|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
19 Sept 2002 : Column 367Wcontinued
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he proposes to take to implement the Wanless report's recommendation that NICE, in conjunction with similar bodies in the devolved administrations, has a major role to play in examining older technologies and practices which may no longer be appropriate or cost effective. 
Ms Blears: Proposals for achieving a broader selection of topics for guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, including older technologies which may no longer be appropriate or cost effective, were included in a consultation paper on timing and selection of topics for appraisal which we issued in March. We are now considering the response to this consultation and will announce our decisions later in the year.
Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 12 July 2002, Official Report, column 1275W, on the European Medical Devices Directive, ref. 67637, when a response is expected; and if he will place a copy of the response in the Library. 
19 Sept 2002 : Column 368W
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 22 July 2002]: The European Commission have indicated that they are not yet able to indicate when they will be in a position to send a formal reply to the Medical Devices Agency's letter but I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the baseline is from which the target on increasing the participation of drug users in drug treatment programmes by 55 per cent. in the 2002 Public Service Agreement targets will be judged. 
Ms Blears: The 2002 public services agreement targets were announced on the 15 July; the baseline from which the target on increasing the participation of problem drug users in drug treatment programmes by 55 per cent. by 2004 will be judged, will be fully outlined in the technical notes which are due to be published shortly.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will announce how much extra funding from the health budget over the next five years will be allocated to funding the Diabetes National Service Framework. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 23 July 2002]: Information on the type and location of pulmonary rehabilitation services is not held centrally. It is for health authorities, in partnership with primary care trusts and National Health Service trusts, to ensure that patients have access to health services appropriate to their condition.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when questions on conscientious objection to abortion referral and contraceptive provision to under 16s were included in local audits of general practice; whom his Department consulted beforehand; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: Best Practice Guidance on the Provision of Effective Contraceptive and Advice Services for Young People was issued to local teenage pregnancy co-ordinators in 2000. The Guidance is a specific action point of the Government's teenage pregnancy strategy and sets out the criteria by which contraceptive advice services should be commissioned and provided. This includes the provision of confidential contraceptive advice to under 16s within the established legal framework, the provision of early pregnancy testing and non-judgmental advice and, where abortion is the agreed course, quick referral to National Health Service funded abortion
19 Sept 2002 : Column 369W
services in line with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists evidence based guideline The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion (2000).
In 2001 the teenage pregnancy unit provided an audit questionnaire for local areas to review community contraceptive services and general practice against the Best Practice Guidance, in order to identify gaps in provision and plan improvements. The majority of areas completed their general practice audits by March 2002.
The guidance and the audit questionnaire were developed in consultation with health professionals, including those representing general practice on the Government's independent advisory group on teenage pregnancy.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if it is his policy to respect the conscientious objections of (a) doctors and (b) nurses to taking part in abortion operations; and if he will make a statement;  (2) what research his Department is undertaking into the conscientious objections of doctors taking part in abortion operations; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: As part of work to improve access to sexual health services for young people, the teenage pregnancy unit has carried out an audit of services currently provided by general practice. This audit will provide an indication of the proportion of general practitioners, nationally and regionally, who have a conscientious objection to abortion, but does not extend to doctors working in hospitals. An analysis of the information provided by the audit will be made available on the teenage pregnancy unit website by the end of this year.
If medical or nursing staff have strong ethical or moral objections to treatment for termination of pregnancy, it is right that they should not be obliged to participate in this treatment. Their conscientious objection should not be detrimental to their careers and appointments. The exemption for conscientious objection under the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, does not extend to performing the preparatory steps to arrange an abortion, including referral to another doctor if appropriate, where the request meets legal requirements.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce legislation to enable a person born live but who was damaged during an abortion prior to 24 weeks gestation to secure compensation; and if he will make a statement. 
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' guideline Termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormality in England, Wales and Scotland (1996) and letter Further issues relating to late abortion, fetal viability and registration of births and deaths (April 2001) state that for all terminations at gestational age of more than twenty-one weeks and six days, which is the threshold of viability, the method chosen should ensure that the fetus is born dead.
19 Sept 2002 : Column 370W
All methods of first trimester abortion carry a low risk of failure to terminate the pregnancy, thus necessitating a further procedure. The Department is aware that a small number of women do decide to proceed with the pregnancy, after receiving advice on the possible effects of the treatment on the growing fetus. These women normally go on to deliver healthy babies.
Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been carried out to test possible harm to the (a) physical and (b) psychological health of women which may be caused by the RU486 pill. 
Ms Blears: All relevant evidence within the published literature has been reviewed in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' evidence-based guideline The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion (2000) and is referenced in the guideline. In general terms, the research shows no increased risk to the physical and psychological health of women having medical abortion compared to those having surgical abortion. Indeed, there appears to be a reduction in certain physical sequelae including infective sequelae.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library copies of local audits of general practice, referred to in paragraph 5.33 of the Government response to the First Annual report of the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy. 
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who his Department consulted before responding to the First Annual report on the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: The independent advisory group on teenage pregnancy was established to provide advice to Government and monitor the success of the national teenage pregnancy strategy. The group includes a membership drawn from a wide range of individuals and organisations with experience of working with young people and teenage parents. The first annual report of the group set out forty-nine recommendations to Government on the further delivery of the national strategy. The Government response addresses these recommendations to set out a forward action plan for the next phase of delivery.
In addition to the independent advisory group, the teenage pregnancy unit has put in place arrangements to consult and involve the non-statutory sector, faith groups, relevant professional organisations, regional and local teenage pregnancy co-ordinators, young people and parents in tackling teenage pregnancy. The views of these
19 Sept 2002 : Column 371W
organisations and individuals were taken into account in developing the Government response.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the analysis of local audits of general practice referred to in paragraph 5.33 of the Government response to the First Annual report of the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy indicates a change of their policy in respect to the right of conscientious objection by general practitioners to taking part in abortion operations; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: The Government's position on conscientious objection to abortion remains unchanged. Section 4 of the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, provides that, except where treatment is necessary to save the life of or prevent grave permanent injury to the pregnant woman,
19 Sept 2002 : Column 372W
The General Medical Council (GMC) booklet "Good Medical Practice" states that general practitioners' views about a patient's lifestyle or beliefs must not prejudice the treatment they provide or arrange. If they feel their beliefs might affect the treatment, this must be explained to the patient who should be told of their right to see another doctor. Breach of this guidance may expose a doctor to a charge of serious professional misconduct and disciplinary action by the GMC.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|