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Renal Services

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action is being taken by her Department to improve access to local renal services, with particular reference to dialysis. [25844]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has provided £60 million additional funding between 2000–01 and 2005–06 for capital investment to expand dialysis services. Survey data show the number of haemodialysis stations in England increased by more than a third between 1998 and 2002, from 1,890 to 2,582, with a further 378 planned at that point, the most recent for which complete data are available. Many of these are in satellite units, which can be sited to provide access to dialysis closer to home for renal patients with routine conditions: the number of satellite units rose from 73 in 1998 to 101 in 2002, with a further 34 planned.

This supports The National Service Framework for Renal Services, Part One", which the Department published in 2004, which set standards for dialysis services and identified their continued expansion as an early action for commissioners. The national surveys commissioned by the Department provide data to support the planning and commissioning of dialysis services.

Many patients rely on hospital transport services to access the dialysis unit. The Department has funded two action learning sets to develop and test improvements to non-emergency patient transport services for dialysis patients, in urban and rural areas. These are due to report in January 2006.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (Car Park)

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to enable the Royal Shrewsbury hospital to stop charging patients for using the car park. [26068]

Ms Rosie Winterton: It is a matter for individual national health service trusts to decide whether or not to charge for car parking, and the level of charges in the light of local circumstances. We have no plans to change this, either generally or in relation to particular NHS trusts.

Skin Cancer

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she will take to increase awareness of the risks of skin cancer. [25899]

Caroline Flint: The Department and the other United Kingdom health departments have commissioned Cancer Research UK to run SunSmart, which was launched in 2003, as the national skin cancer prevention and sun protection campaign. The SunSmart campaign includes raising both public and professional awareness of skin cancer through providing information about it and guidance on preventative measures to reduce the risks associated with skin cancer. The campaign raises awareness through support for health promotion events, the provision of printed resources, media briefings and through the SunSmart website. SunSmart also supports schools in developing their own sun protection policies through school guidelines and curriculum resources.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to help adults stop smoking. [26471]

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Caroline Flint: Since 1998, the Government have put in place a comprehensive strategy to tackle smoking to reduce the deaths caused by smoking. The strategy focuses on action to discourage people from ever starting, and help for all smokers. We are aiming to create a climate where non-smoking is the norm.

We have banned almost all tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion. Our highly effective national anti-smoking education campaign is reaching smokers and helping motivate them to quit. People who wish to give up smoking can get help from the national health service stop smoking services. We set out proposals to bring in new measures to improve the way the NHS helps smokers to give up in our White Paper Choosing Health". We will reduce exposure to secondhand smoke through; the Health Bill introduced to Parliament on 27 October includes a ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces and public places that will cover 99 per cent. of the workforce. We will consult on introducing picture warnings onto tobacco packs. Together this strategy has helped reduce adult smoking rates in England from 28 per cent. in 1998 to 25 per cent. in 2003, around 1.2 million smokers.

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the Government plans to publish the responses received during the consultation on the smokefree elements of the Health Bill; [27342]

(2) whether the Government plans to publish an analysis of the responses to the consultation on the smokefree elements of the Health Bill. [27345]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 11 November 2005]: We intend to publish a summary of the responses to the consultation on the smokefree elements of the Health Bill shortly.

A copy will be placed in the Library.

Vacuum-assisted Closure Machines

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations she has received regarding the use of vacuum-assisted closure machines in the treatment of pressure ulcers; [25855]

(2) what assessment she has made of the long-term cost-effectiveness of using vacuum-assisted closure machines in the treatment of pressure ulcers in place of more traditional methods; [25856]

(3) what plans her Department has to expand the use of vacuum-assisted closure machines across the NHS. [25857]

Mr. Byrne: I am unaware of receiving any representations regarding the use of vacuum assisted closure machines for the treatment of pressure ulcers.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published new clinical guidance on pressure ulcer management in September 2005. This comprehensive guidance includes appraisals on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a wide range of options for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers, including vacuum-assisted closure methods.
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Reducing the incidence of pressure sores in hospitals is tackled locally through the development and implementation of individualised plans for prevention and treatment agreed and delivered by a multidisciplinary team working with patients and their carers.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance the Department has given to (a) directly managed hospitals and (b) foundation trusts on the replacement of staff with volunteers; and what advice it offers to (i) patient and public involvement teams and (ii) voluntary service managers on brokering such arrangements. [24715]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 3 November 2005]: Guidance on volunteering within social care and the national health service was published in the Health Service Circulars (HSC), Promoting volunteering and relations with the voluntary sector in the NHS and Social Care (HSC 1999/023). As independent healthcare organisations, national health service foundation trusts determine their own human resource policies and practices, and follow best practice guidelines in the provision of healthcare where they feel it is appropriate to do so.

Working Time Directive

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the application of the EU Working Time Directive to the medical work force has increased the minimum catchments for acute services; and if she will make a statement. [24722]

Mr. Byrne: The Department does not collect the information requested centrally. The Working Time Directive provides challenges and opportunities to modernise services looking at new ways of working, work force planning, skill mix and service redesign.



David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been convicted of physical or sexual abuse of children in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years. [20608]

Mr. Hanson: Full statistics relating to persons convicted of physical or sexual abuse of children are currently not available.

The information included as follows is limited in coverage to persons convicted of offences which from their title allow identification of child victims, for example, 'cruelty to person under 16'. Prosecutions and sentencing data with linked victim information will become available with the rollout of the next phase of Causeway, anticipated by the end of 2006,
Convictions for physical abuse against children(25)Convictions for sexual abuse against children(26)

(25) Includes child abandonment and child cruelty offences.
(26) Includes sexual offences where the offence title specifies the victim as age 16 years or under.

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