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Vinyl Chloride Monomer

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary for Work and Pensions when he is due to receive the report of the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council on whether vinyl chloride monomer should be added to the prescribed list for industrial injuries disablement benefit; and when it is proposed to publish (a) the report and (b) the response of the Minister. [33780]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr. Lammy) on 14 February 2002, Official Report, column 635W.


Child and Family Support Service

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding has gone into the Child and Family Support Service since 1997. [45485]

Jacqui Smith: Between 1996–97 and 2002–03 resources for personal social services in England increased by over 20 per cent. in real terms. Councils determine what proportion of their overall resources, including this increase, is to be spent on children and family support services.

2 May 2002 : Column 990W

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Child and Family Support Service; and what plans he has to increase cooperation with local authorities and improve access to services. [45487]

Jacqui Smith: Local authorities provide a wide range of services to support children and their families. The Social Services Inspectorate systematically assesses the performance of all local councils with social services responsibilities, evaluating the quality of services experienced by users and carers and monitoring the implementation of Government policy for social services.

In 1999 we published an overview report of the inspection programme of family support services in eight authorities. The report was entitled "Getting Family Support Right" and showed that 80 per cent. of families expressed satisfaction with the family support services they had received. At the same time we published a six-page pamphlet for front line staff called "Key messages for practitioners and first-line managers", which summarised the key findings of inspection assessments and disseminated examples of good practice.

Multi-agency working is a key element of the Government's five year £885 million quality protects programme which is improving the management and delivery of children's social services. The Government have set national objectives to improve outcomes for children and young people in need and local authorities are expected to show steady improvement towards the achievement of these in their annual quality protects management action plans.

The three cross Government programmes to tackle the social exclusion of children: Sure Start; The Children's Fund; and Connexions; all involve co-operation and multi-agency partnership working by a range of statutory and voluntary sector agencies, to ensure that children and family support services are accessible and effective.

Mount Vernon Hospital

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS agencies (a) own the Mount Vernon hospital estate and (b) are responsible for services provided there; and if he will list the chief executive and board members of each of these agencies. [48899]

Mr. Hutton: The Mount Vernon hospital estate is held by Hillingdon NHS Trust on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health.

Services at Mount Vernon hospital are provided by Hillingdon NHS Trust and West Hertfordshire hospitals NHS Trust.

2 May 2002 : Column 991W

The board members of West Hertfordshire hospitals NHS Trust are:

The board members of Hillingdon NHS Trust are:

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to sell off part of the Mount Vernon estate. [48909]

Mr. Hutton: There are currently no plans to dispose of the Mount Vernon hospital estate.


Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department gives to directors of public health and general practitioners about the appropriate use of (a) traditional diets, (b) exercise, (c) formula slimming foods, (d) surgery and (e) slimming drugs, as part of the strategic response to the problem of overweight and obesity. [49315]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 18 April 2002]: The balance of good health food model, which is based on current Government guidelines for healthy eating, has been widely disseminated.

The national quality assurance framework for exercise referral systems was published in April 2001. General practitioners were notified of the guidelines through the GP bulletin, which is sent to all GPs in England. The document offers guidance to primary care and fitness professionals, who work together to offer tailored exercise and physical activity programmes to patients whose health would benefit from increased exercise.

In 1987, a committee on medical aspects of food and nutrition policy (COMA) report was published on very low calorie diets (VLCD). The report highlighted that a

2 May 2002 : Column 992W

major criticism of VLCDs is that individuals frequently re-gain any weight lost after the diet has ended. A recent report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP 1998) on "clinical management of overweight and obese patients" supported the findings of the COMA panel.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has provided guidance on two anti-obesity drugs sibutramine and orlistat. Their guidance means patients can expect more equal access to these drugs in the future.

NICE is currently reviewing the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of surgery for morbid obesity, and is due to report later this year.

Drug Inquiries (Liaison)

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether NICE and Scottish NICE are allowed to liaise with each other about similarities and parallel inquiries into a particular drug. [50823]

Ms Blears [holding answer 18 April 2002]: We would expect the National Institute of Clinical Excellence to work with any experts and health bodies it deems appropriate in order to deliver robust guidance to the national health service in England and Wales.

Speech Therapists

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many posts for speech therapists in (a) the national health service and (b) each relevant trust are unfilled. [51060]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 18 April 2002]: The information requested has been placed in the Library.


Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the advice from the British Committee for Standards in Haematology relating to blood transfusions and patients with chronic anaemia; [51547]

Yvette Cooper: The publication of guidelines from the British Committee for Standards in Haematology in 2001 provides specific advice to clinicians. The type of treatment offered to chronic anaemia patients is a matter of individual clinical judgment and discussion with the patient concerned. The Department encourages the production of local protocols, which use existing guidance produced from a sound evidence based and clinical consensus.


Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the amounts of smallpox vaccine necessary to treat the whole population in the event of a terrorist biological attack. [51786]

Mr. Hutton: The number of vaccine doses required to cover the population would be approximately 60 million.

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Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the population would be expected to contract smallpox on a transmission ratio of (a) 4 to 6 and (b) 10 to 12. [44009]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 26 March 2002]: Crude estimates of the number of people that might contract smallpox following one initial case with prompt and vigorous public health intervention, assuming a United Kingdom population of 60 million are:

Rates of 10–12 would be more likely to occur only at the very start of an outbreak before public health interventions were implemented. Lower transmission rates would apply thereafter.

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