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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of state-registered nurse training is allocated to dealing with psychiatric illnesses. 
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) sets the standards for registration as a qualified nurse. The education standards set by the NMC are at a broad level of principle and are used by the education institutions to inform their curriculum development. The NMC is responsible for validating the programmes that the education institutions provide.
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There are four branches of pre-registration nurse training; adult, children, learning disability and mental health nursing. During the mental health nursing branch, students will gain experience in acute psychiatry, the care of those with severe or enduring mental illness, the care of the elderly mentally ill and supporting people to live in the community.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many nursing vacancies there are in the Essex Health Authority area; 
(2) how many nurses are employed in each of the hospitals located in Essex Health Authority. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is shown in the table.
|March 2004||September 2004|
|Three month vacancy rate||Staff in post|
|Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals National Health Service Trust||ROD||2.1||16||863||1,138|
|Basildon Primary Care Trust (PCT)||5GR||1.1||1||93||122|
|Billericay, Brentwood and Wickford PCT||5GP||0.0||(212)||97||118|
|Castle Point and Rochford PCT||5JP||2.5||3||124||152|
|Epping Forest PCT||5AJ||3.4||3||110||140|
|Essex Ambulance Service NHS Trust||RB4||0.0||(212)||1||1|
|Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust||RDE||0.8||7||894||1,092|
|Maldon and South Chelmsford PCT||5GL||11.3||12||99||142|
|Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust||RQ8||0.0||(212)||1,083||1,454|
|North Essex Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust||RRD||4.5||30||671||746|
|Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust||RQW||14.3||96||610||739|
|South Essex Partnership NHS Trust||RWN||3.8||19||550||641|
|Southend Hospital NHS Trust||RAJ||0.5||5||943||1,119|
|Southend on Sea PCT||5AK||1.7||2||140||193|
|Witham Braintree and Halstead Care Trust||TAG||0.0||(212)||127||179|
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had during each of the last 18 months with the Royal College of Nursing about (a) abortion and (b) euthanasia issues; if she will place in the Library a note of each such meeting; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: No such discussions have taken place.
Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice and assistance is made available to encourage general practitioners to take advantage through practice based commissioning of (a) slimming on referral and (b) other evidence based schemes. 
Mr. Byrne: No specific advice has been issued to general practitioners on referral issues in the context of practice based commissioning. However, practice based commissioning does provide the opportunity for GPs to take more responsibility for the commissioning of evidence based services for patients.
In addition, the White Paper, Choosing Health", made a commitment to assess the role the independent sector, including validated programmes such as slimming on referral, can play in providing effective behaviour change programmes.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on progress with obesity initiatives in the Implementation Programme of the White Paper on Public Health with particular reference to (a) the Weight Loss Guide, (b) Obesity Care Pathway and the Obesity Tool Kit, (c) the Directory of Training Resources, (d) National Partnership for Obesity, (e) Obesity Programme Board, (f) the development of a job description and management structure for health trainers and (g) the work of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in assessing weight loss options. 
Caroline Flint: Progress on the programmes listed are as follows:
Publication of the weight loss guide is expected in the autumn.
Both the obesity care pathway and the obesity toolkit are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The directory for training resources was posted on the Dieticians in Obesity Management UK (DOMUK) website at www.domuk.org on 25 May. There will be a link to the directory from the Department's website.
Arrangements are in hand for the first meeting of the obesity programme board by the autumn. One of its first tasks will be to reach agreements on the setting up of the national partnership for obesity.
From September, early adopter sites will begin to trial a draft set of core competencies and job descriptions for health trainers.
The work of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in assessing weight loss options is on schedule for early 2007, preceded by two consultations next year.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the total number of points available for assessing practice remuneration under the general practitioners contract is; how many points relate directly to the assessment, treatment or prevention of overweightness or obesity; and for what specific purposes these are awarded; 
(2) if she will increase the number of points available under the general practitioners contract for actions directly related to tackling overweightness and obesity by reference to success in reducing obesity rather than measuring the scale of the problem; and if she will make a statement. 
There are 1050 points available in the quality and outcomes framework, of which three points are available for the percentage of patients with diabetes
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whose notes record body mass index in the previous 15 months. A review of the quality and outcomes framework is currently being undertaken led by NHS Employers. As part of that, the Department has submitted proposals for new indicators on obesity, which are being considered by an expert panel as part of the agreed review process.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on whether pregnant women who are obese during the first trimester of pregnancy have an increased likelihood of having a baby with cleft lip or palate; and if she will make a statement. 
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