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15 Oct 2002 : Column 826W—continued

Bereavement Counselling

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what bereavement counselling is available to parents who have lost a child. [74399]

Jacqui Smith: A range of services for people suffering bereavement reactions is available within the National Health Service. The Department has also sought to strengthen more specialised services, in partnership with voluntary organisations like the Child Bereavement Trust, which receives funding through the Department's Section 64 grant aid scheme.

Brain Injury

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) information, (b) support and (c) services are available to (i) people with brain injury, (ii) their families and (iii) carers. [74422]

Jacqui Smith: Patients with brain injury, their families and carers are able to access the full range of National Health Service services for head injured people. The information, support and services an individual receives will depend on the extent and severity of the brain injury they have incurred.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing guidelines for patients and clinicians on early management of head injury. The guidelines are scheduled for publication around March 2003. These guidelines, together with the forthcoming national service framework for long term conditions, will help ensure that health and social care services work together to provide the right level of treatment and care for people with brain injury.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions the Department has had with charities and the voluntary sector to provide and improve the quality of support, activities and facilities for people with brain injury. [74423]

Jacqui Smith: I am meeting hon. Members and the Chief Executive of Headway on October 22. Officials have had discussions with both Headway and United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum recently and will meet the Chief Executive of Rehab UK on 16 October to discuss the key issues which they consider should be addressed in the long term conditions national service framework which will have a particular focus on treatment and care for people with brain injury. Those discussions will cover the quality of support, activities and facilities for people with brain injury.

Headway and Rehab UK are currently receiving Section 64 funding for projects that will help patients with brain injury.

Children's Deaths

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines he issues to ensure that (a) parents are

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given a full explanation and (b) care and consideration is taken when death of a child occurs during surgery. [74400]

Jacqui Smith: Parents should be supported after the death of their child and given information that will help them understand why the death occurred. Health Service Guidelines HSG(92)8, issued on 23 January 1992, deals with patients who die in hospital, whether child or adult.

The guidance requires hospitals to ensure that all staff who deal with the dying or the deceased and their relatives are made aware of the document. It also requires those commissioning healthcare services to ensure that hospitals have appropriate procedures in place to ensure that account is taken of the guidance.

The children's national service framework will look further at the special considerations surrounding the death of a child and include examples of good practice.


Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of meat hygiene regulations on the availability in British shops of oxtail from beasts reared in the UK. [74703]

Ms Blears: I am not aware that the availability of oxtail has been affected by any recent change to meat hygiene regulations.

Devon and Cornwall Health Authorities

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what amount each of the health authorities in Devon and Cornwall was overspent at the point at which they ceased to be operational. [69185]

Ms Blears [holding answer 11 July 2002]: The previous health authorities in Devon and Cornwall ceased to exist on the 31 March 2002. In their statutory annual accounts for their last year of operation covering the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 they reported the following:

Health Authority
North and East Devon#144,000Underspend
South and West Devon#168,000Underspend
Cornwall and the Isles of ScillyBreakeven

The accounts of these organisations have now been audited by their external auditor and signed off as representing a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the health authorities as at the 31 March 2002.

However, in respect of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly a disclosure note was incorporated into the annual accounts, which identified that the Cornwall Health Community had an underlying deficit and that the health authority achieved financial balance through the receipt of non-recurrent brokerage of #6.3 million.

Wynthenshawe Hospital

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reason Wynthenshawe Hospital failed to

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reschedule heart surgery on Mr. Stanley Ford of Warrington within 28 days of the first cancellation of his operation; [71381]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 19 July 2002]: The reasons for the six cancellations were as follows: on 22 March, there was unforeseen sickness amongst theatre staff and priority was given to an emergency admission; on 13 May, non-availability of a clinician who was needed to perform a specialist procedure; on 29 May, no intensive care bed available; on 31 May, 12 and 14 June, all elective surgery was cancelled owing to an methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.

Surgery could not be rescheduled within 28 days for clinical reasons of which the patient and his family are aware.

The trust received 23 letters in 2001 from hon. Members whose constituencies are outside Manchester. The average response time was ten working days.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will discuss with the Chief Executive of Wythenshawe Hospital the hospital's methods of handling complaints made by hon. Members on behalf of their constituents; and if he will make a statement; [71378]

Jacqui Smith [holding answers 19 July 2002]: We have taken this matter up with the Chief Executive and I understand a letter has now been sent.

Long-term Sickness

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to improve services to get those who have chronic diseases but are of working age back to work. [74503]

Jacqui Smith: Helping people back to work after an accident or illness is a priority for the Government. The Department works closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and organisations representing disabled people to review and develop policy in this area.

We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Executive on job retention and rehabilitation pilots to test different health and employment strategies to help people with long term sickness or disability to remain in their jobs. They will start in April 2003 and run for two years. Job retention advisers will act early to assist those who have been forced to give up work through prolonged illness or disability to retain their skills and links with employers.

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Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many families there are in bed and breakfast accommodation in the last three years for which figures are avilable, broken down by local authority. [74203]

Mr. Tony McNulty: Showing Available information reported by local authorities in England on the total number of households—including couples and single persons without children—accommodated in bed and breakfast units under statutory homelessness provisions at the end of March in each year since 1999 is avaiblable in the Library.

National and regional figures are presented in a quarterly Statistical Release, and an accompanying Supplementary Table also summarises reported information at local authority level. Both of these are also available in the House library and via the ODPM website.

Earlier this year the Government announced a new commitment to ensure that by March 2004 no family with children will be placed in B&B other than in an emergency, and even then for no more than 6 weeks. This was accompanied by changes in Housing Benefit subsidies to make leasing self-contained temporary accommodation more cost effective, and an additional #35 million to help local authorities find alternatives to B&B.

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