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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to review the York formula calculation for regional health funding. 
Mr. Hutton: A wide ranging review of the weighted capitation formula used to allocate resources to health authorities and primary care trusts is currently taking place. The aim is to produce a fairer means of allocating resources. A key criterion of the new formula will be to contribute to the reduction of avoidable health inequalities.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many students (a) completed degree courses in medicine and (b) carried on to work as doctors/ surgeons in the NHS in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hutton: 3,980 students completed first degree courses in medicine in 19992000 in England. In the same year the NHS in England employed 3,540 pre-registration house officersthe first NHS job that new medical graduates take up.
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Graduates from medical courses do not all go on to become NHS doctors though the vast majority will spend part of their careers working in the NHS. Some choose to use their skills by working in the research, industrial or charity sectors. Some of those from outside England return home following graduation.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his proposals are for payment of travel costs for NHS patients receiving treatment in continental European hospitals. 
Mr. Hutton: Regulations have been laid before the House to amend the National Health Service (Travelling Expenses and Remission of Charges) Regulations 1988 to permit NHS bodies to pay for the travel of NHS patients going overseas for treatment funded by the NHS. The NHS will meet the cost of the patient's travel from the point at which they begin their international journey (the airport, ferry port or international train station) to the foreign provider. Reimbursement of travel expenses between the patient's home to the airport, ferry port of international train station will be governed by the same rules that currently apply to payment of travelling expenses to hospitals in England. This change will ensure that patients treated overseas under the auspices of the NHS will not be disadvantaged by having to travel further for that treatment.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role will be played by GPs in the selection of European hospitals to be used for the treatment of their patients under the NHS. 
Mr. Hutton: The hospitals to be used for national health service patients in the three test bed sites in the south east region are being selected by local commissioners, with clinical input. A practising GP has also been involved in providing input to the development of the three projects. There will be a competitive tender exercise in the new year to select approved foreign providers; again, clinicians will be involved in the selection of the final list of approved providers.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned on the use of chemicals in fly spray products linked to cancer. 
Yvette Cooper: The Department has commissioned no research on the use of chemicals in fly spray products. All such pesticide products have to be approved by Ministers before they can be sold and used in the United Kingdom. It is the responsibility of industry to provide the data necessary to demonstrate fully the safety and efficacy of their products before approval can be granted. The independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides advises Ministers on these matters.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the safety of DDVP in relation to liver, skin and breast cancer; and what guidelines his Department has issued on the safe use of DDVPs in consumer products. 
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Yvette Cooper: All pesticide products for use in agriculture and in the home have to be approved by Ministers before they can be sold and used in the United Kingdom. The products should always be used in accordance with label instructions specified as part of the approval.
The independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) advises Ministers on pesticide issues. A review of the safety of DDVP in non-agricultural pesticide products was carried out in 1994: the ACP concluded the chemical did not pose a carcinogenic risk to humans. A review of DDVP in pesticide products is currently being carried out, including a review of all data relating to possible mutagenicity and carcinogenicity, and I expect the ACP to make recommendations to Ministers concerning approval of these products early this year.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice his Department has received about the possible effect of ultrasound scanning on brain damage in babies. 
Yvette Cooper: The Department has not received advice about the recent study from Stockholm which concludes that ultrasound exposure in fetal life increases the risk of left handedness in males. We would look to outside bodies such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Medical Ultrasound Society to assess the scientific validity of any research. The antenatal sub-group of the United Kingdom National Screening Committee keeps under review any safety issues relating to screening tests.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements have been made with the Interbalkan European medical centre in Thessaloniki for treatment of NHS patients; what discussions have taken place between his officials and the centre; and what visits have been made by his officials to the centre. 
Mr. Hutton: A number of European health care providers have written to the Department expressing interest in providing treatment for UK patients. Exploratory discussions have taken place with several organisations, including the Interbalkan medical centre. However, no agreement has been reached with the Interbalkan medical centre, nor have officials visited it.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list which national service frameworks are planned for 2002; and when in that year. 
Jacqui Smith: Work is in hand to publish the Diabetes National Service Framework (NSF) Delivery Strategy; the first module of the Renal NSF; and the first module of the Childrens' NSF. The precise publication dates are not fixed at this stage as in selecting a topic for and developing and implementing a national service framework, account is not only taken of the importance of a health issue in terms of morbidity and mortality and the scope for service improvement but also of the capacity of the national health service and its partner agencies to implement the framework.
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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the head of the national health service leadership centre. 
Mr. Hutton: Barbara Harris stood down from her post as Director of the Leadership Centre on 14 December. The post is currently being filled on a temporary basis and will be advertised in due course.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to support children's hospital schools for the hospitalised (a) over 16s and (b) children who are too ill to return home; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.
Local education authorities (LEAs) have a duty to provide suitable education for children of compulsory school age who cannot attend school due to illness or injury. This includes those children who are in hospital. The DfES jointly with the Department of Health published in November this year new statutory guidance "Access to education for children and young people with medical needs" which sets out minimum national standards for the education of children who are unable to attend school because of medical needs.
(a) Local education authorities (LEAs) also have the power to provide suitable education for young people over compulsory school age but under the age of 19 who cannot attend school because of illness or injury. The new guidance makes it clear that LEAs are expected to be as helpful as possible to these vulnerable young people.
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has a duty to secure the provision of proper facilities for the education and training of 16 to 19-year-olds including those who may miss out on education due to prolonged illness. The council will work with local agencies, including social services departments, local education authorities (LEAs) and hospital schools, where packages of care and learning appear the best approach.
The Connexions Service will provide integrated information, advice, guidance and personal development opportunities for all young people aged 1319 in England. Part of their service includes giving more in-depth support to those who are at greatest risk of not making a successful transition to adulthood.
(b) The new guidance also makes it clear that all children of compulsory school age have an entitlement to education and that they should have as much education as their medical condition allows. This includes those children in hospitals who may have terminal or recurring conditions and who may be unable to return home.
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