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Patients with Learning Difficulties

Mr. Benyon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what training (a) medical and (b) non-medical staff receive to be able to serve those with learning difficulties who use the NHS; and if she will make a statement; [20899]

(2) what steps she has taken to ensure that all those with a learning disability have that disability recorded on all medical records and NHS documents. [20900]

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Mr. Byrne: The training of medical and non-medical staff in serving those with learning difficulties who use the national health service is a matter for the relevant professional bodies and the NHS. The Department is not responsible for setting curricula for health professional training, but we do share a commitment with statutory and professional bodies that all health professionals are trained, so that they have the skills and knowledge to deliver a high quality health service to all groups of the population with whom they deal.

The Department does discuss the overall direction of training content and will be working closely with the disability rights commission and other key stakeholders to assist the development and implementation of the disability content of a comprehensive equality and human rights learning and development programme for all NHS staff.

The Department has not made any specific steps to ensure that all those with a learning disability have that disability recorded on all medical records and NHS documents, However, we would expect this information to be put on records where it is a significant factor affecting their clinical care.


Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage change she expects in the number of physiotherapy graduates in 2006 since (a) 2005, (b) 2004 and (c) 1997. [21736]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 25 October 2005]: Information is not collected on the number of graduates from physiotherapy courses.

The number of students entering training to become a physiotherapist in 1996–97 was 1,093. This had risen to 2,343 in 2003–04 and 2,351 in 2004–05.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the regulation of the profession of psychotherapy. [20179]

Jane Kennedy: The Government have been in discussion with the profession of psychotherapy for some time regarding the introduction of statutory regulation. Decisions about further progress will be taken once the review of non-medical regulation has reported to Ministers at the end of the year.


Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on rebranding in her Department and related agencies since 2003–04. [18407]

Jane Kennedy: The Department has not changed its branding since 1999 therefore, no money has been spent on rebranding since 2003–04.

The Department currently has three executive and related agencies: NHS purchasing and supply agency, NHS connecting for health and medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency. These three agencies spent a total of approximately £108,000 on rebranding since 2003–04.
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The Department's branding team developed a branding policy and guidelines for the Department's executive agencies and arms length bodies which were sent to the bodies following the publication of An Implementation Framework for Reconfiguring the DH Arm's Length Bodies" (30 November 2004).

In 2003–04, the Department had three other executive and related agencies: NHS pensions agency, NHS estates, and NHS modernisation agency. All these agencies followed the standard national health service corporate identity and did not rebrand before they changed status or were dissolved.

Senior House Officers

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many stand-alone senior house officer posts there have been in the national health service in each year since 1997. [19677]

Mr. Byrne: Information on stand-alone senior house officer posts in the national health service is not collected centrally.

Skin Whitening Creams

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the (a) scope and (b) scale of illegal sales of potentially toxic prescription-only skin whitening creams. [19935]

Jane Kennedy: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is aware that products containing medicines designated as prescription-only are being sold for cosmetic skin lightening purposes. Reports of their illegal sale have come to our attention through trading standards departments at local authorities and consumers who have suffered adverse reactions.

These products tend to be found on sale in markets and in small retail outlets in inner-city areas where there is a higher density of Afro Caribbean and Asian population.

Prescription-only medicines are potent by nature, and for this reason, their supply is restricted to patients who have been issued with a prescription from a doctor or another appropriate practitioner. In this way, their condition may be monitored. Sale and supply of these medicines outwith specified conditions can be a criminal offence and the MHRA will investigate all potential breaches of medicines law.

In April 2000, the Medicines Control Agency—this was prior to the merger with the Medical Devices Agency and emergence of the MHRA—conducted an initiative whereby a number of wholesalers/retailers of these products were identified and enforcement action was taken. In 95 per cent. of the visits, compliance was achieved and products withdrawn from the market.

Intelligence suggested that, following MHRA action, large scale wholesale operations ceased but suitcase trade" persisted. This situation has been monitored in the intervening period and action has been taken in a number of instances, with reports from both trading standards and Her Majesty's Customs.
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Sterile Services Units

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what standards she has set for the provision of services in sterile services units; and what steps she is taking to improve the delivery of sterile services within the NHS. [18459]

Jane Kennedy: The standards set for sterile services are contained in Core Standard C4 in Annex A—Standards for Better Health of National Standards, Local Action—Health and Social Care Standards and Planning Framework 2005/06 to 2007/08", a copy of which is available in the Library.

Over £130 million has been spent on replacing equipment, improving working conditions in existing sterile services departments (SSDs) and buying new instruments to facilitate centralisation since April 2001. In order to sustain the improvement and enable the national health service to meet the existing standards on the reprocessing of instruments, many of the existing SSDs will be replaced completely.

Many NHS trusts are choosing to redevelop their sterile services by forming joint ventures with private sector providers. 18 such projects are under way, involving some 80 NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts.

Strategic Health Authorities (England)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the spending of each of the strategic health authorities in England has been in each of the last three years. [20169]

Mr. Byrne: Expenditure by strategic health authorities (SHAs) in England for 2002–03, 2003–04 and 2004–05 is shown in the table.

Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire154,772124,233144,297
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire97,70640,54141,068
Birmingham and The Black Country289,812245,723262,244
Cheshire and Merseyside208,150158,778182,356
County Durham and Tees Valley141,449114,891125,793
Cumbria and Lancashire436,695424,98965,022
Dorset and Somerset58,85039,60047,368
Greater Manchester262,438214,824253,957
Hampshire and Isle of Wight169,543114,322137,721
Kent and Medway59,89010,575132,565
Leicestershire, Northants and Rutland123,89299,967119,248
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire237,026184,331209,383
North and East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire88,30238,04245,611
North Central London196,310175,194188,929
North East London224,019213,821236,880
North West London219,237172,920184,199
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear103,76284,15391,082
Shropshire and Staffordshire66,50832,58932,946
South East London188,553187,252192,706
South West London123,601107,135112,853
South West Peninsula126,28181,021112,180
South Yorkshire230,148207,656214,632
Surrey and Sussex244,288169,41476,194
Thames Valley167,899116,581131,107
West Midlands South75,49740,09943,492
West Yorkshire183,688192,804202,882
England Total4,812,9853,778,1293,799,004

1. Expenditure is taken from audited health authority summarisation forms, which are prepared on a resource basis and therefore differ from cash allocations in the year. The figures have not been adjusted for inflation.
2. Figures have been adjusted to eliminate expenditure which would be double counted where an authority acts as a lead in commissioning health care or other services.
3. The majority of expenditure of the SHAs is for education, training and research.
4. Reductions in expenditure between 2002–03 and 2003–04 are caused by the further transfer of commissioning from SHAs to primary care trusts.
Audited summarisation forms of SHAs.

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