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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the level of pesticides used on fruit provided to school children through five-a-day related schemes. [19004]

Caroline Flint: A continuous programme of testing for pesticide residues has been established for products supplied under the school fruit and vegetable scheme (SFVS) and all sources are tested before they are included in the scheme. The results are reviewed regularly to ensure they comply with the statutory maximum residue levels (MRLs) in place in the United Kingdom. To test the effectiveness of these results the Department has commissioned an ongoing programme to determine any inaccuracies found in the primary test. The programme is managed with the support of the pesticides safety directorate which reviews the results via the Pesticide Residues Committee and publishes them on its website.

The Food Standards Agency and the Pesticides Residues Committee have confirmed that the residues found on fruit and vegetables provided under the scheme are neither of concern for children's health nor consumer health generally. MRLs are set taking into account consumption relative to body weight for different age groups including children. The MRL is typically set well below any safety limits.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the eating habits of children who have participated in the school fruit and vegetable scheme. [19005]

Caroline Flint: An evaluation of the school fruit and vegetable scheme and its impact on the diet of children participating in the scheme was published in September 2005. The report is based on the evaluation of the scheme in the north east region during the period April to October 2005 and demonstrates that children ate significantly more fruit while participating in the scheme.

Findings showed that:

The full report is available on the five-a-day website at

Digital Hearing Aids

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made in decreasing the waiting period for patients in need of digital hearing aids. [20056]

Mr. Byrne: The information on waiting times for digital hearing aids is not held centrally. It is down to local providers to plan and commission appropriate services for their local population.
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Electroconvulsive Therapy

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been issued to doctors relating to who should (a) administer and (b) receive electroconvulsive therapy in hospitals; and if she will make a statement. [20612]

Mr. Byrne: In September 1998, the Chief Medical Officer and the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists wrote to the chief executives of national health service trusts and consultant psychiatrists respectively indicating the need to consider and improve standards of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) administration in relation to ongoing developments in clinical governance.

In May 2003, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidance to the NHS in England and Wales on the use of ECT.

In June 2005, the Royal College of Psychiatrists' special committee on ECT published The ECT Handbook (Second Edition)—The Third Report of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Special Committee on ECT", which gives the latest clinical guidelines for psychiatrists who prescribe electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and practitioners who administer it.

Services continue to monitor the quality and safety of ECT. ECT is a regular part of clinical governance.

Emergency Response Services

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many emergency calls were received by each call centre in each ambulance trust in England in the latest year for which figures are available. [19153]

Mr. Byrne: The number of calls received by each ambulance control room is not collected centrally as some trusts have more than one control room. However, the number of calls received by each ambulance trust is available. This data are published in table three of the statistical bulletin, Ambulance Services, England: 2004–05", copies of which are available in the Library. This publication is also available on the Department's website at:

Family and Childcare Services

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the adequacy of funding arrangements for family and childcare services. [23198]

Beverley Hughes: I have been asked to reply.

My Department has invested well over £17 billion on the early years since 1997 as part of an unprecedented expansion of provision of childcare and services for young children and families. This includes funding to local authorities to support free early education for 3 and 4-year-olds.

Funding to support the creation and sustainability of childcare places in England is now made available to local authorities via the General Sure Start Grant. Since 1997 funding specifically for childcare amounts to almost £1.2 billion. The most recent set of figures provided from Ofsted show that the stock of registered
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childcare places as at 30 September 2005 had reached 1,220,607. This means that the Public Service Agreement for the creation of registered childcare places for the period 2004–08 has already been met.

As at January 2005, 96 per cent. of 3-year-olds were in some form of free early education. There are over 37,000 settings delivering free, Government funded, early education. We have also made available £4.8 million through the Strengthening Families Grant (which includes Marriage and Relationship Support Grant and Family Support Grant) to the voluntary and community sector providing family and relationship support for the financial year 2005–06. We have also made available to the sector £16.4 million from 2004–06 through the Parenting Fund (administered by the National Family and Parenting Institute). We have significantly increased our funding for Home Start UK which supports local schemes to deliver a high quality home visiting support to families, from £874,000 in 2003–04 to £2.46 million in 2004–05 and £2.59 million in 2005–06. We are also undertaking a wide range of additional activity aimed at supporting families but cannot identify expenditure specifically allocated to families.

Between 2004 and 2006 we have allocated £435 million to local authorities for children's centres to deliver childcare, early learning, health and family support services. In addition we are making £210 million available in 2006–07 through the Learning and Skills Council for adults learning for personal and community development. This includes £37 million specifically for family learning including the family literacy, language and numeracy programme.

The Government more widely have also made significant increases to child benefit, and more generous support through the new tax credits. Budget 2004 announced that the Formula Spending Share for children's social services would rise by £500 million between 2005–06 and 2007–08 to a total of £4.5 billion.

Family Planning Clinics

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many family planning clinics there were in each year since 1983; and how many women were seen by them in each year. [19991]

Caroline Flint: The information that is currently received by the Department is collated at family planning service provider level rather than by individual family planning clinics. In 2004–05, information was submitted by 175 service providers (primary care trusts and national health service trusts) and 14 Brook Advisory Centres, covering the whole of family planning service provision in England.

The number of different women seen each year by NHS family planning clinics and Brook Advisory Centres is published in table two of the statistical bulletin NHS Contraceptive Services, England", copies of which are available in the Library and on the Health and Social Care Information Centre's website at The most recent data are in the 2004–05 edition and the 2000–01 edition has data back to 1983.
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