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Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors there are per head of population working in the National Health Service and in private facilities. [159557]

Mr. Denham: The information about the number of National Health Service doctors is provided in the table. Information about doctors working in private facilities is not collected centrally.

All NHS doctors--with general practitioners retainers per head of population in England--at 30 September 2000

All NHS doctors(18)97,440
NHS doctors per head of population0.001948996
NHS doctors per 100,000 population194.9

(18) Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10

(19) Population data are the 2000 projection, calculated using 1998 base projections


Department of Health 2000 medical and dental work force census

Department of Health general and personal medical services statistics

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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that TB vaccine can be obtained from more than one manufacturer; and if he will make a statement. [159497]

Yvette Cooper: The BCG vaccines available today vary widely in many characteristics and therefore products from different manufacturers vary in their composition and side effect profile. The current United Kingdom supplier of BCG vaccine is the only manufacturer that has UK licensed product for our BCG programme at present. We are working hard to encourage other manufacturers able to meet our requirements to enter the UK market. Ultimately this will be a commercial decision taken by the manufacturers.

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many isolation wards for the treatment of tuberculosis opened in each region of the NHS in England and Wales in the past four years. [158606]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer sent 30 April 2001]: Information on the number of isolation wards in hospitals is not collected centrally.

Different levels of isolation are required depending on the infectious (or suspected infectious) nature of a tuberculosis case. Each patient is considered on a case by case basis and therefore, the need for isolation facilities is made at local level.

The Department has published recommendations on isolation in two documents. One in June 1996--"Recommendations for the prevention and control of tuberculosis at local level"--and again in September 1998 in the document entitled "United Kingdom guidance on the prevention and control of transmission of HIV-related tuberculosis and Drug-resistant, including multiple drug- resistant tuberculosis".

Care Homes

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) individual care homes and (b) care homes associations are taking legal action against (i) local authorities and (ii) the Government owing to the Government's fee structure for care homes. [159931]

Mr. Hutton: We are not aware of any such action being undertaken by individual care homes or care home associations.

We do not set or recommend the rates at which local authorities contract with independent residential care and nursing homes. This is a matter for local decision. We think it is important that councils are able to tailor contracts to specific local circumstances. We do, however, expect contractual arrangements to take account of the costs incurred by independent sector nursing and residential homes.

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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement of the recent outbreaks of meningitis with particular reference to (a) source of the disease and (b) strategies being used to combat its spread. [159512]

Yvette Cooper: The Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) has received reports of 26 cases of group W135 meningococcal infection including nine deaths following this years pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). Some of those affected attended the Hajj, but two thirds are contacts of pilgrims in the community.

Following an outbreak of meningococcal W135 infection at last year's Hajj, on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the United Kingdom recommended that travellers to the Hajj this year be immunised with a quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine which covers this strain. This vaccine was launched by the manufacturers for general use in early January 2001. Information was sent to all immunisation co-ordinators on 26 January informing them of these immunisation requirements for pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. This information was also distributed to health professionals via a Chief Medical Officer letter.

The Department has worked with the Muslim Council of Britain to make this information widely available to the Muslim community. An A4 poster with information for the public has been distributed to Mosques and can be downloaded in Arabic, Bengali and Urdu versions from

The PHLS Meningococcal Forum considered the outbreak and decided that the best control measure for the outbreak was the prompt antibiotic treatment of suspected meningococcal disease by medical staff. On 12 April the Department wrote to all doctors reminding them of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and alerting them to the possibility of cases in the Muslim community.

Medicines Control Agency

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the Medicines Control Agency to submit written comments to the European Commission following discussions on the proposed Traditional Medicines Directive at the European Pharmaceutical Committee meeting on 5 April; and if he will arrange for those comments to be published. [159913]

Yvette Cooper: The United Kingdom comments on the second draft of the directive on traditional medicinal products were set out in a letter from the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) to the European Commission dated 30 April 2001. The response took account of points made by a range of herbal interest groups in their continuing dialogue with the MCA on this issue. Copies of the letter have been placed in the Library.


Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to letters from the hon. Member for Woking dated 8 January and 16 March, regarding Mr. J. Keddar, a constituent. [159843]

3 May 2001 : Column: 766W

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 1 May 2001]: A reply to the hon. Member's letter was sent on the 2 May 2001.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health to what extent his Department's headquarters buildings use hydrofluorocarbons for (a) refrigeration and (b) air conditioning; what amounts of hydrofluorocarbons have been purchased in each year since 1995; and what plans he has to phase out the (i) purchase and (ii) use of hydrofluorocarbons. [160010]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 1 May 2001]: One of the Department's London headquarters buildings uses hydrofluorocarbons as refrigerant in the air conditioning system. There has been no separate purchase of HFCs since 1995 (other than as an integral part of such plant). Our policy is to switch where possible to environmentally preferable substitutes where suitable alternatives exist.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's policy is regarding the purchase of (a) hydrocarbons and (b) other environmentally benign refrigerants to meet the refrigeration and other relevant energy needs of premises owned and leased by his Department; what guidance on this subject he has issued to NHS Trusts; and if he will make a statement. [160005]

Yvette Cooper: Our policy is to switch, where possible, from hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorobutane and sulphur hexafluoride to environmentally preferable substitutes and to ensure that we do not buy any products which contain chlorofluorocarbons, halons, carbon tetrachloride, 111trichloroethane or hydrochlorofluorocarbons where suitable alternatives exist.

Guidance on the use of chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons has been issued previously to National Health Service trusts. This guidance is currently under review.

Heart Transplant Centres

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the recommendations of his review of heart transplant centres. [160155]

Mr. Denham: Ministers have not received the findings of the study of the three transplant centres. An undertaking has been given that the proposals for the future of the National Cardiothoracic Transplant Service will be set out in a document for public discussion before a final decision on the site of the fourth centre is taken.

Health Service Spending

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of growth in public spending in the present financial year on the provision of health services in England and Wales. [160268]

Mr. Denham: Net expenditure on the National Health Service in England is planned to reach £48.8 billion in 2001-02, representing a year on year increase of 9.3 per cent. (6.7 per cent. real terms).

Health expenditure for Wales is a matter for the devolved Assembly.

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