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8 Dec 2003 : Column 315W—continued

Neurological Conditions

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action the Government are taking to collect figures on the numbers of people with neurological conditions in England. [142630]

Dr. Ladyman: We do not ask the national health service to collect data on the incidence of individual neurological conditions such as neurology because of the enormous range of conditions and diseases that exist.

However, the Department of Health has already commissioned a series of research studies, following the announcement of the national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions, to assist the work of the external reference group. Emphasis has been placed on reviews of existing evidence, rather that on the collection of new data.

The studies include:

Also, the Neurological Alliance recently published a brief review of the numbers of people in the UK with a neurological condition.

NHS Trust Laboratories

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how funding for specialist public health work will be provided to NHS trust laboratories in (a) 2005–06, (b) 2006–07 and (c) 2007–08. [142244]

8 Dec 2003 : Column 316W

Miss Melanie Johnson: The central funding which supports public health work will continue to be provided to national health service trusts, via the Health Protection Agency (HPA), under service level agreements. Specialist and reference microbiology, for both clinical and public health purposes, is provided by the laboratories of the HPA.

The public health outputs of NHS microbiology pathology laboratories will be monitored by the HPA's regional microbiologists and their procedures and practices will be inspected by the Department's Inspector of Microbiology.

Pain Management Services

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what waiting-time information he collates on consultant referrals to pain management services. [140575]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 1 December 2003]: The Department does not collect waiting time information on referral from consultant to pain management service.

The Department does collect waiting time information on written referral from general practitioner to first out-patient appointment with a pain management consultant, and for patients waiting for elective admission where the main specialty is pain management. Latest published information for England on these two areas is shown in the tables.

Patients waiting for 1st consultant out-patient appointment following G(D)P referral: England: Quarter 2 2003–04:Provider based

Not yet seen at end of quarter who have been waiting (weeks)
13to <17859
17 to <21261
21 to <260
26 and over0


Department of Health form QM08.

Patients waiting for elective in-patient admission and electivein-patient admission events: England: Quarter 2 2003–04: Provider based

Patients waiting for admission by monthswaiting
AdmissiontypeTotal number of patients waiting for admissionLess than 3 months3–5 months6–8 months9–11 months
Day case6,9214,7521,523535111

Admission typeDecisions to admitAdmissionsFailed to attendRemovalsSelf deferralsSuspensions
Day case8,5897,2503411,167552211


Department of Health forms KH07, KH06 and KH07A.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS has spent in each of the last five years on pain management research. [140576]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 1 December 2003]: Management of much of the research supported by national health service research and development

8 Dec 2003 : Column 317W

funding is devolved and expenditure at project level is not held centrally by the Department. Details of on-going and recently completed research projects funded by, or of interest to, the NHS are available on the national research register at

Current projects include a £0.7 million trial of a primary-care based cognitive behavioural programme for low back pain, a £0.6 million study of the comparative effectiveness of topical and oral Ibuprofen for the treatment of chronic knee pain in older people, and a £0.6 million study of interventions for pain relief in patients with abdominal malignancy.

Sexual Health

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average waiting time for each genito-urinary medicine clinic in England from first walking into the clinic to being treated for (a) men and (b) women was in 2003; and what the figures were in (i) 2000 and (ii) 1997; [140601]

8 Dec 2003 : Column 318W

Miss Melanie Johnson: These data are not currently collected centrally. We are examining with the Health Protection Agency ways in which data on waiting times at genito-urinary medicine clinics can be obtained. Early next year, we will be undertaking pilot surveys in a number of genito-urinary medicine clinics, where patients will be asked to complete a short anonymous questionnaire seeking information on waiting times in days. Because data on postcode will be collected it will be possible to calculate average waiting times for the residents of individual primary care trusts. If the pilots are successful the first main survey of clinics will be undertaken in 2004.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on measures to tackle the incidence of sexual ill health; and what steps he is taking to improve access to (a) medical advice and (b) treatment for people suffering from a sexually transmitted infection. [140695]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government are concerned about the poor state of sexual health and remain committed to tackling increasing rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through the Sexual Health and HIV strategy. Reducing transmissions of STIs is a complex issue that will involve people in changing their behaviour. We are drawing on the best evidence on what works to achieve this. Our "sex lottery'" campaign is designed to improve awareness of STIs and how to avoid them. The Department has invested over £35 million in the past two years in specialist genito-urinary medicine clinics, including an additional £15 million just announced for capital investment. This funding will increase capacity in services and reduce waiting times, thereby helping primary care trusts to offer quicker access to diagnosis and treatment. We are also rolling out a chlamydia screening programme and investing £8 million to convert laboratories in every area to a superior and more reliable test for chlamydia.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) sexual health and (b) genito-urinary medicine clinics there are in England; how many there were in (i) 2000 and (ii) 1997; and how many have walk-in facilities. [140705]

Miss Melanie Johnson: There are currently 208 genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics in England. In 2000 there were 207 and in 1997 there were 208. The Department is investing £1.8 million this year and in next two financial years to pump-prime development of GUM services in 10 areas and expand service capacity.

Sexual health clinics are integrated services providing a range of advice, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and contraception. Data are not collected on numbers of these services or how many clinics provide walk-in facilities.

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