|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the expenditure was on the Health Protection Agency for 200405; and what the planned expenditure is for (a) 200506 and (b) 200607 in (i) cash and (ii) real terms, including the reductions proposed in the NHS non-departmental body review. 
Caroline Flint [holding answer 21 November 2005]: Details of the expenditure of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in 200405 are published in its annual report and accounts, which are available in the Library.
The budget for the HPA in 200506 is £134,300,000, which includes its planned expenditure. The indicative cash budget for the HPA in 200607 will be £137,926,000, which includes a 2.7 per cent. increase to allow for inflation.
Mr. Benyon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidelines her Department has issued on how long the Healthcare Commission should take (a) to make a decision on whether to conduct an inquiry and (b) to hold an inquiry and produce a report following the death of a patient in NHS care; 
(3) how many requests the Healthcare Commission has received to conduct an inquiry into a patient death in hospital in each year since its creation; and how many of these requests have led to inquiries being launched. 
The Healthcare Commission was established by the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 and came into existence
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1809W
on 1 April 2004. It is independent of Government. The Department does not issue guidelines on how the Healthcare Commission should operate.
Under section 52 of the 2003 Act, the Healthcare Commission has powers to conduct investigations into the provision of health care. The Healthcare Commission has published on its website its own criteria for deciding when it will investigate. Since the end of July 2004, the Healthcare Commission has also had responsibility for managing the second independent review stage of the national health service complaints system.
I understand from the Chairman of the Healthcare Commission that in the first year of its operation, it received 93 referrals which were considered against its criteria for investigation, resulting in a range of actions, including five formal investigations. Between 1 August 2004 and 1 August 2005, the Healthcare Commission also received 8,260 requests for independent review under the NHS complaints system; 3,799 reviews were completed in the same period. I understand that the Commission does not have information on what proportion of referrals relate to individual patient deaths in hospital. I also understand that the Healthcare Commission does not collect information centrally on complaints relating to patients who cannot communicate verbally. 13 per cent. of all cases received to date under the second stage of the NHS complaints system have contained an issue concerning communication.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research has been conducted into the impact upon (a) indoor air quality and (b) human health of the use of air fresheners; what advice has been given to the public relating to their use; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The Department is aware of recent research by the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children team at the University of Bristol on the effect on health of the use of household products including air fresheners 1 . The results have been noted. However, it is important to be cautious about their interpretation until the results have been supported by other research.
The committee on the medical effects of air pollutants has published a document, Guidance on the Effects on Health of Indoor Air Pollutants" on its website at: www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/comeap/PDFS/guidanceindoorairQualityDec04.pdf This contains a brief section on volatile organic compounds and on household products. It advises that ensuring good ventilation in homes is the best way to reduce exposure.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the optimum budget which should be used by an average-sized NHS trust to fund its cleanyourhands campaign; and what resources each NHS trust committed to infection control in the last period for which figures are available. 
Jane Kennedy: National health service trusts have always paid for their own handrubs, but in preparation for cleanyourhands, new contracts for handrubs were developed by the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency. As a result of these new contracts, significant cost savings have been realised. This has meant that in many cases, individual trusts' existing expenditure on alcohol handrubs has been reduced. Expenditure on infection control is decided locally and information is not collected centrally.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS trusts have appointed a director of infection prevention and control; and how many directors of infection prevention and control are also their trust's (a) director of finance, (b) director of estates and facilities, (c) director of nursing and (d) non-executive director. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Estimates of the impact of an influenza pandemic are based on the best available evidence. However, the number of people affected and the impact on the health care system will depend on the nature of the pandemic flu virus. The UK Health Department's Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan estimates the minimum number of excess hospitalisations, including those who may require intensive care, over the course of a pandemic to be 82,500 for the United Kingdom as a whole. The Department is currently working with the Intensive Care Society to estimate the likely impact of an influenza pandemic on critical care services in particular.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of NHS capacity in (a) critical care, (b) secondary care and (c) primary care to cope in the event of an influenza pandemic; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Estimates of the impact of an influenza pandemic are based on the best available evidence. However, the number of people affected and the impact on the healthcare system will depend on the nature of the pandemic 'flu virus. The United Kingdom health departments' influenza pandemic contingency plan estimates the minimum number of excess hospitalisations, including those who will require intensive care, over the course of a pandemic to be 82,500 for the United Kingdom as a whole. The plan also contains estimates for the demand on primary care during an influenza pandemic. These are based on the best available assumptions. The Department is currently working with the Intensive Care Society and other key stakeholders to estimate the likely impact of an influenza pandemic on critical care services.
