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Food Hygiene

Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will require local authorities to publish their inspection reports on food outlets. [100496]

Yvette Cooper: Decisions on publication of information in respect of food inspections are a matter

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for individual local authorities in the light of local circumstances, taking into account the need to protect public health.

In-vitro Fertilisation

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what monitoring is carried out to ensure that IVF treatment is available in the North Essex Health Authority Area. [100900]

Yvette Cooper: No specific monitoring is carried out to ensure that in-vitro fertilisation treatment is available in the North Essex Health Authority area.

The decision to provide in-vitro fertilisation treatment is one for individual health authorities. This decision should be taken in the light of local needs, available resources and clinical effectiveness.


Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were classified as suffering from malnutrition in (a) 1970, (b) 1980, (c) 1990 and (d) 1998. [101372]

Yvette Cooper: The number of admissions to National Health Service hospitals in England with a diagnosis of malnutrition was 3,581 for the financial year 1989-90 and 6,293 for the financial year 1997-98. Figures are not available on a comparable basis for the earlier years.

Research studies have shown that 40 per cent. of adults patients and 15 per cent. of children are malnourished on admission to hospital, indicating that prevalence in the general population may be higher than the admissions figures suggest.

The Government's National Diet and Nutrition Survey programme monitors the diet and nutritional status of the population of Great Britain and has shown that while most people are adequately nourished, there has been a persistent rise in obesity. In 1997, the Health Survey for England showed that 17 per cent. of men and 20 per cent. of women in England were obese compared to 6 per cent. and 8 per cent. of those studied in the earliest previous study in 1980.

Breast Feeding

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps his Department has taken to promote breast feeding. [104093]

Yvette Cooper: We are fully committed to the promotion of breastfeeding, which is uniformly accepted as the best form of nutrition for infants. We also firmly believe that it is important that women and their partners are able to make a fully informed choice on how to feed their babies based on accurate and consistent information. This means that women should have access to information about all infant feeding practices through the relevant health care professional.

Two part-time infant feeding advisers have been appointed. One is a practising health visitor and the other a midwife to act as a focus for developing and

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implementing strategies for promoting breastfeeding. In particular, their expertise will be utilised to increase the incidence of breastfeeding among groups where breastfeeding rates are lowest, for example, those on low income, and to ensure that all mothers have the information and support they need to make informed infant feeding choices.

The infant feeding advisers are also managing a substantial project budget that will include taking forward developmental work on a model questionnaire for collecting information locally on monitoring breastfeeding rates, administer a small grant scheme to help evaluate projects which provide best practice on increasing breastfeeding rates among mothers on low incomes, take forward initiatives on a parent friendly approach to infant feeding and develop educational resources and promotional materials to promote breastfeeding that would appeal to varying groups in the population.

We also promote breastfeeding in the following ways. The National Network of Breastfeeding Co-ordinators has been established to promote breastfeeding at a local level and to share ideas nationally with a view to increasing both the number of mothers breastfeeding and the length of time they continue to breastfeed. Each year the four UK Health Departments support National Breastfeeding Awareness Week to increase public awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding, which will this year take place between 14-20 May.

The Department provides financial support to the four main voluntary organisations in this area, the National Childbirth Trust, La Leche League, Breastfeeding Network and the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers. Close links are also kept with UNICEF's Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) which includes a Departmental observer sitting on the Steering Committee of the UK BFI. The Department offers support for research into breastfeeding through the Quinquennial Surveys of Infant Feeding Practice; a new survey will be undertaken this year. The Department also receives and publishes expert advice on breastfeeding through its advisory committees, such as COMA's Panel on Child and Maternal Nutrition.

Also, as part of the Department's research initiative on health inequalities, we are supporting a study aimed at identifying the barriers to breastfeeding in low income groups. This should also help us to understand what influences a woman's decision whether to breastfeed or not. In turn, this will help us to develop and test new policies to promote and improve the health of babies from low income families. This research will report in late 2001.

Employment Statistics

Mrs. Ann Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) men and (b) women in each of the standard age groups were employed in his Department in (i) 1979 and (ii) 1999. [104030]

Yvette Cooper: In 1979 the Departments of Health and Social Security were a single department. The table shows the number of men and women employed by the DHSS in each of the standard age groups.

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Age groupFemaleMaleTotal
All ages62,52535,90398,482

The table shows the number of women and men employed by the Department of Health at 31 March 1999 in each of the standard age groups.

Age groupFemaleMaleTotal
All ages2,8212,1174,938

Drug Treatment

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health of the £50 million allocated to health authorities for drug treatment services; what priorities he has set out for this expenditure; and what is the total allocated to the North West Region. [104343]

Yvette Cooper: £1,314,000 has been allocated to health authorities in the North West for the financial year 1999-2000. This is from a total of £12 million allocated to health authorities for the development of new drug treatment services. Announcements on the allocation of funding in 2000-01 and 2001-02 for the development of new drug treatment services are yet to be made. Three priority areas have currently been identified: development of primary care based treatment services and support for drug misusers; an increase in the provision of treatment services for young people who misuse drugs, particularly the under-18s, and prevention services for vulnerable young people (among the under 25s); and implementation of a hepatitis B immunisation programme targeted at drug misusers most at risk of the infection.

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health of the £20 million allocated to local authorities for drug treatment services what priorities he has set out for their use; and what is the figure allocated to each local authority in the North West Region. [104344]

Yvette Cooper: The additional drug and alcohol specific grants and special grants allocated to local authorities in the north west for 1999-2000 are shown in the tables. This is from a total additional £3 million allocated to local authorities to develop new services and increase the numbers of problem drug misusers accessing services that have a positive impact on health and crime. It is expected that this will: improve access to services for substance misusers; support substance misusers, including people with a dual diagnosis, in overcoming their problems and helping them to lead healthier, crime free

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lives; and develop a co-ordinated and flexible service provision which will involve more extensive joint planning and commissioning.

Local authorityAdditional drug and alcohol specific grant
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council72,000
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council20,000
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council20,000
Halton Borough Council39,018
Oldham Metropolitan Borough31,500
St. Helen's Metropolitan Borough23,655

Local authoritySpecial grant
Liverpool County Council30,000
Salford Metropolitan District Council27,600

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