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Primary Care Trusts

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many primary care trusts had finance directors in post on 1 April; and what the total budget is for these organisations with finance directors in place; [54715]

Mr. Hutton: Three hundred and three primary care trusts (PCTs), including Northumberland which has been designated a care trust, were in operation on 1 April 2002.

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We have allocated £41.5 billion in total to health authorities (HAs) for 2002–03. Of this, £40.9 billion has been shared by HAs between their constituent PCTs.

The number of PCTs that had directors of finance in place on 1 April 2002 was 208. Acting directors of finance are in place where a permanent appointment has not yet been made. Their share of HA allocations was £27.9 billion for 2002–03.

An element of the allocation shared between PCTs will be retained at HA level for HA level functions, collective commissioning and other items funded at HA level. Information on this is not collected centrally.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial assistance is provided to those nurses wishing to return to the NHS for (a) tuition fees, (b) subsistence and (c) travel costs; and if he will make a statement. [56711]

Mr. Hutton: Health care professions (including nurses), returning to the national health service benefit from a returners' package which includes:

Over £70 million has been allocated to build around 150 on-site subsidised nurseries. Around a further 7,500 places will be created by 2004.

The Government's starter home initiative launched on 6 September 2001 will help the NHS ease staffing shortages in parts of London and the south east.

Herbal Remedies

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations the UK has made in respect of the EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive with specific reference to moves to bring herbal remedies into the regulatory regime dealing with pharmaceutical drugs; and what position the UK has taken on the proposal to extend this to cover combinations of herbs and nutrients. [57961]

Ms Blears: Many herbal remedies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the European Union already have a marketing authorisation under European medicines legislation.

Negotiations on the proposed directive on traditional herbal medicinal products are at an early stage. So far the Government have argued in particular that there should be greater flexibility to take account of non European herbal traditions and that an early date should be set for the review of the scope of the directive in relation to non herbal traditional medicines.

The medical control agency is holding a consultation exercise on the directive. This is showing that there are varied views on the proposed manufacturing and quality standards. Some respondents, including UK manufacturers of traditional herbal remedies, have argued

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that the standards are achievable and are necessary in the interests of consumer protection and of the long-term reputation of the herbal sector.

Others, particularly from the health food sector, have argued that the standards are inappropriate or unnecessary. We have extended the consultation until the end of July in order to allow those with concerns to identify the specific areas where they believe the standards to be over-regulatory. We will further develop the UK negotiating position on this issue once we have assessed the additional information provided during the extended period of consultation.

We are currently considering representations that have been received during the consultation about the regulatory position on herbal-nutrient combination products.

MMR Vaccine

David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have been given the MMR vaccine; and what the Government's targets are. [58562]

Ms Blears: Current immunisation targets are for 95 per cent. of children to be immunised by age two against measles, mumps and rubella; there is no formal target for a reinforcing (booster) dose. The Department recommends that MMR, a combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, is administered in a single dose at between 12 and 15 months of age.

Information about the percentage of children immunised against measles mumps and rubella by their 2nd birthday, and from 1999–2000 by their 5th birthday, is contained in the statistical bulletin "NHS Immunisation Statistics, England: 2000–01". A copy of the bulletin is in the Library and can also be found on the Department's website


Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the meetings he and his Ministers (a) have had and (b) propose to have with NHS trust and health authority chairmen and chief executives to discuss (i) reducing radiotherapy waiting lists and (ii) the associated financial implications of such action. [59286]

Ms Blears: Ministers have not met chairmen and chief executives specifically to discuss reducing radiotherapy waiting times. However, we are taking wide ranging action to improve radiotherapy waiting times including a number of initiatives aimed at tackling the shortage of professionals associated with radiotherapy delivery, major investment in radiotherapy equipment, streamlining radiotherapy delivery through the cancer services collaborative and increased the number of training places for radiographers.

Mental Health

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which agencies are responsible for monitoring and caring for individuals who have been released from a mental hospital; and what arrangements ensure that agencies are co-ordinating these systems. [67160]

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Jacqui Smith: The lead health service provider, usually the National Health Service Trust, and the local authority social service department have the responsibility for the care of individuals who have been discharged from hospital. The care programme approach provides the framework for the care of people with mental health problems wherever the user is in the system, including residential and community settings. This framework is also used by the probation service, the police, and housing agencies who will be involved in on-going review of care arrangements and risk assessments

Arrangements for monitoring the care programme approach are set out in the policy booklet: "Effective Care Co-ordination in Mental Health Services" (Department of Health, October 1999) and "An Audit Pack for Monitoring the Care Programme Approach" (Department of Health, June 2001).

