Previous Section Index Home Page

17 Mar 2004 : Column 393W—continued

Immigrant Medical Inspections

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what bodies have responsibility for inspection and scrutiny of the medical inspection of immigrants function. [156851]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The lead body on the inspection and scrutiny of healthcare provided by the National Health Service, including that of medical inspection of immigrants, is the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI).

Infant Formula

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations his Department has received regarding the ingredients used in infant formula; [161343]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 15 March 2004]: In May 2003, the former European Scientific Committee on Food published its report on the revision of essential requirements of infant formulae and follow-on formulae. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) received detailed comments on that report from members of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition subgroup on Maternal and Child Nutrition; from Baby Milk Action and from the Infant and Dietetic Foods Association.

In the last 12 months, the FSA has received two letters on the subject of breaches of The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 1995 (as amended).

Medical Students

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of medical students failed to graduate or complete their courses in each year since 1990. [161026]

Mr. Hutton: Collection of data on students is a matter for the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA). HESA collects data on the drop out rate of first degree students by institution, but not by subject.

Mersey Regional Ambulance Service

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department collects on the Mersey Regional Ambulance Service. [159833]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 11 March 2004]: The Department collects information about volume of service and performance against required standards; details of the returns are in the statistical bulletin "Ambulance Service, England: 2002–03". A copy is available in the Library and also on the internet at

17 Mar 2004 : Column 394W

The Department also collects ambulance expenditure returns. The purpose of the returns is to identify total expenditure incurred in the running of ambulance services, and to analyse the breakdown between emergency, non emergency and costs.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps have been taken to monitor the performance of Mersey Regional Ambulance Service since 26 November 2003; [159834]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 11 March 2004]: Departmental officials have held discussions with the Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority (SHA), as part of a regular review of performance across a full range of issues. The responsibility for performance management of national health service trusts lies with the SHAs.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many calls Mersey Regional Ambulance Service (a) failed to answer within two minutes and (b) took more than five minutes to answer in each month since October 2003. [159836]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 11 March 2004]: This information is not collected centrally.

National Service Framework for Older People

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to set further milestones for the National Service Framework for Older People; and if he will make a statement. [161930]

Dr. Ladyman: There are no current plans to set further milestones for the National Service Framework for older people.

NHS Funding (Manchester)

Mr. Keith Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much additional money will be allocated to (a) South Manchester Primary Care Trust and (b) Central Manchester Primary Care Trust as a result of the amendments to the census figures for the City of Manchester. [161472]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 15 March 2004]: Revenue allocations for the provision of healthcare, made to primary care trusts (PCTs) for 2003–04 to 2005–06 were announced on 11 December 2002. There are no plans to revisit these allocations.

Any changes in PCTs' population figures will be taken into account for the next round of allocations. Preparatory work for the next allocations round, covering the period up to 2007–08, will commence shortly.


Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the potential for fraud in the use of electronic transmission of prescriptions. [159107]

17 Mar 2004 : Column 395W

Ms Rosie Winterton: Three pilot projects on the electronic transmission of prescriptions (ETP) ran from mid-2002 to mid-2003 and were independently evaluated by the Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics at the University of Newcastle. An essential part of this was a full security analysis to assess potential risks and threats, including fraud, and ensuring appropriate countermeasures were put in place.

ETP is now being taken forward as part of the national programme for information technology. The lessons learned on fraud prevention from the earlier pilots are being incorporated into the design of the national model for ETP.

The NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (CFSMS) is fully involved in the development of the ETP project and will continue to work to ensure that opportunities for fraud are minimised.

Primary Care Funding

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how long he expects it to take fully to implement the new funding system for primary care trusts. [158183]

Mr. Hutton [pursuant to his reply, 4 March 2004, Official Report, c. 1117W]: I regret my previous response was incorrect. The second paragraph of the response should have read as follows.

Radon Gas

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths were attributable to radon gas exposure in each of the last five years. [160426]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 15 March 2004]: From the known radiation risks, the National Radiological Protection Board has calculated that exposure to radon gas in the home and work place causes approximately 2,500 lung cancer deaths per year in the United Kingdom.


Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to minimise adverse effects of second hand smoking on the respiratory health of children; [159473]

17 Mar 2004 : Column 396W

Miss Melanie Johnson: It is estimated that, each year, more than 17,000 children under five years are admitted to United Kingdom hospitals because of respiratory illness caused by the exposure to other people's cigarette smoke.

The Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) Report published in 1998 reported that:

The World Health Organisation has found that children are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke. This is because their lungs are smaller and their immune systems less developed, rendering them more susceptible to respiratory and ear infections triggered by passive smoking; children are smaller and breathe faster than adults and so take in more harmful chemicals per kg of weight than adults; and children often have less choice than adults to leave a smoke-filled room.

The Department has taken action to increase the public's awareness of the dangers from secondhand smoke. The "smoking kids" television advertisement launched last summer was this country's first ever-substantial campaign on secondhand smoke. This has been followed up by major billboard and press adverts. Focusing on children, the television advertisement says:

This goes hand in hand with some of the new health warnings on cigarette packs, which highlight the dangers of secondhand smoke, including the specific advice, "protect children—don't let them breath your smoke".

Evaluation results show that awareness of the messages had been raised. Spontaneous awareness of advertising or publicity of smoking around children rose from 30 per cent. at the pre stage to 74 per cent. at the post stage. Furthermore; there was 78 per cent. spontaneous awareness in households where there were children and at least one of the parents smoked. 55 per cent. of respondents were able to spontaneously recall an element from the campaign, with 49 per cent. of respondents recalling the image of smoke coming from the children's mouths or noses. Prompted recognition of the television advertisement was 79 per cent. The advertising had significant impact amongst non-smokers, with 69 per cent. at the post stage agreeing that the advertisements made them feel that they should encourage their partners and friends that they should not smoke around children.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to reduce the level of smoking in children under the age of 16. [160074]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The White Paper, Smoking Kills, published in December 1998, committed the Government to reduce smoking amongst children aged 11–15 from 13 per cent. to 11 per cent. by 2005, and 9 per cent. by 2010. The latest figures, for 2002, show smoking among 11–15 year olds had fallen to 10 per cent. We

17 Mar 2004 : Column 397W

have a comprehensive tobacco control strategy, which includes a number of measures likely to make a particular impact on children smoking:

The national healthy school standard aims to support schools in the process of becoming healthier and is jointly funded by the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health and hosted by the Health Development Agency. The overall aim is to help schools become healthy and effective learning environments and is part of the Government's drive to reduce health inequalities, promote social inclusion and raise educational standards through school improvement. Themes include personal, social and health education, including among others, tobacco.

Maintaining the high price of cigarettes is a particular deterrent for children.

Next Section Index Home Page