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7 Nov 2005 : Column 274W—continued

Sexual Health

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people under the age of 16 years have attended a sexual health clinic in (a) Tees Valley and (b) Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency in each year since 1997. [22347]

Mr. Byrne: The number of attendances at genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics is not available by age group, but age group data are collected for a selection of diagnoses and are shown in the table. The data shown are for diagnoses made at GUM clinics (and excludes primary care) within County Durham and Tees Valley Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and not by the patients' area of residence. For confidentiality reasons, these data are only routinely published at SHA level.
Number of diagnoses(95) of selected sexually transmitted infections in young people aged under 16, County Durham and Tees Valley SHA: 1997 to 2004


(95) Diagnosed conditions: primary and secondary syphilis, gonorrhoea, herpes, genital warts and Chlamydia.
KC60 Returns, Health Protection Agency.

Sleep Apnoea

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the Government's policy on the prescription of continuous positive airway pressure equipment on the NHS for patients suffering from sleep apnoea. [23162]

Mr. Byrne: It is for health professionals in primary care organisations, in consultation with other stakeholders, to determine which services their populations require and ensure the appropriate level of provision. This would include the provision of continuous positive airway pressure equipment for patients with sleep apnoea where appropriate.

Smallpox Vaccine

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who the members were of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation which decided to purchase the Lister strain of virus for smallpox vaccine production. [22114]

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Caroline Flint: The Secretary of State for Health made the decision to purchase the Lister strain of smallpox vaccine, taking into account advice provided from the expert sub-group of the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI). This expert advisory sub-group was chaired by Professor Michael Langman, the chair of the JCVI at the time, and was comprised of those core members of the JCVI with experience relevant to smallpox vaccine issues and other invited experts from the organisations listed as follows. These other experts were invited on the basis of their individual expertise in their field and did not necessarily present the views of those organisations to which they belonged. The names of the participants are not therefore being made public. The names of all members of the JCVI are available on the JCVI website at

Organisations to which the attendees belonged were:


David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the health and safety implications of smoking carriages in (a) enclosed public places and (b) workplaces. [22519]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 31 October 2005]: A regulatory impact assessment (RIA) has been published alongside the Health Bill. The RIA contains estimates of costs and benefits of legislation to end smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces. A copy is available in the Library.

Social Care Services

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been published on (a) access to and (b) transfer of care records from the NHS to social services; how she expects the sharing of patient care records to develop under the National Programme for IT; and whether legislation will be needed to ensure social services have access to patient records under the National Programme for IT. [23102]

Mr. Byrne: General guidance on information sharing with social services has been published as part of the Department's publication, Confidentiality: Code of Practice for the NHS". The national programme for information technology, aiming to deliver a national health service care records service by 2010, will, in time, support appropriate access to patient care records by all staff involved in providing that care. Social services will only have access to patient health records with the
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consent of the patient concerned or where access is already permitted by law, so new legislation will not be required.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timescale is for the development of a national framework for continuing care. [23103]

Mr. Byrne: I refer the hon. Member to my press statement of 22 July 2005. This confirmed that work would accelerate on the introduction of a national set of eligibility criteria for national health service continuing care. The Department is progressing work on the production of the national assessment framework for continuing care due for publication in early 2006.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she plans to take to improve the support offered to carers. [23105]

Mr. Byrne: Carers remain a high priority for this Government. We continue to be committed to ensuring they are supported both as carers and as individuals in their own right. We have supported legislation that strengthens the rights of carers to an assessment of their own needs as carers and involves a right to a carer's assessment. In addition, The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 requires councils to take into account whether the carer works or wishes to work, undertakes or wishes to undertake education, training or leisure activities.

We are also continuing to fund support to carers through the carer's grant. Since its introduction in 1999, the grant has provided an extra £450 million to increase the number of breaks for carers. The grant is worth £185 million in 2005–06 and will continue at this level until at least 2007–08.

Speech/Language Therapy

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure adequate provision of speech and language therapists in the public sector. [22184]

Mr. Byrne: At September 2004, there were 6,556 speech and language therapists employed in the national health service, an increase of 1,685, or 35 per cent. since 1997.There is a range of initiatives in place to support sustained growth in the number of speech and language therapists. These include improving pay and conditions, encouraging the NHS to become a better, more flexible and diverse employer, increasing training, help with accessing child care and continuing professional development and running national and local recruitment campaigns.

It is for primary care trusts (PCTs), in partnership with strategic health authorities, local authorities and other local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services. This process provides the means for addressing needs within the local community, including the provision of speech and language therapy.

PCTs are receiving record levels of investment between 2005–06 and 2007–08 to enable them to develop services.
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Supporting People Report

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to act on the recommendation in the Audit Commission's report on supporting people, that her Department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, providers and administering authorities should jointly consider practical problems and opportunities. [23614]

Mr. Byrne: The Government will be considering the findings of the Audit Commission report in the context of the ongoing work to develop a supporting people strategy. I understand that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will issue a consultation paper on this shortly. Departmental officials have been closely involved in the development of that consultation paper, and the consultation will provide an opportunity for joint consideration of a way forward which also includes providers and administering authorities.

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