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Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will make needles and re-usable pens for the treatment of diabetes available free on prescription. [106964]

Mr. Denham: We have consulted on proposals which would include allowing insulin pen needles and reusable pens to be prescribed by general practitioners on the National Health Service. We have received representations from most of the organisations consulted. We are considering them, and are seeking clarification on certain points before we make our final decisions.

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NHS Staff (Employment Contract Renewals)

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) NHS medical staff, (b) NHS staff who were members of professions allied to medicine and (c) NHS nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff did not have their contract of employment renewed in each NHS region, in each year since 1995. [106679]

Mr. Denham: Information on National Health Service staff who have not had their contract of employment renewed is not collected centrally, but may be obtained from individual NHS employers.

Health Spending (Southend)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the impact of Southend borough council's SSA on health spending; and if he will make a statement on the recent meeting between hon. Members, councillors, officers and the Minister of State. [107269]

Mr. Hutton: I met representatives of Southend borough council and hon. Members from Southend on 10 January where they outlined the local situation with regard to their SSA. The meeting mainly discussed the financial difficulties the local authority is facing particularly with regard to mental health and learning disability client groups. I am currently considering whether there is any underspend in this year's mental health care grant which may provide additional support to the borough council. I agreed to examine what extra assistance the social services inspectorate could provide to support the authority.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the question tabled for answer on 8 December by the hon. Member for Walthamstow relating to the review of NHS guidelines for the treatment of people from abroad. [107133]

Ms Stuart: I replied to my hon. Friend on 26 January.


Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects all family doctors to have access to NHS Net; what is the total estimated cost to public funds of NHS Net; and if he will make a statement. [107082]

Ms Stuart: All family doctors will have access to NHSnet by the end of 2002. NHSnet is a managed service and has no capital costs to public funds. The annual cost of access to NHSnet for health authorities and National Health Service trusts is £3.8 million. The annual cost of access for general practitioners will be approximately £19 million once they are all connected. This sum includes managed services such as routers and firewalls as well as costs for 24-hour/7 day network access.

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Departmental Staff

Mr. Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the percentage of (a) registered disabled people, (b) women, (c) people from ethnic minorities and (d) people from (i) independent schools, (ii) grammar schools and (iii) other schools employed by his Department in each of the years (i) 1970, (ii) 1979, (iii) 1989 and (iv) 1999. [107012]

Ms Stuart: We do not collect information about the educational background of staff. Available information is set out in the table.

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19701979 1989 1999
(a) Disability(44)n/an/a--1.36
(b) Women406364(45)5157
(c) Ethnic minority(46)n/an/a--4.714

(43) Until 1989 the Department of Health and Social Security were a single Department (DHSS)

(44) Figure not available for the number of people with a disability before 1985. The 1989 figure is "registered disabled"; the 1999 figure is those with a self-declared disability

(45) Women in DH workforce after the split of DHSS

(46) Figure not available for number of people from an ethnic minority before 1989