Denham: The Department does not collect data on patients' total waiting time from general practitioner referral to inpatient admission.


School Playing Fields

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment where detailed information is kept on the individual school playing fields sold between 1979 and 1999. [88661]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Prior to 1 October 1998, there were no restrictions, other than those that may have been imposed by the planning authorities, on the sale of school playing fields by local education authorities. The Department does not, therefore, have any information on the sale of individual school playing fields by local authorities before that date.

The Department does have information about the sale of school playing fields by grant-maintained schools from 1988 to the present.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the school playing fields which the Government have prevented from being sold and developed (a) between 1 May 1997 and 30 September 1998 and (b) since 1 October 1998. [88663]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Since 1 May 1997, applications by the governing bodies to sell playing fields at the following grant-maintained schools have been rejected:

Before 1 October 1998, there was no control over the sale of playing fields by local authorities. The Government introduced control by bringing into force section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Since then, all application from local authorities to sell, or change the use of school playing fields have been considered against strict criteria. So far, all the applications that have been considered have met the criteria and have, therefore, been approved. It would not

30 Jun 1999 : Column: 220

be in a local authority's interest to submit an application that did not meet the criteria. What we do not know is how many local authorities have been deterred from submitting applications to sell school playing fields that, prior to 1 October 1998, they could have sold without needing consent.

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will assess the impact on community usage of non-sport development of school sports grounds. [88743]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Before a local authority, governing body or foundation body in England may dispose, or change the use of a school playing field, they must first secure the prior consent of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Applications for consent are considered against four criteria published in DfEE Circular 3/99, "The Protection of School Playing Fields". One of these criteria is that the playing field provision and other sports facilities to be left will meet the needs of the local community. This is in addition to any consideration of proposed development under the planning system.

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to ensure that schools do not replace all their grass pitches with artificial surfaces. [88496]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Whether or not a maintained school's outdoor sporting provision is grass, hard surfaced or artificial surfaced is a decision best taken at local level. However, paragraph 55 of DfEE Circular 3/99 "The Protection of School Playing Fields", highlights the fact that not all types of games can be played on artificial surfaces and that a balance may need to be struck. Our Building Bulletin 85, "School Grounds: A Guide to Good Practice", provides detailed advice.

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is his Department's policy on use of school sports facilities by the community. [88744]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Individual governing bodies control the use of their school's premises but, in doing so out of school hours, the law requires them to have regard to the desirability of making their premises available to the wider community. We value community use and the "Code of Practice on LEA-School Relations", published this year, states that

Later this year, the Department will be issuing further guidance on community use of school facilities as part of a drive to better promote community use.

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