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Meat Inspection

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will respond to the report of the task force on meat inspection charges. [R] [131098]

Ms Stuart: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 3 July 2000, Official Report, column 29W.

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the French Presidency regarding the future of meat inspection charges. [R] [131099]

Ms Stuart: None, because there is currently no proposal before the European Union Council of Ministers to alter the EU legislation on meat inspection charges. However, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has had discussions with the European Commission about the application of that legislation in other member states.

AIDS

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors underlie NHS guidance recommending that men be given priority over women in the allocation of AIDS treatment. [131483]

Yvette Cooper: I am not aware of such a recommendation.

CJD

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment the Food Standards Agency has made of the evidence concerning a cluster of new variant CJD cases in Leicestershire. [131484]

Yvette Cooper: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that it is aware of the recent cases of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) in Leicestershire, and welcomes the investigation which is currently underway

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to look into the circumstances of the apparent cluster. This may provide a useful opportunity to learn more about the possible causes of vCJD. The agency has asked to be kept in close touch with developments and has offered any assistance that may be required. The results of the investigation will be carefully considered once they are available.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 9 March 2000, Official Report, column 786W, regarding BSE, if his Department's investigation into the cluster of new variant CJD cases in Leicestershire will use as the basis of its investigation his Department's own assessment of the hierarchy, by method of transmission, of the likelihood of risk of transmission of BSE. [133500]

Yvette Cooper: The investigation of the apparent cluster of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease currently under way will look for any common links of exposure. This will include examination of the medical records of patients and their dietary and occupational histories.

Medicinal Product Licences

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason a medicinal product licence is required for a product that is a mixture of two or more ingredients that would, if sold separately, need no such licence; what plans he has to review the law on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [131489]

Ms Stuart: A product licence is required for any substance or substances which come within the legal definition of a medicinal product and which are not exempt from licensing. A medicinal product may contain some ingredients which would not, if sold separately without making medicinal claims, be classified as medicinal products. It may also contain ingredients which are herbal remedies and would, if sold separately and subject to certain conditions, be classified as medicinal

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products exempt from licensing. That exemption is not available to a product in which the two types of ingredient are combined. We have no plans to review the law on combination products.

Mental Health

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 17 July 2000, Official Report, column 73W, on the reform of the Mental Health Act 1983, if his Department has produced a summary of responses to the Green Paper on reform of the Mental Health Act 1983. [131720]

Mr. Hutton: No, the analysis of responses to the Green Paper on reform of the Mental Health Act 1983 is not yet complete.

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The Government intend to publish a summary of the analysis of responses to the consultation exercise to Parliament in the autumn, and will set out the detail of its proposals in a White Paper to be published before Christmas.

Health Care Capital Projects

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many capital projects in health care have been approved in Northampton since May 1997. [131943]

Mr. Denham: The table sets out details of health care capital projects in Northamptonshire which have been approved by the South East Regional Office of the National Health Service Executive since May 1997.

Details of capital schemes not requiring approval at regional level can be obtained direct from the relevant National Health Service trust.

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NHS TrustStatus and Approval DatePurpose
Northampton Community Healthcare NHS TrustOutline Business Case April 1999Reprovision of mental health facilities
Northampton Community Healthcare NHS TrustOutline Business Case August 1999Reprovision of mental health facilities
Rockingham Forest NHS TrustOutline Business Case November 1999Reprovision of mental health inpatient ward
Northampton Community Healthcare NHS TrustFull Business Case February 1999Development of Mental Health Intensive Care Unit
Northampton Community Healthcare NHS TrustFull Business Case August 1999Reprovision of Learning Disability services

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Breast Cancer

Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the possibility of the two-view mammographic screening programme for breast cancer being made available to all women. [131894]

Yvette Cooper: We announced yesterday in the National Plan for the National Health Service that, in addition to extending routine invitations to women aged 65 to 70 within the NHS breast screening programme, the current service will also be upgraded by offering two view mammography at all screening rounds leading to an estimated improvement of some 40 per cent. in detection rates. We will roll out the programme to older women and introduce two-view mammography on a phased basis as sufficient staff become available to guarantee that the high quality of the current programme can be maintained.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is his policy to instruct health authorities which offer screening for breast cancer at intervals of less than three years to move to offering screening once every three years. [133394]

Yvette Cooper: The current national policy is that the National Health Service breast screening programme offers screening once every three years to women aged 50 to 64. This frequency was recommended by the Forrest report, on which the programme was based. The Forrest report also recommended that this frequency must be kept under review, and results are awaited from the United Kingdom Co-ordinating Committee on Cancer Research's Frequency Trial.

There is no national policy to instruct health authorities which offer screening for breast cancer at intervals of less than three years to move to offering screening once every three years.

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Therapists

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of vacancies have remained unfilled for three months or more for (a) speech and language therapists, (b) all therapists and (c) the NHS overall in (i) Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, (ii) the North West and (iii) England and Wales. [131736]

Mr. Denham: The available information is contained in the table.

Department of Health Recruitment, Retention and Vacancies Survey--vacancies in NHS Trusts by region and health authority, therapists and all NHS staff three month vacancy rates(1)
Percentages

EnglandNorth WestNorth West Lancashire HA(1)
Speech and language therapists staff1.21.20.0
All therapists staff(1)2.52.51.3
All NHS staff1.71.10.5

(1) Posts that had been vacant for three months or more at 31 March 1999

(1) North West Lancashire Health Authority include the following NHS Trusts; Blackpool, Wyre, Fylde and Preston

(1) All therapists staff include; physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists

Notes:

1. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place

2. All NHS staff include non-medical and medical and dental staff

Source:

Department of Health Recruitment, Retention and Vacancies Survey 1999


Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the change in referral rates to physiotherapists over the last five years for which figures are available. [131740]

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Mr. Denham: Information about referral rates to physiotherapists is not collected centrally. Information about patient contacts with the physiotherapy service is available and show that in 1998-99 there were 4.2 million initial contacts, a measure of the number of new episodes of care commenced in the year, about one per cent. more than 1997-98.

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of student speech and language therapists who graduated in the last year for which figures are available did not go on to work as speech and language therapists. [131734]

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


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