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NHS Hearing Aid Services

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the NHS hearing aid services pilot project. [128909]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Healey) on 6 June 2000, Official Report, columns 143-44W.

Beta Interferon

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people with (a) relapsing remitting

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MS and (b) secondary progressive MS receive beta interferon in each health authority area in England. [128697]

Mr. Denham: The information is not available at the level of detail requested. However, we estimate that between 1,700 and 1,800 people in England are currently receiving beta interferon on the National Health Service.

Dental Services

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what additional funding has been provided since 1997 to secure provision of NHS dental treatment in Devon and Cornwall; [129207]

Mr. Hutton: We have already made good progress towards improving access to dental services in Cornwall and Devon. Investing in Dentistry grants amounting to £1,095,165 have been approved in the area in return for promises of up to 110,200 new National Health Service registrations. Since 1998, a dental access centre pilot has been operational in Cornwall and the NHS Executive is currently working with North East Devon and South West Devon Health Authorities to develop two further dental access centres.

We have accepted in full the recommendations of the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body, which include an annual £17 million scheme to reward the loyalty and commitment of NHS dentists in England.

The NHS Executive wrote on 16 May to all health authority chief executives asking them to tell us whether more needs to be done to improve NHS dentistry in their locality and inviting ideas for potential funding.

Further initiatives to improve access to services will form part of our plans for modernising NHS dentistry, which will be published this summer in conjunction with the National Plan for the New NHS.


Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for a non-urgent NHS patient to receive an ultrasound examination for a possible thrombosis in each (a) London hospital and (b) NHS region for each of the years (i) 1997, (ii) 1998 and (iii) 1999. [129238]

Mr. Denham: The data requested are not collected centrally. We take the issue of delays in diagnosis very seriously. Through such initiatives as the national booked admissions programme, the cancer services collaborative, action on cataracts and action on orthopaedics, we are encouraging hospitals to streamline their services so that tests are carried out, and a diagnosis made, as quickly as possible and with the patient making the minimum number of visits to hospital.

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Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what payments were made to (a) the Chief Executive and (b) Deputy Chief Executive of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust upon their resignations; [129415]

Ms Stuart: The severance arrangements agreed between the former chief executive and deputy chief executive and Plymouth Hospitals National Health Service Trust are a confidential matter between the individuals concerned and the trust.

Avon Health Authority has engaged the former chief executive for a year to develop a strategic framework for acute services in Avon. He is being employed on normal NHS terms and conditions.

Telephone Steering Systems

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many agencies of his Department use touch tone telephone steering systems when dealing with telephone inquiries from the general public; [129633]

Ms Stuart: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 27 June 2000, Official Report, column 439W. The Department's Public Enquiry Office has an automated call handling system that uses touch tone telephone steering. Callers without a touch tone telephone will be automatically diverted to a public enquiry office adviser.

Coronary Services (Coventry)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money has been allocated to coronary services in the Coventry area in the last three years. [129446]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is in the table.

Spend for Coventry Health Authority on cardio secondary care

Cardiac Surge1,5761,6511,786
Outpatient services207187211

(3) Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty


A comprehensive analysis of spending on coronary services would also draw on information regarding primary care, community services, prescribing etc. This form of program budget is being developed in Coventry but is not readily available.


Coventry Health Authority

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Teenage Pregnancy

Ms McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on progress made on his Department's national publicity campaign to tell young people they can talk to health professionals about sex and contraception in confidence; and what funding has been allocated to the campaign. [129253]

Yvette Cooper: Our media campaign on teenage pregnancy will begin in autumn 2000, following a period of research into promising approaches by similar campaigns elsewhere. Levels of funding for this current year are to be decided, and for future years will depend on the outcome of the Spending Review.

Ms McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many local co-ordinators for teenage pregnancy have been established since the publication of the Social Exclusion Unit report "Teenage Pregnancy", in June 1999. [129256]

Yvette Cooper: Every area in England now has a local teenage pregnancy co-ordinator, jointly nominated by the local authority and health authority. In total there are 141 co-ordinators, with some working to social services boundaries and some to health authority boundaries, depending on local circumstances.

Tranquilliser Addiction

Mr. Woolas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to provide funding (a) under section 64 and (b) generally for the Council for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction. [128329]

Yvette Cooper: Although project funding has been provided in the past, the Department has no current plans to fund this organisation under the section 64 scheme or generally in this financial year. The very high level of demand for cash limited funds has resulted in many worthy applications having to be rejected. This does not prelude the Council for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction from seeking funding in future years.

The problems of dependence upon tranquillisers have been recognised for many years. In 1994, the Department issued copies of "Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Benzodiazepine Dependence", published by the Mental Health Foundation, to all health authorities and recommended their use by general practitioners. Various treatments may be offered in general practice or by the specialist mental health services for those who have developed dependence upon tranquillisers.

Dentists (Pensions)

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his policy towards the pension fund contributions paid by the Treasury for NHS contracted dentists where the agreed increase in payments is phased. [129981]

Mr. Denham: Contributions towards the National Health Service pension scheme are based on actual levels of pensionable remuneration. Therefore, where increases have been phased in the past, the amounts paid by way of contributions into the pension scheme by both the employer and employee have been based on the actual pensionable remuneration that was paid.

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