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British Red Cross

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial support his Department has given since 1 April 2000 to projects run by the British Red Cross. [52946]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The British Red Cross was awarded a Section 64 grant for a three year project in the intermediate care programme at £122,000 for 2001–02, £122,000 for 2002–03 and £100,000 for 2003–04, to be paid with equal matched funding from the Home Office's Active Community Unit.

Press Subscriptions

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the newspapers subscribed to (a) Monday to Saturday and (b) on Sunday by his Department, stating for each subscription (i) the number of copies taken, and (ii) the annual cost. [52831]

Ms Blears [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The newspapers subscribed to by the Department in 2002, the number of copies and the annual cost of each subscription are shown in the table.

2 May 2002 : Column 997W

NewspaperMonday– FridaySaturdaySundayApprox. annual cost per title (£)
Birmingham Post32331.20
Daily Mail1421,603.20
Daily Mirror1211,081.44
Daily Star71579.60
Daily Telegraph1662,452.80
Evening Standard232,125.20
Financial Times2065,568
Independent on Sunday5288
Mail on Sunday4211.20
Manchester Evening News1276
Morning Star33792
News of the World262.4
Northern Daily Echo176.80
South London Press119.20
Southern Daily Echo(31)1276
Sunday Express3144
Sunday Mirror262.40
Sunday People262.40
Sunday Telegraph4192
Sunday Times6345.60
Yorkshire Post11388.32

(31) Friday

The approximate total annual cost is £27,980 to which suppliers apply a discount of 13.5 per cent. to some titles.This information covers central purchasing through the Department's library for library use and for retention by individual units. The figures are based on subscriptions purchased in January and February 2002, and extrapolated for 12 months to give the annual figures. Newspaper titles purchased remain fairly constant but there are variations in number of copies per title due to cancellations and new purchases.

Prescription Charges

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the percentage of prescriptions incurring a charge which were not dispensed in the last three years. [53367]

Ms Blears: No assessment has been made of the extent to which people incurring a charge do not make use of prescriptions. Around 85 per cent. of items are dispensed free of charge and around 50 per cent. of the population do not have to pay charges.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many matrons have been recruited since his Department's announcement on the issue, broken down by (a) PCT areas and (b) age. [53300]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Available information was published in a report, 'Modern Matrons in the NHS: a progress report', on 15 April 2002 and is set out in the table. Data was collected prior to changes that took effect on 1 April 2002, and is therefore presented within old regional office boundaries. Data broken down by PCT area and by age is not available centrally.

2 May 2002 : Column 998W

RegionNumber of matrons by April 2002
North West224
South West261
West Midlands210
Northern and Yorkshire239
South West180

Princess Royal Hospital (Haywards Heath)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what occupational therapy is available for patients of the Villa psychiatric ward at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath; [53280]

Ms Blears [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Information on the occupational therapy services available for patients in the Villa psychiatric ward is not held centrally. However, it is recognised locally that there needs to be improvements in the provision of occupational therapy and other activities for patients. West Sussex Health and Social Care NHS Trust, which now has responsibility for the facility, is taking action as a matter of urgency to bring this about.

The Villa ward is currently undergoing refurbishment to the bathroom and toilet areas. As part of this work, it has been necessary to remove and replace asbestos panels located in the service ducts. I have been assured that the existing panels are contained within the trust's asbestos register, that the work is being undertaken by authorised asbestos removal contractors and notifications have been given to the Health and Safety Executive.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what security arrangements are in force for protection of medical records for psychiatric patients at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. [53281]

Ms Blears [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Medical records for current patients are kept under lock and key on the ward. Records for discharged patients are kept under lock and key in secure rooms.

I was very concerned to learn that individuals entered the Villa Ward office and appeared to have looked at confidential records and removed other items. The break-in was reported to Sussex Police and they are currently investigating. An internal investigation is being carried out by the Trust.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures have been taken by his Department

2 May 2002 : Column 999W

to maintain records of children who have been vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella by separate injections through private providers. [53269]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 29 April 2002]: It is the responsibility of private providers to submit information on children who have had separate vaccines either to the general practitioner (GP) responsible for the child's care, or to the primary care trust where they live. If the private provider does not submit such information, it can only be ascertained by either the GP or the community child health unit approaching the parents of apparently unimmunised children.

Antenatal maternity Units

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many antenatal maternity units have been modernised since 2001. [53316]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Over 200 maternity units in England received a share of the £100 million capital investment to carry out a range of major and minor projects some of which included upgrading of antenatal units.

Projects relating to refurbishment of antenatal units are in various stages of completion, with equipment purchased for some, redecoration work underway in most, while some projects involving building work are in the tendering process. All projects should be completed around April 2003.

Hepatitis C

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of people infected with hepatitis C in the United Kingdom. [53275]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 29 April 2002]: It is estimated that 0.4 per cent. of the general population in England (about 200,000 people) have chronic hepatitis C infection. Information on the prevalence of chronic hepatitis C infection in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can be obtained from the respective devolved administrations.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the main common characteristics of those suffering from hepatitis C in the United Kingdom. [53277]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 29 April 2002]: In the majority of cases, people who acquire hepatitis C infection do not have any immediate symptoms. Only a small proportion of patients develop an acute illness with jaundice soon after infection. Up to 80 per cent. of people infected with hepatitis C develop chronic infection. Many of those remain well or only develop symptoms after many years, with the onset of complications of chronic liver disease. Some of those with chronic infection report non-specific symptoms, such as tiredness and fatigue, muscle pains and aching joints, depression, and some complain of poor memory or concentration.

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