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Blood Pressure Screening

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will investigate the effectiveness of introducing blood pressure screening programmes. [160540]

Mr. Denham: The National Service Frameworks for Coronary Heart Disease and Older People give clear guidance on the control of blood pressure.

The National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease sets out a requirement for people at risk of cardiovascular disease to be offered advice and treatment on a range of risk factors, including maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. By April 2003, clinical audit data no more than 12 months old will be available on the use of this and other interventions.

The National Service Framework for Older People stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy blood pressure. By April 2004, primary care groups and trusts will have ensured that every general practice, using protocols agreed with local specialist services, can identify and treat patients identified as being at risk of stroke because of high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation or other risk factors.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee is awaiting the publication of the next health technology assessment report on blood pressure and will consider any wider screening issues on receipt of that report.

Kidney Failure

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timetable is for the development of a national service framework for patients with kidney failure. [160628]

9 May 2001 : Column: 208W

Mr. Denham: The Renal National Service Framework will be published in 2002. It will set out a national programme for the development of renal services, including specific standards and milestones, with implementation beginning in 2003.

Correspondence

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for West Chelmsford will receive a reply to his letter of 3 January concerning Mr. Clive Mortimore; and if he will make a statement on the reasons for the delay in replying. [160632]

Mr. Denham: A reply to the hon. Member's letter was sent on the 8 May 2001.

I am sorry that the hon. Member did not receive an earlier reply. The Department's Permanent Secretary/ Chief Executive has written to the hon. Member separately to apologise for the unacceptable delay in replying. The letter of 3 January could not be traced and a copy of the correspondence had to be requested. The Department has now implemented a number of measures to prevent this type of delay from happening again.

Eating Disorders

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of spending on mental health services in the NHS was allocated to eating disorders in the last financial year. [160785]

Mr. Hutton: It is not possible to identify the percentage of spending on mental health services allocated to the treatment of eating disorders in the last financial year because costs are not broken down by condition. However, we have drawn attention to the importance for people with eating disorders of being able to access effective treatment in the mental health National Service Framework. In addition, we have commissioned the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to develop a guideline on the treatment of eating disorders.

Body Piercing

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to regulate the piercing of body parts other than ears; and if he will make a statement. [160666]

Yvette Cooper: Local authorities in London already have powers to regulate cosmetic body piercing businesses. We believe that there should be primary legislation introduced to give local authorities outside London powers to regulate the hygiene and cleanliness of cosmetic body piercing businesses, when parliamentary time allows.

Shelton Hospital, Shrewsbury

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the capital projects for Shelton hospital, Shrewsbury agreed since 1 May 1997 and their value; and if he will make a statement. [160510]

Yvette Cooper: The regional office has approved one capital scheme for Shelton hospital since 1 May 1997. This was in respect of a low security unit (Wroxeter ward) which cost £1.6 million.

9 May 2001 : Column: 209W

Shropshire's Community and Mental Health Service National Health Service Trust has also invested additional capital funding on the Shelton hospital site through various minor works upgradings on the site.

NHS Vacancies

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS vacancies there were for (a) doctors, (b) nurses, (c) midwives, (d) health visitors, (e) professions allied to medicine and (f) management and administration staff for each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; how many posts in each category have been vacant for longer than three months; and if he will make a statement. [157323]

Mr. Denham [pursuant to his reply, 9 May 2001, c. 453-54W]: The Department has collected data on the number of posts that have been vacant for three months or more as at 31 March in 1999 and 2000. The information is in the table.

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Department of Health vacancies survey 3 month vacancy figures(11) in England as at 31 March for each year

19992000
Consultants470590
Qualified nurses7,1509,870
Of which:
Midwives370490
Health visitors100190
Professions allied to Medicine(12)8601,510
Administration and Estates(13)6401,740

(11) Posts that had been vacant for 3 months or more at 31 March each year.

(12) Professions allied to Medicine staff include the following occupation groups: Chiropody, Dietetics, Occupational therapy, Orthoptics/optics, Physiotherapy, Diagnostic radiography, Therapeutic radiology, Art/ Music/Drama therapy.

(13) Management and Administration staff are part of Administration and Estates Staff group, and can not be separately identified.

Note:

Figures are whole-time equivalents rounded to the nearest 10.

Source:

Department of Health Vacancies Survey


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9 May 2001 : Column: 211W

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Coal Mineshafts

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the report by Herriot Watt university on the impact of coal mineshafts in Stoke-on-Trent will be published. [160979]

Mr. Hain: I have today placed copies of the report in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament. I am also writing to those individual hon. Members whom I know to have a keen interest in the report to send them a copy.

I know how householders have been blighted by concerns over mineshafts and I want to look at how we can help. The report shows the problems of blight are real but have many causes. Government will work with many others--the Law Society, the Coal Authority, mortgage lenders, valuers, local authorities etc.--to produce the right package of solutions. As a first step to identifying those solutions, we want to hear the views of those groups and others in the local community with an interest.

The report is being sent to relevant representative and professional bodies as well as to central and local government. It will be available on my Department's website at www.dti.gov.uk/consultations. I would be pleased to have views by 10 August 2001 on the report's findings, together with suggestions of action that individuals and organisations could take in response to the report. My Department will be seeking discussions with a number of relevant organisations. These discussions will also need to take account of the recent High Court case which the Coal Authority have accepted as finding that the information given by British Coal in mining reports prior to 1991 could in some cases be seen to have been incomplete.

Employment Agencies

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many companies which offer temporary to permanent products his Department met to discuss the effect of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations on temporary to permanent contracts (a) before and (b) after the final draft was published; [160652]

Mr. Alan Johnson: Before the final draft of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2001 was published, I had meetings with Manpower, Adecco, Blue Arrow, Brook Street, NES International and Hewett Recruitment. I also met the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, the Agents Association and the Local Employment Agencies

9 May 2001 : Column: 212W

Forum. A number of issues were discussed during those meetings, including the impact of the draft Regulations on the private recruitment industry's operation.

My officials have had regular meetings with agencies and their associations to discuss the effect of the draft Regulations. It is estimated that around 100 such meetings have taken place over the past two years. However, it is not possible to break this down by date.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 3 April 2001, Official Report, column 103W, what discussions he has had with (a) women's groups, (b) representatives of ethnic minority groups and (c) student groups regarding the implications of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations. [160649]

Mr. Alan Johnson: I am always willing to meet representative bodies to discuss the implications of the draft Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2001, provided, of course, a mutually convenient time can be arranged. To date I have had no such meetings with groups representing women, ethnic minorities or students.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 3 April 2001, Official Report, column 103W, what assessment he has made of the impact of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations on recruitment bureaux products. [160650]

Mr. Alan Johnson: The Regulatory Impact Assessment issued with the draft Regulations concluded that the net result of the proposed changes should be a more effective recruitment industry able to offer a better and speedier service, helping to create a more efficient and flexible labour market. The proposals should not affect those who have appropriate systems in place.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of regulations 8 and 9 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations on those recruitment companies who operate with a dual role as agency and business; [160659]

Mr. Alan Johnson: I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 27 April 2001, Official Report, column 417W.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many meetings (a) he and (b) his officials have held with Keith Faulkner to discuss the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations; and on what dates; [160648]

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Mr. Alan Johnson: I met Keith Faulkner of Manpower three times, on 9 September 1999, 10 January 2000 and 6 December 2000, to discuss the draft Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations but I have not met him since the final draft Regulations were published on 1 February 2001. My officials met Mr. Faulkner on 23 August 2000. These discussions covered the various provisions of the draft Regulations, including the changes to temporary to permanent contracts.


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