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12 Mar 2003 : Column 345W—continued


Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on the supply of the MumpsVac vaccine in England and Wales. [96812]

Ms Blears: The Department of Health has never provided single mumps vaccine and believes that the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to protect children against three serious and potentially fatal diseases.

Although a single mumps vaccine is licensed in the UK, the pharmaceutical company that holds the product licence does not manufacture or market the vaccine for use in this country. Single mumps vaccines that are being prescribed and administered are imported and therefore unlicensed.

Muscular Dystrophy

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the number of (a) children and (b) young adults with muscular dystrophy in each of the last 10 years. [100967]

Jacqui Smith: The data show counts of in-patient admissions to national health service hospitals in England since 1995 where muscular dystrophy was diagnosed during the first episode of care. We do not have the equivalent figures prior to 1995–96. This is due to changes in coding, which took place in 1995.

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All diagnoses, first episode of spell G71.0 muscular dystrophy, finished consultant episodes: Count of in-year admissions—NHS hospitals England 1995–96 to 2001–02

0–1718–2425–3435 and overNot knownTotal


This table is derived from ungrossed HES data.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on Government policy with respect to muscular dystrophy. [100969]

Jacqui Smith: Patients with muscular dystrophy (MD) can take advantage of a range of primary, secondary and tertiary services available. Children with MD form a considerable part of the caseload for children's community nursing services and many receive services from children's hospices. The children's national service framework will develop new national standards across the National Health Service and social services for children, including those with MD. The new standards will help to ensure better access and smoother progression in the provision of services for children, from initial contact with the NHS, via a general practitioner's surgery or NHS hospital, through to social services support.

Clinical and laboratory services for the diagnosis of MD are available through existing networks of regional genetics centres. In January 2002, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health, announced the spending of £11 million to boost capacity in NHS genetics services. This should help patients with muscular dystrophy and other genetic diseases.

There is no specific treatment for any of the forms of MD. Physical therapy and corrective orthopaedic surgery may be needed to improve the quality of life in some cases.

NHS Access

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the consistency of access to (a) rheumatology services, (b) hydrotherapy services and (c) orthopaedic services in the NHS in different parts of England. [101656]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 7 March 2003]: Arthritis and rheumatism together account for one quarter of visits to general practitioners. A general practitioner will decide if to refer a patient to a specialist team of rheumatologists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists. They will provide the most effective care and treatment for arthritic patients especially those with rheumatoid arthritis.

Hydrotherapy is one form of treatment that a physiotherapist might choose for a patient's condition and access is through this route. However, hydrotherapy pools do not exist in all areas, so access could be limited

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for this reason. Referral to physiotherapy is usually through the GP, consultant or, in some cases, through direct referral from the patient.

Access to orthopaedic services for elective care is through referral to an orthopaedic consultant by the patient's general practitioner. The Modernisation Agency is running two programmes, which aim to improve patient access to orthopaedic care. The "Action on Orthopaedics" programme has a number of pilot sites across the country and is gathering information on best practice with the objective of showing the improvements in patients' access that can be achieved through an integrated approach within health communities. The orthopaedic services collaborative is a quality improvement initiative and has the participation of nearly two thirds of the 177 orthopaedic services departments in England examining potential changes that might be made in their processes and systems to bring about optimal outcomes and improved patient care.

Through improvements in general hospital care and especially through the new single assessment process, older people's health care needs will be properly targeted, ensuring that the services that are provided are most appropriate to their needs, including people with arthritis.

NHS Beds

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of beds listed in the NHS that are trolleys or couches. [97705]

Mr. Hutton: No estimate has been made as trolleys and couches are not included in the headline bed figures.

NHS Database

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the NHS national database covers patients in Scotland. [102139]

Mr. Lammy: The national health service strategic tracing service and the NHS central register in Southport covers NHS patients in England and Wales. The Scottish NHS has a separate central register for NHS patients in Scotland. The two registers co-operate fully to ensure that patients moving between the countries are not lost from sight and that users see a seamless service.

NHS Staff

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) doctors in training, (b) nurses in training, (c) medical students and (d) nursing students there were in (i) each health authority area in the North East in 1996 and (ii) in each PCT area in the North East at the most recent date for which figures are available. [100562]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 4 March 2003]: The available information on the number of doctors and nurses in training, and on the number of nursing students have been placed in the Library.

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The information on the number of medical school students within each health authority area is not collected centrally. However, Newcastle University's intake for 1996, was 161. For the autumn term 2002, Newcastle University's intake of medical students was 344.

Northwich Park Hospital

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much direct funding from the Strategic or Regional Health Authority Northwich Park Hospital received in each of the last five years; and for what purpose. [100596]

Mr. Hutton: For the last five years, the Department has allocated revenue allocations to health authorities. Northwick Park Hospital is part of the North West London Hospitals National Health Service Trust. The Trust is located within Brent Primary Care Trust, previously part of Brent and Harrow Health Authority. Revenue allocations to Brent and Harrow HA over the last five years are shown in the table.


The figures for 1999–2000 onwards are not comparable with those for 1998–99, which cover hospital and community health services (HCHS) only. 1999–2000 was the first year of unified allocations, which cover HCHS, prescribing and discretionary general medical services.

The above figures represent initial revenue allocations. Any further in-year allocations will also have been made to health authorities.

Patient Choice

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many choices of alternative hospital patients in West Yorkshire needing eye operations will have. [99104]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave him on 3 March 2003, Official Report, column 889W.

Patients' Forums

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether patients' forums will be set up before community health councils are abolished on 1 September 2003. [101580]

Mr. Lammy: Patients' forums will not be set up before community health councils are abolished. The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health is responsible for recruiting members and putting in place the support and infrastructure arrangements for patients' forums. This process will be well under way by 1 September 2003, and the Commission will be working towards the achievement of full coverage of forums by the end of the year.

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