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3 Mar 2004 : Column 1047W—continued

Rural Health Care

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on progress made towards primary care targets set out in the Rural White Paper. [154904]

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Mr. Hutton: Progress made towards the primary care commitments set out in the Rural White Paper was included in the Rural White Paper Review, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Wednesday 14 January 2004.


Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the financial cost of schizophrenia to the NHS in 2003. [154574]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information relating to the financial cost of treating schizophrenia is not collected centrally and no estimate can be made.

Care Workers(Statutory Requirements)

Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the average cost of complying with statutory requirements for each individial care worker in respect of (a) criminal records checks, (b) NVQ training, (c) health and safety training, (d) manual handling training, (e) food hygiene training, (f) first aid training and (g) other statutory requirements. [158236]

Dr. Ladyman: The cost to an employer for a Criminal Records Bureau check is £29 for an enhanced check and £24 for a standard check. This will increase to £33 and £28 respectively as of 1 April 2004.

National Vocational Qualification training is not a statutory requirement on all individual social care workers. However the Department's National Minimum Standards set out the proportions of staff that should have achieved NVQ qualification in each type of service provision in order for that provision to be registered by the National Care Services Commission.

For strategic planning purposes, the Department accepts the cost estimate from Topss England, the national training organisation for social care, which is £1,000 per NVQ qualification. This is very approximate because NVQ qualifications differ substantially across the levels, and every worker brings different experience and learning capacity to their assessments.

In respect of other training, it is for the employer of social care workers to ensure that their staff training meets statutory requirements, which vary between different care settings, and no data collection is made centrally of the costs.

To assist employers in this, in addition to the substantial general finance settlement increases to local councils, and the existing Department's Training Support Programme Grant (£56 million), the Department introduced a new National Training Strategy Specific Grant to councils for 2003–04 of £25 million, rising to £31 million next year, and a provisional £95 million the year after. For 2003–04, this grant has a condition attached that councils must spend 50 per cent, of their allocation on workers in the private and voluntary sectors. For 2004–05 and 2005–06 this grant will become a Specific Formula Grant, and cease to be ring fenced, therefore without any conditions. Also the Department funds Topss England £15 million per annum to support the implementation of their National

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Traininmg Strategy. In addition to the Department's grants, funding is being drawn into the system from many other sources, most notably the Learning and Skill Councils.


Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the risk to health of sunbed use; what steps he has taken to ensure sunbed users are made aware of the health risks arising from sunbed use; and if he will make a statement. [156948]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Reports on the effects of ultra-violet radiation (UVR) from the National Radiological Protection Board, the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection and the British Medical Association conclude that there is no direct evidence that sunbed exposure causes skin cancer. By far the greatest source of UVR exposure is the sun. That is why we have taken measures to encourage the public to protect themselves and their children from the risks of unsafe exposure to the sun. We have, with key stakeholders, developed the SunSmart campaign, run by Cancer Research UK. The campaign was launched in March 2003 and funded by the United Kingdom Health Departments. Campaign leaflets and posters were sent to all general practitioner surgeries, secondary schools and health promotion units. Subject to further funding, the forthcoming campaign for summer 2004 will build on the success of last year's campaign.

The potential dangers involved in the use of sunbeds will be the subject of a meeting of experts and industry hosted by SunSmart on 29 March. The campaign will review the latest scientific evidence and develop practical recommendations for better self-regulation.

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The Government acknowledge the risks to young people of exposure to UVR in all of its forms. On sunbeds specifically, the Health and Safety Executive has published guidance for operators and customers of solaria. Included in the advice was that people under 16-years-old should not use sunbeds and that a limit of 20 sessions per year should be observed. This advice was developed after consultation with leading experts and is accepted as good advice.


Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the reasons are for the increase in tuberculosis in London; and if he will make a statement on the remedial action he proposes. [153363]

Mr. Hutton: Homelessness, living conditions, ethnic distribution as well as improved reporting and surveillance have led to the increase of reported cases of tuberculosis in London.

Wanless Report

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which conclusions and recommendations in the report "Securing our Future Health: Taking a Long-Term View", by Mr. Derek Wanless, his Department does not accept. [153113]

Mr. Hutton: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in the 2002 Budget that the Government accepted the conclusions of the Wanless Review. In order to deliver reform, my right hon. Friend also announced in his 2002 Budget historic sustained levels of increase in national health service funding, an average annual increase of 7.3 per cent., in real terms for the five years 2003–04 to 2007–08.