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14 Jan 2004 : Column 794W—continued

Winter Fuel Payments

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what percentage of people eligible for Winter Fuel Payments for 2003 received their payments by (a) 1 December 2003 and (b) 1 January; and if he will make a statement; [147476]

Malcolm Wicks: To date a total of 11,570,389 Winter Fuel Payments have been made in Great Britain for winter 2003–04. Of these 11,543,117 were issued by

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1 December 2003. A further 27,272 payments were processed and issued by 1 January 2004.

We cannot provide an estimate of the percentage of eligible people in receipt of a Winter Fuel Payment using DWP administrative data because we do not have complete information on household circumstances and payments are based on household composition.

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps have been taken to ensure that all people eligible for Winter Fuel Payments for 2003 have received their payments; and if he will make a statement. [147478]

Malcolm Wicks: Most payments are made automatically, without the need to claim. Each year, we are able to identify most people likely to become newly eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment using current departmental records and they are sent claim forms automatically with an invitation to make a claim. This year they have until 30 March 2004 to make their claim.

From June each year a publicity campaign is launched which continues through to the cut off date for applications in March. The campaign includes advertisements in national and regional press and leaflets and posters. There is also a Winter Fuel Payment helpline which is open all year round and information on the internet which is updated each year with specific details for that year's payment.



Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for each of the maternal deaths associated with termination of pregnancy for the period 1991-1999, (a) under what section of the Abortion Act 1967 the termination of pregnancy was being performed, (b) at what stage of gestation the pregnancy was and (c) what the age of the mother was. [146478]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The following information, on the eight maternal deaths associated with termination of pregnancy for the period 1991-1999, has been taken from the relevant triennial Report on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom. This is the only information available as after preparation of the Report, and before publication, all the maternal deaths report forms and related documents and files are destroyed.

Grounds for the abortion were stated only in the reports for one case, which said "foetal abnormalities incompatible with life."

The available information for gestation is shown in the table.

GestationNumber of cases
Under 10 2
10 to 121
13 to 193
20 plus0
"early pregnancy"1
"mid trimester"1

For age, there were three references to "young woman", two for women in their "twenties" and one for a woman in her "thirties". In the other two cases, age was not stated.

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Birth Defects

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects on the incidence of birth defects of living close to landfill sites; and if he will make a statement. [143794]

Miss Melanie Johnson: A number of scientific studies have investigated whether there are higher than usual levels of congenital anomalies (birth defects) in populations living near to landfill sites, but no clear picture has emerged.

The Government commissioned the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) at Imperial College to carry out a national study (Elliott et al, BMJ 2001; 323: 363–8, available at A full report is at aug13.pdf). SAHSU found a small increase in congenital anomalies in populations living close to landfill sites. The study has not shown, or indeed could show, a causal link between landfill sites and birth defects. The independent expert Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) noted that the findings for birth outcomes were not consistent, and that the study provided no evidence that the rates of anomalies increased after sites had opened. COT advised that it is inappropriate to draw firm conclusions from the results. The opinion of COT is at SAHSU also specifically analysed the data on birth outcomes in populations living near "special waste" landfill sites in Scotland, and found no evidence to suggest an excess risk of congenital anomalies (Morris et al, Scottish Medical Journal 2003; 48: 105–107,

The Government have in place a research programme on the impacts on health of landfill sites. The report of one project, which reviewed the potential for chemicals which may be released from landfill sites to affect the unborn child, is at The programme also includes reviews of the known causes and the geographical variation of congenital anomalies. Another project, funded by the Environment Agency, is undertaking detailed monitoring of emissions from landfill sites in order to assess the exposure of people living and working nearby. SAHSU is examining the geographical variation of congenital anomalies and is conducting an epidemiological study of Down's syndrome in relation to landfill sites in England and Wales.


Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cardiologists in the West Midlands specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of complex disorders of heart rhythm requiring ablation of parts of the conducting system; and how long the waiting list is for this treatment. [147679]

Dr. Ladyman: The table shows the number of cardiologists working within each of the West Midlands strategic health authority areas as of June 2003.

14 Jan 2004 : Column 797W

Strategic health authorityNumber of cardiologists
Birmingham and the Black Country38
West Midlands South 15
Shropshire and Staffordshire 15


Department of Health Medical and Dental Workforce Census.

The Department does not hold information centrally on the particular specialism of each clinician. Waiting times for this procedure are not collected separately from other cardiological procedures, but the maximum waiting time for all in-patient procedures is currently 12 months and will be nine months by the end of March 2005.

Castle Point and Rochford PCT

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many requests for an independent review against Castle Point and Rochford Primary Care Trust's decisions relating to Health Care Funding have been received in the last 12 months; and how many were upheld. [147597]

Dr. Ladyman: I am advised by Essex strategic health authority (SHA) that the continuing care panel has heard one case in relation to Castle Point and Rochford Primary Care Trust (PCT) and has one case pending.

