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3 Dec 2002 : Column 745W—continued

Foundation Hospitals

19. Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on borrowing mechanisms for foundation hospitals. [82635]

29. Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish the prospectus for Foundation Hospital status bids. [82645]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Members to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Prisk) earlier today.

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Primary Care

20. Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to consult patients' representatives on the delivery of primary care. [82636]

Mr. Hutton: Patient Advocacy and Liaison services and Patients Forums will be established in every PCT to enable patients and the public to contribute to the design, development and delivery of primary care services.

The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, to be established next year, will promote public involvement in community decision making processes.

Palliative Care

21. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the provision of palliative care is a core service. [82637]

Ms Blears: The principles of palliative care—holistic, patient-centred care— apply across all conditions and in all settings. Increasingly palliative care is being seen as an integral part of care and we are committed to delivering our pledge in the NHS Cancer Plan to increase support for specialist palliative care by £50 million by 2004.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the extra money allocated to primary care trusts for palliative care will be ringfenced. [84095]

Ms Blears: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health has made available an extra £10 million from central budgets for specialist palliative care for 2002–2003. This money has been allocated for primary care trusts (PCTs). It has been allocated to PCTs with clear instructions that it must be spent on specialist palliative care and that its use should be in line with local strategic plans and agreed by all relevant local partners.

To make sure this extra money is deployed appropriately, strategic health authorities have been asked to ensure joint National Health service and voluntary sector agreement to its use and to provide investment and out-turn reports showing how it has been spent.

Children's Mental Health

22. Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will increase financial support for services for children with mental health problems and their families. [82638]

Jacqui Smith: On 16 October the Secretary of State for Health announced that mental health services for children would receive an additional investment of £140 million over the next three years through grants to local authorities. Together with new national health service investment this will help deliver a comprehensive mental health service for children in every area by 2006.


23. Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review the regulation governing the accreditation of osteopaths. [82639]

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Mr. Hutton: I have no current plans to review the regulations governing the accreditation of osteopaths.

Carson Report

24. Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the implementation of the Carson report. [82640]

Mr. Hutton: The Government have accepted the conclusions of the Carson Report on the provision of Out of Hours Services and is making progress on its implementation.

There are now 34 integrated exemplar sites operating across England and covering some 10 million people. These are testing out the model recommended by the Carson Report. Some—such as those in Nottingham, Chesterfield and Folkestone are working exceptionally well. However, experience drawn from all the exemplars will inform future development.


25. Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of the establishment of NICE on the variations in prescription practice between different areas. [82641]

Mr. Lammy: The majority of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidance so far is focused on clinical activity by hospital specialists. We do not hold the detailed information required to make a comprehensive assessment in these cases. However, the Institute has commissioned a team from York university to undertake a study to describe and explain the extent and variation of guidance implementation. The study will make recommendations for implementation strategies and is expected to report shortly.

Dental Health

27. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to improve dental health in those areas where there is the greatest need for improvement. [82643]

Mr. Lammy: In this session of Parliament the Government propose to legislate for far-reaching reform of national health service dental services which will enable Primary Care Trusts to address local oral health needs and will give primary care dentists the opportunity to focus on prevention and health promotion as well as treatment.

We are seeking to strengthen the evidence base on the fluoridation of water so that health communities wishing to consider this option for reducing dental decay may have fuller information on the effects of fluoride on health. We have also introduced the XBrushing for Life" scheme whereby Health Visitors provide oral health advice to mothers of infants and give them a pack containing a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to encourage the early establishment of good oral hygiene habits. The scheme is supported in areas with the highest rates of tooth decay in children.

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Mental Health Legislation

28. Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in the production, formulation and presentation of a new Mental Health Bill. [82644]

Jacqui Smith: A draft Mental Health Bill and consultation document was published on 25 June 2002. The consultation exercise closed on 16 September and we are currently considering almost 2,000 replies. We intend to introduce a Bill as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Transplant Patients (Sheffield)

30. Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received concerning the future care of heart and lung transplant patients from the Sheffield area. [82646]

Mr. Hutton: I visisted the Northern General Hospital Cardio-Thoracic Unit on 20 June this year.

I subsequently met the chair, chief executive and medical director of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust on 11 September 2002. On both occasions I received representations on the future care of heart and lung transplant patients.

I have also received three letters on this subject from hon. Members.

PHLS Laboratories

31. Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the future funding of PHLS laboratories located in district hospitals. [82647]

Ms Blears: The Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) laboratories that are to be transferred to national health service trusts will be transferred with their current level of funding. The details of this funding are currently being discussed by the Department's Health Protection Agency project team with the key staff in the PHLS and the NHS trusts.

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason the transfer of management of Public Health Laboratories has been excluded from his regulatory reform proposals. [84254]

Ms Blears : The consultation paper XHealth Protection: A Consultation Document on creating a health protection agency" made proposals for changes to primary legislation. Responses showed widespread support for creating the agency, and we aim to establish it as a non-departmental public body from 1 April 2004, subject to legislative time being available. At that stage, we intend that it will take responsibility for functions currently performed by the National Radiological Protection Board.

As an interim step towards this, we intend to establish a special health authority, also to be called the Health Protection Agency, from 1 April 2003. The intention is that this special health authority will be responsible for the functions proposed for the agency under the NHS Act.

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The transfer of laboratories from the Public Health Laboratory Service to the national health service does not require change to primary legislation. A discussion paper on the transfer process was published in June 2002, and the intention is to complete the transfers by the end of March 2003.

Child Obesity

32. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action the Government are taking to tackle child obesity. [82648]

38. Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on measures to tackle obesity among young people. [82654]

Ms Blears: The Government are committed to tackling the rising trend in childhood obesity and we have put in place cross-Government programmes of work to improve eating habits and increase physical activity levels. As part of the national service framework for coronary heart disease, local programmes of effective policies on overweight and obesity are also in place.

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