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21 Feb 2005 : Column 179W—continued

Residential Care

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were resident in residential care homes in each year from 1991 to 2004. [215114]

Dr. Ladyman: Information is not centrally available on the number of people who were resident in residential homes. The number of places in residential and nursing care homes in England is shown in the table as at 31 March for the years 1991 to 2001.
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I understand from the Chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that figures for later years were collected by the National Care Standards Commission, and now CSCI, but comparable details are not available.
Number of care home places as at 31 March, 1991–2001, England
Rounded numbers

At 31 MarchAll placesResidential placesNursing places(62)
1993486,500318,1001 68,400

(62)Nursing data includes places in general nursing homes, mental nursing homes and private hospitals and clinics.
Department of Health forms RAC5, KO36, RA and RH(N).


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of whether there is a correlation between the number of prescriptions for Roaccutane and recorded suicides in the last 10 years. [209345]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) is a prescription only medicine indicated for the treatment of severe acne (such as nodular or conglobate acne or acne at risk of permanent scarring). Its use is limited to specialists in dermatology (with expertise in the use of systematic retinoids for the treatment of severe acne and a full understanding of the risks of isotretinoin therapy and monitoring requirements).

The safety of isotretinoin has been closely monitored by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, with expert advice from the committee on safety of medicines (CSM), since it was approved in 1983.

The yellow card scheme receives reports of suspected adverse drug reactions suspected to be associated with medicines. To date 22 cases of suicide that have been reported in association with isotretinoin. The first report was received in 1993. There does not appear to be any correlation between the frequency of these cases and isotretinoin usage data, which is estimated to be 30,000 treatment courses per year for the last ten years.

Warnings about the risk of depression and suicidal behaviour were added to the product information for prescribers and patients in 1998. Following a review of the isotretinoin product information by an expert working group of the CSM and within Europe these warnings have recently been strengthened, to include more explicit descriptions of the symptoms and behaviours associated with psychiatric disorders. The latest evidence of psychiatric disorders suspected to be
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associated with isotretinoin will be further reviewed as a commitment of the recent European review, with the United Kingdom taking the leading role.

Safer Drinking

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent by his Department on encouraging safer drinking in each year since 1997. [215846]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke- on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher), on 9 February 2005, Official Report, column 1610W.


Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with food manufacturers concerning salt levels in processed food; what recent progress has been made towards further reducing salt content therein; and if he will make a statement. [214177]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 8 February 2005]: I have been leading discussions with industry, together with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), to identify and implement a range of proposals to increase opportunities for people to make healthy choices in what they eat. As outlined in the recent White Paper, Choosing Health", these are aimed at increasing the availability of healthier food including reducing the levels of salt, added sugars and saturated fat in prepared and processed food and drink.

At a stakeholder event on salt in November 2003, Icalled for industry to submit plans to reduce salt in processed food. To date, discussions have been held with and commitments received to reduce salt from over 60 organisations. Work is continuing with the industry to secure commitments to stepwise reductions, with the aim of reducing average intakes to six grams per person per day by 2010.


Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the people working within his Department on secondment from the private sector, broken down by (a) the organisation or industry they came from and (b) the policy responsibilities they have been given. [208625]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Inquiries within the Department have revealed no people currently working on secondment from the private sector.


Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he has issued to general practitioners since August 2004 on prescription of Seroxat; and to which parts of the United Kingdom the guidance applies. [214588]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In October 2004, an article was published in the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency/Committee on Safety of Medicines (MHRA/CSM) drug safety bulletin, 'Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance', which summarised key
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prescribing advice for Seroxat (paroxetine). This bulletin was sent to all doctors and pharmacists in the United Kingdom. On 6 December 2004, a letter was sent to all health professionals in the UK from the Chairman of the CSM announcing the results of the review of the safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including Seroxat and providing prescribing advice for all SSRIs. A copy is available in the Library.

Shipman Inquiry

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hours the Shipman Inquiry sat in public; how many statements were taken by the inquiry; and how many witnesses were called. [215624]

Mr. Hutton: Information about the number of hours the Shipman Inquiry sat in public is not available. However, the Inquiry held 228 days of oral hearings in public, 2,411 witness statements were obtained by the Inquiry, and 400 witnesses gave oral evidence to the Inquiry.

Southend Health Trusts

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will adjust the funding allocation to Southend health trusts to take account of differences between numbers of residents reported in the 2001 census and current numbers of residents. [216354]

Mr. Hutton: The 2006–07 and 2007–08 revenue allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs) were announced on 9 February 2005. These allocations included the revisions to the 2001 Census population data and also projected increases in populations. This means we are using the best available population data, which properly takes account of the challenges faced in areas with growing populations.


Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people have died from the adverse effects of vitamins and supplements in the last five years; [215784]

(2) when the Government expects the European Food Standards Agency to publish its findings regarding dosage levels in the context of the Food Supplements Directive; [215804]

(3) whether the Government supports appropriate labelling as a means of ensuring consumer (a) safety and (b) choice within the framework of the Food Supplements Directive; [215805]

(4) what assessment his Department has made of whether companies have moved businesses outside the European Union in response to the implementation of the Food Supplements Directive; [215806]

(5) how many vitamins and supplements have been removed from sale by the Food Standards Agency in the past five years due to safety concerns; [215810]

(6) how many representations he has received expressing concern about the Food Supplements Directive; which organisations that have made representations to his Department expressed support for the Government's policy towards the Directive; and
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which organisations that have made representations to his Department have informed the Department that they have changed their policy on the Directive since submitting their original representation; [215811]

(7) what research the Government have carried out on the effects of the Food Supplements Directive on small specialist manufacturers and retailers; [215812]

(8) how many dossiers have been submitted for products to be included on the positive list under the Food Supplements Directive; [215813]

(9) what estimate his Department has made of the cost of putting together a dossier for inclusion in the positive list under the Food Supplements Directive; and what plans the Government have to provide financial assistance to small specialist manufacturers in putting together dossiers; [215814]

(10) which of the nutrient sources that are not on the positive list under the Food Supplements Directive his Department assesses as dangerous. [215815]

Miss Melanie Johnson: There is currently no system in the United Kingdom for recording adverse or fatal reactions to food supplements. A very small number of adverse reactions are reported through the general practitioner yellow card system used for medicines and forwarded to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) by the Medicines and Health Care products Regulatory Agency. The FSA is not aware of any vitamin supplements that have been removed from the shelves due to safety concerns. The provision of dossiers for nutrient sources not included in the positive lists will allow the safety of these to be assessed and for any sources considered dangerous to be identified.

The European Food Safety Authority is expected to publish its advice on maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals, which can be used in food supplements, in spring 2005.

This Government are fully committed to the view that, in the interest of consumer choice, the law should allow food supplements that are safe and properly labelled to be freely marketed. The Food Supplements Directive (FSD) meets these requirements.

A large number of representations were received during the negotiations on the FSD, during the consultation on the regulations and since the adoption of the directive. Consumers associations, such as Which?, support the FSD. Trade associations for the supplements industry supported the FSD at the time of its adoption but have since changed their position.

An assessment of the economic impact of the Food Supplements Regulations was made in the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) published with the Regulations and included an assessment of the impact of the FSD on small businesses.

It is not appropriate for the UK Government to provide financial assistance for dossier production by small companies, as this would set a precedent to provide financial assistance for all new legislation. To date, dossiers for nine nutrient sources have been received by the FSA with a view to these being added to
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the positive lists in the FSD. The FSA is unaware of any company that has moved out of the European Union as a result of the FSD.

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