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4 Feb 2003 : Column 216W—continued

Cocaine (Pregnant Mothers)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to identify mothers who use (a) crack cocaine and (b) cocaine during pregnancy. [94213]

Jacqui Smith: No specific steps have been taken to identify mothers who use crack cocaine or cocaine during pregnancy.

However, midwives who provide the majority of antenatal care for pregnant women will usually carry out a needs and risk assessment of the pregnant woman at the time of booking. This will ensure that the antenatal care support, which they receive, is tailored to their own particular requirements. This will include additional support if the woman is currently abusing alcohol and/or substances.

In addition, there are also some midwives in particular units who specialise in the area of pregnancy support to drug users.

Coronary Heart Disease

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health to what extent funding for coronary heart disease will be allocated to purchase new medical devices for the treatment of coronary heart disease. [95635]

Ms Blears: The funding allocated to the national health service for the next three years provides sufficient resources to cover anticipated new developments in technology and clinical practice. This funding is part of the largest investment in the NHS since its inception over half a century ago. A total of over £353 million has now been earmarked for the treatment of coronary heart disease since the launch of the national service framework in March 2000, as well as major capital investment costing £300 million over the next five years.

The level of funding allocated to particular new medical devices, however, is for local decision, reflecting assessed clinical need, local priorities and best authoritative guidance.

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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the use of percutaneous coronary interventions over coronary artery bypass grafts. [95636]

Ms Blears: The most suitable form of procedure to treat coronary heart disease depends on the condition of individual patients and the professional judgment of the clinical teams who are caring for them. Technological developments and changing clinical practice are increasing the number of cases in which percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) may be a safe and effective treatment, and the proportion of PCIs to coronary artery bypass grafts is likely to increase over the next few years.


David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a substantive answer to his letter of 9 December 2002, ref PO1021593; [95435]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 23 January 2003]: A reply was sent to my hon. Friend on 3 February 2003.

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter dated 5 December 2002 from Graham Ruff of Lutterworth, a constituent. [95627]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS Pensions Agency was asked to respond to Mr. Ruffs letter as the issues raised fall within their area of responsibility. I understand that the reply was sent to him on 30 January 2003.


Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which areas were approved to field site status in the Modernising Dentistry Options for Change Programme; which applications were unsuccessful; and if he will make a statement. [89595]

Mr. Lammy: A total of 139 expressions of interest were received for field site status, covering 27 of the 28 strategic health authorities. Fifty applications, grouped into 26 field sites, have been approved by the programme steering board for further development. More detailed work now needs to be done to ensure that the applicants are able to deliver the required learning within the capacity of the programme. Officials from the Modernisation Agency will visit each of these 50 applicants soon, and we will publish a list of participants in the options for change field sites once this work has been completed.

Some 79 applications were found not to fall within the seven key themes in the options for change report. The remaining 10, while not suitable for field site status, are being considered for inclusion in other modernisation programmes, for example, development of the information technology infrastructure for National Health Service dentistry andpersonal dental services pilot schemes.

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With their positive response to the call for applications to become field sites dentists have demonstrated a most welcome commitment to changing the way in which NHS dentistry is organised. This together with the Government's intention to legislate to enable far reaching reform for NHS dentistry provides an opportunity to address the problems that have been identified with the system over many years.


Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average salary is for an NHS dentist in (a) each health authority and (b) England. [93554]

Mr. Lammy: Information on the average salary for salaried national health service dentists is not available. These dentists are paid on national salary scales determined by the Doctors and Dentists Review Body.

Principal dentists in the general dental service (GDS) are self employed. They receive gross fees which are related to the amount and range of treatment they perform and the number of patients registered with them. These exclude other payments such as superannuation, reimbursement of non-domestic rates, commitment payments, training allowances as well as maternity and sickness payments. Dentists' earnings from sources other than NHS dentistry are not included.

For dentists in Great Britain income after expenses was about 45.2 per cent. of dentists gross income in 2000–01.

Information on the average gross fees paid to a GDS dentist for providing NHS dental treatment in each health authority and England for year ending March 2002 has been placed in the Library. The averages will be affected by the amount and type of dental work done in each HA.

DXA Scans (Hull and East Riding)

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many DXA scans were completed in Hull and the East Riding in 2002. [92908]

Jacqui Smith: There were 6,716 dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans completed at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals National Health Service Trust from January to December 2002.

East Yorkshire Primary Care Trust

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money is available to primary care trusts from central government for the provision of digital hearing aids; and how much money the East Yorkshire Primary Care Trust needs to provide as a top up to government grant. [94309]

Jacqui Smith: In the current financial year, £20 million has been made available for the modernising hearing aid services project. This enabled the 20 first-wave trusts to continue running; an additional 30 to join the project and 17 more to be provided with equipment so that they can begin to provide digital hearing aids from April. Items such as

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training and equipment are paid for centrally while other funding is made to the national health service trusts providing the service.

For second wave sites the Department of Health pays the full cost of updating information technology and other equipment. We are also paying 75 per cent. of the additional cost of providing digital, rather than analogue aids and 75 per cent. of the additional staffing cost arising from operating a modernised service. We expect primary care trusts to support the modernised service by contributing the remaining 25 per cent. of revenue costs.


Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on entertainment by the Department of Health in 2002–03; and what is budgeted to be spent on entertainment in (a) 2003–04, (b) 2004–05 and (c) 2005–06. [94586]

Mr. Lammy: Expenditure arises on hospitality and entertainment only in the context of promoting the Department's business objectives. All such expenditure is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in "Government Accounting".

No specific budget amount is allocated for hospitality and entertainment, which is only one element of the Department's overall administrative budget. £88,503 was spent in the period April to December 2002.


Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Medical Research Council report on water fluoridation published on 4 September; and what advice his Department has received from (a) Sir Liam Donaldson and (b) Professor Raman Bedi on the implications of the MRC report for Government policy on fluoridation. [87321]

Ms Blears: We have asked the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Dental Officer to consider how the success of existing fluoridation schemes in improving oral health and the oral health benefits residents of naturally fluoridated areas enjoy might be extended to other communities who wish it.

The Medical Research Council has identified and prioritised the research necessary to strengthen the evidence base on fluoridation and the Department is already taking action to commission appropriate research.

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