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Mental Health Services (Harrow)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to replace the mental health counselling services in Harrow provided by MIND following the closure of that facility. [203218]

Dr. Ladyman: In accordance with our policy of "Shifting the balance of Power", primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for commissioning care to get the best services for local people, subject to the highest clinical standards and best value for money. It is for each PCT to decide what money it allocates to each particular strand of its local health service according to their assessment of local need.
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I therefore suggest that the hon. Member liaises directly with his local PCT on this matter.

Musculoskeletal Diseases

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the general practitioner consultation and referral rates were for musculoskeletal diseases, including pain management, but excluding osteoarthritis in each English primary care trust in the last year for which figures are available; what the population served by each English primary care trust is; and if he will make a statement. [202525]

Dr. Ladyman: The data on general practitioner consultations and referrals is not available.

Detailed statistics on the numbers of people registered with a GP in each primary care organisation are routinely published on the Department of Health's website at

Myasthenia Gravis

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his plans to support those who are diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. [203017]

Dr. Ladyman: There is no cure for myasthenia gravis, but it is treated with medication, surgery as appropriate and palliation.

The national service framework for long-term conditions will focus on improving services for people with neurological conditions and addressing some of the common issues that can promote independence for people with other long-term conditions. It will apply to services across England and the people that receive treatment, care and support at these services.

Neonatal Care

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish his response to the report of the neonatal intensive care services review group; and if he will make a statement. [200109]

Dr. Ladyman: The conclusions of this review were put to national consultation between April and July 2003. The review suggested establishing formal managed clinical networks to deliver neonatal intensive care and this was supported in the consultation. Primary care trusts are now working with neonatal specialist commissioners and strategic health authorities to establish the optimum configuration to provide local services for all babies, with clinically managed access to specialist facilities for those babies who require intensive care.

Newborn Hearing Screening

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the (a) information and (b) support provided to the families of deaf children identified through newborn hearing screening. [201673]

Dr. Ladyman: The information provided to the families of deaf children identified by newborn hearing screening was developed in collaboration with the
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National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) and is available in leaflet form, covering assessment, diagnosis, and provision of services, including education and social services. There is also a NDCS helpline. This is supplemented by local services taking advantage of the early support programme as it rolls out across local authorities. It is for local managers to satisfy themselves that the provision of information, services and support to individual families and their children by the National Health Service and local authorities is effective, in line with priorities and is of high quality.

Psychiatric Wards (Young People)

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure young people being held on adult psychiatric wards receive treatment by staff who are specifically trained to support them and their families. [200340]

Dr. Ladyman: The child and adolescent mental health standard of the recently published children's national service framework (NSF) has a marker of good practice that states

The NSF also recognises that specific training is needed for adult mental health professionals to enable them to be aware of the developmental needs of young adults making the transition across services.

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many young people have been held on adult psychiatric wards in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [200343]

Dr. Ladyman: This information is not collected centrally.

Placing adolescents on adult psychiatric wards is sometimes necessary and acceptable for clinical or practical reasons. The recently published children's national service framework (NSF) sets a standard that

The Government are committed to delivering the standards set out in the NSF and is investing an additional £300 million to improve child and adolescent mental health services.

Video Conferencing Units

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many video conferencing units are installed in (a) the Department, (b) the NHS and (c) each non-departmental public body for which his Department has oversight; what percentage of offices have these facilities in each case; and what plans there are to increase the number. [201263]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has a total of 14 video conferencing studios in its London and Leeds buildings. There are a further nine mobile video conferencing facilities in meeting rooms and 11 desktop video conferencing units in departmental buildings.
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Video conferencing utilisation is monitored closely to ensure maximum benefit is obtained. The market is reviewed to assess developments and costs as well as to ensure departmental business can be conducted satisfactorily.

Use of video conferencing within the national health service is a local operational matter for individual NHS trusts. Figures on numbers on video conferencing units within the NHS are not collected centrally.

Figures on numbers of video conferencing units within non-departmental public bodies is not collected centrally.


Academic Performance

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what Government-funded research is being undertaken of the effects on academic performance linked of an increase in sport activity. [202571]

Mr. Miliband: The Department has funded the University of Warwick to complete a study of specialist schools including sports colleges. Published on 25 November, in parallel to the Specialist Schools Trust national conference, it found that specialist status is a "powerful lever for school improvement associated with raising academic performance". Sports colleges' attainment is increasing more than average. Since 1997, sports colleges have raised their attainment from 41 per cent. to 48.7 per cent.(a rate of increase almost twice the national average. The full report and a summary are now available at and

In addition, as part of the national strategy for PE, school sport and club links we are currently funding:

1. The Youth Sport Trust to carry out a Sports College Research Project. This comprises a national survey of sports colleges and individual school based research;

2. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to investigate the difference that high quality PE and school sport make to young people and the impact that this has on their schools.

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