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Horton Hospital Site

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the future of the original Horton hospital site and corrugated iron buildings in Horton Lane, Epsom. [54899]

Ms Blears: Apart from a small area within the site that will continue in national health service use, Horton hospital is surplus to requirements and is programmed to be sold during 2002–03.

The corrugated iron buildings situated at the Old Moat Country Centre are in the ownership of Surrey Oaklands NHS Trust. Departmental officials have been advised that the buildings are mainly empty and the trust proposes they be demolished and the site reused for a use to be finalised.

Foot Care

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the provision of chiropody and podiatry services in the south-east of England in (a) 1997 and (b) 2000. [54808]

Jacqui Smith: The Government are aware that chiropody and podiatry services play a vital role in helping to maintain people's independence. For older people especially, we see these services as having a strong preventative role in helping them maintain their mobility and may enable them to stay in their homes rather than move prematurely to a residential care or nursing home. Chiropodists and podiatrists have been involved in developing the national service frameworks for older people and diabetes to ensure adequate standards for these services.

The Government recognise that, in common with the rest of the country, the south-east needs more chiropodists and podiatrists. We are committed to recruiting more allied health professionals, which includes chiropodists/

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podiatrists, through the NHS Plan targets and will build on the 6,500 extra allied health professionals as announced in the 2002 Budget. £3 million was allocated in 2001–02 to modernise allied health professionals education and training programmes. Chiropody and podiatry were among the first group of specialities to be addressed.


Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department have to increase awareness regarding the dangers of obesity and the need for exercise; how many cases of obesity have been diagnosed in each year since 1997 in (a) children and (b) adults; what the cost has been of treating obesity since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [54793]

Yvette Cooper: The Government have made policy commitments through the NHS Plan, the Cancer Plan, the coronary heart disease national service framework and the diabetes national service framework to tackle the rising trend in obesity. As required by the coronary hear disease national service framework, local programmes of effective policies on promoting healthy eating and physical activity and reducing overweight and obesity are under way.

We have put in place major cross-Government work. Specifically, this includes a national school fruit scheme and a wider five-a-day programme to increase access to and consumption of fruit and vegetables, supported by £52 million from the New Opportunities Fund (NOF). Also, work is under way with industry to improve the overall balance of diet including salt, fat and sugar in food.

Among children, there has been significant investment in primary physical education and sports facilities, including £581 million from the NOF for a physical education and sports programme.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has provided guidance on the use of the anti-obesity drugs orlistat and sibutramine.

Information on how many cases of obesity have been diagnosed each year is not held. However, the Department's hospital episode statistics for in-patient admissions in England showed a rise in children (0 to 16-years-old) from 152 in 1996–97 to 240 in 2000–01 and a rise in adults (over 16) from 630 in 1996–97 to 828 in 2000–01.

The National Audit Office report "Tackling Obesity in England", published in February 2001, estimated that in 1998 the direct cost to the NHS was at least £0.5 billion a year, or about 1.5 per cent. of NHS expenditure. It has also estimated a direct cost of £2 billion a year to the wider economy.


Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of attendances at accident and emergency departments were alcohol-related in each of the last five years. [54991]

Ms Blears: The data are not available centrally. The Health Education Authority carried out a survey in 1998, which was published in the journal "Alcohol and Alcoholism", which indicated that one in six people

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attending accident and emergency departments for treatment had alcohol-related injuries or problems, rising to eight out of 10 at peak times.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much central Government funding was allocated to preventative work in relation to alcohol misuse in each of the last five years, [54992]

Ms Blears: Most of the work on the prevention of alcohol misuse is undertaken at local level by national health service health promotion units and primary health care professionals such as general practitioners and practice nurses. It is not possible to separately identify the funds devoted to this alcohol misuse prevention work.

Details of the central funding allocated by the Department to health promotion work on alcohol misuse during each of the last five years are as follows:


The figures for 1997–98 and 1998–99 also include an element towards the running costs of the health education authority. This element does not appear in the figures for subsequent years.

The Department for Education and Skills provides substance misuse education in schools. Substance misuse education covers alcohol, tobacco and drugs. The Department for Education and Skills has allocated an additional £29.5 million to substance misuse education over the last three years.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the percentage of teenagers who (a) drink alcohol once a week and (b) drink more than the recommended benchmarks for alcohol in (i) each NHS region and (ii) England. [54993]

Ms Blears: The information available is given in the tables. The sample sizes for the 16 to 19 age group are too small to provide reliable results at NHS regional level.

Table 1: Percentage of pupils aged 11 to 15 usually drinking at least once a week, England 2000

Government office regionPercentageBase
Yorkshire and Humberside19578
East midlands17686
West midlands16928


Department of Health school survey, published as "Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2000".

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Table 2: Drinking behaviour among adults aged 16 to 19, by gender, England, 2000

Usually drink at least once a weekDrank more than 3–4 units on at least one day last weekBase


Current Department of Health advice is that regular consumption of between three and four units a day for men (between two and three for women) will not accrue significant health risk. Regular drinking above these levels is not recommended because of the progressive health risk this carries.


Taken from the Office for National Statistics General Household Survey, published as "Living in Britain—Results from the 2000 General Household Survey". The percentages have been calculated using weighted data—the bases given are unweighted.

Folic Acid

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to introduce folic acid supplements into flour following the UK Health Department and Food Standards Agency meeting on 18 March. [54999]

Yvette Cooper: A report of the joint stakeholders meeting held on 18 March is posted on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website: yourviews/foliacid/folicacidmeetingreport

The FSA Board discussed the issue of folic acid fortification at an open meeting on 9 May 2002. The board took into account the comments made at the stakeholders meeting and from the consultation exercise carried out in 2000. The board paper and a summary of the discussion have been posted on the FSA website:– 05–02.pdf; newsarchive/62488

Health Ministers will consider options for action, taking into account any advice from the FSA and the Health Departments.

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