Previous Section Index Home Page

3 Jun 2003 : Column 359W—continued

Child Protection

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list directives issued by his Department (a) in response to the Climbié Report and (b) following his statement to the House on 28 January. [114731]

Jacqui Smith: On 28 January, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to chief executives of councils with social services responsibility, national health service trusts, strategic health authorities and primary care trusts enclosing a checklist of 56 of the recommendations. Police, health and social services were asked to guarantee that within three months, these basic elements of good professional practice were in place. Copies of the letters are available in the Library.

The report also highlighted that there was confusion about local guidance relating to child protection. My right hon. Friend announced he would publish shorter, clearer guidance which will reach every one of the one million professional staff dealing with the safeguarding of children.

On 19 May, I published the booklet 'What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused', under cover of a Health Service Circular/Local Authority Circular, asking chief executives of a range of health and other organisations, to ensure that the copies they receive are distributed to staff. Copies are available in the Library.

We have also asked the Social Services Inspectorate and the Commission for Health Improvement, along with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to undertake joint inspections of the local services in North London with which Victoria came into contact.

3 Jun 2003 : Column 360W

Community Health Councils

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to invite community health councils to continue to operate after 31 August 2003 in those areas where the new Independent Patient Advocacy Service is not in place on 1 September 2003. [114169]

Mr. Lammy: It is not the Government's intention to ask Community Health Councils to continue to provide complaints support after 31 August 2003.

Compulsory Treatment Orders

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the extent to which the requirement for hospital admission of people made subject to compulsory treatment orders under the Mental Health Act 1983 has restricted the number of such orders made. [114741]

Jacqui Smith: No such assessment has been made. The Mental Health Act 1983 provides that people may be detained in hospital where the nature or degree of the mental disorder warrants it.

Proposals under the Mental Health Bill would break the automatic link between using the powers and admission to hospital. Treatment in the community would provide a positive alternative for those patients who do not need to be detained in hospital and an opportunity to minimise the disruption to their lives. While the new legislation will lead to some change in the group of people treated, overall it is not the intention that more people will be subject to compulsion under the Bill. Investment under the NHS Plan and service improvements under the national service framework for mental health, such as assertive outreach, crisis resolution and early intervention, will help to provide more effective care and ensure that fewer people become so ill that they need compulsory treatment.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff have been employed in the Ministerial Correspondence Unit of the Department in each of the last two years. [115883]

Mr. Lammy: The number of staff employed in the Department's ministerial correspondence unit was 18 for both years 2001–02 and 2002–03.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dental patients have contracted notifiable diseases following treatment with inadequately sterilised instruments in each of the last five years. [113549]

Mr. Lammy: We are not aware of any such incidents.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on plans to establish further dental access centres in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire. [115553]

Ms Blears: Dental access centres have been a centrally funded initiative, running as personal dental services pilots (PDS) under the NHS (Primary Care) Act 1997. There have been four waves of PDS, the last one in 2001.

3 Jun 2003 : Column 361W

There are no plans for further waves of similar centrally funded PDS pilots. Legislation is currently before Parliament to effect far reaching reform of National Health Service dentistry. As part of this reform programme, resources currently held centrally to pay for primary care dentistry will become part of primary care trust (PCT) allocations and PCTs will be given:

It will therefore be for each PCT to decide whether, in their local circumstances, further dental access centres are an appropriate response.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of pregnant women received free dental treatment on the NHS in the North Shropshire constituency in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [116340]

Mr. Lammy: 2,026 women who received dental treatment in the general dental service (GDS) in Shropshire Health Authority in the year to December 2002 were exempt from patient charges because they were pregnant.

In addition 634 claims were made by women who received dental treatment in the personal dental service in the year to March 2003; the number of women these claims relate to could be slightly smaller than 634.

There were 2,696 maternities in Shropshire in the year 2002.

Departmental Pay

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 14 April 2003, Official Report, column 606W, on departmental pay, if he will submit an action plan to the Cabinet Office on the subject and place a copy in the Library. [112321]

Mr. Hutton: The Department's action plan has now been finalised. A copy has been placed in the Library.


Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in introducing optomap to diabetic retinopathy screening procedures. [116179]

Mr. Lammy: The potential role of scanning laser opthalmoscopes is being considered as part of the overall programme in support of the implementaion of diabetic retinopathy screening. Further evidence is awaited. Discussions will include the manufacturers of the optomap wide field laser scanning ophthalmoscope.

Digital Hearing Aids

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many digital hearing aids he estimates will be fitted as part of the Modernising Hearing Aid Services project each year (a) during the build-up to full implementation of the project and (b) when the project is fully operational. [115462]

3 Jun 2003 : Column 362W

Jacqui Smith: By the end of April 2003, 83,397 digital hearing aids had been issued as part of the Modernising Hearing Aid Services project. Officials of the Department of Health and the Royal National Institute of Deaf People estimate that between 165,000 and 170,000 such aids will be issued in 2003–04 and between 290,000 and 330,000 in 2004–05. These estimates are based on experience gained from the project so far and are necessarily provisional. From April 2005, all hearing aids fitted in England will be digital unless an analogue aid is more appropriate for clinical reasons or because the patient prefers it.

Domiciliary Oxygen

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he will announce the results of the review of domiciliary oxygen services initiated in March 2000; [115643]

Mr. Lammy: The review of the domiciliary oxygen service is at an advanced stage. It has considered the provision of ambulatory oxygen for domiciliary use and the technologies available, such as conserving devices. We expect to announce our conclusions shortly.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect on the efficiency of domiciliary oxygen on the prescription of conserving drugs. [115755]

Mr. Lammy: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend, the Member for Milton Keynes South West (Dr. Phyllis Starkey) today.

Drug Addiction

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many GPs have applied for specialist drug addiction training programmes in (a) 2002 and (b) to date in 2003. [113788]

Ms Blears [holding answer 16 May 2003]: The Royal College of General Practitioners is delivering Department of Health-funded training in the form of a certificate programme on the Management of Drug Misuse in Primary Care.

In 2002, 440 general practitioners attended the training, including 40 prison doctors.

In 2003, just under 200 GPs attended the course, as it was agreed with the Department that around 150 places would be made available to other primary care professionals who work with drug users, including nurses, pharmacists, psychiatrists, and prison medical staff.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) effectiveness of treatment for drug addicts in Shropshire. [116342]

3 Jun 2003 : Column 363W

Mr. Lammy: Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic Health Authority report that drug misuse treatment services in Shropshire are being developed within the 'Models of Care' framework, which was published by the National Treatment Agency (NTA) in autumn 2002.

The NTA also has responsibility for overseeing the pooled drug treatment budget and is monitoring all drug action teams to ensure that both the availability and effectiveness of treatment continues to improve.

Next Section Index Home Page