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Public Health

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many residents he estimates were suffering from (a) sexually transmitted diseases and (b) AIDS/HIV infections in the NHS London region in the current financial year, and in each of the last 10 financial years; [113810]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 10 March 2000]: We are unable to provide an estimate as data from Genito Urinary Medicine clinics, where most sexually transmitted diseases are treated, do not include residence information.

Diagnosed HIV infected people resident in London form 60 per cent. of the total country-wide and, assuming this applies to the undiagnosed fraction as well, would result in 17,500 London residents who are HIV infected, about one third of whom have not yet had their infection diagnosed.

Using data from the annual survey of prevalent HIV infection and the unlinked anonymous surveys the following estimates have been produced from 1995 onwards. Approximately one third of these infections will be undiagnosed. These figures are based on annual surveys.

At end of:


PHLS (earlier data are not available and data by financial year are not available)

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As statistical returns from genitourinary medicine clinics provide information on new diagnoses rather than the number of individuals treated we are unable to answer this specific question. However, readily available data on diagnoses are as follows and provide an indication of patient numbers but individuals may have more than one infection. Data for 1999 are not available yet.

Diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases in the NHS London Region

Calendar yearNumber of STD diagnoses (excluding HIV/AIDS)



There are no current HIV prevalence data collected regionally or nationally for financial years. The Annual Survey of Prevalent HIV infections that are diagnosed will be able to give data for 1999 calendar year but this will not be available until later in the summer of 2000.

This annual prevalence survey of HIV infected people receiving care began to collect data nationally in 1995 and the estimated figures for London adjusted for under reporting give the following totals.

HIV infected people treated calendar year in London


Separate allocations are not made for sexually transmitted diseases. The HIV/AIDS treatment and care allocation to London health authorities for 1996-97 to 1999-2000 is as shown. Prior to 1996-97 allocations were made to regional health authorities and information on London HAs is not held centrally. Allocations for 2000-01 have not yet been determined.

£ million
Allocations to London HAs

The movement between years reflects adjustments to the baseline allocations in year as well as the annual cash increase.

Broomfield Hospital

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will order the three closed wards at Broomfield Hospital to be reopened until he has reached a decision on the appeal against closure being brought by the Mid Essex community health councils. [114212]

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Mr. Denham [holding answer 13 March 2000]: Consultation has been carried out on these proposals, and as yet, no appeal has been received from Mid Essex Community Health Council regarding the beds at Broomfield Hospital. The community health council's appeal will be considered in line with due process, if and when it is received.

Natal Intensive Care Unit

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what annual number of obstetric deliveries is deemed to be the threshold for a trust to be able to support a natal intensive care unit. [114571]

Yvette Cooper: There are no specific thresholds. Health authorities are required to commission health care services to serve the needs of their resident populations according to local demand and circumstances.

Overseas Doctors

Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the future of the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test for overseas doctors. [114447]

Ms Stuart: The administration of the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test, including both content and standards required to pass, are entirely a matter for the General Medical Council to determine.

Cancer Deaths

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's proposals for reducing cancer deaths among people living in poverty in the UK. [114174]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 March 2000]: The "Saving Lives--Our Healthier Nation" White Paper has a central aim to improve the health of the worst off in society and narrow the health gap. It set a target to reduce death rates from cancer by 20 per cent. in those under 75 by 2010. This will involve dealing with the broader determinants of health (eg poverty, social exclusion etc.), addressing risk factors (eg by providing smoking cessation clinics in Health Action Zones), encouraging early detection and uptake of screening (especially in deprived groups and ethnic minorities), and by ensuring equity of access to high quality cancer treatment across the country as part of our national strategy to improve cancer services.

Schoolchildren (Weight Bearing)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the health risks of schoolchildren carrying excessive weight in unsuitable school bags. [114382]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 March 2000]: Weight bearing exercise is an important contributor to health. However, carrying excessive and unbalanced weights has the potential to contribute to musculo-skeletal injury. The risk is likely to be increased in the young, those with pre-existing skeletal problems and those who are overweight.

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Through the National Healthy Schools Standards we are asking schools to consider all the factors that impact on the health of the school community. Safety is one of the specific themes of the standard and this includes the need for regular risk assessments by an identified Health and Safety representative.


Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on Agency staff in Pathology in each NHS region in the last year for which figures are available. [114746]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not centrally available.

Equal Opportunities

Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the membership of the boards of Primary Care Groups broken down by (a) ethnic origin and (b) gender. [114747]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 15 March 2000]: Primary Care Group board members were asked to complete equal opportunities forms when they became accepted to a PCG board. This is not a mandatory requirement but where volunteered the information is in the table.

Primary Care Group boards

Number of board members
Black Caribbean--711
Black African--147
Overall total5,464

Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses, midwives and health visitors have received discretionary increments in the last three financial years, broken down by gender and ethnic origin. [114749]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 15 March 2000]: Responsibility for payment of discretionary points to nurses, midwives and health visitors is for local NHS employers. The information requested is not available centrally.

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