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I am further advised that in the case that was heard, the panel was of the view that the PCT's decision was correct and that the SHA was advised accordingly.

The latest published figures for national health service written complaints for 2002–03 are available on the Department's website at


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) principal and (b) assistant dentists there were in (i) England, (ii) each NHS region and (iii) each strategic health authority who (A) offered NHS treatment and (B) had vacancies for NHS patients, in each of the last five years. [146218]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The number of dentists providing general dental services dentistry in September in each of the years 1999 to 2003 is shown in table 1, separately for principal dentists and for dental assistants. The figures given prior to 2002 are derived from the old health authority areas.

Information on dentists taking on new national health service patients is available on the web-site. The number of dentists accepting new NHS patients on 4 December 2003 is shown in table 2 for three main patient categories. This information is not available separately for principals and assistants. Earlier information is not available.

Table 1: Number of general dental service dentists in England by region and strategic health authority for September 1999 to 2003

Principal Dentists
Northern and Yorkshire1,9121,9271,986
West Midlands1,4981,5241,516
North West2,0912,0962,103
South East3,0053,0393,090
South and West1,7471,7871,783
Strategic Health Authority
Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire802796796787679
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire584583599588563
Birmingham and The Black Country630630631648890
Cheshire and Merseyside756763764762764
County Durham and Tees Valley319323334345489
Coventry, Warks, Herefordshire and Worcs.471477477489493
Cumbria and Lancashire591586598595658
Dorset and Somerset400419413416498
Greater Manchester909916911844678
Hampshire and Isle Of Wight557565568565431
Kent and Medway521509508505680
Leics, Northants and Rutland411405411416588
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire615609615624807
North and East Yorkshire and N. Lincs472483501503473
North Central London527537541552368
North East London420431442417532
North West London 786800792771675
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear 439442448458407
Shropshire and Staffordshire 397417408415492
South East London 482505503492504
South West London 529517537541169
South West Peninsula 545572574557511
South Yorkshire 314327333408400
Surrey and Sussex 1,0251,0501,0811,0801,009
Thames Valley 749768782783829
Trent 716717716725859
West Yorkshire 657649674685726
Assistant Dentists
Northern and Yorkshire545968
West Midlands695788
North West957698
South East211223273
South and West102111133
Strategic health authority
Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire5268676567
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire44105849243
Birmingham and The Black Country2729414367
Cheshire and Merseyside4230434152
County Durham and Tees Valley107121016
Coventry, Warks, Herefordshire and Worcs.1814242244
Cumbria and Lancashire2824293044
Dorset and Somerset2218303739
Greater Manchester2725313441
Hampshire and Isle Of Wight6644647138
Kent and Medway3550536676
Leics, Northants and Rutland1417191952
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire81128117125107
North and East Yorkshire and N. Lincs1820151529
North Central London4669515319
North East London8252606160
North West London 6764837752
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear 10881421
Shropshire and Staffordshire 2414231622
South East London 4338454047
South West London 3446565410
South West Peninsula 2825364337
South Yorkshire 1412161931
Surrey and Sussex 5064798274
Thames Valley 5153697956
Trent 3845537467
West Yorkshire 1825362645


Assistant dentist numbers do not include VDP's (vocational dental practitioners).

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Table 2: Number of general dental service dentists recorded on NHS.UK as accepting new NHS patients by strategic health authority on 4 December 2003.

Strategic Health AuthorityCharge paying adultsCharge exempt adultsChildren
Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire71103146
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire455537650
Birmingham and the Black Country469506552
Cheshire and Merseyside571616756
County Durham and Tees Valley375384412
Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire197200270
Cumbria and Lancashire102212102
Dorset and Somerset616081
Greater Manchester450430574
Hampshire and Isle Of Wight69103184
Kent and Medway173233313
Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland167164184
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire413437543
North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire127156191
North Central London390392486
North East London267294252
North West London369465568
Northumberland, Tyne And Wear468456479
Shropshire and Staffordshire6785159
South East London406529586
South West London260323382
South West Peninsula8441130
South Yorkshire250202288
Surrey and Sussex362455689
Thames Valley246302449
West Yorkshire294359390

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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people aged (a) 17 years or under and (b) 18 years or over were registered with an NHS dentist in (i) England, (ii) each NHS region and (iii) each strategic health authority in each of the last five years; and what proportion each represents of the relevant age group. [146219]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information showing the number of people and the percentage of the population registered with a general dental service dentist by national health service region and strategic health authority at 30 September for each of the last five years, has been placed in the Library. The figures given prior to 2002 are derived from the old health authority areas. Following reorganisation, figures for NHS regions are not available from September 2002 onwards.

Registrations lapse if patients do not return to their dentist within 15 months and so the registration figures exclude patients who have not been to their dentist within the past 15 months. The figures also exclude patients who receive dental treatment from other NHS dental services including dental access centres and those patients who choose not to register and who seek treatment on an occasional basis.

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