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12 Jan 2004 : Column 591Wcontinued
Miss Melanie Johnson: An annual report on progress made in Government-funded research and development relating to assistive technology is required pursuant to Section 22 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. The report for 2002 was laid before the House on 27 November 2003. Copies have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what action the Government is taking to guarantee that everyone in Dorset who can benefit from a digital hearing aid provided on the NHS will have received one by April 2005; 
Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 18 December 2003]: The question of whether someone can benefit from a digital hearing aid is one of clinical judgment. The Modernising Hearing Aid Services Project, in which the Government are investing £94 million for the two financial years 200304 and 200405, will ensure that all audiology departments in England will be fitting digital hearing aids routinely by April 2005.
Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children are awaiting BCG vaccination as a result of the interruption in its administration between August 2002 and the beginning of 2003; and if he will make a statement. 
There were no supplies of BCG vaccine from August to November 2002, following Evans Vaccines' voluntarily withdrawal of all batches of their BCG as a precautionary measure after discovering, during stability testing, that a number of batches did not comply with the requirements of their registered specifications for potency during its shelf life. This was a decision taken by the company outside of our control and was wholly unexpected.
However, district immunisation co-ordinators were asked to arrange catch-up programmes for children in their areas who may have missed out receiving their BCG immunisation once supplies were available from 25 November 2002.
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the safety of blood plasma and other blood products sourced in the USA following the positive testing for BSE in the USA; 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The arrangements currently in place for importing blood plasma from the United States are based on the objective to secure long term supplies of non-United Kingdom blood plasma to ensure that the global plasma shortage would not reduce to national health service patients the availability of life saving plasma products, such as immunoglobulins and clotting factors.
The NHS has been using US sourced plasma since 1998 because of the unknown and unquantifiable risk of transmission of vCJD through blood. The US was the only country able to supply the quality and quantity of plasma required. The US also has a well established pool of donors, a well regulated environment and a developed collection industry. We are aware of the one case of BSE reported in the US, which is considered to be a negligible risk to the safety of the blood supply. This case is not in itself a reason to alter current arrangements but we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The regulatory and advisory bodies responsible to the Department of Health for blood safety are the National Blood Authority and the Government expert Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissues for Transplantation.
Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what statistics his Department collates on the incidence of blood borne diseases in recipients of blood products; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when blood testing for contaminated blood product-induced infections was started (a) with consent and (b) without consent; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The safety of blood and blood products used in the National Health Service is of paramount importance. The current high levels of safety are achieved by screening out potential high-risk donors and then further testing of every unit of donated blood for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV before it is released to hospitals. Diagnostic tests became available for Hepatitis B in 1972, for Hepatitis C in 1991 and for HIV in 1984. It is a matter for health professionals to ensure
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that consent for testing is obtained. Guidance on consent to examination and treatment is available on the Department's web-site at www.doh.gov.uk/consent.
Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the (a) methodology and (b) effectiveness of screening for infections of (i) blood products and (ii) whole blood to be used by the NHS; and if he will make a statement; 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The National Blood Authority (NBA) and the Health Protection Agency have an infectious surveillance scheme that monitors the effectiveness of the blood screening programme and the methodology employed. The NBA also complies with the annually updated expert guidelines produced by the Council of Europe and with the requirements laid down in the European Union Directive 2002/98 on setting standards of quality and safety for the collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution of human blood and blood components.
The Government's Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissues for Transplantation provides expert advice to the UK Blood Transfusion Services on blood screening tests. The latest "Serious Hazards of Transfusion" report, published on 17 July 2003, indicated that the risks of transfusion transmitted infections in the United Kingdom are exceedingly small.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency has initiated a risk assessment to assess any potential impact on United Kingdom licensed medicinal products, including vaccines, that are manufactured using bovine derived materials from the United States following the announcement of the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a cow in the USA.
(3) how much his Department spent on primary prevention of breast cancer in 200203. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Department funds an extensive health improvement and prevention programme aimed chiefly at preventing cancer and coronary heart disease, which are the two main causes of mortality.
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Health improvement and prevention work is also undertaken directly by primary care trusts (PCTs). From April 2003, 75 per cent. of the national health service budget has been devolved directly to PCTs allowing them control of the resources to deliver on both national and local priorities, including cancer.
Funding for programmes on tobacco control and smoking cessation, improving nutrition and diet and increasing levels of physical activity all contribute not only to cancer prevention, but also to preventing coronary heart disease. It is not possible to identify the amounts in these programmes that contribute solely to cancer prevention or to the prevention of any particular form of cancer.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Government provided towards the cost of care home places per person in (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) Coventry in the last year for which figures are available. 
Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 17 December 2003]: The Government do not directly allocate funds to local authorities towards the cost of care home places. Rather it provides general funding, distributed by the formula spending share, and revenue grants and capital resources for specific purposes. Personal social services funding for 200405 was set out in the Local Authority Social Services Letter LASSL(2003)8 of 19 November 2003. The LASSL can be accessed at: http://www. doh.gov.uk/publications/coinh.html
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nursing and care home places meet statutory requirements for people over 65 with sensory impairment, broken down by local authority. 
Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is not available by local authority. Information broken down by National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) area office is shown in the table. In applying the standards through registration, the NCSC seeks evidence of a commitment to continuous improvement, quality services, support, accommodation and facilities which will assure a good quality of life and health for service users.
At 1 October 2003, the latest date for which information is available, there were a total number of 182 care homes registered for sensory impairment for elderly people. These homes provided a total number of 1,582 places.
|Area office||No of services||No of places|
|Ashton Under Lyne||36||120|
|South West London||2||44|
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Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's strategy for ensuring that there are sufficient care and nursing home places which meet statutory requirements for people over 65 with sensory impairment to satisfy demand. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Government has made available substantial increases in the level of funding provided for social services in recent years. Between 199697 and 200203, the overall level of funding has increased by 20 per cent., an average real terms annual increase of around three per cent. We intend to increase further resources to social services for personal social services by an annual average of six per cent, in real terms from 200304 to 200506.
|Number of places|
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