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Caroline Flint [holding answer 27 June 2005]: The Department and the National Treatment Agency, as part of their commitment to appropriate substitute prescribing, have produced a number of pieces of work in support of this objective. These are:
Clinical Guidelines on the Management of Drug Dependence" (Department of Health, 1999), which is based on an expert review of the evidence. This is a key document underpinning standards of treatment interventions, including substitute prescribing, expected of professionals.
Research Into Practice: Prescribing Services for Drug Misuse" (National Treatment Agency, January 2003). This document provided recommendations in relation to recommended guiding principles of an effective prescribing regime and the recommended components of an effective prescribing service.
A Chief Medical Officer letter (January 2001) relating to a change in national health service regulations that allowed for the instalment dispensing of buprenorphine. This regulation change was seen as being effective in increasing prescribers' willingness to prescribe buprenorphine as the risk of overdose and diversion was reduced substantially.
As part of our continuing commitment to develop the evidence base in this area as part of our objective to increase the effectiveness of treatment, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, as part of its 10th wave,
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has agreed to do an appraisal of methadone and buprenorphine in the treatment of drug addiction. This important work, which will be completed by the end of 2006, is likely to be influential in the development of appropriate and effective substitute prescribing in future years.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what advice the Department has given to (a) general practitioners and (b) medical centres covering university campuses about the MMR vaccination for students; 
Caroline Flint: The Department continues to support locally organised catch-up campaigns through supplying the MMR vaccine free of charge, and providing supplies of a leaflet containing information on this issue.
The Department sent a Public Health Alert to general practitioners in May 2004, alerting them to the risk posed by cases of mumps occurring at an international student's sports event in Spain. The Department also wrote to immunisation co-ordinators on MMR and older children in January 2005.
Caroline Flint: Data showing the number of laboratory confirmed cases of measles and mumps for the age groups 15 to 19 years, 20 to 24 years, and total cases for the years 200004 are shown in the table.
The increase in mumps cases is predominantly in a particular cohort of children (those born between 1983 and 1987) who would not have been routinely offered MMR. During the last five years the mumps outbreaks have moved from older secondary school students to university/college students (percentage of total cases for each age group show this). We know that many of the mumps cases reported in 2003 to 2005 have been from university and college outbreaks, or linked to these.
| 1519 years|| 2024 years||all ages|| 1519 years|| 2024 years||all ages|
Caroline Flint: The comprehensive research reviews in this country undertaken for the Stewart report in 2000 and for the Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields" do not suggest there are adverse health effects from the use of mobile phone technologies. Most reviews, however, note there are gaps in our scientific knowledge and therefore recommend continued research and the adoption of a precautionary approach with respect to children in particular.
Our advice to parents of children and young people under 16 on the use of mobile phones is set out in the leaflet Mobile phones and Health", available on the Department's website at: www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/Publications/fs/en. It states:
the UK Chief Medical Officers strongly advise that where children and young people do use mobile phones, they should be encouraged to use mobile phones for essential purposes only and keep all calls short."
if parents want to avoid their children being subject to any possible risk that might be identified in the future, the way to do it is to exercise their choice not to let their children use mobile phones."
A more recent report from the National Radiological Protection Board, now the Health Protection Agency's radiation protection division, issued in January 2005, entitled Mobile Phones and Health 2004", recommends that limiting the use of mobile phones by children remains an appropriate precautionary measure.
Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effect of needle exchange projects on the prevention of hepatitis C infection in (a) the Burton constituency and (b) England. 
Caroline Flint: Injecting drug use is a main route of transmission of hepatitis C. Needle exchange services, when provided with a range of other measures including the provision of information and advice about risk and accessible specialised drug treatment services, reduce the risk of transmission of hepatitis C and other blood borne virus infections, such as HIV infection. Needle exchange services are available in over 90 per cent. of local authorities in England. As part of the Department's Hepatitis C Action Plan for England", a national audit of needle exchange schemes is under way which will contribute to monitoring of provision and effectiveness.
In the Burton constituency area, action has been taken to reduce the risks of transmission of hepatitis C through the provision of needle exchange services and other harm reduction services. The Staffordshire drug action team is working with other local partners, including general practitioners and primary care trusts, to develop an intervention strategy for ensuring that this provision remains effective for addressing local needs.
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