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Domiciliary Care

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation is occurring with local authorities on the subject of charging policies for domiciliary care. [30303]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 25 January 2002]: Consultation on draft guidance, "Fairer Charging Policies for Home Care and other non-residential Social Services" took place between 3 January and 30 March 2001. Statutory guidance was issued on 23 November 2001.


Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many diabetes sufferers within the Harwich constituency have taken advantage of the use of pen needles since they were made available free within the national health service. [30979]

Jacqui Smith: Free insulin pen needles and certain reusable insulin pens have been available to diabetes sufferers since they were added to the drug tariff with effect from 1 March 2000.

Nationally the number of prescription items for insulin pen needles dispensed in the community in England has increased from 78,000 in the period April 2000 to June 2000 to 154,000 in the period July 2001 to September 2001. Figures are not available centrally on a constituency basis.

NHS Eastern Region

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of (a) underspend and (b) overspend in the current financial year by each health authority in the NHS Eastern Region. [31363]

Mr. Hutton: By the end of this financial year we expect all health authorities to live within their agreed resource limits. Where they require support at year-end this will be provided principally through brokerage from elsewhere in the national health service. This is normal practice in managing the year end financial position of individual bodies and for the NHS overall.


Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were in each general practitioner practice within the Hillingdon health authority in each of the last seven years. [31357]

Mr. Hutton: Under the terms of the Data Protection Act registration, we do not release data which identifies individual practices. As the main element of the general

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practitioner's remuneration is based on the number of patients on their list, it would be inappropriate to release the information requested.

Expectant Mothers

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many Nuchal folds tests have been undertaken on expectant mothers aged over 35 years in each of the last three years in (a) the national health service and (b) the private sector. [31546]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 29 January 2002]: Information about the number of Nuchal fold tests undertaken in the national health service or the private sector is not collected centrally.

Care Home Standards

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to support and inform care home owners during the introduction of national minimum standards. [32153]

Jacqui Smith: I have today launched a package of measures to help the smooth introduction of the national minimum standards. This comprises:

The NCSC has been set up to encourage the provision of good quality care in care homes, not to close them down. This package is designed to help the NCSC achieve that.

Ambulance Service

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether responsibility to provide ambulances to return patients who need ambulance transport from hospital to their homes lies with the ambulance service (a) where the hospital is located and (b) where the patient lives. [28233]

Ms Blears: Arrangements for non-emergency patient transport are determined locally. Responsibility for arranging that transport usually lies with the hospital treating the patient. In general, if the patient is attending for an out-patient appointment then either a general practitioner or the hospital makes arrangements for the journey into and out of hospital. If the patient is being discharged from a hospital, responsibility for arranging transport usually lies with the hospital. The actual transport is provided either by a national health service ambulance trust or other organisation commissioned by the hospital for that purpose.

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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients, requiring ambulances to return from Hampshire hospitals to Dorset, were provided with them by (a) Hampshire ambulance service and (b) Dorset ambulance service in the last year for which information is available; [28232]

Ms Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally. Information relating to ambulance service figures are available from the Chairman of the relevant ambulance service trusts.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS trusts he estimates will seek foundation status in the (a) current and (b) next financial year. [29656]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 23 January 2002]: We do not estimate that any trusts will seek foundation status in the current financial year. The number in the next financial year will be dependent on the outcome of the 2002 performance ratings and the number of three star trusts that choose to take that course.

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the total takings from the sale or leasing of property by an NHS trust with foundation status will accrue exclusively to that trust. [29657]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 23 January 2002]: Consideration is being given to foundation trusts having the right to keep all the proceeds from the sale of property. National health service trusts can already keep all the income they receive from leasing property, and this freedom will apply to foundation trusts.

MMR Vaccine

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what screening took place of members of the working party of the Medical Research Council on links between MMR vaccine and autism to avoid potential conflicts of interest; [24315]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 8 January 2002]: In March 2001 the Department commissioned the Medical Research Council to undertake a wide-ranging and inclusive review of the current understanding of the

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causes and epidemiology of autism. The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was only one of many suggested causes that were considered and is a small part of the whole report.

The full report of the MRC review is available on the MRC's website

The scientific experts of the review group were drawn mostly from outside the field of autism or MMR research. A third of the members comprised a lay group drawn from organisations representing the interests of people and families with autism, together with some who had other broad consumer interests.

Along with its scientific assessment of the current knowledge of autism and recommendations for future research strategies, the MRC review included the code of conduct for the review groups, eligibility criteria for experts and lay members, and procedures for managing perceived and potential conflicts of interest. These were discussed and agreed by all members during the review process. Declarations of interest were sought early in the

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review from all members and from additional external advisers. They were kept up-to-date and a summary was provided at all review group meetings. Lists of members and the summary of their declarations of interest are published in the report at appendix 1, annex 3. The full declarations were available for scrutiny by members throughout the review.

We have full confidence in the integrity of the review process.

David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many MMR vaccines have been given in each health region in the last 12 months. [31334]

Yvette Cooper: Information is not available for the number of measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations given. Information about coverage rates for children immunised against MMR by region is contained in the Statistical Bulletin "NHS Immunisation Statistics, England: 2000–01". A copy of the bulletin is in the Library and can also be found on the Department's website