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24 May 2005 : Column 79W—continued

Visa Applications

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what stage the visa applications for (a) Bukola Fakeye, reference F1054346 and (b) Lucky Osadolor, reference B1127338 have reached; and if he will make a statement. [103]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 23 May 2005]: The Home Office wrote to Miss Bukola Fakeye's legal representatives, Duncan Lewis and Co Solicitors, on the 19 May 2005 asking for additional evidence in order to assist them in reaching a final decision on Miss Fayeke's applications for indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. The Home Office have asked that the evidence be submitted by 6 June 2005. It is therefore anticipated that the Home Office will be in a position to reach a final decision in this case by the end of June 2005.

Inquiries into Mr. Osadolor's case have been concluded and we will shortly be writing to his representatives to let him know the outcome.
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Breast Cancer

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the results of trials published in The Lancet on detection rates for breast cancer by MRI scan and mammogram; and if her Department will take steps to ensure that all at-risk women under 50 are offered MRI scans. [882]

Ms Winterton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on familial breast cancer was published in May 2004. NICE has committed to reviewing this guidance when the results of the magnetic resonance imaging for breast screening (MARIBS) and other magnetic resonance imaging studies become available.

NICE's clinical guidelines bring clarity to complex areas of diagnosis and care by providing recommendations for
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good practice that are based on the best available evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness. Clinicians are expected to take full account of these guidelines.

Dental Services

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department has taken to (a) retain and (b) recruit dental practitioners who register new NHS patients in the constituency of Leeds, north-west; and if she will make a statement. [378]

Mr. Byrne: Leeds north-west primary care trust (PCT) has received £96,000 capital funding, which is being utilised through the PCTs dental incentive scheme, to ensure that the current level of commitment of local dentists to the national health service is maintained. This funding supports general dental practitioners in ensuring patient safety and improving practice premises, in particular replacing dental chairs with modern equipment.

A further £42,000 revenue funding has been received by the PCT, which will be partly utilised to provide three extra NHS dental sessions a week, enabling an additional 12 patients a week to receive treatment. This locality-based access scheme will provide urgent and routine treatment sessions for non-registered NHS patients in the area.

In April 2005, the PCT had six general dental practices working under personal dental services (PDS) arrangements. These practices have successfully secured an additional £221,000 to increase the workforce, benefiting an additional 1,355 new patients and enabling the re-registration of approximately 2,500 NHS patients.

The PCT took part in the recent West Yorkshire international dental recruitment campaign and successfully supported a local practice to recruit a Polish dentist commencing in August 2005. The PCT is also working with local general dental practitioners to explore other avenues of recruitment to existing vacancies.

Drug Addicts

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many drug addicts were being treated by GPs in (a) Bassetlaw and (b) England on the latest date for which figures are available. [6]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 23 May 2005]: Information on the number being treated in Bassetlaw is not available centrally.

The numbers in drug treatment in England in 2003–04, the latest year for which published figures are available, was 154,000.

Food Poisoning

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were recorded as suffering from food poisoning in each of the last five years; what the main causes were; and if she will make a statement. [691]

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Caroline Flint: The number of notified cases of food poisoning in England and Wales reported to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) each year since 2000 is shown in table one. Total notifications have shown a decrease since 2000.
Table 1: Annual corrected food poisoning notifications, England and Wales 2000–04(2)

Formally notifiedOtherwise ascertained(3)Total

(2) Provisional data
(3) Includes port health authorities
Health Protection Agency.

The main causes of food poisoning are often unknown, as food poisoning is a diagnosis based on clinical suspicion rather than laboratory confirmation. Notified cases of food poisoning are not considered to be a reliable indicator of food-borne disease due to considerable under-reporting. Very few notified cases will be based on evidence supporting a suspected association with food.

The HPA has estimated that, in 2000, there may have been as many as 1.3 million cases of food-borne disease acquired in England and Wales, of which around 370,000 consulted a doctor. In that year, only 86,528 cases of food poisoning were notified.

Recent research undertaken by the HPA suggests that Campylobacter and Salmonella are the major causes of food-borne disease in England and Wales 1 . The annual totals for UK-acquired laboratory-confirmed cases of these pathogens in England and Wales are shown in table two.

Table 2: Number of laboratory-confirmed cases of UK-acquired Campylobacter and Salmonella infection; England and Wales 2000–04(4)


(4) Provisional data.
(5) Faecal and lower gastrointestinal tract isolates.
Health Protection Agency.

Final figures for 2003 show a 17 per cent. decrease in the number of laboratory-confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection compared with figures for 2000. Data for 2004 suggest a further decrease but these figures are provisional and may be subject to change during the course of 2005. The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella infection in 2003 remain virtually unchanged compared with the figure for 2000.
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Provisional data for 2004 suggest a decrease in laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella in England and Wales. These declines in laboratory-confirmed cases of Campylobacter and Salmonella are also reflected in food poisoning notifications, which show a 19 per cent. decrease over the same time-period (2000–04).

Food Supplements Directive

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the recent reasoned opinion of Advocate General Geelhoed that the Food Supplements Directive is invalid under EU law. [319]

Caroline Flint: The Advocate General's opinion concluded that the Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC is invalid on the grounds that it infringes the principle of proportionality because basic principles of Community law, such as the requirements of legal protection, of legal certainty and of sound administration have not been properly taken into account. This opinion is not binding in the European Union. The European Court of Justice will make the final decision regarding the invalidity of the Directive.

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