Previous Section Index Home Page

25 Feb 2003 : Column 506W—continued


Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he plans to take over the import into the UK from non-EU countries of (a) poultry and (b) eggs which are fed canthaxanthin; and if she will make a statement. [97577]

Ms Blears: In December 2002 European Union member states agreed the text of a Directive to reduce the maximum incorporation levels for canthaxanthin in feed. However, the United Kingdom successfully argued that maximum residue limits also be introduced for relevant foods. These will be set following a risk assessment and when European Commission legal powers are available later this year. The levels will apply evenly to both imports and home production.

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what tests will be carried out to check the levels of canthaxanthin in (a) poultry and (b) eggs imported into this country from non-EU countries. [97578]

Ms Blears: There are no statutory maximum permitted levels for canthaxanthin in eggs or poultry against which such tests could monitor compliance. Nevertheless, I am advised that the Food Standards Agency is considering such surveillance of canthaxanthin in food derived from European Union and non-EU countries as would be necessary both to inform the setting of future maximum residue levels and to inform estimates of consumer exposure.

Care Standards Act

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many responses he received to his consultation on regulations to the Care Standards Act 2000; and how many dealt with (a) room dimensions, (b) communal space and (c) training of staff. [97885]

Jacqui Smith: The consultation document issued on 16 August set out proposals to change certain national minimum standards for care homes for older people and care homes for younger adults (18–65) which relate to the physical environment. The consultation did not propose making any changes to the Care Homes Regulations 2001 issued under the Care Standards Act.

25 Feb 2003 : Column 507W

In total, 243 responses to the consultation were received. The majority of respondents commented on two or more of the standards. 109 of the responses mentioned the issue of room dimensions, 82 mentioned communal space, and 33 mentioned training of staff.

Chemical Protection Suits

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what allocation of chemical protection suits has been made to each ambulance NHS trust; and if he will make a statement. [97788]

Mr. Lammy: On 14 March 2002 the Department issued a letter outlining the process for purchasing mobile decontamination units and personal protective equipment (PPE) suits for chemical incidents.

The funding allocation made to each region in the financial year 2002–03 is:

Northern and Yorkshire630,000
North West673,000
South East968,000
South West706,000
West Midlands583,000

Regional offices are free to agree with National Health Service trusts the number of decontamination facilities and the amount of associated PPE and any other items that can be obtained from the regional allocation to implement regional strategies.

The number of suits ordered to date by ambulance trusts is as follows:

East Anglian200
East Midlands150
Greater Manchester150
Hereford and Worcester50
North East200
Royal Berks.100
South Yorkshire50
Tees East & North Yorks.150
Two Shires100
West Country400
West Midlands105
West Yorkshire100

25 Feb 2003 : Column 508W

Children (West Africa)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with social services authorities in (a) Nigeria, (b) Sierra Leone and (c) the Ivory Coast about the dangers to children coming to the UK to live without their parents. [96111]

Jacqui Smith: None. However, as part of a recent Department of Health review of private fostering, officials from the Department have had discussions with organisations in this country with direct links to communities in West Africa, including the African Women's Welfare Association.

Cigarette Smuggling

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has carried out into the health implications of cigarette smuggling. [96516]

Ms Blears: There is clear evidence that price affects consumption and the availability of smuggled cigarettes acts against our efforts to reduce smoking prevalence.

The price a person has to pay for cigarettes is linked to the likelihood of that person smoking. The higher the price the greater the likelihood that a person will not buy cigarettes.

Smuggled cigarettes are sold at relatively low prices and therefore encourage people to purchase and smoke cigarettes. With lower levels of smuggling we would expect fewer people to smoke and hence fewer people to develop smoking related illnesses.

Congestion Charge

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions he has had with the London Ambulance Service concerning the introduction of congestion charges in Central London; [97819]

Mr. Hutton: I have received three letters from national health service professionals employed in London about the impact of the congestion charge.

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) has been actively involved in the consultation process for the congestion charging scheme and the development of the NHS reimbursement scheme, in discussion with Transport for London. The implementation of the reimbursement scheme is being led by the NHS and a steering group has been established, with trust, staff and patient representation, to oversee the development of the scheme and assess the impacts of congestion charging on both staff and patients.

My hon. Friend Under-Secretary for Public Health has visited the LAS and corresponded with the chief executive regarding the congestion charging and the NHS reimbursement scheme.

25 Feb 2003 : Column 509W

Coronary Heart Disease

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he next plans to visit coronary heart disease departments in hospitals in Havering. [97696]

Mr. Hutton: I have no current plans to visit coronary heart disease departments in hospitals in Havering at this time.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to combat coronary heart disease in the London Borough of Havering; [97698]

25 Feb 2003 : Column 510W

Mr. Hutton: Figures available on trends in mortality from coronary heart disease (ICD 410–414) indirectly standardised ratios (SMR) for all ages, covering the time period of 1996–2000, show that there has been a sustained decrease in mortality in all of the primary care trusts in north east London, including Havering. This information is shown in the table.

Barking & Dagenham10594939687
Tower Hamlets10089797773
Waltham Forest9692789485

The national service framework (NSF) for coronary heart disease (CHD), published in March 2000, sets out a 10 year strategy for tackling heart disease through improved prevention, identification and treatment of CHD. The NHS Plan reinforced this, including a commitment to significantly increase investment in services. Since the publication of the NSF, an additional 359 million revenue funding has been made available, most of this in baseline allocations, to enable local health communities to develop the services they need to meet the needs of their local population.

In north east London there is a cardiac network as well as the local Havering cardiac NSF implementation team working to ensure that the NSF is implemented fully. There is joint work ongoing between the local primary care trust (PCTs) and acute trust to improve speed of access to thrombolysis for patients admitted to accident and emergency with acute myocardial infarction.

There are also additional resources being made available from Havering PCT to support primary care in developing CHD registers. These are a key tool to enable systematic identification and treatment of people with, or at high risk of developing, CHD. The PCT also provides a smoking cessation service. Figures available are combined for Barking and Havering and in 2001–01, 318 people successfully quit, whilst in 2001–02 there were 502.

International research shows that diets rich in fruit and vegetables are protective against cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. The National School Fruit Scheme, which will be fully operation from 2004, will entitle school children aged four to six to a free piece of fruit each school day. The scheme was rolled-out to schools in London during the autumn of last year. The scheme is now available to all Romford schools with four to six year olds.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with (a) Havering Primary Care Trust and (b) the Havering, Barking and Redbridge NHS Hospitals Trust regarding coronary heart disease. [97699]

Mr. Hutton: I have had no discussions with Havering Primary Care Trust and Barking Havering and Redbridge Hospitals National Health Service Trust regarding coronary heart disease.

Next Section Index Home Page