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Lister Hospital, Stevenage

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the facilities and development funding available for the Lister hospital, Stevenage. [36892]

Jacqui Smith: The assessment of facilities and future development of the Lister hospital is linked to the Hertfordshire and south Bedfordshire acute services review. Work continues on service models and this will be published as an interim discussion document later this year.


Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what he is doing to increase the uptake of statins. [36405]

Yvette Cooper: The National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease sets out advice on the prescribing of statins, by primary care, to prevent heart disease. Primary care practices are developing registers of patients with coronary heart disease to help them provide these patients with systematic care. Part of this systematic care is the effective prescribing of statins to lower cholesterol levels. The prescribing of statins has increased by over 30 per cent. in the first year since the publication of the National Service Framework in June 2000 and is continuing to rise.

Surgical Instruments

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which hospitals have been found to have fallen below acceptable standards for the decontamination of surgical instruments since October 2000. [36404]

Yvette Cooper: Over the last year the Department has completed the first ever national survey of decontamination services for surgical instruments in the national health service in England. The survey, implemented between March 2001 and November 2001, involved a series of prioritised visits to all NHS facilities undertaking reprocessing. Initial assessments found that standards in 109 hospitals fell below acceptable levels. Further assessments and work with hospitals to implement action plans for improvement has resulted in all NHS acute hospitals in England having access to satisfactory decontamination services. The results of the assessments are published in the report "A Review of the

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Decontamination of Surgical Instruments in the NHS in England". Copies of this report, and further comprehensive guidance are available in the Library and can also be found on the website The modernisation of NHS decontamination services is a long-term process, not a one off event, and we are committed to ensuring that standards are maintained and raised to ensure patient safety.

Rubella Vaccination

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason the rubella vaccination is administered to boys. [36475]

Yvette Cooper: Prior to the introduction of MMR in 1988, a large number of babies were born disabled as a result of congenital rubella. In many cases this was due to older unimmunised children passing rubella to their pregnant mother or her pregnant friends. With MMR a child and its family can benefit from protection against three diseases at the earliest possible time.

Organ Donation

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS staff who may be in charge of a hospital ward are fully aware of procedures for arranging for donation of organs for transplantation. [36445]

Jacqui Smith: The consultation document "Organ and Tissue Donation" published in February 2001 announced planned improvements in transplants services with the overall aim to increase organ donation levels in the United Kingdom by meeting challenging targets by 2005. UK Transplant is supporting a number of initiatives across the United Kingdom to increase the numbers of organs available for transplantation with dedicated funding supporting staffing costs in hospitals, the co-ordination of this transplant expansion programme, training, education and communications. Ten additional co-ordinators across the UK are being appointed. Donor transplant co-ordinators have a particular responsibility to raise the importance and profile of organ/tissue donation in all hospitals and will carry out various education initiatives. Specific funding is also being made available to employ donor liaison sisters/staff nurses in 35 hospitals with intensive care units. They will be responsible for identifying potential donors and ensuring that all staff in that hospital understand the importance of organ and tissue donation and how it can be arranged.

Organ Donors

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the UK are registered as organ donors; what plans he has to introduce legislation to recognise presumed consent; what measures he has introduced to encourage people to sign up as organ donors; and if he will make a statement. [35724]

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Jacqui Smith: There are currently 9.1 million people registered on the national health service organ donor register.

We have no plans to introduce an opt-out scheme for organ donation. We are in the process of undertaking a comprehensive review of the law governing the taking, removal and use of human tissue, and will be issuing a consultation paper shortly.

There have been numerous wide-ranging initiatives in England to raise the public's awareness of the shortage of organs for transplantation. The Department runs a public information campaign with a current annual budget of £900,000. A public information leaflet, incorporating the organ donor card, is widely distributed, and is also available through the organ donor literature line. The Department also runs a special campaign to raise awareness among the Asian community and a similar campaign targeting the African and African Caribbean communities is planned for launch in spring 2002.


Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations his Department has received regarding the EU prohibition on white asbestos. [35381]

Dr. Whitehead: I have been asked to reply.

There have been no formal representations received about the European Commission Directive 1999/77/EC, which requires the marketing, supply and use of white asbestos to be banned by 1 January 2005. However 153 representations were made on the consultation on the Asbestos Prohibitions (Amendment) Regulations 1999, which implemented the EC ban on white asbestos in the UK. Eight specific derogations were made in the regulations. Twenty-two requests for exemptions from the regulations have been received since they were made, of which thirteen were granted. All derogations and exemptions were granted because no suitable substitute to white asbestos existed.

Medical Students

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of trends in recruitment of medical students by socio-economic group since 1997. [36441]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

The numbers and proportions of students accepted for entry to Pre-clinical medical courses by social class are shown in the following table. The data on social class are based on self-reporting by applicants, so small year-on- year changes should not be regarded as significant.

The Government are committed to raising the participation rates for people from less affluent family backgrounds, and has introduced Excellence Challenge, including the AimHigher campaign, which is targeted at raising attainment and aspirations among young people who traditionally would not consider going to university.

Accepted applicants through UCAS to full-time and sandwich undergraduate Pre-clinical medical courses in the UK, by social class.

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Accepted applicants through UCAS to full-time and sandwich undergraduate Pre-clinical medical courses in the UK, by social class

I Professional1,8181,8761,8751,9702,053
II Intermediate1,6981,7431,7561,8432,037
IIIN Skilled non-manual348353399423439
IIIM Skilled manual294325336363406
IV Partly skilled187170182200204
V Unskilled3625194436
Not known196191304386500
Grand total4,5774,6834,8715,2295,675
I Professional4142414140
II Intermediate3939383839
IIIN Skilled non-manual88998
IIIM Skilled manual77778
IV Partly skilled44444
V Unskilled11011
Grand total100100100100100


Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Health and Social Care Bill

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons consultation on the Health and Social Care Bill was restricted to six weeks. [16692]

Mr. Hutton: As is standard practice with most legislation not subject to pre-legislative scrutiny, there was no formal consultation on the Health and Social Care Bill. However a discussion document on the patient and public involvement proposals within the National Health Service Reform and Healthcare Professions Bill currently before Parliament was published with an invitation to comment which was open for six weeks. It was not a formal consultation exercise and six weeks was considered an adequate period during which to receive comments in keeping with the timetable for the Bill as a whole.

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