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Child Abuse

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) Part VIII inquiries into child deaths and (b) inquiries into institutional abuse over the past four years have related to disabled children. [11411]

Jacqui Smith: Neither type of information is collected centrally. However, we are aware that children who are disabled and in particular children living away from home who are disabled are vulnerable to abuse, especially if their ability to communicate is impaired.

We will shortly be publishing an overview report drawing out the key findings of a selection of case reviews from the last two years, and their implications for policy and practice. At the same time, we are developing a comprehensive database of all serious case reviews.

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Bed Blocking

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out the basis on which he determined the relative allocations to tackle bed blocking to the social services departments of (a) South Gloucestershire Unitary Authority, (b) Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Authority, (c) Bristol Unitary Authority and (d) North Somerset Unitary Authority. [10801]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 29 October 2001]: All councils will receive additional funding, 55 councils received extra help. The decision on which councils received extra help was taken on the basis of the councils with the highest rates, and the most severe problems with delayed discharge. Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils all met these criteria, and have received extra help.

The table shows the allocations for these councils for 2001–02 and 2002–03.


County council2001–022002–03
Bath and North East Somerset467,938985,350
North Somerset551,8311,162,243
South Gloucestershire468,324990,292

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when extra funding for the relief of bed blocking will be available to local authorities; and from when can local authority social services departments commit extra funding under this programme. [11623]

Jacqui Smith: Allocations in respect of 2001–02 were made to councils in the week beginning 19 November 2001. However, councils should have been committing the funding from 9 October, when it was announced.

Allocations for 2002–03 were announced on 8 January 2002.

Public Consultations

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many public consultations took place relating to the NHS last year; how many of these defined a preferred option; and in how many cases the preferred option was approved following consultation. [20526]

Yvette Cooper: There are many consultations each year in and about the national health service. Not all of these are initiated, or co-ordinated, by the Department. The Department is not necessarily even involved in consultations unless there is a significant challenge. Department of Health Headquarters and NHS regional offices do not routinely keep records about all NHS consultations. The information requested for 2000 could be collected only at disproportionate public cost.

Residential and Nursing Home Beds

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many residential and nursing home beds were available in (a) Essex and (b) mid-Essex in March 1997; and how many were available at the latest date for which figures are available. [20913]

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Jacqui Smith: Information is not available for mid-Essex. The table shows the number of places in residential care homes and the number of registered beds in nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics for Essex in 1997 and 2001.

Registered residential and nursing care beds in Essex(28) area in 1997 and 2001

At 31 MarchResidential home bedsNursing home beds(29),(30)

(28) Information is presented for the area covered by the county of Essex prior to local government re-organisation on 1 April 1998. Figures for 2001 therefore include the new unitary authorities of Southend and Thurrock and the reduced county of Essex. For both years, nursing home figures are for the health authorities of North Essex and South Essex which make up the Essex area.

(29) Registered beds in general and mental nursing homes, hospitals and clinics.

(30) Information for 1997 relates to registered beds during the period 1 October 1996 to 31 March 1997.


Department of Health's annual returns

Aspergillus Fumigatus Infection

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what precautions are recommended to hospitals and other organisations to prevent the spread of aspergillus fumigatus infection. [22454]

Yvette Cooper: The National Health Service Estates has written to all regional heads of estates, asking them to raise awareness of the potential of aspergillus fumigatus to cause infections within their Trusts. The letter gives advice on how to minimise the risk of aspergillosis, including detailed guidance on containment and reduction of spore numbers, particularly during demolition or extensive refurbishment. Guidance is given concerning those patients most likely to be at risk from aspergillus infection. Clinicians, infection control teams and estate teams are advised to undertake specific risk assessments and develop a co-ordinated strategy for ensuring that those at risk are not exposed to high levels of aspergillus spores when any new or refurbishment building work is undertaken.

This advice and guidance was reiterated in the publication "Quarterly Briefing", which is distributed to over 1,200 recipients, including chief executives of trusts and health authorities and trust estate directors.

Examples of the precautions that may need to be taken are:

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Beta Interferon

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the Epsom and Ewell constituency suffering from multiple sclerosis have been refused treatment with beta interferon. [23434]

Ms Blears: The information requested is not available centrally.


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money has been (a) allocated and (b) spent on cancer prevention projects in (i) each of the financial years since 1990 and (ii) future years for which budgets have been set, broken down by regional health authority. [23382]

Yvette Cooper: The information is not held centrally in the form requested and could be gathered only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate how many hospital bed days could be saved annually if cancer (a) in-patients and (b) out-patients, who are transfused with blood, were given alternative treatments that would not require hospitalisation. [25029]

Yvette Cooper: It is not possible to calculate the number of bed days or day-cases saved through giving cancer patients alternatives to blood transfusions as many would still be required to attend hospital for other treatments linked to their illness. Further analysis of potential cost impact of alternative treatments will be produced shortly.

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the NHS Cancer Plan in tackling smoking-related cancers; and if further measures are planned to address this cause of cancers. [27133]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 14 January 2002]: Smoking is the cause of a third of all cancers. The NHS Cancer Plan set a new target to bring down smoking rates among manual groups from 32 per cent. in 1998 to 26 per cent. by 2010, so that we can narrow the gap between manual and non-manual groups.

It is too early to make an assessment of the effectiveness of the measures in the plan which focus on smoking. However the NHS smoking cessation services have already delivered some 100,000 quitters at the four weeks stage.

As part of a response to the NHS Cancer Plan, we have already established a number of pilot projects focusing action on particularly hard-to-reach groups. The scope of the pilots will be extended in due course. We have also asked health authorities to focus their smoking cessation services on manual groups in line with the NHS Cancer Plan target. Each pilot project will be evaluated and in the light of those evaluations, and the practical lessons learned, we will be able to properly assess the impact of those measures and what further measures will be needed.

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