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Beta Interferon

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the prescription rate for beta interferon is (a) nationally, (b) in North Yorkshire and (c) in other EU member states. [145603]

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Ms Stuart: We estimate that on 1 January 2000 some 1,700 patients were being treated with beta interferon on the National Health Service in England. This is equivalent to around 3 per cent. of all patients with multiple sclerosis in England.

Information is not routinely collected centrally on prescribing rates in individual health authorities, or in other European Union countries.

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BCG Vaccine

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that stocks of BCG vaccine are maintained at adequate levels. [146325]

Yvette Cooper: BCG vaccine against tuberculosis is currently available for those individuals at higher risk of TB. The routine schools immunisation programme for 10 to 14-year-olds was suspended nationally from September 1999 following manufacturing problems encountered by the sole United Kingdom licensed source, Celltech Medeva. By the autumn school term last year sufficient supplies were available to allow health authorities to restart school immunisations in the London region, as the area with the highest rates and number of tuberculosis cases.

The Department is working to secure a robust supply of UK licensed and batch released BCG vaccine, and will announce as soon as possible when the routine schools programme can resume in the rest of the country. All those who missed their BCG vaccination due to the suspension will be recalled when the programme restarts.

Residential and Nursing Homes

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that residents of elderly persons' and nursing care homes are granted rights to reasonable notice of closure of the places where they live. [146266]

Mr. Hutton: Residential care homes are currently required to give reasonable notice to residents of any reasonable intention to terminate arrangements for accommodating them. Nursing homes are not currently under the same statutory obligation, but this will be remedied from April 2002. In consequence there are no immediate plans to give residents the right to reasonable notice of closure.

Animal Feed

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which European countries export animal feed; and which animal feeds are imported into the UK. [146499]

Ms Stuart: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that material used as or in animal feed is exported to some extent by most European countries. A partial breakdown of the United Kingdom import position, provided by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and based on their commodity codes, is given in the following table. The figures should be read with caution: although the materials are recorded as having arrived from other European countries, some may have originated from elsewhere.

It is unlikely that UK imports from continental European countries include much finished feeds. The commodity code which covers feeds--

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HPV Testing

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the pilot studies for HPV testing will commence; [146445]

    (2) what total resource allocation he has made of pilot studies on HPV testing; what the resource allocations are for each HPV pilot test project; and if he will break down the allocation to each HPV pilot test project. [146446]

Yvette Cooper: The three sites of the pilot for human papilloma virus testing and liquid based cytology should begin testing in March 2001. Preparatory work has been under way since October 2000.

We have allocated a total of £650,000 to the pilot preparations in 2000-01 and a further allocation to support the project will be made in 2001-02. This will fund service costs, central purchase of equipment for use

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by the sites, project management and training for laboratory staff. Decisions will be taken shortly on the allocations to each site for the duration of the project.

Coronary Heart Disease

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total cost was of medicines prescribed for coronary heart disease on the NHS (a) in the last six month period for which data are available prior to, and (b) in the first six month period for which data are available since, the implementation of the national service framework for coronary heart disease. [146956]

Yvette Cooper: It is not possible to identify the total cost of medicines prescribed for coronary heart disease on the National Health Service, as prescribing data are not broken down by the condition which is being treated. Most drugs used in the treatment of heart disease are also prescribed solely for people with, or at serious risk of, coronary heart disease. The most recent information on the cost of statins--for the quarter ending 30 June 2000--has been placed in the Library.

The National Service Framework (NSF) for coronary heart disease includes guidance on targeting statins towards the patients most likely to benefit from their use. The number of prescriptions for, and the cost of, statins have been rising since 1997. We expect that, as a result of the NSF, the marked recent increase in their use will continue.

Dental Services

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost per patient episode was for patients (a) treated under personal dental services pilots and (b) treated under general dental services. [146962]

Mr. Hutton: The average cost of claims by dentists for a course of treatment in the General Dental Services was £34.82 for adults and £29.88 for children in England in 1999-2000. This information comes from remuneration claims.

Comparable figures are not available for the Personal Dental Service as services are locally organised and employ different payment regimes.


Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what agreement he has reached with the Joint Epilepsy Council on implementing the findings of the Clinical Standards Advisory Group report on epilepsy. [146755]

Mr. Hutton: The Department published its response to the Clinical Standards Advisory Group (CSAG) epilepsy report on 30 March 2000 and commended the examples of good practice contained in the report to the NHS. The Department has funded the Joint Epilepsy Council through the Section 64 scheme of grants to undertake a good practice project which will draw upon the good practice advice in the CSAG report and other recent epilepsy initiatives.

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