Previous Section Index Home Page

15 Jan 2004 : Column 851W—continued


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 310W, on diabetes, what bodies were specifically advised of the 2002 Diabetes Consultation Exercise; what the duration was of the exercise; how it was researched; how many responses the Department received; what its terms of reference were; how the replies were evaluated; and what steps were taken to publish the findings. [147743]

Ms Rosie Winterton: A general public consultation on the broad future research agenda for diabetes was undertaken to support the joint Department of Health and Medical Research Council review of current and future research in diabetes. The remit of the research advisory committee that conducted the review was to consider all research on diabetes in the United Kingdom in the international context, with a view to identifying opportunities for new research, options for strengthening research, and areas where research could support clinical practice, public health and the national service framework for diabetes.

Consultation was conducted mainly electronically and continued for three months. A total of 108 submissions were received and evaluated. The review was published in October 2002. A copy is available in the Library. Full details of the process of consultation and the results are set out in Annex 4 of the Review.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis the Department decided during the joint Department of Health and Medical Research Council's review in 2002 of current and future research on diabetes not to make a comparison of clinical outcomes, mortality and complications between the use of animal insulin and human insulin. [148049]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department of Health and the Medical Research Council's review of current and future research on diabetes identified the principal opportunities for research across the whole field from molecular biology to health services research, including clinical research. The complications of diabetes which give rise to morbidity and to premature mortality were the subject of particular consideration by the members of the advisory committee and of a specific sub-group. A major determinant of the development of these complications in Type 1 diabetes is the control of the blood glucose by self-injection of insulin. The review identified research into the most effective use of existing and new insulin's, better insulin delivery systems, and training in self-management as fundamental to good control in these patients. Much research is being done in these areas. The Committee members did not consider, nor was it suggested to them, that the minor differences in the effects on humans of insulin from different species might contribute to differential rates of development of the complications of diabetes.

Disease Screening

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that all (a) economic migrants, (b) asylum seekers and (c) those with work permits receive a health screen for (i) hepatitis B, (ii) hepatitis C,

15 Jan 2004 : Column 852W

(iii) tuberculosis and (iv) HIV/AIDS before they are admitted to the United Kingdom; and what the current policy is. [144006]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 15 December 2003]: The Cabinet Office is currently co-ordinating work between relevant Government Departments, including the Department of Health, to review imported infections and immigration. The review aims to establish the facts about the impact of immigration on public health and national health service expenditure, consider all relevant issues including health screening and propose solutions should action be required. It is on-going and no decisions have been taken yet.

Asylum seekers are offered health assessments and screening for tuberculosis (TB) at the Home Office induction centre in East Kent (and will be offered them at other induction centres as they are rolled out). Testing for HIV is offered as part of the health assessment on request or where medical history indicates they have been at risk. The aims of the health assessment are to identify the immediate healthcare needs of the asylum seeker and to protect public health. Imposing mandatory health screening on asylum seekers would breach their human rights and would be contrary to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

In relation to other migrants, long-standing policy is that any person subject to immigration control who either mentions health or medical treatment as a reason for coming to the United Kingdom, or appears unwell; or is seeking leave to enter the UK for six months or more and is at high risk of having been exposed to TB should be referred by the immigration officer to a medical inspector. These arrangements are governed by Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 and the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 395).

Drugs Treatment

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the variance in criminal offending between patients using the Mapperley Hospital Formula of prescribing and National Treatment Agency for Substance Abuse-recommended methadone dosages and use. [147760]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 13 January 2004]: Departmental officials are aware of the Mapperley Hospital Formula and can confirm that this is fully in line with Department of Health and National Treatment Agency guidance. Drug treatment is one of a number of factors shown to impact on criminal offending. In reflecting current guidance, we would expect the Mapperley Hospital Formula to make a comparable contribution in other areas of the country.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the Mapperley Hospital Formula for prescribing for drug addiction. [147761]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 13 January 2004]: The Mapperley Hospital Formula uses an option that drug specialists have shown to be effective over many years and is fully in line with Department of Health and National Treatment Agency guidance.

15 Jan 2004 : Column 853W

Emergency Readmissions

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what targets were set for 28-day emergency re-admissions of people aged 75 and over in each quarter since 1997. [147307]

Dr. Ladyman: The target for emergency re-admissions within 28 days of discharge has always been to retain zero growth in the rate, year on year. Up to 2001–02, the target related to emergency re-admissions for those aged over 75 only. Since then, the target has related to patients of all ages.


Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of a person's ethnicity on their access to public services within the responsibilities of his Department. [143577]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Department is committed to transforming the health and social care system so that it produces faster, fairer services with equity of access for all.

The most extensive survey on the health of minority ethnic groups ever carried out in England was published in February 2001. The 1999 "Health Survey for England" identified significant health inequalities among people from black and minority ethnic communities and found higher rates of general practitioner consultations for minority ethnic groups.

The Department recognises that, as the frequent gateway to other national health service services, access to general practice services for all populations is of primary importance. The 2002 NHS Patient's Survey, based on a sample obtained from the electoral register and with 145,000 responses, found that at least 99 per cent. of people from each ethnic group were registered with a GP.

Since 2003, these surveys have been carried out by individual NHS organisations but are collated and analysed at the national level by the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI).

Equality of access is also central to the Department's policy on social services and the Personal Social Services Performance Assessment Framework indicators provide statistical overview of social services performance in key areas including fair access.

The Department has made a commitment to the collection of ethnic origin information using the 2001 Census categories and has guidance in place to ensure that consideration of the collection of relevant race equality information is part of the process of establishing all new central data sets.

The creation of more equal access for black and minority ethnic people is an integral and vital aspect of the Department's programme of investment and reform. "Building on the Best, Choice Responsiveness and Equity in the NHS", December 2003, aims to promote equality of access to health care for all and sets the challenge of providing high quality, accessible services that meet the individual needs of an increasingly

15 Jan 2004 : Column 854W

diverse population while also being underpinned by the values of fairness and equity. Copies are available in the Library.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in how many speeches during 2003 he declared support for the Government's policy on the euro. [147297]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, on 12 January 2004, Official Report, columns 516–17W.

Next Section Index Home Page