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12 Jan 2004 : Column 608W—continued

Maternity Services

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what response he will make to the Fourth, Eighth and Ninth reports of the Health Select Committee on maternity services in session 2002–03. [143413]

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Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 11 December 2003]: A response will be made shortly taking into account the document Building on the Best-Choice, Responsiveness and Equity in the NHS, which was launched on 9 December 2003.

Medicines and Health Care ProductsRegulatory Agency

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the objectives of the Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency are in relation to (a) the development of the pharmaceutical industry and (b) the protection of public health; how performance against these objectives is evaluated; and how any conflict between the objectives is overcome. [145364]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The primary goal of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the protection of public health through the regulation of medicines and medical devices.

Its aims and objectives are set out in its business plan, which is available in the Library. There are no specific objectives relating to the development of the pharmaceutical industry. The business plan does, however, contain measures of the efficiency of its performance of services for the pharmaceutical industry.

Performance is evaluated internally and reported quarterly to the Secretary of State for Health. The MHRA is subject regularly to internal audit and to external audit by the National Audit Office.

Mental Health

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has had with the Department for International Development regarding the rights of people suffering from mental health problems in the developing world. [144841]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 18 December 2003]: The Department of Health provides funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO) collaborating centre at the Institute for Psychiatry to work closely with the Department for International Development and a number of governments of low and middle income countries.

In addition, the United Kingdom national counterpart for mental health to the WHO, based at the National Institute for Mental Health in England, has been involved in the WHO global fellowship programme which aims to train senior policy makers in developing countries in mental health policy and service development and implementation.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the risk of developing a mental illness, broken down by (a) region and (b) socio-economic status. [146335]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: Information is available from independent longitudinal research about the relationship between risk factors and the likelihood of an individual within the population developing a mental illness.

The Department of Health does not assess this directly. However, the Office for National Statistics ( collects information on a systematic basis about current correlates of mental illness, including age, gender, socio-economic status, physical health and other factors, and estimates mental illness prevalence rates.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on (a) the findings of the national survey of ethnic minority psychiatric illness rates in the community and (b) the action he will take as a result. [144812]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The national survey of ethnic minority psychiatric illness rates in the community (EMPIRIC study) was a major survey of psychiatric illness rates in the community amongst ethnic minority adults aged 16–74 living in England. The survey was used to make comparisons with the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in the general population. The findings were released in May 2002.

The results of this survey allow, for the first time, detailed analysis of the mental health of ethnic minority groups and comparisons with a general white population. It contains data on common mental disorders, psychosis, social functioning, physical health, use of services and social support. The report identifies different rates of common mental disorders and psychotic illness between minority ethnic groups.

In order to combat the inequality experience by black and minority ethnic mental health service users, "Delivering Race Equality: Guidance for Services" was launched on 17 October for consultation. This marks the start of a major programme by the National Institute for Mental Health in England on black and minority ethnic mental health.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons five of the posts for regional microbiologists formerly filled by group directors of the Public Health Laboratory Service are vacant. [145039]

Miss Melanie Johnson: There are nine regional microbiologist posts in the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Four of these have been filled by former Public Health Laboratory Service group laboratory directors, following internal advertisement, applying procedures in accordance with the change management protocol which was agreed when the HPA was created. The remaining five positions were subsequently advertised externally and the process for assessing and interviewing candidates is underway.

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Mid-Essex Hospital Trust

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the latest available figures are for the total number of people waiting for in-patient treatment in the Mid Essex Hospital Trust area. [143752]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 16 December 2003]: I am advised that, as of 13 October 2003, there were 8,040 patients waiting for elective admission at Mid Essex Hospital Trust.


Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investigations the (a) Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and (b) the Committee on the Safety of Medicines have conducted into the two suspected fatal reactions associated with the use of Mifegyne; and with what results. [146479]

Miss Melanie Johnson: As with all marketed medicines, the safety of Mifegyne (mifepristone, an antiprogestogenic steroid that is used for the medical termination of intra-uterine pregnancy) is continuously monitored by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The MHRA has carefully evaluated the two reports received via the Yellow Card Scheme of fatal suspected

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adverse reactions associated with the use of Mifegyne. This assessment has included details from the post-mortems received in the initial report or via follow-up information obtained from the marketing authorisation holder. The MHRA has concluded that the two cases did not require alteration of the advice to health professionals in the summary of product characteristics and did not affect the balance of risks and benefits of mifepristone. The Committee on Safety of Medicines was not asked to consider these cases.

The reporting of a suspected adverse drug reaction does not necessarily mean that the drug was responsible. Many factors, such as the medical condition that is being treated, other pre-existing illnesses or other medications might have contributed. In one of the cases, the fatal suspected reaction that was reported is recognised to occur with greater frequency during pregnancy or surgery, irrespective of the use of mifepristone.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reports of MRSA there were in (a) England, (b) each region and (c) each strategic health authority in each of the last six years. [140859]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 3 December 2003]: The national mandatory surveillance system for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections (bacteraemias), started in April 2001 and the available data are shown in the tables.

Department of Health mandatory bacteraemia surveillance scheme—MRSA bacteraemia by region—Acute NHS trusts

RegionsTotal NumberS.aureus bacteraemia April 01 to March 02 Methicillin resistantPercentageTotal numberS.aureus bacteraemia April 02 to March 03 Methicillin resistantPercentagePercentage difference MRSA between the two years
North East93136339.095338039.94.5
Yorkshire and Humberside2,02871435.22,08666431.8-7.5
East Midlands1,37454339.51,34949436.6-9.9
South East2,2051,01245.92,41798940.90.8
South West1,74569639.91,75673842.05.7
West Midlands1,86376140.81,90881242.66.3
North West2,58086733.62,65893435.17.2

Provisional data

Strategic health authority(24)Total MRSA(25)Total MRSA
Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire386389
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire192173
Birmingham and the Black Country452455
Cheshire and Merseyside286344
County Durham and Tees Valley171155
Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire153182
Cumbria and Lancashire236215
Dorset and Somerset74139
Greater Manchester345375
Hampshire and Isle of Wight209200
Kent and Medway222205
Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland203189
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire368392
North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire213151
North central London359376
North east London238246
North west London362387
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear192225
Shropshire and Staffordshire156175
South east London345406
South west London267244
South west Peninsula236210
South Yorkshire141156
Surrey and Sussex360341
Thames Valley221243
West Yorkshire360357

(24) April 2001 to March 2002

(25) April 2002 to March 2003

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