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13 Jul 2005 : Column 1135W—continued

Health Care (Merton)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is taking in response to the London borough of Merton's referral of the Better Healthcare Closer to Home Proposals; and if she will make a statement. [10436]

Jane Kennedy: The Secretary of State has received a referral from the London borough of Merton on the reconfiguration decisions made by the local national health service. The issues raised are now being considered.

Healthy Start Initiative

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Healthy Start" initiative will be implemented; and what provision has been made for additional training on nutrition and practical healthy eating on a low income to health visitors and midwives before the scheme starts. [11205]

Caroline Flint: The Healthy Start" scheme, which will replace the current welfare food scheme, will be implemented in stages. Subject to parliamentary approval, phase one of Healthy Start" is expected to be implemented in Devon and Cornwall in November 2005. Phase two of the scheme is expected to be implemented from mid-2006 across the rest of Great Britain.

A training programme for health professionals will be developed prior to the implementation of Healthy Start", aimed at providing health professionals with the information they need to support and promote the new scheme. The training will be set in the context of wider public health issues and will take into account the nutritional needs of families on low-income.

Hepatitis C

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to increase awareness of the symptoms of hepatitis C among (a) general practitioners and (b) other doctors. [10885]

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Caroline Flint: The Department launched a hepatitis C awareness campaign for health care professionals in June 2004, with the distribution of an information pack to all general practitioners and practice nurses in England, and to a range of other health professionals. A new national health service hepatitis C awareness website——was also established. There have been a range of features about hepatitis C published in medical journals. Awareness-raising activities are continuing.

Inspection Fees (Charities)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to the Healthcare Commission of carrying out statutory inspections on the Sussex MS Treatment Centre in Southwick, West Sussex, was in the last period for which figures are available. [5915]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 20 June 2005]: I understand from the Chairman of the Healthcare Commission that the information is not available in the form requested.

IVF Treatment

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many free cycles of IVF are offered in each primary care trust area; [11834]

(2) what (a) targets and (b) timescales she has set for primary care trusts to reach the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommendation to provide three free cycles of IVF treatment. [11835]

Caroline Flint: The Department does not collect information centrally on the number of national health service funded in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments carried out. Following the publication in February 2004 of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's (NICE) clinical guideline on the assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems, we advised all primary care trusts (PCTs) to offer a minimum of one cycle of IVF by April 2005 to those who meet the clinical criteria, giving priority to couples with no children living with them, and to make progress to full implementation of the guideline in the longer term.

The primary responsibility for the implementation of NICE'S guidelines rests with the NHS at local level. NICE guidelines are one of a range of factors that PCTs must take into account, in liaison with patients' groups and local health bodies, in deciding their policy on the provision of treatment services for the locality. This policy will reflect local needs and priorities.

Compliance with NICE guidance by NHS organisations will be considered by the Healthcare Commission during their review and performance assessment processes.

Lancashire Ambulance Trust

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the (a) non-executive members and (b) chairman of Lancashire Ambulance Trust will be elected; and if she will take steps to ensure that the views of local hon. Members on the process are sought. [10789]

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Mr. Byrne: The Secretary of State has delegated appointments to all local national health service bodies to the NHS appointments commission. I have asked the Chairman, Sir William Wells to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mental Health

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps are being taken to ensure people with mental health problems (a) aged 50 to 64, (b) aged 65 to 74, (c) aged 75 years or over are offered alternatives to drug treatment; [9899]

(2) what measures are in place to promote good mental health among people aged (a) over 50 and (b) over 65 years. [9900]

Mr. Byrne: The needs of older people with mental health problems are the focus of a standard in the national service framework for older people. Where an older person has severe mental illness due to a psychotic illness, he or she will require the packages of care set out in the national service framework (NSF) for mental health, and the same standards should apply as for working age adults. Non-drug treatments such as psychological therapies are listed among the range of effective interventions for people with mental health problems in both the NSF for mental health and for older people.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) regularly considers the use of non-drug treatments in the development of clinical guidelines for the treatment of a range of mental health problems such as depression and dementia.

The NSFs for mental health and older people include standards on mental health promotion, which requires health and social services to promote mental health for all and combat discrimination against individuals and groups with mental health problems, and promote their social inclusion.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she intends to take to address the shortfall of funding for the Yorkshire Mental Health Trustsidentified by the Commission for Health Improvement. [11544]

Mr. Byrne: Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for commissioning health services to meet the needs of their local population, including mental health services. In the current financial year, PCTs across Yorkshire and Humberside received resource revenue allocations totalling £5.5 billion. This will increase to £7.1 billion in 2007–08.

MMR Vaccinations

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to increase stocks of MMR vaccine; and if she will make a statement. [3366]

Caroline Flint: The Department has been working with both manufacturers of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to increase supplies into the United Kingdom. Additional amounts of the vaccine have been received and will continue to be received throughout the year.
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Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department's guidance restricts the use of MMR vaccinations for 15 to 24-year-olds; and what provision has been made for those in this age group whohave not previously had a full course of MMR vaccine and are either (a) moving to an area of the country where relevant infections have occurred on a significant scale and (b) advised to be vaccinated before enrolling at university or working in residential accommodation. [9449]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 7 July 2005]: The Department continues to advise that all children receive two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme. We are also advising 15 to 24-year-olds to ensure they are properly protected against measles, mumps and rubella. This advice is the same for all parts of the county, and all within this age group.

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