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Birth Weights

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) babies born by in-vitro fertilisation and (b) other babies, in each of the last 20 years, weighed (i) over 3,000 g, (ii) over 2,500 g but less than 3,000 g, (iii) over 2,000 g but less than 2,500 g and (iv) less than 2,000 g. [100814]

Yvette Cooper: The information that is available has been placed in the Library.

Fuel Poverty

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the relative cost-effectiveness of treating cold-related illnesses through the eradication of fuel poverty via energy efficiency improvements. [100820]

Yvette Cooper: Through the introduction of the New Home Energy Efficiency Scheme and other initiatives, we are working to combat fuel poverty. Energy efficiency improvements are an effective means of tackling the many health problems related to cold conditions in homes. Our aim is to improve health, reduce health inequalities and ensure that vulnerable households need no longer risk ill health due to a cold home.

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Cancer (Death Rates)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanism he proposes to monitor the proposed target to reduce the death rate from cancer by 20 per cent. by 2010. [101422]

Yvette Cooper: The target is to reduce the death rate from all cancers among those aged under 75 years by at least 20 per cent. by the year 2010. Progress towards this target will be monitored annually using data from cancer death registrations collected and published by the Office for National Statistics.

Ministerial Meetings

Mr. David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have put in place for the taking and keeping of minutes of meetings between Ministers and people outside his Department. [102380]

Yvette Cooper: Decisions on the format of minutes of meetings will depend on the nature of the discussion.

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for each of the buildings under his Department's control how many rooms are set aside for (a) ethnic minority religious use, (b) pregnant and nursing mothers and (c) smokers. [102332]

Yvette Cooper: In the eleven buildings where the Department is the major Government occupier, there are no rooms set aside specifically for ethnic minority religious use. A total of three rooms are available exclusively for pregnant and nursing mothers, and 27 rooms for smokers.

Royal Marsden and Christie Hospitals

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (a) how many patients were treated, (b) what was the number of (i) beds and (ii) consultant surgeons and (c) what was the revenue budget for the financial year 1998-99 for (A) the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and (B) the Christie Hospital in Manchester. [102514]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 13 December 1999]: The figures for the number of patients treated and the number of beds for 1998-99 are not yet available. However in view of the unique factors affecting the Royal Marsden Hospital, such as the major complex surgery undertaken, the different case mix and the higher building and capital costs, a simplistic comparison of the data for both hospitals would not produce any meaningful results.

As at 30 September 1998, the Christie Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospitals had 2 and 7 consultants respectively, whose first speciality was recorded in the Surgical Group. However, there are a number of consultants based in hospitals across Manchester and Salford who have operating rights at the Christie Hospital but who will not be included in the centrally collected statistics.

The 1998-99 revenue income for the Christie Hospital is £57,347,000, and for the Royal Marsden Hospital it is £74,873,000.

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Cancer Treatment

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many additional (a) oncologists and (b) other consultants specialising in the care of cancer will be recruited under his plans for treating cancer. [102768]

Yvette Cooper: Professor Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, has identified the need to review the cancer workforce as his top priority. He is currently discussing workforce, skill mix, and recruitment and retention issues with professional groups to enable patients to receive faster and fairer access to cancer services.

Needle Exchange Services

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many Government-funded needle exchange services are available for drug addicts (a) in the North-West region and (b) in England and Wales. [102699]

Yvette Cooper: This information is not available centrally for England or the North-West region.

Information from local sources is that there are about 45 Government-funded needle exchange schemes based in agencies in the North-West region. In addition, there are pharmacy schemes and mobile outreach teams (which may be Government-funded needle exchange services); no reliable information on these is available.

Information for Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the First Secretary for Wales.

Food Safety

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities do not reduce levels of service under the Food Safety Act 1990 prior to the commencement of the Food Standards Agency's operation. [103297]

Yvette Cooper: Decisions on the provision of food law enforcement services are for local authorities in the light of local circumstances. Officials are involved in discussions with the local authorities' co-ordinating body on food and trading standards about the arrangements which will operate for the planning, monitoring and audit of local authority enforcement when the Food Standards Agency is established next year.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the expenditure per head of population for shire county local authorities on their public health functions under the Food Safety Act 1990 for the latest year for which figures are available. [103296]

Yvette Cooper: County councils do not provide public health services under the Food Safety Act 1990. Certain food law enforcement functions are the responsibility of County councils but information on such expenditure is not separately identifiable in the returns received centrally.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he gives to public analysts for setting sampling rates for samples taken for analysis under the Food Safety Act 1990. [103298]

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Yvette Cooper: There is no central guidance on a specific level of sampling to public analysts or local authorities. Decisions on the provision of food law enforcement services are for local authorities in the light of local circumstances.

Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to raise awareness of the dangers of gamma hydroxy butyrate. [103377]

Yvette Cooper: Information on the dangers of gamma hydroxy butyrate is included in the leaflets "The Score" (targeted at 14-16 year olds) and "D-MAG" (targeted at 16 and upwards) produced by the Health Education Authority as part of a campaign on behalf of the Department which aims to educate 11-25 year olds and parents about the dangers of drug misuse.

In order to further raise awareness regarding the dangers and physical effects of gamma hydroxy butyrate, the Medicines Control Agency has issued briefings to Heads of Police Force Intelligence Bureaux, Trading Standard Officers and Environmental Health Officers. This action was supplemented by a series of presentations by the MCA, in conjunction with the National Criminal Intelligence Service, to the 43 regional police forces throughout the country.

Departmental Productivity

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to increase the productivity and reduce the running costs of his Department. [103849]

Yvette Cooper: The Department's running cost allocations for financial years covered by the comprehensive spending review (1999-2000 to 2001-02) assumed that pressures arising from price inflation would be absorbed by efficiency and productivity gains of 3.5 per cent. a year. These gains are being delivered through the Department's better quality services programme, use of its organisational development function and through a range of internal and external reviews and inspections (including peer reviews of internal resource allocation).

"Fit for the Future?"

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the cost implications for residential homes for the elderly of the proposals contained in the consultation document, "Fit for the Future?" ; and if he will make a statement. [103471]

Mr. Hutton: The Department commissioned Laing and Buisson to work on a cost-benefit analysis of the standards to ascertain the likely burden on providers. Additional information was gathered from heads of inspection regarding the current standard of provision. Information from these studies was published in the consultation document "Fit for the Future?", together with a draft regulatory impact appraisal.

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