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action has been taken in respect of each of the recommendations for action of the key area group of the Workforce Action Team on recruitment and retention issues in the mental health field. [67973]

Mr. Hutton: The mental health care group workforce team (MHCGWT) is actively taking forward the recommendations of the workforce action team (WAT). The MHCGWT is currently:

The MHCGWT have set up a recruitment and retention sub-group in order to develop initiatives on:

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to legislate for the regulation of (a) psychologists, (b) psychotherapists and (c) counsellors. [67981]

Mr. Hutton: We have given a high priority to improving service quality in general in the national health service and social care services, as well as in the private sector. A number of initiatives testify to this, including the development of national service frameworks, the establishment of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the new framework of clinical governance. These modernised and more accountable professional regulatory arrangements will work alongside NHS quality assurance arrangements to offer much better protection for patients, wherever they are seen.

Proposals for the regulation of these groups are in the first instance a matter for the health professions council. The Department have indicated that we will be supporting moves to establish a scheme of statutory professional regulation of applied psychologists.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on the women's mental health consultation process. [67955]

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Jacqui Smith: Preparation of the consultation document for the national women's mental health strategy continues and publication will take place after completion of the current spending review.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of those suffering from severe mental illness (a) who are capable of undertaking paid employment and (b) who undertake paid employment. [67949]

Jacqui Smith: This information is not available. However, the psychiatric morbidity survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and published in 2001 provided some information on the prevalence of psychiatric disorder by employment status. A copy of this report has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated cost is of implementation of the draft Mental Health Bill; and whether such funds are available. [67964]

Jacqui Smith: The costs of the Mental Health Bill are being considered as part of the Department's spending review and the timescale for implementation will be determined by the availability of funding from the spending review settlement.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the reason was for his decision on the timing and length of the consultation on the draft Mental Health Bill. [67963]

Jacqui Smith: Consultation on the draft Mental Health Bill will run for 12 weeks from 25 June 2002 until 16 September 2002.

This period is in keeping with the Cabinet Office code of practice guidance on written consultation.

The Government are committed to introducing legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows and we are therefore consulting on the draft Mental Health Bill at the earliest possible opportunity.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the benefits of early treatment for those with mental health problems. [67944]

Jacqui Smith: The Department's research, analysis and information directorate has commissioned a review of current evidence in the field of early intervention in psychosis. This is being undertaken by Professor Max Marshall and is due to be completed by the end of September 2002.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of those people who suffer severe mental illness were first treated for it by compulsion under a section of the Mental Health Act 1983 in each of the last five years. [67969]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not available in this form.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent reports he has received of people with a diagnosis of severe mental illness being turned away when they ask for treatment. [67958]

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Jacqui Smith: There have been no reports of people with a diagnosis of severe mental illness being turned away from services.

The mental health national service framework explicitly states that everyone with severe mental illness should have access to the range of services they need.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average period of untreated psychosis prior to a person receiving treatment was in the last 12 months. [67945]

Jacqui Smith: This information is not collected centrally.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent progress has been made on the selection and implementation of instrumentation for the routine measurement of outcomes in mental health. [67960]

Jacqui Smith: The Department is developing an outcomes programme pilot for the implementation of instruments, which should be set up by September 2002. The plan to begin routine measurement of outcomes in mental health from April 2003 is currently on target.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the cost is per prison of providing mental health in-reach services in the last year for which figures are available; [67997]

Jacqui Smith: During 2001–02 mental health in-reach services were being established in 18 prisons in England. During 2002–03 it is planned that in-reach teams should be established in a further 26 prisons. Funding amounting to £3,850,000 has been allocated in 2002–03 to cover the costs of these developments. Specific allocations are made taking account of participating prisons' type, size and throughput.

Funding for 2003–04 and beyond has not yet been decided.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase the number of beds available for the treatment of those with mental ill-health [67948]

Jacqui Smith: We have already fulfilled our NHS Plan commitments to create 500 extra secure beds and 320 extra 24-hour staffed beds by April 2001, and are on track to deliver 200 additional long-term secure beds by 2004.

Crisis resolution teams are dramatically reducing pressure on in-patient beds by 2004 there will be 335 such teams treating 100,000 people a year who would otherwise need admission to hospital.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what systems are in place to notify (a) police and (b) local authorities about persons who have been placed in a mental hospital being released; and if he will make a statement. [67177]

Jacqui Smith: The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 required the police and probation services (the 'responsible authorities') in each of the 42 areas of England and Wales to establish arrangements for assessing and managing the risks posed by sexual and

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violent offenders. These arrangements include those who have been detained in respect of a conviction by a hospital or guardian ship order within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983. These arrangements were introduced in April 2001. Scope to disclose information to the responsible authorities only exists within current legislation, where there is a high risk of harm to self or others, consistent with the Human Rights Act. Responsibility for the arrangements rests with those in charge of care and treatment, bearing in mind the facts of each individual case. The Department will be issuing guidance to ensure that all mental health trusts are appropriately represented in the arrangements.

New proposals concerning the rights of victims to information are contained within the draft Mental Health Bill published last week, and in relation to information exchange in the accompanying consultation document. We look forward to hearing views on these proposals.

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