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1811W
We have also provided operational guidance to the national health service to help inform its local planning for a possible influenza pandemic. The Department's routine winter preparations guidance also reinforced the requirement for local NHS to follow guidance from the Department on preparing for an influenza pandemic.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her contingency plan is in the event of an influenza pandemic if daily reports on stocks of antivirals show that supplies are getting low. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The United Kingdom's stockpile of antivirals is intended primarily to treat all patients who develop influenza given a clinical attack rate of 25 per cent. The stockpile will be carefully managed to ensure that it is used for the 25 per cent. of the population who are expected to become ill. The use of antiviral medicines will be closely monitored from the outset. However, the clinical attack rate will depend on the nature of the virus. Should the attack rate prove higher than expected, or a pandemic strike before the stockpile is fully established, antivirals may need to be prioritised. The published antiviral strategy allows for prioritisation to treat those front line health staff at higher risk due to exposure and the groups identified as being in greatest clinical need. Further advice will be provided during the pandemic by the UK national influenza pandemic committee on the basis of emerging information.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan" recognises that returning to normal business after a pandemic may take some time for all organisations. We will encourage business and service sectors to consider recovery in their planning for a possible influenza pandemic.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors underlay the assumption of the number of people likely to be affected by an influenza pandemic in her Department's contingency plan; and what preparation is being made for a worst case scenario. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The base scenario in the United Kingdom influenza pandemic contingency plan assumes that 25 per cent. of the population would have clinical symptoms of pandemic 'flu. This is based on the best available evidence, including considerations of influenza pandemics in the 20th century and independent experts. However, there are many uncertainties and the number of people affected and the impact on the health care system will depend on the nature of the pandemic 'flu virus. That is why the plan outlines scenarios with different numbers of people affected.
The base scenario also considers that at least 0.37 per cent. of those ill will die from pandemic influenza or complications. This is based on the proportion seen in seasonal flu and the 1957 pandemic. Scenarios with a case fatality rate of up to 2.5 per cent. (greater than the
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1812W
pandemic of 191819) are also considered in the plan. Local planners are encouraged to consider the range of fatality rates when drawing up their local contingency plans.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which of the steps listed in Annex G of her Department's Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan her Department plans to take; and what the timetable is for those actions. 
Caroline Flint: On 20 October 2005, the Chief Medical Officer, announced that the Department is inviting manufacturers to tender for a contract to supply pandemic flu vaccine once the pandemic strain is known. The proposal to purchase in advance the capacity needed to make pandemic flu vaccine will make sure that an effective vaccine is available for use in the United Kingdom as early as possible after a flu pandemic starts. The UK will need approximately 120 million doses to be available as soon as possible.
We are working closely with other countries, the World Health Organization, and the European Commission and are in regular dialogue with manufacturers to ensure that a vaccine can be developed as quickly as possible once a pandemic influenza strain emerges. This will allow us to put arrangements in place to ensure production of vaccine for the UK population.
We are finalising a contract for the purchase of a two to three million doses of vaccine against the H5N1 strain currently circulating in South East Asia. This vaccine can be used for research and for possible use for healthcare workers in an emergency, and may provide some limited protection against a pandemic emerging from that source. We hope to award this contract shortly.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 7 November to Question reference 21455, how much central contingency stock of influenza vaccine her Department holds; how many people this would treat; and if she will make a statement. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|