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Speech and Language Therapists

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether speech and language therapy undergraduates will be charged top-up fees from 2006. [144536]

Mr. Hutton: Existing contracts between strategic health authorities and higher education institutions cover the full cost of training and top-up fees are not charged. The consultation document, Funding Learning and Development for the Healthcare Workforce, sets out our proposal for a national model contract. It is intended that this contract for National Health Service-funded pre-registration courses, which will include speech and language therapy undergraduates, to be introduced from 1 April 2004, will specifically prohibit the charging of top-up fees to students.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his Answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, columns 319–20W, on tuberculosis, what

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research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the reasons for the increase in TB cases; what steps are being taken to deal with the problem; and if he will make a statement. [143951]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has not commissioned any research into the increase in tuberculosis cases. Within any given area, the number of notified cases fluctuates from year-to-year. The number of cases of tuberculosis notified nationally declined until the mid-1980s, but has been generally rising since then. The fluctuations in the number of tuberculosis cases in the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire area are not

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considered to have any additional significance beyond the national trends. At a local level, health professionals are constantly monitoring any cases and keeping the situation under general surveillance.

The Department ran a national tuberculosis awareness campaign in 2002. This aimed to increase the awareness of tuberculosis, encourage early access to diagnosis and treatment and reduce delays in diagnosis and completion of treatment and encourage early diagnosis for cases of active tuberculosis and preventative measures. As a result of the campaign and improved surveillance, both detection and diagnosis of the condition has improved.