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Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the average waiting times in each accident and emergency unit in Oxfordshire in each of the last five years. 
Ms Blears: The information requested is not available centrally.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many local authority home helps there have been in each of the last 15 years. 
Jacqui Smith: The number of home helps (excluding home help organisers) employed by local authorities in England in each of the last 15 years is in the table. Details of the number of contact hours of home help/home care and the households receiving this care are available in the publication "Community Care Statistics 2000: Home help/home care services for adults, England" available at www.doh.gov.uk/stats/hh2000.htm.
(1) Figures prior to 1993 include family aides staff.
Department of Health staffing return SSDS001
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Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the United Kingdom academic research groups with experience in reviewing the risks associated with depleted uranium. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 24 November 2001]: The Department knows of four academic groups which have been active in reviewing the risks from depleted uranium, the Royal Society Depleted Uranium Working Group, the British Geological Survey, the University of Bristol Department of Earth Sciences and the Southampton Oceanic Centre.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the
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increased risk of strokes among members of (a) Asian and (b) African-Caribbean ethnic groups; and what plans he has to commission further research. 
Jacqui Smith: The 1999 Health Survey for England commissioned by the Department investigated the health of minority ethnic groups. This found that after adjusting for age, rates of stroke among black Caribbean men were over two-thirds higher than in the general population. Indian men also had higher rates than the general population. Among women, Chines women had low rates of stroke, while all other groups did not differ significantly from the general population. Details of the survey can be found at: http//www.official-documents.co.uk/document/doh/ survey99/houses-00.htm.
The Department has funded a number of literature reviews on ethnicity and health, carried out by the national health service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), University of York. One of the reviews looked at stroke in south Asian and African-Caribbean groups. This concluded that south Asian and Afro-Caribbean populations experience significantly raised rates of cardiovascular disease. In particular south Asian groups are at higher risk of coronary heart disease, and Afro- Caribbeans are at greater risk of stroke. The details of these reviews can be found on the CRD website at: http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/welcome.htm.
The Department is currently funding a study entitled 'The South London Stroke Register: The Incidence, Outcome and Ethnic differences of aetiological subtypes of stroke'. This study will compare incidence of stroke between ethnic groups and compare survival, recurrence and functional status between subtypes and ethnic groups.
The Department has no specific plans to commission further research in this area, but stroke will continue to be considered as one of the priorities within the developing research and development strategy that supports the National Service Framework for Older People.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to visit the Buckingham constituency to meet patients. 
Ms Blears: Ministers have no plans to visit the Buckingham constituency at present.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions for Ritalin have been issued in each year since 1992. 
Jacqui Smith: The information requested is in the table.
|Year||Prescription items (Thousand)||Net ingredient cost (£000)|
1. The data cover all prescriptions dispensed in the community, ie by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England.
2. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospital or private prescriptions.
3. The net ingredient cost is the basic cost of a drug and does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income.
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Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the budget for smoking cessation services from April 2002. 
Jacqui Smith: Decisions on the level of funding for smoking cessation services in 200203 form part of the work on health authority allocations. An announcement on health authority allocations for 200203 will be made shortly.
The NHS Plan sets out the provision of a comprehensive smoking cessation service. The success of this programme will mean that by 2010, at least 1.5 million smokers will have given up smoking.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to support (a) smoking cessation campaigns and (b) campaigns to divert smokers into less dangerous ways of ingesting nicotine. 
Jacqui Smith: We will continue to use publicity campaigns designed to persuade smokers to give up. This publicity forms part of a comprehensive strategy including national telephone helplines and local cessation support which can include the provision of nicotine replacement therapy where appropriate. Nicotine is an addictive substance and we have no plans to encourage its use other than in the controlled circumstances of smoking cessation.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the patient advocacy and liaison services that exist. 
Ms Blears: A list of current patients advice and liaison services is as follows:
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