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Silicone Cosmesis

Mr. McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money has been allocated by his Department to individual health authorities in the (a) current and (b) previous financial years for the provision of silicone cosmesis; and what monitoring procedures exist to ensure that the funds are used to provide cosmesis for amputees. [30792]

Jacqui Smith: On the 9 January 2001 we announced that funding totalling £4 million to provide silicone cosmesis to prosthetic limb users was to be made available over the next three years. The funding started with £0.5 million for 2001–02, £1.5 million for 2002–03 and £2 million for 2003–04. This was an addition to the baseline allocations to individual health authorities.

Each local health authority will provide funding to individual disablement service centres (DSCs) to provide silicone cosmesis. To support this initiative officials in my Department wrote, on 12 December 2001, to all health authorities reminding them that this funding has been provided to them in their allocations.

The contract for purchasing silicone cosmesis covers was awarded on 1 October 2001 and the contractor is required to provide the NHS purchasing and supply agency with quarterly contract sales figures which will include:

Health Authority Expenditure

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, (1) pursuant to the answer of 14 January 2002, Official Report, columns 63–64W, on health authority expenditure, if he will publish the latest forecast outturn for 2001–02 for each health authority and NHS trust in the south-east region of England; [30557]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answers 25 January and 29 January 2002]: Health bodies in the south-east reported in mid January a projected overspend at the end of the financial year of £60 million. Support is being provided to ensure that this can be managed without any adverse effect on patient care principally through brokerage from elsewhere in the national health service. This is normal practice in managing the year-end financial position. Discussions will therefore be ongoing, with the financial position being closely monitored right up to the end of the financial year.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many psychiatrists are employed by the NHS to diagnose and treat autistic spectrum children; [30988]

Jacqui Smith: Diagnosis of autism and early interventions are being considered by an independent group chaired by Professor Ann Le Couteur which is expected to report in 2002. The Royal Colleges of Psychiatrists and Paediatrics and Child Health, the National Autistic Society and the British Psychological Society are all represented. The Department and the Department for Education and Skills both have observers on the group. We will consider what further discussions may be required in the light of the group's report.

As we develop the National Service Framework (NSF) for children we will consider the needs of disabled children, including those with autism. The NSF will set out to tackle inequalities, raise standards and reduce unacceptable variations in NHS and social services. We have recently announced that one of the exemplars we will use to show how services should be provided will be around services for children with autism.

The data requested on numbers of psychiatrists and waiting times for assessments are not collected centrally. We recognise that assessment of communication skills plays an important part in the diagnosis of autism. This requires a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency assessment and may be led by a consultant community paediatrician or a child and adolescent psychiatrist. In some places specialist learning disability psychiatrists offer a service to children as well as adults and they, rather than child and adolescent psychiatrists, will be involved in diagnosis and management of children with autism. All these professionals have a broad range of responsibilities. The proportion of their time devoted to diagnosis and treatment of autism will vary. In the three years ending 31 March 2002 we will have invested some £85 million in children and adolescent mental health services across the national health service and local authorities.

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We have no objection in principle to involving the private sector in assessment processes at whatever stage may be appropriate. Local statutory authorities have a duty to ensure that the particular health and social care needs of each person with autism are met with genuine choices for both clients and families, through the most appropriate community based services, in a cost-effective way. They should determine the pattern of services in their areas in the light of their knowledge of local needs.

Overhead Power Cables

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the number of cases of (a) leukaemia, (b) skin cancer and (c) lung cancer which may be attributed to overhead power cables near places of residence. [30752]

Yvette Cooper: The Department obtains advice on the possible health implications of exposure to electromagnetic fields, including the extremely low frequency fields (ELF) associated with overhead power cables, from the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB).

In March last year, the NRPB's Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) issued a report on "ELF Electromagnetic Fields and the Risk of Cancer". This was issued following a wide-ranging and thorough review of scientific research related to this issue. The group concluded that the power frequency electromagnetic fields that exist in the vast majority of homes are not a cause of cancer in general. However, some epidemiological studies do indicate a possible doubling of the risk of childhood leukaemia associated with exposure to unusually high levels of power frequency magnetic fields. The AGNIR found no clear evidence of a carcinogenic effect in adults or of a plausible explanation from experiments on animals or isolated cells. Their view was that the epidemiological evidence is currently not strong enough to justify a firm conclusion that such fields cause leukaemia in children.

The board of NRPB issued a statement following publication of the AGNIR report. This indicated that if the doubling of the risk of leukaemia in children with exposures to magnetic fields above 0.4 T (400 nanotesla) was causal then an additional two cases of childhood leukaemia might be caused each year in the UK in addition to the 500 cases that would arise from other causes. Possibly one case every two years would be due to proximity to powerlines. There is no clear evidence of effects of magnetic fields on other cancers in children or of any cancers in adults. The AGNIR is, however, examining the possible effects on health of corona ions generated by powerlines. A number of concerns have been raised by members of the academic community in the United Kingdom that corona ions may have an influence on the behaviour of pollutant aerosols and cause an increase in exposure which could cause increases in risk of cancer or other diseases.


Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of the availability of funding for full-time midwifery degrees in Scotland from August on the numbers of English students registering for courses in (a) England and (b) Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [30362]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 28 January 2002]: Midwifery courses are oversubscribed in both countries and we do not envisage any unfavourable impact from the re-organisation of funding in Scotland.

Work force development confederations will continue to work with the universities, with whom they have contracted midwifery education, to ensure suitable applicants fill all the available places in England.


David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people suffered from group C meningitis and septicaemia in each year since 1997 in each health region. [31333]

Yvette Cooper: The number of laboratory confirmed cases of Group C meningococcal disease between 1997 and 2001 are shown in the table.

Northern and Yorkshire1151331537936
West midlands6977797419
England total762766910676299

(43) 2001 data are highly provisional

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