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13 Jan 2003 : Column 481W—continued


Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department is doing to support the Government's policy on accreditation. [88089]

Mr. Lammy: The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is recognised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry as the sole national body for the accreditation, against international standards, of certification and inspection bodies, testing and calibration laboratories. The Department uses UKAS accreditation services whenever it is appropriate to do so.

Clinical Pathology Accreditation (UK) Ltd. (CPA) accredits the majority of national health service pathology laboratories, and has a Council partnership and a Memorandum of Understanding with UKAS.

Active Care

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints the NHS has received in the past 12 months about lack of active care for people suffering from delayed discharges from acute hospitals. [88760]

Mr. Lammy: Data on the number of national health service complaints made each year are set out in the Department of Health publication XHandling complaints: monitoring the NHS complaints procedures". Due to the diverse range of issues for which complaints may be made under the NHS complaints procedures it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many alcohol and drug rehabilitation places are available on the NHS in the Leeds Strategic Area Health Authority; and if he will make a statement. [83474]

Jacqui Smith: I refer my hon. Friend to the response I gave to him on Thursday 12 December 2002, Official Report, vol. 396, col. 492W.

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Alcohol Strategy

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish the consultation document on the Government's alcohol strategy. [88767]

Ms Blears: The Department of Health and the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit published the national alcohol harm reduction strategy consultation document on 15 October 2002. Copies of the document can be obtained from the following web addresses: www., or

The consultation period runs until 15 January 2003.

Automated Defibrillators

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many new automated defibrillators have been sited in public places since April 2000. [88748]

Ms Blears: 680 automated external defibrillators have been installed at a total of 110 sites across England.

Breast Cancer

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research projects focusing on (a) the link between physical activity and the development of breast cancer, (b) diet and the development of breast cancer and (c) breast cancer prevention his Department is funding; and if he will make a statement. [88716]

Ms Blears: The Medical Research Council (MRC), which receives its funding from the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology, is the main agency through which the Government supports research on the causes and treatments of disease, including all types of cancer. The Department of Health contributes to the strategies and priorities of the MRC by meeting the national health service costs of the MRC's research (and of charity funded research). The Department also directly funds research to support policy development in health and social care, and to support effective practice in the NHS.

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In terms of directly funded research, the Department's main focus is on interventions to promote healthy living, including diet and physical exercise, and on research on breast cancer screening. For example, the Department is funding research projects with the following titles:

The Department also funds a programme of work at the cancer screening evaluation unit, which evaluates the effectiveness of screening. Part of this programme includes work on breast cancer screening. There are plans for an observational individual-based study of the efficacy of the breast screening programme. The Department provides joint funding for the age trial, on the effect on breast cancer mortality of annual screening from age 40.

Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on all health research, including on cancer, is devolved to NHS organisations and details are not routinely collected centrally. Summary information about this research is available on the national research register, which is on the web at

The Department is a member of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). The recent NCRI report XStrategic Analysis 2002" analysed most of the directly funded research of Government and charity funders. The analyses revealed relatively low sums spent on cancer prevention, which has prompted the NCRI to set up a strategic planning group to look at this area to see what further research may be possible and what extra resources might be needed to bring this about. The Department will be working in partnership with its Government and charity cancer research funding partners to take this work forward.

Building Capacity Grants

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library his Department's evaluation of the uses to which the (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03 building capacity grants have been put. [88563]

Jacqui Smith: How councils spent the grant in 2001–02 is shown in the table. Councils have not yet reported for 2002–03. The funding allocated to councils will provide for a continued reduction in the number of delayed discharges from hospitals, so that 20 per cent. fewer beds are blocked in March 2003 compared to March 2002.

Percentage of building care capacity grant 2001–02 spent

Area of spendCouncils targeted for extra helpOther Councils
Residential/nursing care placements3252
Intensive home care packages1618
Increased fees2016
Improved assessment/capacity processes142
Preventative services(39)10
Community equipment(39)5
Other (including community equipment(39)8
Other (including preventative services)(39)7

(39) Information was collected on a differential basis in two separate exercises

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Chest Pain Clinic

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many primary care trust areas have a rapid access chest pain clinic within their areas. [88751]

Ms Blears: Rapid access chest pain clinics are a service provided by acute hospital trusts. Information on numbers of clinics by primary care trust areas is not collected centrally, but every general practitioner in England should be able to refer their patients to a rapid access chest pain clinic.

Children's Nurses

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children's nurses there were in the (a) Adur, Arun and Worthing Primary Care Trust and (b) Worthing and Southlands Hosptial Trust in each year since 1997. [89356]

Ms Blears: The information requested for Worthing and Southlands Hospitals National Health Service Trust is shown in the table.

NHS Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): Qualified nursing staff within the Paediatric nursing area of work in Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust as at 30 September each year

Total qualified staff2732424338
Total qualified staff3646536050


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number.

2. Figures exclude learners and agency staff.


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census

Information is not available centrally on the number of children's nurses employed by Adur, Arun and Worthing Primary Care Trust.

Children's Vision

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what programmes have been initiated by his Department to (a) promote early detection of specific ophthalmic conditions in children and (b) monitor their visual development; and what evaluation has been carried out as to the benefits of such programmes; [88894]

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Jacqui Smith: Many cases of visual defect are detected by parents or family members, others by health professionals in the course of a physical examination. We value and support both approaches. The personal child health record and the XBirth to Five" manual of child health, given to parents around the time of birth, promote the former approach. Programmes of health and development screening checks undertaken by local primary health care teams promote the latter. The purpose of the screening programme is to maximise every child's opportunity to realise their full potential for health, well being and development, and to ensure that remediable disorders are identified and acted upon as early as possible. Local programmes are a matter for primary care trusts to determine and monitor, in accordance with professional advice. This will include the content of and optimal timing for vision screening checks undertaken in childhood and the relative benefits of eye checks between infancy and primary school. I have not received recent representations on this subject but expect there to be active debate during preparation of the national service framework for children, which will set standards aimed at raising the quality of the health and social care services that children receive.

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