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15 Jan 2003 : Column 675W—continued

Care Homes

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average fee paid per week by each local social services department to private care homes for clients in (a) nursing and (b) residential care was in 2002, broken down by local authority in England; and what the average costs were for self-funders. [89695]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 14 January 2003]: Information regarding the average fee paid per week by each social services department and the average fee paid by self-funders is not kept centrally. The setting of fee levels by local councils is a matter for local decision. Councils must take into account a range of factors and market conditions when negotiating fee levels. Fee levels for self-funders is a matter negotiated between the home and the individual requiring care or their representative.

Children in Custody

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has given to (a) the Care Standards Commission and (b) Social Services Department since 29 November on the application of the Children Act 1989 to children held in prison custody. [88234]

Jacqui Smith: The Howard League for Penal Reform took the Home Office to judicial review over a statement in Prison Service guidance that the Children Act 1989 did not apply to children under the age of eighteen in prison establishments. Mr. Justice Munby's judgment, handed down on 29 November, ruled that the Children Act 1989 applied to children in prison, subject to the requirements of imprisonment. The judgment upheld the Prison Service's policy in relation to juveniles in custody. One sentence in its policy, which was to be changed regardless of the outcome of the judgment, has been found to be wrong. This will now be changed by the Home Office in the context of the judgment.

The Department therefore sees no immediate need to revise existing guidance to councils with social services responsibilities, or to the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC). In the latter case, this is because the NCSC is responsible for children's services, regulated under the Care Standards Act 2000, which does not include prison establishments. However, we will, together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, carefully study Mr. Justice Munby's judgment, in the context of the recommendations of the Joint Chief Inspectors' report, XSafeguarding Children".

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Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many medical consultants undertake work in the private sector, broken down by nation and region. [90759]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 14 January 2003]: We do not collect information centrally about the proportion of consultants working in the private sector in England and Northern Ireland. Information about the consultant workforce in Scotland or Wales is a matter for the Scottish Executive or the National Assembly for Wales.

NHS Dentistry

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department proposes to take to increase NHS Dental Service provision in the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale area; and if he will make a statement. [89594]

Jacqui Smith: Patients in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale can, where necessary, gain access to national health service dental services by calling NHS Direct.

The working group, 'Options for Change', has proposed new methods of service delivery and would allow the NHS locally to place a greater emphasis upon preventive care and reducing oral health inequalities.

Mr. Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what NHS dentistry services are available to new adult patients in the Gosport area. [89858]

Ms Blears [holding answer 14 January 2003]: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Health Authority has confirmed that currently no national health service dentists within Gosport are accepting new adult patients. Emergency dentistry for new adult patients, is available from the dental access centre in Fareham. Dental practices in Gosport will also provide emergency treatment to such patients.

New patients wishing to access NHS dentistry in the surrounding area can obtain information on practices accepting adult patients from Fareham and Gosport Primary Care Trust or NHS Direct. The strategic health authority has advised me that registrations are being accepted in Southsea, Portsmouth and Cosham.

Drugs (Black Market)

Tim Loughton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investigations have been undertaken by his Department into reports of Aids drugs provided at cost to African countries being resold in the UK; what assessment he has made of the level of drugs provided at cost by pharmaceutical companies in Africa being resold illegally in the UK or Europe; and what drugs are involved. [89937]

Ms Blears: The enforcement group of the Medicines Control Agency is currently investigating one suspected case of diversion in the United Kingdom.

There is no current assessment of the quantity of drugs potentially diverted.

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Drugs identified to date involved in diversion in Europe are Epivir and Combivir.

Food Safety

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on the use of disclaimers by restaurants when selling undercooked meat products. [88988]

Ms Blears: Any person who sells food for human consumption in a restaurant, or indeed elsewhere, which fails to comply with food safety requirements is guilty of an offence.

The food safety requirements, as set out in Section 8 of the Food Safety Act 1990, contain three alternative limbs.

The first states that the food must not have been rendered injurious to health by means of certain operations, e.g. adding articles or substances to the food or subjecting it to processes or treatments.

The second is that the food must not be unfit for human consumption.

The third is that the food must not be so contaminated that it would not be reasonable to expect it to be used for human consumption in that state.

If food is sold which breaches any of the three limbs then, regardless of a disclaimer, an offence is committed.

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what statistical baseline from laboratory reports in 2000 the Food Standards Agency has based its target for reduction of food-borne illness; and what the most recent performance statistics are in relation to this target. [88715]

Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency's target for reducing food-borne illness by 20 per cent. by 2006 is based on laboratory reports of the five major food-borne pathogens (Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli 0157, Listeria and Clostridium perfringens), excluding cases reported as having been acquired abroad. These data are collected by the Public Health Laboratory Service communicable disease surveillance centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and by the Scottish Centre for infection and environmental health for Scotland.

When the baseline was announced in August 2001 1 , there were 65,209 confirmed laboratory reports in the year 2000. However, it should be noted that the majority of people with food-borne disease do not consult a doctor or have a specimen sent for laboratory testing, and therefore the number of cases of food poisoning will be significantly higher.

Updates on progress against the target will be reported annually to the Board and can be downloaded from the Agency's website.

The figures for 2001 (the year in which the Agency's strategy for reducing food-borne disease was being finalised) were reported to the Board in May 2002, and showed a small increase (1 per cent.) in the number of cases.

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Foundation Hospitals

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether an individual will be able to serve again on a board of governors of an NHS foundation hospital after a period of time has elapsed between the completion of the maximum of nine years' service and the recommencement of a further term. [87804]

Mr. Hutton: The position is as set out in paragraph 2.28 of XA Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts". Details will be set out in forthcoming legislation.

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding his Department makes available to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables. [84460]

Ms Blears: The Department of Health and the New Opportunities Fund have together made #55.3 million available for initiatives to increase fruit and vegetable consumption since the 2000–01 financial year.

In addition to the above, initiatives to increase fruit and vegetable consumption have been funded through health action zones, sure start, healthy living centres and through general funding allocations to health authorities and primary care trusts.

General Agreement on Trade in Services

Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether provisions under the proposed GATS will affect decisions over the provider of publicly financed health services; and if he will make a statement. [90041]

Mr. Hutton: General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) cannot prevent Governments from regulating to meet national policy objectives. These rights are enshrined in GATS itself and repeated in negotiating guidelines for current negotiations. The Government has made clear to the House in the past that we have no intention of making GATS commitments that could call into question our ability to continue providing public services such as health or education.

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