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Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultant electrophysiologists are employed in the NHS in each of the past five years; and how many are employed in the London region. 
Ms Blears: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 14 February at column 676W which provided information on cancelled operations at Eastbourne Hospitals NHS Trust in the proceeding 60 months. Since then, figures for Quarter 3 of 200102 have been published. The number of last minute cancellations for non-clinical reasons at the Trust, in this quarter, was 90.
20 May 2002 : Column 153W
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the Health Protection Agency to be operational; what funds will be available to the agency above the aggregated budgets of its component bodies; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will answer the question from the hon. Member for Reading, East tabled for answer on 19 July 2001, on the use of bed strap restraints in nursing homes, ref 5538. 
Commended the clinical standards advisory group (CSAG) report "Services for patients with epilepsy" to the NHS.
Provided government funding to the joint epilepsy council (JEC) to undertake a project to draw upon the good practice advice in the CSAG report and other recent epilepsy initiatives. The JEC launched its "National Statement of Good Practice for the Treatment and Care of People who have Epilepsy" in May 2002.
Supported the national sentinel audit into epilepsy related death which is being published in May 2002.
Published the chief medical officer's (CMO) Annual Report 2001, on the state of the public health, which included a chapter on epilepsy, "Epilepsydeath in the shadows". The report makes a commitment to putting in place an action plan to lower the number of preventable deaths from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy within three months of publication of the sudden unexpected death in epilepsy audit.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is developing a clinical guideline for the diagnosis, management and treatment of epilepsy to help address widespread variations in clinical practice and contribute to the improvement of services. This will be supported by an appraisal of the clinical and cost effectiveness of new anti-epileptic drugs in children and adults, to help promote appropriate uptake and equitable access.
20 May 2002 : Column 154W
People with epilepsy will also benefit from the expert patients programme, which aims to provide training in self-management skills for people with long term chronic conditions. The first pilot phase in selected primary care group and trust sites will include people with epilepsy.
Jacqui Smith: The Department will consider the findings of the national sentinel audit of epilepsy related death, which is being published on 20 May 2002. We expect to develop and put in place an action plan to reduce the number of avoidable deaths from epilepsy within three months of publication of the audit report.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 23 October 2001, Official Report, column 151W, at the undertaking given in the Adjournment debate on 7 December 2000, Official Report, column 246, if he will make a statement on the progress of the case of Mr. Barrie Such. 
Jacqui Smith: Mr. Barrie Such is currently an in-patient at Evesham Community Hospital. A discharge package for 24-hour care for Mr. Such has been agreed between local health and social services and will be put in place when Mr. Such is discharged from hospital.
The discharge plan includes provision for a family property specially adapted to be built with a separate unit to house Mr. Such and carer. Planning permission has now been approved for this property with building completion expected in about four months.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 985W, to the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr. Jackson), what the outcome was of the safety and quality control tests performed on vaccine stocks. 
A three month project of vaccine testing in accordance with the original World Health Organisation recommendations for smallpox vaccine manufacture applicable at the time of production for this vaccine, commenced at the beginning of January 2002.
As the vaccine is a live, biological material, its potency would be expected to decrease over time. Expert advice in September 2001 was that the current stocks of vaccine could still be used. The result of the recent testing show all the current vaccine has a potency at least equivalent to that found in a recent American study to induce adequate clinical and immunological reaction. Further expert advice has confirmed that the findings of the American study can be applied to the United Kingdom's vaccine.
20 May 2002 : Column 155W
Ms Blears: As a result of the Budget, the national health service in England will receive an annual average real terms growth in resources of 7.4 per cent. for the five years from 200304 to 200708. Decisions about allocation of this increased funding will be announced later this year.
In the mean time the Government have announced that demonstration sites will be established to test the ideas developed by the options for change group. These sites will look at ways of improving access and oral health.
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 May 2002]: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that all carcases are inspected after slaughter for signs of bovine TB by Meat Hygiene Service Inspectors, in accordance with the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 (as amended). Those Regulations require the carcases of animals with evidence of generalised tuberculosis to be condemned as unfit for human consumption. Where there is evidence of localised disease the Regulations require the affected parts to be condemned.
In September 2000 the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food reviewed the measures in place to protect the food chain from risks associated with "M.bovis" and concluded that the risk, if any, from the consumption of meat following assessment and action by the NHS staff in UK abattoirs is very low. The committee made recommendations to the Agency to reduce any residual risk still further. These measures included some changes to inspection procedures in slaughterhouses, and a change to national legislation bringing it fully into line with EU requirements. Copies of the ACMSF report were placed in the Library on 1 February 2002. The Board of the Food Standards Agency has accepted the recommendations and they will be taken forward as appropriate.
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