Previous Section Index Home Page

14 Oct 2005 : Column 630W—continued


Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the reason was for the failure of Chiron to supply diamorphine to the NHS at the end of 2004; how much warning was given by Chiron of their imminent failure to provide the expected supplies; and what assessment she has made of the prospects for Chiron's supply of the product to be restored. [16343]

Jane Kennedy: On 16 December 2004, Chiron, the major supplier of diamorphine injection in the United Kingdom, informed the Department that its supplies of this product were limited. This was due to production problems experienced at its manufacturing plant. Chiron has recently resumed production, but can only supply limited quantities, and the product is likely to remain in short supply for the coming months.

Departmental officials and the National Health Service Purchasing and Supply Agency remain in contact with the manufacturers of diamorphine and other opiates and continue to monitor the supply situation closely.

Cystic Fibrosis

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to exempt cystic fibrosis sufferers from paying prescription charges; and if she will make a statement. [17152]

Jane Kennedy: We have no plans to extend the existing list of medical conditions that give exemption from prescription charges. The list has been reviewed on a number of occasions, but no clear cut case for extending it has emerged. There is no consensus on what additional conditions might be included in any revised list of medical exemptions, or how distinctions could be drawn between one condition and another.

The extensive exemption and change remission arrangements mean that 87 per cent, of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge. As a result, many people whose medical conditions are not on the exempt list already get free prescriptions on other grounds.

Departmental Funding

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been allocated to the Department in each year since 1975. [11521]

Mr. Byrne: From 1975 to 1997, allocations made in the public expenditure survey were reported in the autumn statements with detailed breakdowns in the expenditure plans White Papers. Since 1997, allocations made in the spending review rounds are reported in Spending Review White Papers.


Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will expand the range of treatment available at Poole NHS Hospital Trust for Dorset patients with endometriosis; [18163]

(2) if she will make all types of laparoscopic treatment for endometriosis available at Poole hospital. [18164]

14 Oct 2005 : Column 631W

Caroline Flint: The Government sets the national agenda, puts in place national standards and provides the overall health service funding. Local trusts, in partnership with their health community, now have responsibility for local issues. It is therefore appropriate that they respond to issues concerning their services.

Dorset and Somerset strategic health authority, the local headquarters of the national health service has advised that Poole Hospital NHS Trust provides routine endometriosis services, including a limited range of laparoscopic procedures.

However, the hon. Member may wish to raise this issue with Mr. Lloyd Adams, chief executive at Poole Hospital NHS Trust directly.

Ethical Issues

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions she has had with (a) hon. Members, (b) Members of the House of Lords and (c) organisations concerning the development of policy on (i) assisted suicide, (ii) euthanasia and (iii) abortion; and if she will make a statement. [15491]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Departmental records have been checked and there is no record of my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health, meeting to discuss the development of assisted suicide, euthanasia or abortion policy with hon. or right hon. Members, Members of the House of Lords or organisations.

Foundation Trusts

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether foundation trusts are required to sign up to the code of practice on ethical recruitment. [16645]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 10 October 2005]: Ministers expect national health service foundation trusts to follow best practice guidelines in the provision of health care. This includes the code of practice for the international recruitment of health care professionals.

GP Practices

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 July 2005, Official Report, column 974W, on GP practices, how many GPs are expected to reach retirement age in each year until 2015 using the same format as that given in the Department's 2002 Public Expenditure Questionnaire Memorandum to the Health Select Committee. [14212]

Mr. Byrne: The estimated number of general practitioners (GPs) excluding retainers and registrars, projected to leave the national health service workforce at age 55 or above each year is shown in the table. This assumes the continuation of existing working patterns and that the proportion of leavers in each age group will remain the same as the average numbers of leavers over the period 1999–2004.

These leavers will include staff who take career breaks, or take up work outside England or outside the NHS. Some will return, these numbers are therefore not the same as retirements.
14 Oct 2005 : Column 632W

GP practices


These figures need to be seen in context: the number of GPs has increased by 3,601 (13 per cent.) since 2000 and we anticipate there will continue to be healthy recruitment into general practice.

Meals on Wheels

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many meals on wheels were distributed in each London borough in each year since 1997; what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the fair access to social care initiative; and if she will make a statement. [15815]

Jane Kennedy: This information is not centrally available. Figures for the estimated number of meals provided by each London borough from 2000–01 to 2003–04 have been placed in the Library. No data is available for years prior to 2000–01.

An assessment of the effectiveness of the "Fair Access to Care Services" (FACS) initiative has not taken place. However, views on FACS were sought specifically as part of the Green Paper, "Independence, Well-being and Choice". These views are being considered as we take this forward as part of the development of the White Paper.

Medical Graduates

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms are in place to ensure that the number of new graduates in (a) medicine, (b) nursing, (c) midwifery and (d) physiotherapy is matched by the number of junior posts. [14178]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 10 October 2005]: The national health service has historically been funded to provide 12 per cent. more pre-registration house officer/foundation programme year one posts in England than the anticipated number of graduates from English medical schools and this is planned to continue in the future. A foundation programme workforce group, operating as part of the modernising medical careers implementation process, is overseeing the allocation of funding from the multi-professional education and training (MPET) budget that will enable the creation of the increased number of foundation programme posts required over the next few years.

In line with "Shifting the balance of power", the Government have devolved local workforce planning to strategic health authorities (SHAs). It is the responsibility of primary care trusts and SHAs to analyse their local situation and develop plans, in liaison
14 Oct 2005 : Column 633W
with their local NHS trusts and primary care providers, to ensure that the number of junior posts matches the number of newly qualified staff.

Mobile Phone Technology

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the risk of developing acoustic neuroma as a result of using digital (GSM) mobile phone technology. [17922]

Caroline Flint: Through the mobile telecommunications and health research programme ( the Department is contributing to the 13-nation interphone study of mobile phone use and brain tumours including acoustic neuroma. Results from three relatively small parts of this study already published suggest there is no substantial risk of acoustic neuroma in the first 10 years of use although the authors state that an increased risk after longer term use could not be ruled out. The results to date are not entirely consistent but emphasise the need for continued high quality research. We will await the conclusions of the full study due next year.

Next Section Index Home Page