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Mental Health Tribunals

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent changes have been made to the location of mental health tribunals sittings for patients of the Humber mental health teaching NHS trust; and for what reasons the changes were made. [223538]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 23 March 2005]: All units in Humber mental health teaching national health service trust have their mental health review tribunals organised by one Mental Health Act Administrator, who works in a separate unit. The tribunals take place at the hospitals where the patient is detained in line with other trusts.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients of the Humber mental health teaching NHS trust subject to sectioning did not have their tribunal hearings within the designated time limit under the 1983 Mental Health Act in the last 12 months. [223573]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding 23 March 2005]: All mental health review tribunals (MHRTs) are listed, in the first instance, within statutory time scales.

A small number of patients do not subsequently have their cases heard within time limits due to factors outside the Tribunal Secretariat's control. These include requests by the responsible authority or patient's representative for an alternative hearing date. Tribunals can also be adjourned by the MHRT panel members when they convene at the hearing. The MHRT is an independent judicial body and the Secretariat has no influence over these decisions to adjourn.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many midwives were employed by the NHS in the last year for which figures are available. [222946]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 22 March 2005]: As at September 2004, there were 24,844 midwives employed in the national health service, an increase of 2,459 since 1997.
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Mobile Phones (Under-fives)

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the health effects of mobile phones on the under-fives. [223589]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Mobile Telecommunication and Health Research (MTHR) programme set up following the Stewart Report in 2000 is jointly funded by Government and industry under the aegis of an independent scientific management committee. One study in this programme is investigating the risk of early childhood cancer among the population residing near mobile phone base stations, although all the studies are relevant to populations of any age. A brief description of all the studies can be found on the MTHR website at

The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) continually monitors and evaluates research into potential health effects from mobile phone technologies on behalf of Government. The NRPB's independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation issued a comprehensive review entitled Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields" (docs. of the NRPB, vol. 14, no. 2, 2003). This report noted that little had been published specifically on childhood exposures to radiofrequency. The World Health Organization has prioritised research recommendations for studies on children and electromagnetic fields including those from mobile phone technologies. Further information is available from the World Health Organisation website at:

MRI Scans

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2005, Official Report, column 693W, on MRI scans, if he will place the representations he received in the Library. [220512]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 8 March 2005]: No. The representations received fall in the category of commercially sensitive documents that the Department would not generally disclose. Some of the representations received also form part of advice
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received from strategic health authorities and other national health service bodies. Information of this kind is also not generally disclosed, as it would be detrimental to the provision of free and frank advice.


Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment the Government have made of whether relationship exists between MRSA and the privatisation of cleaning activities in NHS hospitals. [209146]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Analysis carried out by the Department found that there was no statistically significant relationship between the contracting out of cleaning work and methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates in national health service trusts.

However, the impact of cost-cutting programmes during the 1980s and 1990s did lead to a reduction in the number of cleaning staff and expenditure on cleaning.

The problem of MRSA has developed over some time. Between 1993 and 1997, the percentage of S aureus bacteraemias that were MRSA increased from four per cent. to 30 per cent.. It is now settling at just over 40 per cent. The latest data for MRSA bloodstream infections (April-September 2004) show a 6 per cent. drop on the corresponding period in 2003.

Several initiatives are already improving hospital cleanliness and infection control. These are summarised in Towards cleaner hospitals and lower rates of infections".

Neonatal Care

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average age is of neonatal nurses; and what assessment he has made of the effect on neonatal care of early retirements of such nurses over the next 10 years. [222025]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not collected centrally. Neonatal nurses are included within the paediatric nursing area of work. As at September 2004, the average age of paediatric nurses employed in the national health service was 37.

In line with our policy of Shifting the Balance of Power", it is for primary care trusts, in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders, to plan, develop and improve services for local people, including neonatal services.

NHS Dentists

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) children and (b) adults were registered with NHS dentists in Chesterfield on the latest date for which figures are available. [222625]

Ms Rosie Winterton: As at 30 September 2004, there were 16,489 children and 47,339 adults—63,828 patients in total—registered with national health service dentists in Chesterfield.

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NHS Professionals

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether staff supplied by NHS Professionals to hospitals undergo the same (a) recruitment, (b) training and (c) occupational health checks that are required of private recruitment agencies; and if he will make a statement; [223574]

(2) when he expects NHS professionals to become self-financing; and if he will make a statement; [223575]

(3) if he will list the NHS trusts which ceased to use NHS professionals in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004; and if he will make a statement. [223576]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 23 March 2005]: NHS professionals fully complies with the pre and post-employment checks for all those working in the national health service, the appropriate checks and minimum standards set out in the Department's code of practice for the supply of temporary staffing and NHS purchasing and supply agency delivery standards. A recent Department of Trade and Industry audit confirmed that NHS professionals fully met, and in some cases exceeded, the requirements of the Employments Agencies Act and the Conduct of Employment and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 23 March, regarding when NHS professionals is expected to become self-financing.

Information relating to the NHS professionals service prior to the establishment of the special health authority in April 2004 is not held centrally. The Pennine care NHS trust disengaged with the NHS professionals nursing service in 2004, but it continues to use the full range of doctors' services.

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