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3 Dec 2002 : Column 759Wcontinued
Ms Blears: Work is currently on-going to finalise the Surrey and Sussex Strategic Health Authority's capacity plan. The Department's directorate of health and social care for the south of England is supporting the strategic health authority in this process. The capacity plan will identify a range of solutions to address the identified capacity constraints in the Surrey and Sussex health
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Jacqui Smith: The figures in the able are for 2001. They have been collated from estimates provided by the United Kingdom renal registry and from local National Health Service sources and should therefore only be used only as a guide. Activity information on hospital attendance for dialysis is being collected centrally for the first time in 20022003.
The Department at the moment does not centrally collect information on dialysis patients. However, information is being collected for the first time in 200203 as part of the new 'regular day or night attenders' dataset.
Ms Blears: The announcement of three-year allocations to primary care trusts will be made soon. It will then be for the East Elmbridge and Mid-Surrey Primary Care Trust to determine spending priorities consistent with the recently published priorities and planning framework 200306.
Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the chief executive of St Richard's Hospital, West Sussex on the availability of staff to administer electro-acupuncture; and if he will make a statement. 
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Jacqui Smith: Local council and national health service trust community equipment services are able to provide handrails to older and disabled people. These services, although currently separate, will be fully integrated by 2004 as set out in the NHS Plan.
Jacqui Smith: For the current financial year strategic health authorities share their recurrent revenue allocations between their primary care trusts (PCTs) in line with guidance issued by the Department.
Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with O.R. International on their plans to establish several heart hospitals in England; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 25 November 2002]: Officials have had one informal meeting with OR International. Any discussions will need to be held in the context of the national revascularisation strategy and the proper process of tendering for bids to expand capacity.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what expenditure he plans to undertake in 200203 to encourage public awareness of hepatitis C; and what proportion of that expenditure is planned for advertising on television. 
Ms Blears: We have made approximately £430,000 available in 200203 to fund work connected with increasing professional and public awareness. We do not anticipate that this work will include television advertising.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the number of carriers of hepatitis C in the UK; and what proportion of that total are likely to develop (a) cirrhosis of the liver and (b) cancer of the liver. 
Ms Blears: It is estimated that 0.4 per cent., of the general population in England, about 200,000 people, have chronic hepatitis C infection. Information on the prevalence of chronic hepatitis C infection in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can be obtained from the respective devolved Administrations.
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Studies suggest that about 20 per cent., of individuals with chronic hepatitis C infection develop cirrhosis after 2030 years. Of these, about 14 per cent., per year will develop primary liver cancer.
Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will establish an expert group to consider the case for a compensation scheme for those persons infected with hepatitis C from NHS blood products. 
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is being made available, and over what timescale, for the implementation of the hepatitis C strategy published by his Department in August. 
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to issue guidance to primary care trusts on increasing the priority given to the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C. 
Ms Blears: Consultation on the Department paper, XHepatitis C Strategy for England", ended on 15 November 2002. We will be publishing a hepatitis C action plan based on responses to the consultation paper and comments received at recent meetings with stakeholders in the next few months. As part of this work, we will be considering the need to issue guidance on hepatitis C to the national health service.
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will issue guidance to General Practitioners drawing attention to the risk of hepatitis C infection through needle misuse, and promoting good health practice among those most at risk. 
Ms Blears: The Department issued a briefing pack entitled XHepatitis C: essential information for professionals" to all general medical practitioners and practice nurses in England in March 2002. The information contained in the briefing pack includes advice on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C infection. The briefing pack also draws attention to further sources of information such as the Department's publication, XHepatitis Cguidance for those working with drug users". The professional briefing paper and patient leaflet contained in the briefing pack are on the Department's website at http://www.doh.gov.uk/hepatitisc.
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimates he has made of the costs of an education campaign in England and Wales to alert the public to the risks of hepatitis C infection. 
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England. Information relating to Wales can be obtained from the National Assembly for Wales. Funding for future years has yet to be determined.
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