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7 Feb 2005 : Column 1331W—continued

Departmental Catering

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many departmental (a) canteens and (b) bars there are; and how much has been spent on the (i) running, (ii) staffing and (iii) supply costs of each in each year since 1997. [213617]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has three staff restaurants operated by its catering contractor under a nil subsidy arrangement. The Department makes no direct financial contribution to the operation of these facilities.

The Department does not operate any bars.

Departmental Staff

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the staffing levels in his Department's Tobacco Control Division were on (a) 31 May 1997, (b) 30 June 2001 and (c) 1 January 2005; and if he will make a statement. [211145]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Detailed historical information at the level requested is not held. The number of staff in the Department's tobacco programme on 1 January 2005 was five. A further member of staff joined on 5 January. This number does not include those posts working on tobacco policy elsewhere in the Department, for example working on the media campaign in the communications division, along with other duties.

Food Supplements Regulations

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment his Department has made of which supplements will be (a) banned and (b) reformulated under the food supplements regulations; [208061]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the public health consequences of (a) prohibiting certain (i)vitamins and (ii) minerals and (b) reducing the potency of certain supplements with particular reference to (A) antioxidants, (B) pre-natal nutrients and (C)high-dose vitamin C, under the food supplements directive; [208062]

(3) whether the list of approved supplements set out in annexes 1 and 2 of the Food Supplements Directive 2003 will be further reduced before the implementing regulations come into force; [208063]

(4) what information has been provided to the public to ensure that they are fully aware of (a) which supplements are to be (i) prohibited and (ii) reformulated, (b) the reasons for the prohibitions and reformulations and (c) what alternative supplements they may take to achieve comparable results; [208064]
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(5) what assessment has been made of the likely economic impact of the food supplements regulations on food supplement (a) producers and (b) retailers in the UK; [208065]

(6) if the Department will review the economic impact of the food supplements regulations once they have come into effect. [208070]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Information on the dossiers for ingredients not listed in the food supplements directive (FSD), and which can continue to be used in supplements on sale in the United Kingdom after 1 August, will be available on the European Food Safety Authority and Food Standards Agency (FSA) websites. The FSA will, in addition, provide information on the ingredients listed in the FSD and on the scope of the directive. It is the responsibility of food supplements manufacturers to ensure that the products on sale after 1 August meet the requirements of the FSD and to decide what information is available to consumers on the products on sale. Manufacturers have had three years in which to produce dossiers.

No assessment has been made by the FSA of which supplements will be banned or reformulated under the FSD. The number of supplements which will be banned or need to be reformulated under the FSD will be dependent on the number of dossiers submitted by industry for assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Where a dossier for a particular ingredient has been submitted to either the UK or another European Union member state then that ingredient will be able to continue to be used in food supplements until December 2009 pending an opinion from EFSA on its use beyond 2009.

An assessment of the economic impact of the Food Supplement Regulations was made in the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which accompanied the regulations. Article 4(8) of the FSD states that, no later than 12 July 2007, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on whether the directive should be amended to increase its scope to include other nutrients as well as vitamins and minerals. This will also include a proposal for any amendments to the directive that the Commission deems necessary. The FSA will provide any information requested from member states by the Commission to inform this report.

The directive does not at present set limits for the levels of vitamins, which can be used in food supplements. High doses of vitamins, which are listed in annex one of the directive, can continue to be used after 1 August when the directive comes into effect.

The list of supplements in annexes 1 and 2 of the FSD has not been altered since the directive was agreed in July 2002. There is no reason to assume the list would be reduced unless new evidence came to light which raised questions regarding the safety of the vitamins and minerals listed.

General Medical Services Contract

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the new GMS contract on the operation of community hospitals in the out-of-hours period. [211541]

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Mr. Hutton: Where community hospitals are part of out-of-hours services, primary care trusts and providers must ensure that adequate medical cover is provided to meet patients' unscheduled need, through providing appropriate terms and conditions for staff.

General Practitioners

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of pay variations in the remuneration of general practitioners working in different community hospitals in England. [211549]

Mr. Hutton: The Government asked the NHS Confederation to consider this issue, as part of a study into the terms and conditions of non-consultant career grade doctors, and to make recommendations. The NHS Confederation have identified that there is a range of contractual mechanisms that national health service commissioners can use more flexibly to ensure that general practitioners working in community hospitals are remunerated appropriately. The Government has welcomed these observations and accepted the recommendation that these are matters for local negotiation.

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of targets for general practitioner appointments on the new appointment systems general practitioner practices are adopting. [211986]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 3 February 2005]: The Department routinely monitors the performance of the national health service against the NHS Plan target for primary care access. This process has identified that some practices are not allowing patients to book appointments more than one or two days ahead. This is not consistent with delivery of a patient-focused service and the Department is working with strategic health authorities to support primary care trusts and general practice in removing such restrictions on patient choice.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been diagnosed with glaucoma in each year since 1989, broken down by age. [213224]

Dr. Ladyman: The vast majority of patients with glaucoma are treated as outpatients. Although aggregate outpatient data has been collected for sometime now, the central collection of detailed clinical information has not been mandated. However, processes are being put in place to enable the Department to collect and publish this information in the future.

Patients diagnosed with glaucoma and treated as inpatients from 1995–96—2003–04 in national health service hospitals in England are shown in the following table. Data is not available on a comparable basis prior to 1995–96.
Hospital in-patient admissions by age
0 to 1617 to 6465 and overNot known

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Admissions do not represent the total number of in-patients, as an individual may have more than one admission within the year. Figures are grossed for both coverage and missing/invalid clinical data, except for 2002–03 and 2003–04, which are not yet adjusted.

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