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12 Feb 2004 : Column 1682W—continued

Cancer Survey

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the analysis of the National Patient Cancer Survey commissioned by his Department. [153107]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The analysis of the national cancer patient survey is expected to be completed shortly. A copy of the analysis will be placed in the Library then.

Cardiac Treatment (Brighton Hospitals)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis decisions are taken on whether persons receiving cardiac treatment at Brighton hospitals have (a) their travel expenses, (b) the

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accommodation costs of spouses or carers and (c) the travel expenses of spouses or carers met from public funds. [154874]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department of Health has provided guidance on the Hospital Travel Costs Scheme. Primary Care Trusts are responsible for reimbursing provider units for the payments made under the scheme to all patients who are resident in their districts and eligible. Procedures for processing such claims should be agreed locally. Further information about the scheme can be found at http://www.

Care Homes

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of availability of care home places in London and the South on the well-being of elderly people. [153998]

Dr. Ladyman: There were 12,200 care homes with 209,000 places in London and the South at 31 March 2001.

Figures for later years have been collected by the National Care Standards Commission but comparable details are not yet available.

It is up to local councils to determine the range of care options, including residential care home places, that are needed to ensure the well being of their local population. This information should then inform their commissioning strategies and decisions.

Care Registrations

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the National Care Standards Commission in processing new registrations. [154610]

Dr. Ladyman: The National Care Standards Commission is working hard to process new registrations as quickly as possible, never losing sight of the need to raise standards in the care sector.

Care Workers

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in England are employed as care workers; and how many vacancies there are for care workers. [153915]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 11 February2004]: The number of vacancies for care staff in England is not available centrally.

The estimated whole-time equivalent number of care staff employed by local authorities' social services departments in England as at 30 September 2002 (the latest date for which data are available) was 78,230. This excludes field social workers, central strategic and other administrative and support staff. The number of care staff employed in the private and voluntary sectors is not available centrally.

For too long the work of social care workers in our community has been undervalued and under-rated making recruitment difficult. The Department of Health is determined to give all the assistance it can to

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tackle this problem. As part of our ongoing action in this area a new National Social Care Recruitment Campaign was launched on 2 February 2004. The purpose of the campaign is to recruit more people to the social care workforce, with a particular emphasis on attracting more people to work with older people. The five week campaign will appear on television and milk cartons and in a range of press titles.

We have been meeting with local authorities and communicating with independent sector employers to maximise the impact of this campaign, so that they can use the interest generated by the campaign to promote and advertise their own social care vacancies to coincide with the campaign period.

The main objective of our social care worker recruitment campaign is to show the depth and variety of work in which social care workers are involved and the many benefits they bring to so many people's lives. The campaign was produced following extensive research with potential and existing social care workers and dialogue with stakeholders.

Childhood Immunisation

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of children did not receive any of the standard childhood immunisations in 2003. [152996]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Information about the uptake childhood immunisations is published annually in Department of Health Statistical Bulletins. The latest bulletin, NHS Immunisation Statistics, England: 2002–03, is available in the Library and on the Department's web-site at

Consultant Contracts (Lancashire)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on consultant contracts in the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust. [153487]

Miss Melanie Johnson: All national health service trusts in England are now implementing the new contract for medical and dental consultants and are using the new consultant job planning system to ensure that this new investment brings the maximum benefits for patient care and for the quality of consultants' working lives. It is a matter for individual trusts and their consultants locally to agree how best to achieve these objectives.

Contaminated Blood

Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the countries from which the NHS purchases plasma and blood products; and in which of these countries there have been cases of (a) CJD, (b) vCJD and (c) BSE. [153861]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Plasma for fractionation into plasma products and fresh frozen plasma for neonates and children born after 1 January 1996 is imported from the United States. There has been one case of variant CJD in the US in a patient who had been resident in the United Kingdom. In December 2003, the US reported one case of BSE. Naturally occurring CJD occurs in one in one million people world-wide.

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Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the National Blood Transfusion Committee has completed its contingency logistics plan on how to deal with possible blood shortages resulting from measures taken to reduce the risk of transmission of vCJD by blood transfusion; and when it will be published. [153862]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The National Blood Transfusion Committee (NBTC) has been developing contingency plans relating to blood shortages in general and not specifically to shortages resulting from any measures taken to reduce the possible transmission of vCJD through blood transfusion. The NBTC will distribute plans to hospitals later this year.

Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ban foreign nationals who have received blood in countries with confirmed cases of BSE from donating blood in the UK. [153863]

Miss Melanie Johnson: There are no plans to ban foreign nationals from donating blood. The Government Expert Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissue for Transplantation continues to keep this issue under review.

Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his statement on developments in variant CJD of 17 December 2003, Official Report, columns 1571–85, what steps he is taking to encourage the NHS to move towards the greater use of alternatives to blood in non-emergency medical cases. [153878]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Chief Medical Officer's national blood transfusion committee meets in March 2004 and will consider additional proposals for supporting hospitals in the implementation of the "Better Blood Transfusion: Appropriate Use of Blood" initiative. The Department will consider the advice of the committee in deciding the best way forward.

Delayed Discharges (Essex)

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total amount of fines imposed on Essex Social Services Department in January was as a result of delayed discharge of patients from hospital. [154194]

Dr. Ladyman: Figures for legal liability for delayed discharges for individual councils are not held centrally. The hon. Member might wish to contact Essex Social Services direct for this information.

Dietary Strategy

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's strategy is for reducing (a) sugar levels in food and (b) the prevalence of people having excess sugar in their diet. [153117]

Miss Melanie Johnson: There is a NHS Plan (2000) commitment to work with industry to improve the overall balance of the diet, including salt, fat and sugar in food. The Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency are in discussions with the food industry and retailers on reducing the level of salt in processed foods and work on added sugars and fat will follow through 2004.

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Wider initiatives will also have an impact on population average intakes of sugars, including the five-a-day programme, action in schools and the development of the food and health action plan.

The food and health action plan will address diet and nutrition at all stages of the life course and will build on existing work. It will therefore be key for addressing intakes of added sugars, as well as fat and salt.

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