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Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the budget of (a) the Pharmaceutical Pricing Agency and (b) the Health Protection Agency (i) were in each of the last two financial years and (ii) is in the 200506 financial year in (A) cash and (B) real terms. 
|Prescription Pricing Authority||Health Protection Agency|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 13 July 2005, Official Report, column 1135W, on health care (Merton), what issues are under consideration; and what the timetable is. 
Jane Kennedy: The grounds on which the London borough of Merton's overview and scrutiny committee has referred decisions taken by local national health service bodies to the Secretary of State are set out in its letter of 21 March 2005. This letter has been placed in the Library. The matter is still being considered and a decision will be taken as soon as possible.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 July 2005, reference 7222, on health care acquired infections, if she will set out for (a) England, (b) each region, (c) each strategic health authority and (d) each NHS trust the occurrences of (i) glycopeptie resistent enterococci, (ii) orthopaedic surgical site infections and (iii) serious untoward incidents for each quarter since mandatory reporting commenced. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 18 July 2005]: Although the data requested is not currently available, information from the mandatory surveillance system will be available later this year. This data is likely to be published annually and the format has yet to be agreed. The expected publication dates are August for glycopeptide resistant enterococci and autumn for orthopaedic surgical site infections. The Health Protection Agency is currently analysing data on serious untoward incidents associated with infection.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of demand over the next five years for (a) in-patient and (b) respite and day care provision for palliative care; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Primary care trusts are responsible within the national health service for commissioning and funding services for their resident population, including palliative care, having taken account of local needs and priorities. The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), supported by the
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cancer action team and the Department, has published Population-Based Needs Assessment for Palliative Care: A Manual for Cancer Networks". Networks can use the manual to assess the need for core component specialist palliative care services, including in-patient care, community care, day care and hospital support.
The NCPC is presently revising the manual to cover patients with conditions other than cancer. This will enable commissioners to gain a greater appreciation of the palliative care needs of their resident population.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information a food manufacturer will need to provide on health claims to gain authorisation under the proposed EU regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods (2003/0165 COM); who will decide whether a health claim is approved; whether it will be possible to appeal if claims are not approved; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The proposed Regulation is intended to protect consumers from misleading claims and facilitate the free movement of foods within the European Union. It will require health claims to be substantiated.
Under the proposal, a health claim based on generally accepted scientific data would not need to go through the full authorisation process. Instead, member states will have one year to submit to the European Commission a list of health claims, accompanied by references to relevant scientific justification. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will contact organisations and other interested parties about the process of drawing up a list of such claims. On receipt of the national lists, the Commission will consult the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) before drawing up a Community list of permitted claims. This is to be subject to a vote in the Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.
Health claims which cannot be supported by generally accepted scientific data and all disease risk reduction claims will require specific authorisation. The user of such a claim will be required to submit a range of information, as outlined in the proposed Regulation, which will be assessed by EFSA. The proposed Regulation also requires EFSA to produce detailed guidance to assist applicants. This is expected to cover the type and quantity of information applicants will be required to produce. EFSA will have six months to review this information and to provide an opinion on the acceptability of the claim. The proposed Regulation provides for the EFSA opinion to be published and for comments to be made to the Commission by the applicant within 30 days.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what definition under the proposed EU regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods (2003/0165 COM) her Department will use in relation to (a) generally accepted scientific data and (b) the average consumer; whether those definitions have been
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agreed at EU level; whether any part of the negotiations has taken place without these definitions; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The Food Standards Agency intends to consult with the European Commission, member states and other interested parties on the interpretation of the terms generally accepted scientific data" and the average consumer" in the context of this proposal. There are currently no agreed definitions for these terms and a consistent approach is needed.
The proposed Regulation gives a brief explanation of the concept of the average consumer. It points out that there is not a statistical test and national courts and authorities will have to exercise their own faculty of judgment, having regard to the case law of the European Court of Justice as necessary.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health trainers have been appointed; what training they receive; what the estimated annual cost of a health trainer is; what management structure will be developed to oversee health trainers; and if she will make a statement. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, (1)what consultation was undertaken with (a) healthcare professionals, (b) commercial organisations and (c) patient organisations on the provision of health trainers prior to developing job descriptions for such trainers; 
(2) what specific training will be given to trainers to enable them to develop the necessary skills for dealing with complex health issues and their underlyingpsychological factors; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: I refer the hon. Members to the written ministerial statement I made on 20 July 2005, Official Report, columns 9294WS. A wide range of organisations, including those representing healthcare professionals, commercial organisations and patient organisations participated in the consultation for the White Paper, Choosing Health", which announced the policy to introduce health trainers.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what action the Government (a) are taking and (b) plans to take in each of the next five years to encourage people to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption; 
The Government encourages the increased consumption and awareness of the importance of eating more fruit and vegetables through a number of initiatives and programmes. These include the five-a-day programme, which combines a range of community, advertising and media initiatives, and the school fruit and vegetable scheme, which provides nearly two million children aged four to six with a free
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piece of fruit or vegetable every school day. In November 2005, we expect to start phase one of the healthy start scheme, which will also encourage fruit and vegetable consumption among pre-school age children.
Choosing a Better Diet: a food and health action plan", published on 9 March 2005, set out the Government's strategy to improve people's health through improved diet and nutrition. The strategy includes actions to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and awareness of the health benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables. A copy is available in the Library and on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/10/57/13/04105713.pdf.
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