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Community Health Councils

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultations his Department has had with, and

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what representations he has received from, the Health Ombudsman concerning the proposed abolition of Community Health Councils. [145729]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 17 January 2001]: The Health Service Commissioner's office has met officials to discuss the proposals in the NHS Plan and the Health and Social Care Bill including proposed abolition of community health councils. As a result, no representations have been received by this Department.

Silicone Cosmesis

Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made by the working party on silicone cosmesis; and when its findings will be reported. [146275]

Mr. Denham: A small working party met three times between November 1999 and March 2000 to inform Department of Health policy discussions in relation to the provision of silicone cosmesis through the National Health Service. There was no formal report. However, in the light of the working party's deliberations, we have announced funding for 2001-02 and recurrently for the NHS to increase provision of high to low definition silicone cosmesis.


Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to answer Mr. H. Waterston's letter dated 28 November 2000. [146118]

Ms Stuart: A reply to the hon. Member's constituent's letter was sent on 22 January.

Special Care Baby Units

Ms Kingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many pregnant women, in the Gloucestershire health authority area, were transferred to give birth in other counties because no special care baby cots were available in Gloucestershire, in (a) 1998-99 and (b) 1999-2000; [144979]

Ms Stuart: The requested information is not collected by the Department. Information received from Gloucestershire Royal National Health Service Trust on the numbers of pregnant women that have had to be transferred is that: in 1998, 12 women were transferred; in 1999, 23; and in 2000, 40. There were no transfers of babies.

East Gloucestershire NHS Trust is unable to provide details of the number of pregnant women that have had to be transferred, however, no babies were transferred.

My hon. Friend may wish to contact the chairs of the trusts for more information.

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NHS Dentistry

Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the average quarterly loyalty bonus which will be paid to dentists undertaking NHS work in 2001; and if he will make a statement. [145955]

Mr. Hutton: The value of a commitment payment paid to a dentist in the General Dental Service (GDS) depends on their level of commitment. Those who qualify may get a payment ranging from £25 for those doing some work within the GDS to £834 for those aged 45 or over who are fully committed.

In England the average amounts in the first two quarters of the scheme were £380 for April to June 2000 and £383 for July to September 2000.

In addition to the quarterly payments there will also be a year-end payment made to all dentists who received one or more quarterly commitment payments above the minimum level.

Long-term Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in England assessed as needing residential or nursing home care are on a waiting list for funding; and how many of those waiting whose capital has dropped below £16,000 by reason of delay in securing funding from their local authority are (a) waiting at home, (b) waiting in hospital and (c) already in a residential care or nursing home. [147148]

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

Victoria Climbie

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what powers the inquiry into the events surrounding the death of Victoria Climbie will have regarding the submission of evidence and the disclosure of information; [147187]

Mr. Hutton: We are setting up a statutory inquiry to look into the circumstances surrounding Victoria (Anna) Climbie's death. Lord Laming of Tewin, a former chief inspector of social services, will chair this inquiry. Further announcements about the inquiry will be made at the earliest opportunity.

Home Care (VAT Concession)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the implementation of the proposed extra-statutory concession on VAT and home care; and if he will make a statement. [147135]

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Mr. Hutton: The Department has been liaising closely with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Department of Trade and Industry on their proposals since 1997. The proposed Value Added Tax concession will mean that people receiving care in their own homes will not pay VAT on the wages element of that care. We will continue to make every effort to promote home care as a choice for individuals in need of support.


Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to require the NHS to make provision for a possible changeover to the euro as part of its budget preparation for the financial year 2001-02. [147149]

Ms Stuart: We have made no such plans.

NHS Plan News

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the cost to-date of the publication NHS Plan News; where it is printed; and how many copies have been distributed. [146306]

Ms Stuart: The cost to date of the publication NHS Plan News is £80,043.19 which is equivalent to less than 7 pence a copy. It is printed by a Department of Health approved supplier in the north of England. A total of 1,200,000 copies have been distributed.

Redfern Report

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the Redfern report to be published. [146856]

Mr. Denham: We have indicated to representatives of the families concerned that the report of the Royal Liverpool Children's Inquiry will be published before the end of this month.

Sudden Adult Death Syndrome

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the guidance he issues to the deceased family after diagnosis of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome [146917]

Mr. Denham: Sudden Adult Death Syndrome is not one single condition but a group of conditions that can result in the sudden and unexpected death of apparently healthy adults. Some deaths, particularly those in young adults, are believed to be due to possible cardiac abnormalities such as cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle. There is evidence of a familial link in some of these deaths, and we fully recognise the importance of those thought to be at risk being referred for specialist assessment.

Our current policy is that the relatives of people with cardiomyopathy should receive regular cardiovascular examinations. We are also seeking the co-operation of coroners to enable all such sudden deaths to be investigated properly.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much Government funding has been made available

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for research into retinitis pigmentosa in each of the last three years; how many specialists there are who are able to treat this condition; and what collaborative projects with other European Governments there are on this condition. [146925]

Mr. Denham: Information on Government funding for retinitis pigmentosa is not available in the form requested. However, the Medical Research Council (MRC) has recently funded two grants dealing with retinitis pigmentosa at a cost of approximately £0.5 million.

The total MRC spend on vision related projects for the last three years is as follows:

£ million

(18) Estimated

In addition, the MRC Human Genetics Unit is undertaking work on genetic disorders of the retina and the PAX6 and related genes (PAX6 is involved in the development of the eye) in the development of disease and evolution that will be relevant to retinitis pigmentosa. Estimated spend in 1999-2000 is £1.3 million.

The latest available figures on the number of ophthalmic consultants show that there are around 670 in England and Wales who are available to treat retinitis pigmentosa. There are currently no European collaborative projects in this area.

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