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20 Oct 2005 : Column 1161W—continued

Mobile Communications (Interference)

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has to re-examine the Medical Devices Agency's device bulletin, MDA DB 9702 March 1997, published in March 1997, on the effects of mobile communications on a range of medical devices. [18368]

Jane Kennedy: The advice in the publication DB 9702, Electromagnetic Compatibility of Medical Devices with Mobile Communications", has been reviewed on a regular basis by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and its predecessor the Medical Devices Agency.

A further device bulletin, DB 1999(02), Emergency Service Radios and Mobile Data Terminal: Compatibility Problems with Medical Devices", was published in May 1999, which addressed the impact of radio communications on the safe use of a range of medical devices.

An update document, SN 2001(06), was published in March 2001, which covered the potential interference with medical devices by TETRA radio systems employed by the emergency services and media broadcasts from hospital premises.
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Most recently, the MHRA published guidance on its website in July 2004, which referenced DB 9702 and DB 1999(02). This guidance advised that health care providers should actively manage the use of radio frequency spectrum on their own sites, and consider the potential effects of communication equipment on all medical devices.

Myasthenia Gravis

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support the Government provides for people diagnosed with myasthenia gravis; and if she will make a statement. [17770]

Mr. Byrne: The Government are sympathetic to the needs of patients with myasthenia gravis and the impact this condition can have on their independence and quality of life.

Patients with myasthenia gravis are able to access a range of national health service and social care services, which are tailored to meet their individual needs, to help them manage their condition. It is for primary care trusts, in consultation with other stakeholders, to determine which services, including those for people with myasthenia gravis, their local populations require and ensuring the appropriate provision of these services.

The national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions is supporting local sustained improvements in service quality for people with long-term neurological conditions, including myasthenia gravis. The NSF addresses a range of key issues including the need for equitable access to a range of services; good quality information and support for patients and carers; the ability to see a specialist and get the right investigations and diagnosis as quickly as possible.

National Pulmonary Hypertension Service

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements have been made for central funding of the national pulmonary hypertension service for (a) the current year and (b) 2006. [16968]

Mr. Byrne: Pulmonary hypertension centres are nationally designated by the National Specialised Commissioning Advisory Group (NSCAG) but pulmonary hypertension services are commissioned and funded by primary care trusts; there are no plans to change these arrangements. NSCAG's ongoing role is limited to setting national pulmonary hypertension standards and monitoring pulmonary hypertension centres' adherence to these standards on a biennial basis.

National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role is performed by the national specialist commissioning advisory group in supporting regional centres of (a) specialism, (b) research and (c) drug treatment. [16980]

Mr. Byrne: The national specialised commissioning advisory group (NSCAG) nationally commissions very specialised services for a specified list of rare conditions when a handful of hospitals across the country provide a service to a national caseload not exceeding 1,000 (and
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frequently less than 400) a year. Specialised services, including drug treatments or research, which are provided at regional level are not within the remit of NSCAG.

No Secrets Guidance

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2005, Official Report, column 1911W, on the No Secrets guidance, whether each local authority has (a) established multi-agency adult protection procedures in accordance with No Secrets and (b) produced a multi-agency annual report or statement on vulnerable adults work; and how many (i) adult protection referrals were received, (ii) investigations were undertaken and (iii)investigations were upheld as adult protection by each local authority. [17915]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 14 October 2005]: I understand from the chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspections (CSCI), that out of 150 local authorities, 145 have established multi-agency adult protection procedures in accordance with No Secrets. Four local councils have reported procedures that were underdeveloped.

Out of 150 local authorities, 99 have produced a multi-agency annual report or statement on vulnerable adults work, while 45 have reported that this work was underdeveloped.

The information obtained by CSCI on progress in developing multi-agency protection procedures will be used as part of the criteria for performance assessments.

Information on the number of adult protection referrals received, investigations undertaken and investigations that were upheld as adult protection by each local authority is not held centrally or by CSCI.

Pakistani Midwives

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many Pakistani midwives applied to be registered with the National Midwifery Council as part of the overseas nursing programme in each of the last three years; and how many were accepted. [17092]

Mr. Byrne: The overseas nurses programme was introduced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council on 1 September 2005. The programme does not apply to midwives.

Data on registrations are not collected by the Department.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to improve the care given to those with peripheral vascular disease. [18359]

Mr. Byrne: The Department convened the vascular programme board last year to co-ordinate work on all vascular diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease. The board was set up because the prevention and treatment of these disease areas are closely linked and there are considerable synergies on such issues as primary and secondary prevention, chronic disease management and
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health inequalities. The board will play a major role in the achievement of the Governments targets in these areas.

The Department's public health campaigns make a significant contribution to preventing peripheral vascular disease. These include campaigns on smoking and healthy eating, and the Food Standards Agency campaign on reducing salt consumption.

Prescription (Charges/Guidance)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Health where English primary care trusts can use (a) All Wales Medicines Strategy Group and (b) Scottish Medicines Consortium guidance to make decisions on funding and prescribing where National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence appraisals are not available. [18674]

Jane Kennedy: In August 1999, the Department issued Health Service Circular 1999/176, which asks national health service bodies to continue with local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies where guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is not available at the time the technology first became available. These arrangements should involve an assessment of the available evidence, which can include guidance issued by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group and the Scottish Medicines Consortium.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions incurring a prescription charge were dispensed with a net ingredient cost of (a) under £3.50 and (b) under £6.50 in the last three years for which figures are available. [17760]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is shown in the table. The figures are taken from the prescription cost analysis of the Prescription Pricing Authority.
Prescription items dispensed

Under £3.50Under £6.50Total number of
chargeable items dispensed
Total number of items dispensed

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