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6 Apr 2005 : Column 1547W—continued

Health Statistics (Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many MRSA infections there were in the Royal Shrewsbury hospital in each year since 1997. [223179]

Dr. Ladyman: The information is not available in the format requested. The Royal Shrewsbury hospital was a separate acute trust until October 2003, when it merged with the Princess Royal hospital to form the Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals national health service trust. From October 2003 onward, data for the Royal Shrewsbury hospital alone is not available.
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The mandatory surveillance system which collects data on methicillin resistant "Staphylococcus aureus" (MRSA) bloodstream infections commenced in April 2001 and gives data by NHS trust only and not hospital.

The table shows relevant data for the years 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04 and the first six months of the reporting year 2004–05.
Number of MRSA bacteraemia reportsMRSA rate per 1,000 bed days
Royal Shrewsbury hospital
April 2001 to March 2002180.11
April 2002 to March 2003200.12
Shrewsbury and Telford hospital NHS trust
April 2003 to March 2004580.20
April 2004 to September 2004240.16

Healthcare Commission

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many representations he has received from private and voluntary healthcare providers on fees for inspection by the Healthcare Commission; and if he will place copies in the Library. [224766]

Dr. Ladyman: On 8 February, increases in the regulatory fees payable to the Healthcare Commission were announced. The increases came into effect on 1 April and are in line with Government policy of moving to a position where the recurrent costs of providing regulation are fully recoverable from service providers.

Since the revised fees were announced, the Department has received a number of representations from private and voluntary healthcare providers. My noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, met representatives of the independent healthcare forum on 16 March. Ministerial correspondence is not routinely placed in the Library.

Healthcare/Social Care Commissions

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish his plans for merging the Healthcare and Social Care Commissions. [224538]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 4 April 2005]: The decision to merge the Commission for Social Care Inspection with the Healthcare Commission was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer during his budget statement on 16 March 2005.

Further details of the planned merger will be confirmed following consultation with both Commissions, taking account of a proposed wider review of regulation in social care and health.

Klinefelter Syndrome

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy that those with Klinefelter syndrome should be exempt from prescription charges. [224913]

6 Apr 2005 : Column 1549W

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have no plans to extend the existing list of medical conditions that give exemption from prescription charges. The list has been reviewed on a number of occasions but no clear cut case for extending it has emerged. There is no consensus on what additional conditions might be included in any revised list of medical exemptions, or how distinctions could be drawn between one condition and another.

McKinsy and Co

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been paid by Monitor to McKinsey and Co. since it was established. [223698]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 April 2005]: This is a matter for Monitor, the statutory name of which is the independent regulator of national health service foundation trusts. The Chairman will write to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Medical Staff (Assaults)

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many assaults have there been on (a) doctors, (b) nurses, (c) midwives and (d) ambulance crews in each year since 1997; and what proportion of those assaults led to a prosecution in each year. [224113]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 4 April 2005]: The information requested has not been collected centrally hitherto but a new national reporting system for physical assaults against national health service staff is being put in place and this will be fully operational by summer 2005.

Mental Health

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps have been taken to improve mental health services provided to the black and ethnic minority community. [224872]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government are committed to equality of access to mental health services, equality of experience of those services, and equality of outcome from services. On 11 January 2005, we published "Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care", combined with our response to the independent inquiry into the death of David Bennett. Together, they represent a comprehensive five-year action plan for tackling inequalities and discrimination in services for black and minority ethnic communities.

The action plan is based on three building blocks:

Implementation of the action plan is being led by Professor Kamlesh Patel QBE, head of the centre for ethnicity and health at the university of central Lancashire and chair of the Mental Health Act
6 Apr 2005 : Column 1550W
Commission. To support implementation, sites within 17 strategic health authorities across England have been selected to help identify and spread best practice.

"Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care" is available on the Department's website.

The objectives of "Delivering Race Equality" are supported by the Department's wider equality and human rights programme and by a 27-point cross-Government action plan on mental health published by the social exclusion unit (SEU) in June 2004. The SEU plan recognises that people with mental health problems are among the most excluded in society; its implementation is being led by the National Institute for Mental Health in England, in collaboration over 20 Government Departments and other organisations at national level.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the results were of the mandatory MRSA bloodstream infection count for the quarter October to December 2004. [223856]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 4 April 2005]: From March 2005, data on methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections have been published by six monthly intervals. The information for October 2004 to March 2005 will be published once the data has been compiled by the Health Protection Agency.

National Electronic Library for Health

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the reasons are for the decision to terminate access to treatment notes on the national electronic library for health in May 2005; and if he will make a statement. [221863]

Mr. Hutton: The Consumers Association was funded for one year to supply an electronic version of treatment notes to the national health service, to complement the paper copies sold to NHS organisations. The contract for this service expired on 31 March 2005.

NHS Direct

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 17 March 2005, Official Report, column 436W, on NHS Direct, what the intended new status of NHS Direct is; and what assessment he has made of its likely impact on the (a) financing, (b) status of the staff and (c) accountability of NHS Direct. [223969]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 4 April 2005]: As part of the arms length body review, the Department is assessing the future status of NHS Direct, with a view to it becoming a new organisation from April 2006. Financing, the status of staffing and accountability will feature in the evaluation of the new organisation.

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