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Health Protection Agency

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many responses (a) positive and (b) negative he has received to the consultation on the creation of the Health Protection Agency. [86028]

Ms Blears: We received 215 responses to the consultation paper. Many of them provided detailed comments on various aspects of the proposal: it is not possible to categorise them simply as either Xpositive" or Xnegative". An account of the points made in the responses, and of the decisions we are taking in the light of them, will be made available as soon as possible.

Home Help

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the definition of intensive home help is; and how many people have been receiving intensive home help in each year since 1994. [86291]

Jacqui Smith: From 1999 intensive home care/home help is defined as six or more visits with more than 10 contact hours per household per week. Prior to this the definition was six or more visits with five or more contact hours.

The information centrally available is on households, not individuals. The number of households receiving intensive home help/home care in a typical week in September is shown for England in the table for both

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definitions. Data for the current definition is available only from 1998 to 2001. Data for 2002 is not yet available.

Number of households receiving intensive home help/home care, 1994 to 2000. England, survey week during September
rounded numbers

Year6 or more visits and 5 or more contact hours6 or more visits and more than 10 contact hours
1996 107,910


HH1 form

Hospital and Nursing Home Costs

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his latest estimate is of the average cost per week of (a) keeping a person in hospital and (b) keeping that person in a nursing home in Leeds. [83476]

Jacqui Smith: The average cost of a seven day stay in hospital in the specialty of elderly medicine is #1,015. For 2000–01, the average gross total cost to Leeds Metropolitan Council of supporting someone in nursing care was #412 per week.
1. Sources of information:
(a) West Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority.
(b) Department of Health
2. This cost does not include any intensive medical inputs.
3. Figures are for 2000–01, and refer to Leeds Metropolitan Council. The figure given is an average figure for older people and adults under 65 with physical disabilities, mental illness or learning disabilities. These four client groups are listed in descending order of expenditure/activity, the dominant group being older people. The average figure for this group alone is #382.

Medical Degrees

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with university authorities and ministers at the Department of Education and Skills concerning the number of students applying for medical degrees. [83296]

Mr. Hutton: I met the Minister of State for universities and lifelong learning on 27 November. Matters relating to medical education were discussed.

The Department and the higher education funding council for England have set up a group to monitor the progress medical schools are making in delivering the extra medical school places announced between 1999 and 2001.

The Open University Centre for Education and Medicine has recently published a report entitled, XAn analysis of trends in Applications to Medical Schools", which was commissioned by the Department.

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Recent information published by the universities and colleges admissions service shows that between October 2000 and October 2002, the number of home applicants to study medicine has increased by 51.6 per cent.

Mental Health

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research is being carried out by his Department into how individual personal choice might be improved on mental health. [82970]

Jacqui Smith: There is no research currently being carried out by the Department or the Medical Research Council into how personal choice might be improved on mental health.

However, the implementation of mental health policy, as set out in the National Service Framework and the NHS Plan, will have the effect of increasing the amount of choice for service users.

For example, the 1,000 graduate primary care workers will increase the availability of psychological therapies in the primary care setting, providing a cost-effective alternative to medication for many people with common mental health problems such as depression.

Strengthening specialist community mental health services by the delivery of 50 early intervention teams, 220 assertive outreach teams and 335 crisis resolution teams by 2004 will mean that greater numbers of people with mental health problems will have the option to be treated in their own homes, or alternative accommodation close to home, rather than having to be admitted to hospital in order to gain access to the care they need.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of mental health patients were given physical health checks in each health authority in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [86150]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on how mental health service users are consulted on the effectiveness of complementary therapies. [86151]

Ms Blears: National health service organisations are expected to put in place procedures for seeking the views of users of services they provide that are timely and meaningful to the communities they serve, and for taking service users' views into account alongside other factors when planning future services.

To support the NHS in performing this duty, the system for patient and public involvement has been reformed, and new mechanisms and structures have been developed. The national patient survey programme is an example of one of the mechanisms that is supporting the new system. It is being developed so that in future it will include a focus on the patient experience of mental health service users.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of patients attending GP clinics he estimates have mental health problems. [86156]

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Jacqui Smith: No formal assessment of the proportion of patients with mental health problems attending general practitioner clinics has been undertaken by the Department. However, the NHS plan refers to evidence from independent research suggesting that as many as one in four consultations are with people with mental health problems. More detail about this evidence is presented in guidance published recently for primary care and other services on XGateway" workers. It is available on the mental health website at

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of carers of mental health patients have been given a carer's assessment. [82752]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not hold this information centrally. Assessments are the gateway to carers receiving help. The assessment is the responsibility of the statutory sector to arrange and agencies should work together to ensure that a carer has one assessment which will enable them to access all services. The recently issued guidance, XDeveloping Services for Carers and Families of People with Mental Illness", will help local mental health services ensure that this is achieved.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support and advice is given to mental health service users to become advocates for other mental health service users. [86153]

Jacqui Smith: The national service framework states that specific arrangements should be in place to ensure both service user and carer involvement and advocacy arrangements. Decisions about the involvement of mental health service users as advocates remains the responsibility of local services. However, the NHS plan testifies to the emphasis that the Government are keen to place on the involvement of patients at all levels in the national health service. Furthermore, a proposal in the draft Mental Health Bill provides that where someone is subject to the powers in the Bill they have a right of access to a specialist mental health advocate.

The Department is also providing three year funding for the United Kingdom advocacy network to develop standards in independent advocacy whereby they are establishing programmes of regional training courses for advocates which includes service users.

National Institute for Clinical Excellence

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he is implementing to ensure that one or more performance indicators are assigned to each piece of NICE guidance so that progress in implementing the guidance can be effectively monitored. [86374]

Mr. Lammy: All technology appraisal guidance issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) which was initiated after October 2000 includes specific audit advice and measurable criteria to be used in local reviews. A similar approach is being adopted by NICE for clinical guidelines.

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