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Bed Blocking

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to address bed blocking in the Hampshire Health Authority; how many cases there have been in 2002; how many were from rural areas of Hampshire; and if he will make a statement. [57346]

Jacqui Smith: Health and local authorities are working together to take action to improve the situation. In October 2001, additional funding of £300 million was announced to tackle this problem. In 2002–02, Hampshire received an additional £2.436 million from this money. The allocation for 2002–03 is £5.160 million.

All information, collected centrally, on delayed discharge in December 2001, quarter 3 of 2002–02, has been placed in the Library. This is the most recent period for which figures are currently available.

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National School Fruit Scheme

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of apples and pears supplied to the pilots for the National School Fruit Scheme in (a) autumn 2000 and (b) autumn 2001 were of UK origin; and if he will list the other countries of origin of the apples and pears. [57167]

Jacqui Smith: In Autumn 2000 all apples and pears supplied to the original national school fruit scheme pilots were from UK. In Autumn 2001 almost all apples and most pears supplied to a much larger number of pilot sites were from UK. Detailed information on other countries or origin for this period is not held centrally.

Clinician Connect

Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the NHS health authorities whose entire computer network (a) supports and (b) does not support Clinician Connect. [58644]

Mr. Lammy: Clinician Connect is the programme managed by the National Health Service information authority for the NHS in England to provide all NHS Trust staff in England with email and browser facilities using the NHS national network, NHSnet.

All health authorities are connected to the NHSnet, and are therefore able to share information with those clinicians in Trusts who have access to facilities on the network. An exercise is currently under way to monitor progress with Clinician Connect; as at 17 May 2002, 61 Trusts had achieved 100 per cent. coverage for their staff.

Administration of the NHS in Wales is the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales.

General Practitioners

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the average number of patients served by each general practitioner in (a) the Weston Area Health Trust, (b) the Avon Health Authority and (c) England. [58821]

Ms Blears: Information on general practitioners is collected and held by primary care trust (or their predecessor primary care groups and health authorities) rather than by National Health Service trust. In 2001 average list sizes were: (a) North Somerset Primary Care Group—1,700; (b) Avon Health Authority—1,705; (c) England—1,841.

Departmental Policies (Wycombe)

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the activities pursued by his Department that have had a particular impact on the Wycombe constituency since 7 June 2001. [58624]

Ms Blears: This information can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The Departmental Report for the Department sets out the aims and objectives for the Department, and describes the main activities which supports them. It covers different business areas for which the Department is responsible: public health, the National Health Service, social care and departmental management. It sets out

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resources committed to each, the results that are being achieved and the priorities for the future. The 2001 report can be found on the following website: hhtp:// 2001.

The 2002 Departmental Report will be published shortly.

Treatment Costs

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost has been of treating a patient (a) in a GP surgery and (b) through NHS Direct in the last 12 months. [58668]

Mr. Lammy: NHS Direct does not treat patients. The service provides advice to callers on a range of issues including health scares, appropriate access to healthcare, health information and self care.

The average cost of a call to NHS Direct in 2001–02 was about £17.92 although this is expected to fall significantly in the future as call volumes rise. The National Audit Office have found that half of callers are directed to forms of care they would not have chosen and that this tends to be care of a lower level and cost of intervention. More than half of NHS Direct costs are saved in this way.

General practitioners provide a range of services for the treatment of patients. The latest survey estimated data available (2000–01) suggest that a general practitioner consultation costs around £14.

Teenage Pregnancy

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on the media campaign aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy in each year since 2000–01. [58766]

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Jacqui Smith: The teenage pregnancy national media campaign consists of press and radio adverts, underpinned by public relations and partnership work. Expenditure was £2.2 million in 2000–01 and £2.5 million in 2001–02. We expect investment this year to be at least £2.5 million.

Operating Theatres

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the correlation between operating theatre space and staffing levels in (a) Somerset and (b) Somerset and Dorset strategic health authority. [59353]

Ms Blears: The Department does not collect this information.

Chiropody/Podiatry Services

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many new chiropody/podiatry episodes of care were begun in each of the last five years in (a) the south-east region (b) East Sussex, Brighton and Hove and (c) Eastbourne; [59215]

Ms Blears: Information about the number of patients discharged from national health service chiropody/ podiatry lists in Eastbourne is not available centrally.

Information about the number of new chiropody/ podiatry episodes of care for the last five years in the south-east region and for those NHS trusts which provide a chiropody service within the East Sussex, Brighton and Hove health authority, which covers Eastbourne, is shown in the table.

South-east region131,393119,009119,422111,16998,725
NHS trusts
Eastbourne and County Healthcare3,4413,3503,5592,5762,756
Eastbourne Hospitals1,2071,0671,2551,4551,290
Hastings and Rother2,4262,3282,4621,6082,006
South Downs Health6,7266,7585,2372,2702,620


Form KT23, Department of Health, Statistics Division (SD3G)

Multiple Sclerosis Care

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the centres at which the drugs Avonex, Betaferon, Copaxone and Rebif will be provided to multiple sclerosis (MS) patients; and how many MS patients are waiting to be assessed for treatment with these drugs. [59212]

Mr. Lammy: It has been estimated that up to 9,000 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in England and Wales may be eligible to receive treatment under the risk-sharing scheme, which started on 6 May 2002. Some centres have now started prescribing under the scheme, though the guidance in HSC 2002–04 recognises that appropriate national health service infrastructure may not yet be in place in some localities. It may take 18 months or longer before all potentially eligible patients are assessed under the scheme. The list of locally agreed prescribing centres is not yet finalised. The scheme co-ordinator, whose appointment will shortly be announced, will collect information on progress and activity under the scheme, but as yet such details are not available centrally.

Pesticide Poisoning

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many cases have been recorded by the National Poisons Information Service since 1996 of lindane poisoning in children up to 14 years of age; what the level of exposure was in each case; and whether these cases were (a) fatal lindane poisonings, (b) non-fatal, hospitalised lindane poisonings and (c) non-hospitalised lindane poisonings; [59635]

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Ms Blears: Since 1996 the national poisons information service (NPIS) has received 376 inquiries from national health service health care professionals about lindane poisoning, of which 178 reported lindane poisoning in children up to 14 years of age. In nearly all cases the individuals were asymptomatic or suffered only mild transient symptoms.

The NPIS centres only record data related to the inquiries they receive and the extent and format of the data held varies from centre to centre. They do not necessarily receive inquiries in every case and will only rarely be provided with information about the level of exposure. NPIS systems are not designed to follow up poisoning incidents and centres can never be certain whether the condition reported at the time of the inquiry was related to the agent implicated nor whether the clinical condition improved or deteriorated thereafter.

The annual reports of the Health and Safety Executive's Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel (PIAP) collate reports made to enforcing authorities (Health and Safety Executive and local authorities) which have been investigated. The Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) does not separately record suspected incidents of exposure to pesticides.

The information available from NPIS and PIAP reflect the different objectives of the schemes and are thus difficult to aggregate. The Advisory Committee on Pesticides is considering approaches to assessing information on pesticide-related ill health.

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