20 Jan 2004 : Column 1103W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 20 January 2004


Organ Donation

16. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the findings of the most recent survey of people's perceptions of organ donation. [148800]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Research has confirmed that 90 per cent. of the UK population support organ donation and nearly 20 per cent. have registered their intention to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Children's Hospices

17. Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the funding of children's hospices. [148801]

Dr. Ladyman: Funding for children's hospices is available through primary care trusts which are responsible for funding health care for their resident population. Local authorities can also fund services, including children's respite care. The New Opportunities Fund has provided £48 million over three years in support of palliative care projects for children.

Hepatitis C

18. Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the proposed introduction of a compensation scheme for hepatitis C sufferers infected with contaminated blood products. [148802]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Work on the detail of the scheme is being finalised and we hope to be in a position to announce the details soon.

World Health Organisation

19. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's contribution to the work of the World Health Organisation. [148803]

Mr. Hutton: The Department of Health is responsible for the United Kingdom's annual subscription to the World Health Organisation. This contribution is based on the United Nation scales of assessment, with the UK contributing—in 2003–04—5.5 per cent. of WHO's regular programme budget, or £13.5 million. In addition the Department supports WHO in practical ways, including secondment of staff, membership of expert committees and work in the formal meetings of the governing bodies of WHO.

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NHS Dentistry

20. Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the provision of NHS dental treatment in North Lincolnshire. [148804]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government remain committed to ensuring that national health service dentistry is available to all who need it and seek it. We recognise however that access to NHS dentistry can be difficult in some areas. We have announced additional resources totalling £59 million over this year and next to support dental access.

A NHS support team is working with the hardest pressed areas, including North East Lincolnshire, and we hope that this and other local initiatives will ease the pressure on dental services in North Lincolnshire. We have also made available a one-off payment of £30,000 to North Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust to improve access to NHS dentists. The PCT will use this money to extend a general dental practice in the area, which will allow that practice to register more NHS patients on an agreed basis over a three year period.

We are also working with the PCTs and dentists in North and North East Lincolnshire to see what support can be provided to move dentists on to personal dental services arrangements, which would take them off the bureaucratic treadmill of item of service fees.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of the 2001 restrictions on non-EU-trained dentists practising in the United Kingdom on the availability of dentistry. [147504]

Ms Rosie Winterton: From 2001, the General Dental Council (GDC) ceased making visitations to dental schools in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, with the result that dentists who qualified after this date and wish to practise here have to sit the GDC's international qualifying examination. The number of dentists from those countries admitted to the GDC register since 2000 is shown in the table.

AustraliaNew ZealandSouth Africa

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many foreign-trained dentists were practising in the United Kingdom in each year since 1990, broken down by (a) headcount and (b) full-time equivalents. [147505]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The table shows the number of general dental service (GDS) foreign-trained dentists practising in England and Wales in each year since 1993. Information is not available for years before 1993.

Information on a full-time equivalent basis is not available. GDS dentists can vary the amount of dental work they do and the proportion carried out in the GDS.

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General Dental Service: Number of foreign trained dentists practising in England and Wales—September each year

Number of dentists


1. Dentists include principal, assistant and vocational dental practitioners.

2. Dentists exclude those whose status is currently shown as Statutory Exam or Awaiting Entry.

Respite Care

21. Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to promote respite care. [148805]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government are committed to seeing a range of services available locally for people who need services and their carers.

The carers grant has provided an extra £325 million since 1999 to support local councils in arranging breaks services for carers.

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role he envisages for the private sector in providing respite care facilities for people with learning difficulties. [148687]

Dr. Ladyman: The private sector has an important role in providing respite care and short break services for people with learning disabilities and we envisage that this will continue to be the case. Respite care and short break services should provide high quality and flexible support to people with learning disabilities and their families. Such support can be provided in different ways by agencies from a variety of sectors including the private sector. People with learning disabilities can also use direct payments to directly purchase for themselves services, from a variety of sources, to meet their assessed needs include respite care and short breaks.

Ehler-Danlos Disease

22. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will fund research into Ehler-Danlos disease. [148806]

Dr. Ladyman: The Medical Research Council (MRC) is not currently funding any research into Ehlers-Danlos though it does fund a number of research projects into connective tissue and also into collagen physiology. The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding.

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Coronary Heart Disease

23. Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the most recent statistics for the mortality rate from coronary heart disease are in the area covered by the Bolton primary care trust. [148807]

Miss Melanie Johnson: In 2002, the most recent year for which data are available, the mortality rate from coronary heart disease for residents of Bolton Primary Care Trust was 230 male deaths per 100,000 population and 108 female deaths per 100,000 population.

Audiology Services

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what performance indicators are in place for NHS audiology services. [149081]

Dr. Ladyman: There are no national performance indicators for national health service audiology services. It is for primary care trusts to plan these services in response to the needs of their local communities.

Delayed Discharges

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to fine social services departments in the case of delayed discharges in community hospitals. [148370]

Dr. Ladyman: We plan to extend the system of reimbursement for delayed discharges to all hospital patients in a phased way, once it begins to make an impact in the acute sector.

Emergency Readmissions

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason his Department no longer collects information for patients aged 75 and over on emergency readmissions to hospital within 28 days of discharge. [149008]

Dr. Ladyman: The target, and subsequently the collection of monitoring information on emergency readmissions, was changed from that relating only to patients aged 75 because it was perceived as being ageist in that older people could be denied access to hospital services in order to meet a performance target. Emergency readmissions targets and data collections have, therefore, covered all ages since April 2002.

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