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Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 21 February 2005, Official Report, column 175W, on nurses uniforms, (1) on what research his Department bases the assertion that dilution in domestic washing machines will effectively disinfect nurses uniforms; 
(3) what research has been carried out since 1997 to establish (a) mechanical efficiency and (b) hygienic effectiveness of the washing of nurses uniforms at home; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department is not aware of any research concerning the washing of nurses' uniforms at home. Expert opinion is that a combination of heat, detergent and water will remove soil and reduce the bioburden sufficiently.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many whole-time equivalent (a) optometrists, (b) dispensing opticians and (c) ophthalmic opticians there have been in England in each year since 1997. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The table shows the estimated number of whole-time equivalent optometrists since 1997. Information is not available for numbers of whole- time equivalents (WTEs) for dispensing opticians and ophthalmic medical practitioners.
|Estimated number of practising optometrists (WTE) in England|
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what instructions he has issued to primary care trusts and hospital trusts to ensure that they comply with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations on the use of paluvizumab to immunise premature babies against respiratory syncytial virus. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will revise his estimate of the cost of providing free personal care to take account of (a) the current review of eligibility for NHS continuing care and (b) changes to the amount of funding for free nursing care since January 2004. 
A range of initiatives are in place to help expand the national health service work force, including the number of clinical radiologists who undertake interventional radiological procedures. These initiatives include improving pay and conditions, encouraging the NHS to become a better, more flexible and diverse employer, help with accessing child care, increasing training, attracting back returners and running national and international recruitment campaigns. In addition,
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we are aiming to further boost consultant numbers by centrally funding up to 226 additional specialist registrar places in clinical radiology between 200203 and 200506. Up to 60 of these additional posts are for the new clinical radiology academies set to modernise training in clinical radiology in 200506.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many primary care trusts and hospital trusts have put in place a respiratory syncytial virus preventive treatment programme in compliance with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Department has invested £26 million since 200203 to pump-prime improvements to sexual health services. It is for the national health service locally to decide how this money can best be spent in order to meet local needs, and no information is held centrally on how the allocations are used by individual trusts.
A further £15 million capital funding was also made available in 200405 to improve genito-urinary medicine (GUM) premises and the Department invited bids for this funding. The Wolverton Centre at Kingston hospital trust was allocated £800,000 of this money.
The Government have announced investment of £300 million over the next three years through the Public Health White Paper to improve sexual health. This includes £130 million to modernise services, £80 million to accelerate the roll-out of the national chlamydia screening programme by March 2007; £40 million to improve the provision of contraception services and; £50 million to undertake a national media campaign. A new goal of 48-hour maximum waiting times for GUM appointments by 2008 has also been introduced and a national review of GUM services and national audit of contraception services is taking place to disseminate best practice and inform future investment. Sexual health, for the first time, features in the local delivery plans of primary care trusts to strengthen the delivery of service improvements at local level.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients subject to sectioning at Springfield mental hospital, Tooting have committed acts of violence outside the hospital in each of the last 10 years while subject to those sections. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of whether the public service agreement target to increase the participation of problem drug users in drug treatment programmes by 100 per cent. by 2008 will be met. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: Figures published on 30 September 2004 by the National Treatment Agency (NTA) for substance misuse show that 54 per cent. more drug users were in contact with drug treatment services in 200304 by comparison to the 199899 baseline. We are on track to achieve the drug treatment target of doubling the number of drug users in contact with treatment by 2008.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of whether the public service agreement target to reduce the inequality in mortality rates from cancer between the fifth of areas with the worst health and deprivation indicators and the population as a whole by at least 6 per cent. by 2010 will be met. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: Early indications from monitoring of the gap between the fifth of areas with the worst health and deprivation indicators and the population as a whole has suggested that we are on course to deliver a reduction of 6 per cent. by 2010.
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