Previous Section Index Home Page

8 Feb 2005 : Column 1466W—continued

United States

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his recent talks with Dr. Condoleezza Rice. [211263]

Mr. Alexander: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Washington on 24 January to say farewell to the outgoing Secretary of State, Colin Powell. During his visit he also had talks with other senior officials, including the then National Security Adviser, Dr. Rice. A wide range of subjects was discussed, including Iraq, the Middle East, Iran and the EU/China Arms Embargo.

These same topics were discussed when Dr. Rice called on the Foreign Secretary in London on 4 February, in her new role as Secretary of State.


Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Vietnamese Government about the recent detention of six Mennonite pastors and the allegations of torture that they made on their release. [213111]

Mr. Alexander: The EU is in contact with the Vietnamese authorities about the case of Reverend Nguyen Hong Quang and is seeking permission for EU representatives to attend his appeal hearing in Ho Chi Minh City. The EU also continues to follow developments in the cases of his Mennonite colleagues with close interest.

We are concerned by the allegations made by the Mennonite prisoners in Vietnam. We have not made representations to the Vietnamese authorities about these specific allegations. However, during the most recent EU-Vietnam dialogue meeting on human rights issues held on 17 December 2004 and attended by our Ambassador in Hanoi the detention and treatment of prisoners was among the concerns raised by the EU side.

We also regularly raise our concerns on human rights issues bilaterally. We will continue to press the Vietnamese government to adhere to its international human rights obligations at every suitable opportunity.
8 Feb 2005 : Column 1467W

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what technical support the UK has offered the Government of Vietnam to facilitate World Trade Organisation membership. [213275]

Mr. Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. MacShane) gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Chapman) on 2 December 2004, Official Report, column 229W.



Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent by his Department on (a) treating and (b) rehabilitating alcoholics in each of the last seven years. [213060]

Miss Melanie Johnson: No information is routinely collected on this expenditure. A study by Alcohol Concern in 2002, and developed in the Prime Minister's strategy unit's paper, Alcohol Misuse: How much does it cost?" (September 2003) gives an overall figure for treatment services of £96.1 million in 2002.

Ambulance Services/Trusts

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many paramedic ambulances are based in (a) Lancashire and (b) each constituency in Lancashire. [212040]

Miss Melanie Johnson: This information is not collected centrally.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what minimum standards of service must be met before he approves the merger of ambulance trusts. [211902]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are no set standards, but as a general rule, before he approves the merger of any national health service trusts, the Secretary of State would need to be satisfied that appropriate consultation has been undertaken locally; any organisational changes are in the interests of patients and staff and would help improve performance against the requirements and standards set out in National Standards, Local Action" and other relevant documents.

Avian Flu

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what preparations he has put in place to ensure that UK citizens are protected against the risk of contracting bird flu; and if he will make a statement. [214511]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 7 February 2005]: There is no confirmed evidence of person-to-person spread of avian influenza in south-east Asia. Guidance for the national health service on the detection, diagnosis and treatment of potential cases of avian flu has been prepared by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), in collaboration with the Department,
8 Feb 2005 : Column 1468W
and is published on the HPA's website. Antiviral agents are available within the NHS for the treatment and prevention of infection.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has also published guidance on the handling of outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry. This includes advice to those who have either been involved in the slaughter of infected birds or who have had close contact with them.

Burns Units

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many specialist burns services units there are in (a) the Greater London region and (b) each strategic health authority in London. [214325]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is not collected centrally. It is for primary care trusts to work in partnership with strategic health authorities and other stakeholders to ensure the provision of health services to meet the needs of their local populations.

Cancer Research

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission research into whether lycopene found in organic red ketchup is a useful agent against cancer; and if he will make a statement. [211314]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Current evidence shows that people who eat relatively more fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of developing heart disease and some types of cancer. The Government have no plans for specific research on the potential benefits of lycopene in this regard.

Tomatoes, whether organic or not, are a good source of lycopene. However, fruit and vegetables contain a range of other chemical compounds, including anti-oxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and flavonoids. It is this combination, rather than any one particular component, which is thought to have a protective effect against certain diseases.

Whatever the benefits of ketchup products in respect of lycopene, some contribute relatively high levels of salt and sugar to the diet. The Government continue to work with the food industry to increase the range of healthier options available to consumers.

Chorley Hospital

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many intensive care beds were located in Chorley hospital in each of the last five years. [212043]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information is not collected in the format requested. The information shown in the table relates to the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Trust, which includes Chorley hospital. Data before 2002 relates to the two predecessor organisations (Chorley and South Ribble Trust and Preston Acute Hospital NHS Trust) which merged to form the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust on 1 August 2002.
8 Feb 2005 : Column 1469W

Number of intensive care beds
30 September l99911
14 July 200012
16 July 200113
16 July 200214
16 July 200314
16 July 200414

Department of Health statistics

Communicable Diseases (NHS Staff)

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what tests for communicable diseases are conducted on those coming from abroad to work in the health service. [213184]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 1 February 2005]: Health care workers joining the national health service should have checks for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, varicella and rubella, including the provision of immunisation if appropriate.


Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase the number of dental academic staff to take account of his undertaking to increase dental undergraduate places by an extra 170 per year. [211730]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 31 January 2005]: We have recurring funding, building up to £29 million per annum by 2010–11, to support the additional training places, which includes provision for the recruitment of more academic staff and enhancing the terms of service of existing staff. We are also working jointly with the Department for Education and Skills to address issues relating to the recruitment and retention of academic staff.

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on progress towards recruiting an extra 1,000 full-time dentists into the NHS by October 2005. [211731]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 31 January 2005]: Steady progress is being made towards the 1,000 whole-time equivalent dentists target by the end of October 2005.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists have signed up for the new dental contract to date; and what assessment his Department has made of the ages of those who have signed up. [210107]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 24 January 2005]: We are committed to introducing new contractual arrangements for national health service dentistry by April 2006. The new arrangements draw on experience from personal dental services (PDS) pilot schemes and dentists may gain advanced benefit of many aspects of the new arrangements by moving to PDS. Some 3,500 dentists in 1,300 dental practices are working under PDS arrangements and there are some 500 further practices with applications in the pipeline. When those applications have been approved there will be some 20 per cent. of practices in PDS. Information on the ages of these dentists is not held centrally.
8 Feb 2005 : Column 1470W

Next Section Index Home Page