Previous Section Index Home Page

24 Oct 2005 : Column 161W—continued

Travel to Schools

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average distance travelled by children to secondary school is in (a) England, (b) Kent and (c) Gravesham. [19812]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested has been provided in the following table.
24 Oct 2005 : Column 162W

Average distance(83) travelled in miles by area of pupil residency—secondary(84) schools

Pupils aged
All pupils11 to 1516 and over
Kent local authority2.92.83.4
Gravesham parliamentary

(83) Distances calculated are straight line and take no account of the route pupils follow in order to get to school.
(84) Includes middle schools as deemed, CTCs and Academies
Annual School Census 2005 Final.


Academic Medical Centres

Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on progress on identifying sites for the proposed academic medical centres. [19533]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 20 October 2005]: The proposals set out in the Department's publication Best Research for Best Health: a new national health research strategy", have been the subject of a public consultation. The consultation period ended on 21 October 2005. A summary of the responses made to the Department's proposals and an outline of the next steps in the process, will be published by 30 November 2005.

Air Pollutants

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what conclusions have been reached by her Department's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air
24 Oct 2005 : Column 163W
Pollutants in its consideration of the case for guidance on indoor air quality, referred to in the introduction to the Building Research Establishment Report 450 published in 2002; and if she will make a statement. [17250]

Caroline Flint: The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) has provided guidance on indoor air pollution; its advice has been published on COMEAP's website at For some pollutants, COMEAP found it possible to recommend guidelines; for others this was not possible.


Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the recent changes in the provisions of medication for dementia sufferers in the Essex Strategic Health Authority area. [18081]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its initial advice for the treatment of Alzheimer's in 2001. NICE is currently reviewing this guidance and further details are available on its website at

Alzheimer's (Drugs)

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures she has taken to ensure that the wider social implications of Alzheimer's drugs are fully taken into account by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. [18884]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 17 October 2005]: The detail of the appraisal methodology adopted by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is a matter for NICE itself. Information on NICE'S appraisal methodology is available on the NICE website at

The Department's response to NICE'S consultation on its latest draft appraisal of drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease is available in the Library.


Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of anaemia among under-18s were diagnosed in England in each of the last five years. [18398]

Caroline Flint: The information requested is shown in the table. Data are for all national health service hospitals in England.
Finished consultant episodes (FCEs) for anaemia for patients under 18-years-old


Hospital episode statistics, Health and Social Care Information Centre.

24 Oct 2005 : Column 164W

Authority Boundaries

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many strategic health authorities are proposing new primary care trust boundaries that extend beyond the geographic boundary of the strategic health authority. [17776]

Mr. Byrne: Following the publication of Commissioning a Patient led NHS" on 28 July, strategic health authorities (SHAs) will be submitting proposals to the Department for the configuration of their primary care trusts (PCTs) and for SHAs based on criteria set out in the document. The Department will consider the proposals and any proposed changes will require formal public consultation for three months from December. I am therefore unable to say what the configuration of PCTs and the new SHAs will be until the outcome of the statutory public consultation is known.

Avian Influenza

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to ensure that all English residents are protected in the case of an outbreak of avian influenza. [17375]

Caroline Flint: We are committed to ensuring that the Government is as prepared as possible for a flu pandemic.

On 19 October, we published the revised UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan", which updates the version published in March 2005. The plan provides a framework which seeks to reduce the health impact of a pandemic and the possible disruption it may cause to essential services and people's daily lives.

A key part of our preparedness plans is the purchase of 14.6 million treatment courses of antiviral drugs—enough to treat the quarter of the population who may fall ill in a pandemic. We are also working closely with manufacturers to ensure that the United Kingdom will be able to obtain a specific pandemic vaccine when one becomes available and have issued a tender for 'sleeping contracts' which will ensure we receive vaccine as early as possible.

The World Health Organisation considers the UK to be one of the best prepared countries in the world. However, we are continuing to develop our contingency plans to ensure that they are up to date and comprehensive.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contingency planning has been undertaken in Somerset for an influenza pandemic; and if she will make a statement. [19785]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 20 October 2005]: Dorset and Somerset strategic health authority (SHA) has advised that planning for an influenza pandemic is a high priority for organisations and agencies concerned with emergency health planning in Somerset.

The SHA is leading the contingency planning on a multi-agency basis, which involves all primary care trusts (PCTs), national health service trusts, the
24 Oct 2005 : Column 165W
Health Protection Agency, NHS Direct, Westcountry ambulance services NHS trust, Somerset county council and Avon and Somerset police.

I understand that the planning process is building on the national guidance and the framework provided by the local government office. All PCTs and NHS trusts in Somerset are working to planning templates designed separately for the needs of primary care organisations, acute hospital trusts and mental health partnership trusts.

BCG Vaccinations

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which groups of children in schools in mid-Dorset and North Poole constituency will be offered BCG vaccinations; and whether parents of children who will not be offered the vaccination will be able to obtain the vaccination privately. [19848]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 20 October 2005]: On 6 July of this year, the Chief Medical Officer announced that the BCG vaccination programme in the United Kingdom would change, away from emphasis upon routine BCG vaccination in schools, to selective vaccination of high risk infants and other groups.

The provision of BCG vaccination outside of the target groups is no longer national health service policy. However, any parent concerned about their child's health should seek advice from their general practitioner.

Next Section Index Home Page