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Legal Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what legal costs have been incurred by his Department in each of the last four years. [34288]

Ms Blears: The figures represent what the Department has spent in the last four complete years on legal advice, legal representation and on costs awarded against it in court.

Year£ million

Macmillan Nurses

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from Macmillan Cancer Relief about training district nurses; and if he will make a statement. [34476]

Yvette Cooper: We have received no representations from Macmillan Cancer Relief about the training of district nurses. Macmillan, amongst other voluntary bodies, has been involved in the planning and implementation of a training and support programme for district and community nurses initiated under the NHS Cancer Plan. We have made £6 million available over the next three years to support over 10,000 nurses in primary care to take part in new training and support in the general principles and practice of palliative care. The training programme will help district and community nurses to support people with cancer, in remaining at home for as long as possible during their illness.

National Care Standards Commission

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the proposed establishment numbers are for the National Care Standards Commission for each category of staff. [32673]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 6 February 2002]: The National Care Standards Commission is funded to employ 1,475 inspectors. Managerial, advisory and administrative staff will bring the total funded establishment to 2,440.

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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if guidance based on the report on liquid-based cytology will be available by May; and if he will make a statement; [34091]

Ms Blears: The evaluation report of the liquid based cytology arm of the pilot will now be available in the autumn, once the full clinical record of each woman in the pilot has been received for the purposes of the evaluation. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) will begin the reappraisal of liquid-based cytology techniques once the evaluation report has been received. The pilot will inform the planning and resource requirements needed for liquid-based cytology if NICE recommends its introduction.

Aircraft Noise (Children)

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research he has commissioned into the effect of aircraft noise on young children. [34275]

Yvette Cooper: As part of a joint programme with the Department for the Environment and Food and Rural Affairs, we have commissioned a research programme designed to study the non-auditory health effects of noise.

Five research projects were funded under this programme, one of which was "West London Schools study aircraft noise at school and children's cognitive performance and stress responses". This study was led by Professor S. Stansfeld at Queen Mary and Westfield College.

Full details of the study are available on the Department's website at aipolh.htm.

Food Labelling

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has made to other EU countries on labelling the origin of meat and meat products. [33932]

Yvette Cooper: [holding answer 6 February 2002]: The Food Standards Agency is responsible for representing the United Kingdom at working level on these matters and has taken the lead in pressing for changes to European labelling rules to require country of origin labelling on a wider range of foods, particularly meat products. It is also pressing for changes that would prevent misleading labelling by restricting the use of terms like "produce of" to those foods where the main ingredients come from, and production processes occur in, the named place or country. Other EU member states support the UK's initiative on this issue.

Terminally Ill Patients

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve out-of-hours home care for patients who are terminally ill. [34073]

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Yvette Cooper: [holding answer 7 February 2002]: A supportive and palliative care strategy is being developed under the NHS Cancer Plan to ensure best treatment and care from when cancer is first suspected through to death and bereavement. Part of this strategy includes a review of out-of-hours palliative care services working with other key organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Relief.


Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research is planned into the effectiveness of Zyban in assisting people to stop smoking; and what plans he has to review the funding of Zyban on the NHS. [33613]

Yvette Cooper: [holding answer 7 February 2002]: At the time of licensing, the Committee on Safety of Medicines considered that Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride) met appropriate standards of quality, safety and efficacy to justify its licence for use as an aid to smoking cessation in combination with motivational support in nicotine-dependent patients. Subsequent studies (conducted by Glaxosmithkline, the Marketing Authorisation holder) have confirmed that Zyban is an effective aid to smoking cessation. There are no plans to commission further research into the efficacy of Zyban.

We expect health authorities and primary care trusts to fund the provision of Zyban and other smoking cessation services from their general allocations which are increasing in real terms by an average 7.2 per cent. next year. We have no plans to alter these arrangements.

Respiratory Disease

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much has been spent on (a) research, (b) treatment and (c) prevention of asthma since 1997; and if he will make a statement; [34591]

Yvette Cooper: Information on expenditure on lung diseases and asthma is not collected centrally. The British Thoracic Society estimated in November 2001, in a report entitled "The Burden of Lung Disease" that the total cost of respiratory disease to the national health service is around £2.5 billion.

The main Government agency for research into the cause and treatments of disease is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC spent a total of £12.2 million in 1999–2000 on research into asthma and respiratory disorders. The MRC additionally supports research on lung cancer that is not included in this figure.

The Department has spent an estimated £7.24 million on directly commissioned asthma research projects since 1997. The Department has also spent an estimated £3.45 million on directly commissioned research relating to lung disease since 1997. The forward commitment for ongoing projects is currently an estimated £1.41 million.

Smoking is one of the major causes of lung disease. In 1998 the Government published the first White Paper on Tobacco "Smoking Kills". To date it has invested around £130 million to implement the strategy set out in that document.

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Anti-Smoking Strategies

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures have been introduced since 1997 to dissuade young people from smoking. [34588]

Yvette Cooper: In December 1998 we launched the first ever cross-Government strategy to reduce smoking levels. In 'Smoking Kills' we set targets to reduce smoking among children aged 11–15 from 13 per cent. to 11 per cent. by 2005, and nine per cent. by 2010. We have already delivered on the 2005 target for children aged 11–15. The latest available survey results show that in 2000 the percentage of regular smokers in this age group was 10 per cent.

Any programme to reduce smoking among children and young people must involve cross-Government and cross- agency working. The Department has worked closely with other Departments to introduce measures to control the supply of tobacco and educate young people about the dangers of smoking.

The Department has agreed an enforcement protocol with local authorities to strengthen the enforcement of the existing legislation on under-age sales of cigarettes. The Department supports proof of age card schemes, which protect shopkeepers and children alike, as well as measures to restrict the siting of cigarette vending machines.

In December 1999 the Department launched a national tobacco education campaign to help smokers to give up and to persuade non-smokers, particularly children not to start. In 2001 a peer-to-peer communication project encouraged groups of young people to produce a series of films expressing their views on smoking. The films have been shown on cable television and plans are being developed for wider distribution including a teaching pack for schools.

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