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2 Nov 2004 : Column 171W—continued

Civil Servants

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average length of continuous service for civil servants within the Department is. [194402]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The average length of continuous service for civil servants within the Department and its agencies is nine years.

Complementary Therapies

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account he will take of recent statements by the right hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) on complementary therapies when developing policy on health care. [195013]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I always take account of the comments of my right hon. Friend. National health service access to complementary therapies is at the discretion of individual trusts and clinicians.


Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the population of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is registered with the general dental service. [194417]

Ms Rosie Winterton: At 31 August 2004, the latest data available, registrations with general dental service dentists in the Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust (PCT) area were 36.7 per cent. of the population in the PCT area. People may attend a dental surgery in a different area from the one in which they live.

Jim Dobbin : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the number of dentists treating NHS patients in Heywood and Middleton. [195014]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: Each Primary Care Trust has been asked to draw up an action plan setting out how they are using their proportion of the £59 million additional funding we have allocated to improve access to NHS dentistry. Heywood and Middleton PCT has been allocated £83,000, which will improve access for at least 5,000 new patients this year.

Geriatric Hospital Beds

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on providing geriatric hospital beds covering the Greater London area; how many geriatric beds there are in such hospitals; and if he will make a statement. [194133]

Dr. Ladyman: The provision of hospital beds is for local determination by strategic health authorities (SHAs) with primary care trusts and national health service providers. Information on the number of geriatric beds within the London SHA areas is shown in the table.
Average daily number of available beds in the geriatric sector—SHAs in London, 2003–04

Org. IDNameNumber
Q04North West London SHA795
Q05North Central London SHA939
Q06North East London SHA911
Q07South East London SHA796
Q08South West London SHA657

Department of Health form KH03, published 15 October 2004.

Health Education

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that school children develop a thorough knowledge of healthy eating and living. [194235]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: I have been asked to reply.

Children learn about healthy eating and living through a range of National Curriculum subjects, principally Food Technology, Science, Personal, Social and Health Education and Physical Education.

In September 2004 schools received a Healthy Living Blueprint, a practical guide on promoting healthy living including using the full capacity and flexibility of the curriculum. The Blueprint and a supporting web portal bring together for schools the range of Government and non-Government initiatives and support which contribute to healthy lifestyles.

Heart Disease

Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Department has to introduce national guidance on diet and lifestyle to combat heart disease. [195499]

Miss Melanie Johnson: In March 2000, the Department published the national service framework (NSF) for coronary heart disease (CHD), which set out modern standards and service models for the national health service for the prevention and treatment of CHD.
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The White Paper on improving health, due for publication later this year, will also contribute to the prevention and treatment of CHD.

Hospices (Greater London)

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial support the Government are giving to hospices in the Greater London area. [194633]

Dr. Ladyman: There is no centrally collated information on how much money the national health service gives to hospices. The level of NHS funding provided to local hospices is a matter for discussion and agreement between the hospice and the appropriate primary care trust.

The Government pledged in the NHS Cancer Plan (2000) to increase NHS investment in specialist palliative care, including hospices, by an extra £50 million per annum by 2004. This pledge has been met. Working in partnership with all local stakeholders, including those in the voluntary sector, each cancer network has drawn up and agreed plans for the use of their allocation from the £50 million. The national partnership group for palliative care assessed all local plans and is now monitoring the use of this funding. The £50 million represents an increase of nearly 40 per cent., in the amount of funding provided by the NHS for specialist palliative care over 2000 levels.

Hospital Infections

Tom Brake : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on hospital-acquired infections. [195018]

Mr. Hutton: We are actively implementing the plans set out in "Winning Ways and Towards Cleaner Hospitals". Once these measures, particularly the new target to reduce MRSA blood stream infections year on year, start to have an impact we expect to see infection rates decline.

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the variation in rates of hospital-acquired infection between hospitals. [195020]

Mr. Hutton: The only information which is collected across all of the NHS is for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections. Rates are generally highest in specialist trusts. This is not surprising as these trusts are likely to have more vulnerable patients and undertake more invasive and high-risk specialist care.

Medicines (Children and Infants)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timetable is for introducing a revised version of the British National Formulary for children. [194253]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, who produce the British National Formulary (BNF), expect the first edition of the BNF for children to be available during the summer of 2005.
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Mental Health

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have been referred to Hillingdon Mental Health Trust from Heathrow airport in each of the last three years. [194726]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether it is his Department's policy to increase provision of community care for mentally ill mothers with babies; and if he will make a statement on the introduction of home treatment teams. [194373]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Specialised perinatal psychiatric services, including the provision of mother and baby units, have been considered by an expert group chaired by the national director for mental health and the conclusions from that group are expected to be published early in the new year.

Local delivery plans produced by strategic health authorities show that they have plans to establish 335 crisis resolution teams in England by the end of 2004. These teams are designed to respond quickly to people in crisis to provide assessment and treatment wherever they are, and prevent unnecessary admissions to psychiatric in-patient care.

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