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1 Dec 2004 : Column 127W—continued


Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans his Department has to fund the establishment and maintenance of the central point of expertise on timber. [200725]

John Healey: I welcome the establishment of a central point of expertise (CPET) on timber procurement as a valuable source of advice on purchasing timber from legal and sustainable sources for both Government buyers and their suppliers. Clearly, some departments are likely to draw on this resource more heavily than others, and therefore at present my Department does not plan to contribute to the funding of this body.

VAT (Golf)

Mr. Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received from golfing organisations in Scotland relating to VAT. [201189]

Dawn Primarolo: I am not aware that any Treasury Minister has received representations in the last year from golfing organisations in Scotland relating to VAT.
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Chronic Illnesses and Dementia

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of (a) chronic illness and (b) care for dementia in each of the last three years. [199586]

Dr. Ladyman: The data required to attribute national health service spending to classes of disease with the precision the question seeks are not available. However, the cost of treating and caring for patients with chronic disease, including dementias, is significant and this Government are committed to increasing investment in the NHS year-on-year, so that the needs of these patients and their carers are properly addressed.

That is why, in the 2004 spending review, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed the sustained high levels of investment that were set in the five-year NHS settlement announced in the 2002 Budget.

This means that, for the period 2003–04 to 2007–08, expenditure on the NHS in England will increase on average by 7.2 per cent, a year over and above inflation. Over the three years 2005–06 to 2007–08, NHS spending will increase on average by 7.1 per cent, a year over and above inflation; a total increase over the period of 23 per cent. in real terms, taking total spend on the NHS in England from £69 billons in 2004–05 to £92 billion in 2007–08.


Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when he expects to publish (a) the responses to his consultation paper Strengthening the Dental Team, (b) the amendments he wishes to make in the light of those responses and (c) an Order under section 60 of the Health Act 1999 to implement his conclusions; and if he will make a statement. [199515]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I plan to lay the Order before Parliament, along with a report on the recent consultation exercise, early in 2005. The Order will include amendments made in the light of responses to the consultation.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission research into the NHS dentistry service in the Portsmouth City area in order to determine (a) levels of access to an NHS dentist and (b) levels of resources required to provide an acceptable standard of dentistry provision in the city; and if he will make a statement. [200022]

Ms Winterton: The latest figures available show that in the area covered by Portsmouth City primary care trust (PCT), 49.9 per cent. of adults and 65.9 per cent. of children are registered with an national health service dentist. The PCT has a detailed dental action plan to improve access to dentistry and is actively working with dentists in advance of the new contract to ensure that dental services meet local needs. At a national level, the Department is investing an extra £368 million in NHS dentistry, recruiting 1,000 more NHS dentists in little over a year and reforming the dental system to improve the long-term oral health of the nation.
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Disabled People (Direct Payments)

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many direct payments were made by each local authority to disabled people in each year from 2001 to 2003. [200642]

Dr. Ladyman: Information showing the number of adults aged 18 and over with physical disability, frailty and sensory impairment receiving direct payments in England and each council with social services responsibilities, for the years 2000–01 to 2002–03, has been placed in the Library.


Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department's websites comply with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines adopted by the Government in 2001; and if he will make a statement. [199630]

Ms Winterton: The Department's website——complies with the world wide web consortium's level "A" guidelines for accessibility. This has been confirmed by more than one independent assessor.

The Department's website sits on DotP, the central Government content management platform developed and hosted by the e-Government unit. This platform was developed to comply with United Kingdom Government and industry best practice guidelines on accessibility and has been designed to work with screen readers. We are currently working with the e-Government unit to improve the product's accessibility rating from single "A" compliance to double "A" compliance.

In addition, the Department's website was speech-enabled in September 2004. This facility allows users to download free software which enables them to have the site read aloud. Speech enabling provides an additional way of accessing the Department's content for people who may find it hard to read the website including those with dyslexia or learning difficulties, those for whom English is not their first language, or those with mild visual impairment.

Health White Paper

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds of FIT magazine, as described in the White Paper, Choosing Health, Cm 6374, paragraph 95. [199455]

Ms Winterton: FIT magazine was launched as a pilot scheme in November 2004 with 23 primary care trusts (PCTs). FIT costs PCTs an average of 40 pence per copy. This compares favourably with the cost of advertising or inserting leaflets into men's magazines, which in any case would not offer the same scope for providing tailored local information. The total cost to the national health service was £92,000. The Department subsidised the overall cost of FIT by £175,000, in order to make it more affordable for PCTs.


Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of
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children under 15 years of age who (a) died and (b) suffered from leukaemia in each of the last three years who lived (i) within 100 metres of and (ii) over 100 metres away from high voltage power lines. [199609]

Miss Melanie Johnson: No such estimate has been made. The Department has, however, been supporting a study by the Childhood Cancer Research Group at Oxford University of children with leukaemia diagnosed between 1962 and 1995 in relation to their residential proximity to power lines. A summary of the study design is available on the WHO web site at

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many written questions tabled in the last parliamentary session his Department had been unable to provide a substantive answer before the end of the session. [199649]

Ms Winterton: Seventeen.

At all times Ministers make every effort to answer questions substantively before prorogation. However this is not always possible. Where right hon. and hon. Members did not receive a substantive response it is open to them to re-table their question this session.

Pregnant Women

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many pregnant women were tested on the NHS for group B streptococcus in each of the last three years; [199707]

(2) how many babies were born having contracted group B streptococcus from their mother in each of the last three years; how many of these (a) died, (b) contracted meningitis and (c) contracted other related conditions; and what the cost of treating these babies was in each year; [199710]

(3) what estimate he has made of the cost of providing IV antibodies from the onset of labour to all pregnant women identified as carriers of group B streptococcus. [199711]

Dr. Ladyman: Information relating to the testing of pregnant women for group B streptococcus (GBS) is not centrally available. It is for local clinicians to decide whether to test individual women for this infection. Guidelines have been issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), as well as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Data on the number of babies who are born having contracted the infection are not collected centrally. However, a descriptive analysis of cases of GBS infection in which GBS was isolated from blood (bacteraemia) for the year 2003 only, has been published by the Health Protection Agency from routine reports received from microbiology laboratories in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England and Wales, a total of 208 cases of GBS bacteraemia occurred in the first week after birth (early onset) and a further 103 cases of GBS bacteraemia occurred between seven and 90 days after birth (late onset).
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A special United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland study of infants up to 90 days old with invasive GBS infection (GBS isolated from a normally sterile site), diagnosed between 1 February 2000 and 28 February 2001 found a total of 377 cases of GBS infection that occurred in the first week of life, 53 of who died.

Following on from the latter study, a further study is being conducted in collaboration with the Oxford perinatal epidemiology group into the economic impact of this infection.

The cost of providing intravenous antibiotics is not currently centrally available. However, this information will be sought as part of the further work that the National Screening Committee is undertaking on this important topic.

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