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Empty Properties

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 6 February 2002, Official Report, column 1046W, regarding the cost and value of empty properties, if the property that has been empty since July 2000 is now occupied and being used by the national health service. [50337]

Yvette Cooper: The property referred to by the hon. Member is the Glenthorne Youth Treatment Centre, at Erdington in Birmingham. Following closure in July 2000, a feasibility study has been completed to adapt the centre for reuse by the South Birmingham Mental Health NHS Trust and the capital funding bid is awaiting imminent approval by the Department. It is currently unoccupied and being managed on a cost-effective, care and maintenance basis.

Care Homes

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer on 26 March 2002, Official Report, column 943W, regarding the National Care Standards Commission, how many applications had been (a) received and (b) not received by the National Care Standards Commission by the 31 March, how many statements of purpose were (i) received and (ii) not received by 31 March; how many care homes should have completed the (a) statement of purpose and (b) applications; and what steps he is taking to ensure all care homes which should have completed their statement of purpose and application form but have not, will comply with the Care Standards Act 2000 Part 11, section (1) as soon as possible. [50563]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 April 2002]: As of the 1 April 2002 the National Care Standards Commission had received approximately 2,500 applications from providers and managers who were required to apply for registration by that date. It is not possible to say how many of these applications are from care homes since the commission is still assessing from which service areas the applications originated and the associated documentation sent with them. It is probable that once the commission has processed all of the applications sent to it prior to 1 April 2002 there will be significantly more than 2,500 applications.

All care homes are required to produce statements of purpose from 1 April. The NCSC will take copies of the statement of purpose from existing providers at the time of the first inspection this year in the spring and summer. New care homes seeking registration and those previously exempt providers required to apply before the 31 March should attach their statement of purpose with their application for registration. The NCSC has indicated that it will work with providers during the registration process to ensure that statements are drawn up appropriately by providers.

Providers required to apply for registration by 31 March are given protection from section 11(1) of the Care Standards Act as long as they have submitted their application forms and until a decision to grant or refuse registration is made by the commission. When registration is granted by the commission a provider is automatically deemed as complying with section 11(1). Where a

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provider deliberately seeks to evade registration under the Act the commission will take appropriate enforcement action.

Town/Village Greens

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those sites which are part of NHS hospitals on which applications have been made to be registered as town or village greens; which of these have been successful; which are outstanding; and if he will make a statement. [51180]

Ms Blears: The following hospitals have sites that have been subject of applications for registration as town or village greens:

St. James Hospital, PortsmouthSuccessful
Northowram Hospital, HalifaxOutstanding
Newton Hill, WakefieldOutstanding
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, BirminghamUnsuccessful
Second application, same siteUnsuccessful
Monyhull Hospital, BirminghamUnsuccessful
Second application, similar siteSuccessful

National Patient Survey

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the cost of the National Survey of NHS Patients being carried out by the National Centre for Social Research. [51285]

Ms Blears: The cost of the current survey of GP services, which the National Centre for Social Research began on behalf of the Department in January this year, is expected to be £1.6 million.

Reporting this summer, the survey will enable the Government to find out what people think of the care and treatment they receive when visiting their GP. Its coverage will consist of a sample size of 261,000 people drawn from the electoral registers.

It is designed to produce a minimum of 375 returned questionnaires from each of the primary care organisations in England, that is 150,000 completed questionnaires. The findings will inform both the national 'star' ratings and provide feedback to primary care trusts, so that where appropriate, service improvements can be initiated.

Alcohol Consumption

Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what statistics the Government collect on alcohol consumption (a) by gender, (b) by age and (c) by region. [51827]

Ms Blears: Data on alcohol consumption are collected in a number of surveys. For adults aged 16 and over, these include:

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) General Household Survey, published as "Living in Britain—Results from the 2000 General Household Survey". This includes analyses by gender, age group and region and is available on the internet at: lib.index.html.

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The Department of Health: Health Survey for England; published as (for example) "Health Survey for England 1998—Cardiovascular Disease". This includes analyses by age group and gender and data from 1993 to 2000 is available on the internet at: trends1.htm.

For young people aged 11 to 15, the Department of Health commissions a school survey from the National Centre for Social Research and the National Foundation for Educational Research. Data for 2000 was published as "Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2000" and is available on the internet at:

Preliminary findings from the 2001 survey were published as a Department of Health Statistical Press Notice: "Drug use, smoking and drinking among young people in England in 2001: Preliminary Results" in March 2002. The press notice is available on the internet at: Both surveys include analysis by gender and age group.

Meat Hygiene Service

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if the Food Standards Agency has met its service delivery agreement target to set new targets for the Meat Hygiene Service; [49478]

Yvette Cooper: Performance targets for the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) for the year 2001–02 were agreed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) board in May 2001. The targets were placed in the Libraries of the House, announced by FSA press release and put onto the FSA website, on 15 May 2001. Among others, the targets required the MHS:

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if the new targets for the Meat Hygiene Service, referred to on page 36 of the 2001 Food Standards Agency report, have been met; [49221]

Yvette Cooper: Information on the performance of the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) against its targets for the year ended 31 March 2001, including that in relation to the enforcement of specified risk material controls, is currently being assembled in order for an assessment to be carried out and reported to the board of the Food Standards Agency. The outcome will be published in the MHS's annual report and accounts which will be laid before Parliament before the House rises for the summer.

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As regards improving ante- and post-mortem inspections, the FSA confirms that the MHS achieved full-time veterinary supervision in all full throughput abattoirs in line with EU requirements as from November 2001. This subject was dealt with in more detail in an answer given to the hon. Member for South-East Cornwall (Mr. Breed) on 8 January 2002. Official Report, columns 634–35.

Natural Health Therapies

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to include natural health research and therapies in policies aimed at tackling cardiovascular disease and cancer. [53352]

Yvette Cooper: Decisions on what specific services and treatments to use are mostly made at a local level, so that national health service organisations may fund some natural health therapies, particularly in the care of cancer patients.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence has been commissioned to produce guidelines on supportive and palliative care for cancer patients, which will be published in 2003. These guidelines will include the role that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) might play. The Department funds some research into CAM. A programme to build capacity in research into CAM will be launched shortly, and the Department is also planning to commission new work on the use of CAM techniques in the care of patients with cancer.

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