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Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many appointments he has made to public bodies since 7 June; and how many are in his gift. [15490]

Ms Blears: Information about numbers of ministerial appointments to public bodies is included in the Cabinet Office's annual report, "Public Bodies". Copies are available in the Library and the report is published on the Cabinet Office's internet website. The next edition of "Public Bodies", which will include numbers of appointments at 31 March 2001, will be published around the end of the year.

238 public appointments were made by departmental Ministers between 7 June and 31 October 2001. A total of 1,041 public appointments are directly within the gift of Department of Health Ministers, 14 of which are joint appointments with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Public appointments to national health service trusts, health authorities and primary care trusts have since 1 April 2001 been made by the NHS Appointments Commission.

NHS Magazine

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total costs were to his Department of producing the NHS magazine in the last 12 months. [15328]

Ms Blears: The Department has spent £899,480 on the production and distribution of the NHS magazine in the last 12 months (November 2000-October 2001).

Child Care

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has conducted into the reasons for the change in the number of children looked after by local councils since 1997. [15411]

23 Nov 2001 : Column: 574W

Jacqui Smith: The Department commissioned, at the beginning of the year, the Thomas Coram Research Unit (Institute of Education, University of London) to conduct a tightly focused research study into the reasons that lie behind the increase in the number of children looked after by local authorities since 1994.

The research is designed to assess, among other things, the extent to which drug taking, alcoholism, violence and mental health problems within the family may have been significant factors underlying decisions made by local authorities to look after children.


Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people he estimates to be suffering from diabetes in each health area; [15788]

Jacqui Smith: An estimated 1.3 million people in England have diagnosed diabetes. A population of 100,000 would be expected to include between 2,000 and 3,000 people with diabetes.

We are committed to improving the quality of care for people with diabetes. That is why we are developing a national service framework for diabetes. We shall be publishing the framework in two stages—the standards shortly and the delivery strategy next summer. The standards will cover the prevention, identification and management of diabetes and its complications.

Ministers have met regularly with Diabetes UK, which represents people with diabetes, and I last met with it on 22 October. We have involved people with diabetes in the development of the diabetes national service framework standards, and the implementation group that will inform the development of the delivery strategy will work openly with people with diabetes and others with an interest.

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the expenditure on diabetes was in each year since 1996 in the Leicestershire health authority. [15752]

Jacqui Smith: It is difficult to be precise about the exact level of expenditure on diabetes, as people with this condition are cared for by so many sectors of the health services. The table details the general medical services non-discretionary expenditure incurred by Leicestershire health authority on the chronic disease management programme for diabetes in each financial year since 1996–97. It must be emphasised that these figures do not reflect the full expenditure on diabetes by the health authority during this period.

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General medical service non-discretionary expenditure on CDM diabetes 1996–97 to 2000–01—Leicestershire health authority

2000–01(14) 215,895

(14) Data for 2000–01 are provisional


Annual financial returns for health authorities

Smoking Cessation

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will announce his decision in respect of funding for smoking cessation for (a) 2002–03 and (b) subsequent years in respect of the North Staffordshire health authority; and if he will make a statement. [15620]

Ms Blears [holding answer 16 November 2001]: Decisions on central funding for 2002–03 have not yet been finalised. Future decisions will form part of the Department's spending review 2002.

The NHS plan sets out a major expansion in services to help reduce smoking. The national health service smoking cessation services have proved to be effective, helping around 61,500 smokers to quit at the four-week stage in 2000–01.

Age Discrimination

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action his Department has taken to tackle discrimination against older people. [16328]

Jacqui Smith: The national service framework for older people (NSF), published 27 March 2001, provides the first co-ordinated programme of actions to ensure that older people are never unfairly discriminated against in accessing national health service or social care services as a result of their age. Standard one of the NSF sets out actions and the time scale for achievement of milestones to identify and address age discriminatory policies and practices in the provision of health and social care services.

To date, initial action has focused on ensuring older people are engaged in the policy and priority planning at national and local level; the undertaking of an audit of written, age-related policies in the NHS; and the development of guidance for undertaking a review of eligibility criteria for adult social care.

Prescription Pricing Authority

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the breakdown of the costs to public funds in 2001–02 of the Prescription Pricing Authority. [16253]

Ms Blears: Information about the cost of the Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA) for 2001–02 will not be available until its accounts are completed and published in its next annual report in autumn 2002. Details of the PPA's costs and activities for 2000–01 are in the latest annual report. A copy is available in the Library and on the internet at

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Patient Advocates

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to public funds is in 2001–02 of the patient advocates in hospitals. [16249]

Ms Blears: £10 million was earmarked in 2001–02 to fund this service, which is now to be called the patient advice and liaison service following the response to the recent listening exercise.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward legislation to allow medicinal cannabis to be prescribed in the same way as heroin. [16125]

Ms Blears [holding answer 19 November 2001]: We have approved a number of clinical trials into the medicinal use of cannabis. Once the results of the trials have been properly evaluated, we will have an evidence base that will allow us to decide how to proceed.

Pneumococcal Vaccinations

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to make the pneumococcal vaccine more widely available to the under 65 age group; and if he will make a statement; [16523]

Jacqui Smith: Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for all those aged two years or older in whom pneumococcal infection is likely to be more common and/or dangerous, for example, those with:

Health authority data on the use of pneumococcal vaccine are not available. It is the responsibility of general practitioners and nurses to identify and immunise their at risk patients.

The Department has not carried out a cost-effectiveness study of administering the pneumococcal vaccine, but continues to recommend the vaccine based on underlying ill health rather than age.

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