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Patients (Nutritional Status)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which hospitals do not screen as routine the nutritional status of patients being admitted to hospital. [24310]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 3 January 2002]: The Department does not collect these data. The standard on general hospital care in the National Service Framework for Older People, published in March 2001, sets the need for nutritional screening to identify those at nutritional risk within the wider context of the good care management of older people in hospital. Food and nutrition is also one of the best practice standards in "The Essence of Care: patient-focused benchmarking for health care practitioners" which was published in February 2001 and will be used to support health professionals. In addition, the single assessment process for older people will require health professionals to collect information on nutritional status at the initial stage. Detailed guidance on the single assessment process was published on 28 January 2002.

Children Act 1989

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to review the Regulations and Guidance associated with the Children Act 1989 following the Utting report. [27367]

Jacqui Smith: In our response to the Children's Safeguards Review (the Utting report), we acknowledged that in the longer term it may be necessary to completely revise and reissue the regulations and guidance to the Children Act 1989. The intention is to undertake this on a step by step basis that will focus at first on the volumes most affected by recent legislative and regulatory changes.

We announced a major review of adoption in February 2000. Part of the extensive programme of reform includes the introduction of the Adoption and Children Bill in October 2001. The Bill will comprehensively overhaul adoption legislation, regulation and related guidance, which once commenced, would necessitate the revision of volume 8 (Private Fostering and Miscellaneous) of the Children Act Guidance. Further, in the light of the changes arising from the Care Standards Act 2000, we plan to revise volumes 3 (Family Placements), 4 (Residential Care), and 5 (Independent Schools) of the guidance in the near future.


Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent investigations have been made into the increased theoretical risk of contracting CJD through blood transfusions; and if he plans to produce guidelines on the issue; [28750]

Yvette Cooper: We have already taken action to reduce the theoretical risk of transferring CJD through blood and blood products. The Department and the National Blood Service are currently undertaking a programme of risk assessments on further reducing

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any theoretical risk from CJD to the blood supply. The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) has reviewed the precautions on a number of occasions and has advised that no further regulatory action was required.

We are supporting a number of avenues of research into a diagnostic test for CJD to enable a screening test to be developed for blood donations.

The CJD Incidents Panel is the expert committee set up by the Department to advise health authorities and trusts how to manage incidents involving possible exposure to CJD in healthcare settings, including blood transfusions. The panel issued a public consultation paper in October 2001 on "Management of possible exposure to CJD through medical procedures", for which the closing date for comments was 15 January. The panel is currently considering the responses to the consultation but continues to provide provisional advice on a precautionary basis as set out in the document.

At the request of the panel, the Department has commissioned independent consultants to provide an updated review of the potential CJD infectivity of blood and blood products.


Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations his Department has received regarding the side effects of the contraceptive injection Depo-provera; and if he will make a statement. [31068]

Yvette Cooper: The Medicines Control Agency (MCA), which is responsible for medicines regulation in the UK, and the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) receive reports of suspected adverse drug reactions to medicinal products via the Yellow Card Scheme. Since marketing authorisation was granted in 1981, the MCA and CSM have received 232 such reports for Depo-provera. However, the reporting of a suspected adverse reaction does not necessarily mean that it has been caused by the drug. Many factors have to be taken into account including the possible contribution of other medications or illnesses. Since 1981, the MCA has also recorded receiving 40 requests for information about Depo-provera. In most cases, the nature of these inquiries was to seek information on suspected adverse drug reactions to Depo-provera, which are reflected in the Marketing Authorisation Summary of Product Characteristics and Patient Information Leaflet. The MCA routinely provides this information to health professionals and members of the public on request.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 674W, on nutrition, how much the single assessment process for malnutrition will cost (a) each health authority and (b) in England. [31301]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 30 January 2002]: There is no single assessment process for malnutrition.

The single assessment process for older people, published on 28 January, requires health and care professionals to assess the nutritional status of older

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people when it is necessary to assess their needs. Specific estimates of the cost implications of this part of the assessment have not been undertaken.

Nursing Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many assessments in respect of the free nursing care scheme were (a) completed by and (b) outstanding on 31 December 2001; what proportion of residents are in each category, for how many residents payments have been made to nursing homes; and what is the (i) total value of the payments and (ii) average value. [31299]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 30 January 2002]: Preliminary information available from regions of the position at the end of December, indicates that around 80 per cent. of the nursing homes with residents eligible for national health service funded nursing care had had their residents' needs for care determined by a registered nurse. The majority of the remainder will be completed by the end of this month.

Around 99 per cent. of people in nursing homes whose needs have been determined have been found to be eligible. Of those whose needs have been determined, around 19 per cent. have been allocated to the low band; 58 per cent. to the middle band; and 22 per cent. to the high band.

Anticoagulation Therapy

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he intends to make the strips used to test the blood during oral anticoagulation therapy treatment available on prescription. [32537]

Ms Blears: We are currently considering whether to list such strips in Part IX of the Drug Tariff, so enabling them to be prescribed by general practitioners on the national health service in England. Issues for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are matters for the devolved Assemblies.


Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what redress will be available to local authority health overview and scrutiny committees if their recommendations are not acted upon. [31857]

Ms Blears: Overview and scrutiny of health including scrutiny of the national health service should not be considered in terms of redress, rather as a lever to improve the health of local people. Scrutiny committees, working in partnership with the NHS and other stakeholders, will seek to secure continuous improvements both of health services and services that impact upon health. This will be a significant step forward in making public services, including the NHS, more locally relevant and locally accountable.


Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will answer the letter to him dated 11 December 2001, from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Lorna McIntyre. [31676]

Ms Blears: A reply was sent on 5 February.

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Pregnancy Advice

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the (a) approved independent sector places for abortions and (b) registered pregnancy advice bureaux in the Buckinghamshire health authority area. [32189]

Ms Blears: The Buckinghamshire health authority has three registered pregnancy advice bureaux: BPAS High Wycombe branch; BPAS Milton Keynes branch and Marie Stopes Milton Keynes centre but no independent sector places are approved for abortions.

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