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16 Dec 2002 : Column 668W—continued


Mr. Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he plans to take to counter the increase in cases of HIV; and what extra resources will be made available to improve awareness of HIV and the need for better sexual health practices, with particular reference to younger people. [85672]

Ms Blears: The aims of the sexual health and HIV strategy published last year include reducing the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reducing the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV and STIs. The strategy sets a goal to reduce newly acquired HIV and gonorrhoea infections by 25 per cent., by the end of 2007.

The Department has allocated an extra #47.5 million towards implementation of the strategy. This includes #4 million for the new sex lottery awareness campaign about preventing STIs, including HIV, which targets young adults aged 18 to 30 years. This complements the teenage pregnancy awareness campaign, which also highlights the importance of condoms in preventing STIs.

16 Dec 2002 : Column 669W

Homeless People

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the report by Dr. Sian Griffiths, commissioned by the Rough Sleepers Unit, on primary health care provision for homeless people has been published. [81749]

Mr. Hutton: The paper 'Addressing the health needs of rough sleepers' was published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on Wednesday 11 December 2002.


Mr. Lindsay Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding via the NHS has been given to support (a) St Catherine's Hospice and (b) Derian House Hospice. [84062]

Mr. Lindsay Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to provide additional funding via the NHS to (a) Derian House Hospice and (b) St. Catherine's Hospice. [84063]

Ms Blears: During 2002–03, the Chorley & South Ribble Primary Care Trust (PCT) provided recurrent funding of #427,000 to St. Catherine's Hospice and 11,000 to Derian House Hospice.

In addition, some non recurrent funding has recently been made available across Central Lancashire for which #40,000 will be allocated to hospices in Chorley, South Ribble and Preston. In the development of the local delivery plan, the PCT is considering increasing its investment in hospice services in 2003–04. However this will be dependent on other priorities.

Imported Poultry

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the FSA has taken to identify imports of turkeys from Brazil that have been treated with antibiotic furazolidine; and whether all poultry imported in 2002 from Brazil has been treated with furazolidine. [86935]

Ms Blears [holding answer 12 December 2002]: Since October 2002, all imports of Brazilian turkey and other poultry meat have been tested for nitrofuran antibiotic residues. Furazolidone has not been detected in any sample.

Inter-country Adoptions

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the current backlog is of cases of inter-country adoptions being dealt with by his Department. [85528]

Jacqui Smith: The Department of Health is currently taking approximately five months to process inter-country adoption applications received from local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies. This involves comprehensive checking of all the papers received to ensure that they are in the format required by the country of origin and that the various legalisation and authentication procedures have been correctly carried out. The Department process every case as quickly and efficiently as they are able so that all children can have a safe and smooth transition to their new life in the United Kingdom. This processing time

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has increased following a significant increase in the complexity of cases and UK adopters applying to new countries.

In addition to processing applications, the Department also has responsibility for:

providing information and assistance to prospective adopters and professionals in the social care field;

on inter-country adoption procedures and how the relevant pieces of UK legislation on adoption should be applied in practice;

the production of fact sheets giving information on how to adopt from overseas countries, which prove to be an invaluable tool for both adoptive parents themselves and also the social workers carrying out home study assessment;

handling a continuous stream of telephone inquiries and letters from adopters wanting to inquire about how their adoption application is progressing;

general inquiries about both domestic and inter-country adoption; and

providing urgent advice to entry clearance officers overseas and the Home Office about whether all the required documents are in place to be able to issue entry clearance to the UK, and on whether a court in the UK would be likely to make an adoption order after the family have returned.

A number of initiatives are being put in place to improve processing times including: Saturday working to target outstanding cases; the recent recruitment of an additional caseworker; and a change in processing for Northern Ireland cases allowing them to be managed direct by the Department of Health and Social Services Public Safety, therefore cutting their overall processing time.

Mental Health

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting times were for (a) children and (b) adults suffering from mental health problems to receive treatment in each year since 1997. [82701]

Jacqui Smith : The estimated mean waiting times for first outpatient appointments following general practitioner referrals to child and adolescent psychiatry and other mental health specialties, between 1996–97 and 2001–02, are shown in the table. At end March 1997 there were 600 and 1,370 patients waiting over 26 weeks for a first outpatient appointment for child and adolescent psychiatry and other mental health specialties respectively. The equivalent figures for March 2002 were 13 and 52.

Mean waiting time(23) (in weeks) for first outpatient appointment.

Child andadolescent psychiatryOther MH specialities(24)
1996 to 199710.46.3
1997 to 199810.16.1
1998 to 199910.66.0
1999 to 200010.06.1
2001 to 200210.36.1

(23) The means should be interpreted with caution because they are estimated from the total number of patients seen within 4, 9,13, and 26 week timebands

(24) Other MH specialties includes the following: mental illness, forensic psychiatry, psychotherapy, and old age psychiatry.


Department of Health form QM08

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Mid-Essex Hospital Trust

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the mid-Essex hospital trust area were waiting for in-patient treatment on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many were waiting on 31 March 1997. [87140]

Mr. Lammy: The total number of patients waiting at mid-Essex hospital services national health service trust at the end of October 2002 was 9,675. The total number of patients waiting at the end of March 1997 was 8,391.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the take-up of (a) MMR and (b) separate vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella was in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [86032]

Ms Blears: The uptake rates of MMR in the last 12 months in the United Kingdom is shown in the table.

QuarterPercentage uptake
July to September 200184.2
October to December 200184.0
January to March 200283.8
April to June 200284.3


Uptake rates for single measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations are not routinely collected.

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MRI Scans

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he has issued in respect of waiting times for MRI scans; and what the average waiting time is in (a) England and (b) North Staffordshire. [85673]

Ms Blears: We do not collect waiting times for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, nor has any central guidance been issued. The length of time that a patient may have to wait for any scan is dependent on their clinical condition. Emergency cases need to be seen immediately. Other cases will be carried out as quickly as possible, dependent on the clinical priority of all the remaining patients waiting to be scanned.

Where an MRI scan forms part of the diagnostic process for a patient urgently referred with suspected cancer, this will be covered by the target of a maximum two months wait from urgent referral to first treatment, which will be rolled out for all cancers by the end of 2005.

To increase the capacity of diagnostic services, funding has been made available for the provision of new and replacement scanners, including a replacement scanner at North Staffordshire. By 2004, approximately 100 MRI scanners will have been provided through central purchasing programmes.

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