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Orthodontic Treatment

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for changes to regulations relating to charging for orthodontic treatment; and if he will make a statement. [153675]

Mr. Hutton: Reforms to the provision of National Health Service orthodontic treatment and the associated dentists' fee scales were announced in "Modernising NHS Dentistry--Implementing the NHS Plan" which was published in September 2000. Proposals are being discussed with the profession. The aim of the reforms is to ensure that those who need treatment are able to get quality orthodontic care without undue delay. We are aiming to introduce the changes later this year. There are no plans to change the existing arrangements for patients' charges.


Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the costs of urinary incontinence products (a) to the NHS, including surgery and appliances, and (b) to the social services, including cost of carers, in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [153547]

Mr. Hutton: The National Health Service spent £35.9 million on various continence appliances and products in 1999-2000. We are not able, however, to allocate this expenditure between urinary and faecal incontinence products. Information on the costs of urinary incontinence products in terms of surgery and costs to social services is not collected centrally.

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Prescription Pricing Authority

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out the process for appealing a decision of the Prescription Pricing Authority regarding a claim for health costs covered under the NHS low income scheme. [153937]

Ms Stuart: As forms HC1 (claim form) and HC3 (which conveys a decision that a person is not entitled to full help under the National Health Service low income scheme) make clear, anyone who wants the decision reviewed has only to write and request this. That review will be dealt with by the Prescription Pricing Authority's (PPA) independent review section, which is not involved in the day to day calculation of low income scheme entitlement.

If it is clear to the independent review section that an error has been made in the original calculation, this will be corrected. In all cases, an explanation will be given of how the decision has been reached. If the explanation is not acceptable, a detailed commentary on the legal provisions used to calculate entitlement will be provided on request. If, after this, the explanation remains unacceptable, it is open to the person making the claim to seek a judicial review of the PPA's decision.


Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he has taken to reduce the suicide rates in young males. [153974]

Mr. Hutton: We know that it is young men who are at most risk of suicide. In December 1997 the Department launched the Campaign Against Living Miserably telephone helpline in Manchester. The helpline, aimed at young men, offers advice, guidance, information and counselling at the onset of depression. CALM has been extended to Merseyside and Cumbria and we are looking to make it available in other areas in partnership with local agencies. Ultimately, we hope that the helpline will help to bring down the suicide rate in young men.

Also, as a result of new investment and new services outlined in the National Health Service Plan, we expect that every young person who develops a serious mental illness will benefit from specialist teams who can offer them the help and treatment they require. In addition, work in prisons and improved community crisis resolution services will target the particular needs of high suicide risk areas, as well as making the mental health system more responsive.

Kathleen Smith

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will seek from the Chief Executive of the Central Manchester Healthcare NHS trust an explanation for his failure to reply to the letters sent to him on 5 December 2000 and 15 January and 15 February 2001 by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mrs. Kathleen Smith. [154586]

Ms Stuart: The chief executive of Central Manchester Healthcare National Health Service Trust wrote to the family of the late Kathleen Smith on 5 March 2001.

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I understand that a copy of that letter was also sent both to my right hon. Friend and to my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett).

Nursing Care Homes

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what processes and procedures he is planning to put in place to reimburse care homes for nursing care provided to residents in accordance with the provisions of the Health and Social Care Bill. [152906]

Mr. Hutton: Subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, the registered nurse input to care in any setting will be the responsibility of the National Health Service. People's need for nursing care will be assessed as part of a single health and social care assessment and the contribution of a registered nurse to their care will be determined.

Where care is received in a care home, the NHS will arrange for the registered nurse input to be provided, either by nursing staff in the home or by NHS staff visiting the home.

We plan to issue detailed guidance on implementation in May.

Patient Representation

Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve arrangements for patient representation within the NHS. [151904]

Ms Stuart: The National Health Service Plan sets out the framework for improvements to patient and public involvement in the NHS and the Health and Social Care Bill continues its passage through Parliament to ensure the necessary legislation. Debates have addressed many issues including those of independence and accountability in the new system. Further discussions will continue in the House of Lords.

Learning Disabilities

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what strategies he has in place to improve services for people with learning disabilities. [154823]

Mr. Hutton: I am today publishing "Valuing People: A New Strategy For Learning Disability For the 21st Century", which sets out cross-Government proposals for improving the life chances of people with learning disabilities. This is the first White Paper on learning disability for 30 years and sets out an ambitious and challenging programme of action for improving services for a particularly vulnerable and socially excluded group in our society. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Our proposals are based on four key principles: civil rights, independence, choice, and inclusion. Valuing People takes a life-long approach, beginning with an integrated approach to services for disabled children and their families and then providing new opportunities for a full and purposeful adult life. It has cross-Government backing and its proposals are intended to result in improvements in education, social services, health, employment, housing, and support for people with learning disabilities and their families and carers.

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We are establishing a new Learning Disability Development Fund of up to £50 million a year to support the proposals for adults in the White Paper. Up to £30 million a year of this will be revenue funding and £20 million capital. The fund will be introduced from April 2002 and will be targeted on the priorities set out in the White Paper. We are also setting up an Implementation Support Fund of £2.3 million a year for three years from April 2001 to provide central support for key aspects of the White Paper. Priorities for the Implementation Fund, which includes £300,000 a year from the Home Office Active Community budget, include developing independent advocacy services and establishing a National Learning Disability Information Centre and Helpline in partnership with Mencap.

We will be setting up a Learning Disability Taskforce to take forward the implementation of the White Paper and an Implementation Support Team to promote good practice and share practical experience.

We are also publishing: an accessible version of the White Paper; "Nothing About Us Without Us", a report from the Learning Disability Service Users Advisory Group; "Learning Difficulties and Ethnicity", a report commissioned from the Centre for Research in Primary Care, University of Leeds; and "Family Matters, Counting Families In", a report on the particular needs of family carers. Copies will be placed in the Library.

I should like to pay particular tribute to the people with learning disabilities who helped us develop "Valuing People". This is the first occasion on which people with learning disabilities have taken part in developing Government policy; their contribution has been invaluable and has helped us understand the problems they and their families face every day.

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