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Ms Blears [holding answer 7 March 2002]: I understand that while mesotherapy has a number of applications, it is of most relevance to the NHS as a method of pain relief. Mesotherapy is a treatment where local anaesthetic is injected in small amounts to an area of pain. Chronic pain relief is provided throughout the NHS in different forms, and includes the use of local anaesthetic. However, pain relief is a short-term measure and it is important that the underlying cause of the pain is identified and treated.
The decision on the type of pain relief treatment provided to patients is made on a case by case basis. The Department does not collect details of the different types of pain relief available on the NHS.
Jacqui Smith: The additional funds provide the opportunity for the Medical Research Council (MRC) to accelerate research on autism, building on existing strengths and addressing gaps which were identified in the report of their review of the epidemiology and causes of autism. It will complement and add to the MRC's current support for research in this field. It is likely that the range of research supported will be broader than that of the MRC review and may include research to develop and evaluate interventions.
The MRC will shortly be setting up a steering group which will offer detailed advice on implementation. Building on the success of lay involvement in the MRC review, the membership of this group will importantly include lay people. The Department will have an observer on the group. We will continue to pursue our constructive dialogue with the MRC on autism research.
Jacqui Smith: Arrangements are now in place to ensure that patients can gain access to NHS services simply by calling NHS Direct. This means that even if a patient chooses not to register with a dentist it will still be possible for that patient to access all forms of dentistry that are provided by the NHS.
The number of child patients registered with a general dental service (GDS) dentist in East Riding and Hull health authority (HA) at 30 September for each of the years 1997 to 2001 is shown in the table.
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calendar year. This affected registration numbers from December 1997 onwards. Data for 1997 is not comparable with later years.
(31) Registration number is not comparable to later figures because of the change in the registration period to 15 months.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government have to support NHS staff dealing with the mental health problems of older people; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: Following publication of national service frameworks (NSF) for mental health and for older people, the Department has established a number of multi-agency care group workforce teams, including one focused on older people and one on mental health, to support national workforce development.
Standard 7 of the Older People's NSF concerns the promotion of good mental health in older people and the provision of treatment and support for older people with dementia and depression. Work undertaken to implement the framework standards, and within the care group workforce teams, will help to strengthen training and education for existing staff and support recruitment, consistent with the proposals in the NHS plan for new staff to support people of all ages with mental health problems.
Jacqui Smith: The proportion of the hospital budget spent on mental health services in each year since 199697 and the proportion of the community health budget spent on mental health nursing in each year since 199495 is shown in the table.
However the figure given for 19992000 is not comparable to previous years or future years, 19992000 represents the first year that primary care group expenditure was included in the calculation and the formula used to apportion the expenditure was based on estimated data. In future years the data for primary care groups will be more detailed and the resultant figure for percentage spend will be more accurate.
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Jacqui Smith: An estimated 1.3 million adult clients received a package of community-based services (following assessment), by councils with social services responsibilities, in England, during the period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001. A client may be recorded more than once during the year.
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is towards acceptable travel distances between (a) maternity hospital services, (b) paediatric hospital services and (c) general hospital services. 
Yvette Cooper: The Department set up a Maternity and Neonatal Workforce Group last year to examine the best way to provide high quality maternity services which will provide safe, effective, evidence based and accessible care to mothers and babies.
Yvette Cooper: The national health service provides a variety of types of care for women during pregnancy and childbirth including care in stand-alone dedicated women's hospitals, general hospital maternity units, as well as midwife-led units. We expect this variety to continue and do not support any one single model of maternity service provision in preference to all others.
The Department has set up a Maternity and Neonatal Workforce Group to make recommendations through the Children's Taskforce on workforce issues and various models for configuration of maternity services.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has (a) made and (b) received of the cost of upgrading establishments to meet his national care standards; and if he will make a statement. 
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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 7 March 2002]: The full Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Care Homes Regulations and national minimum standards for care homes for older people and younger adults estimated that the cost of meeting the environmental standards from 1 April 2002 would be £68 million over five years.
David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time is for patients at the accident and emergency units at (a) Princess Royal Telford and (b) Royal Shrewsbury hospital. 
The NHS plan set new targets to reduce the maximum wait in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge to four hours by 2004. The interim milestone is to achieve 75 per cent. of A&E attendees waiting four hours or less by March 2002.
In line with this, from August 2001, the Department has collected data on total time in A&E from arrival to transfer, admission or discharge. Information suggests that the NHS is on track to meet the March 2002 milestone with currently 77 per cent. of all people attending A&E waiting four hours or less.
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