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22 Nov 2005 : Column 1812W—continued

Intermediate Care Beds

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many intermediate care beds there were in England in each of the last six years for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [28109]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 14 November 2005]: As at 31 March 2005, there were 29,500 places benefiting over 360,000 people. The NHS Plan aimed for an extra 6,700 places for intermediate care by March 2005; 5,000 residential and 1,700 non-residential places. The national health service has delivered an extra 18,095 places; 270 per cent. more than the combined target. The available data are shown in the table.
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Number of intermediate care beds 1999–2000 to 2004–05.

Places in non-residential IC schemesIntermediate Care bedsPeople using Intermediate Care

(3) Information not collected
Statistical Summary to Chief Executive's Report to the NHS (13 May 2005)


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2715W, on MRSA, when she expects to publish the results of the evaluation of the pilot. [20750]

Jane Kennedy: We do not plan to prepare a formal report on the pilot. Enhanced surveillance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemias was rolled out to all trusts on 1 October 2005 on the basis of positive feedback from the Health Protection Agency.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State forHealth what recent action the Government have taken to reduce the number of cases of MRSA in hospitals. [25905]

Jane Kennedy: The Department has established a wide ranging programme of mutually reinforcing activities to support our target to halve methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections (bacteraemias) by March 2008.

A recent key initiative in June 2005 was the launch of Saving Lives", which brings many of the programme's activities together to provide trusts with a tool to implement best practice and reduce infection rates. Other recent projects include the launch in September 2005 of new e-learning tools for all national health service staff and in October, enhancement of the MRSA surveillance system.

NICE Guidance

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimates have been made by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) of (a) the gross costs of implementing NICE guidance and (b) the number of patients benefiting from such implementation, broken down by disease category. [23004]

Jane Kennedy: This is a matter for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The Department publishes an assessment of the cost of implementing NICE's guidance in the public expenditure inquiry. In 2005, the total cost of implementing NICE's guidance to date was estimated to be £836 million.

The Department estimates that some tens of thousands of patients have benefited from NICE's guidance.
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Parliamentary Questions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to reply to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Vale of York on 25 October 2005, ref 22789; and what representations she has received on the mammogram reading at St Margaret's Hospital, Epping. [27065]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8 November 2005, Official Report, column 389W. Since the hon. Member's question, I have received one representation on the reading of mammograms at St. Margaret's hospital in Epping.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to disseminate information on toxicological impacts of pesticides on human beings; and what monitoring and reporting mechanisms are in place. [25499]

Caroline Flint: The Department works closely with other Government Departments and agencies on matters related to the toxicological impacts of pesticides on humans. Information on toxicological impacts of pesticides is widely available to the public. Evaluation documents are published on the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) website, and such information is published in the ACP annual report. Information is also available from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs' pesticides safety directorate (PSD) carries out a yearly survey into all human health incidents reported to approvals holders for amateur and professional pesticide products by users. The results of this survey are published on the PSD website at Any potential exposures to pesticides should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who will investigate complaints involving ill health arising because of a work activity. Once an investigation is complete, details of investigated cases are sent for examination to the HSE's Pesticides Incident Appraisal Panel (PIAP). PIAP reviews all the reports and publishes its conclusions in an annual report that is reviewed by the ACP. The Department of Health has an assessor on the ACP.

Following recommendations of the recent report by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution on Crop spraying and the health of residents and bystanders" the Government will be reviewing these arrangements.


Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthhow many podiatry services there are in England broken down by (a) primary care trust and (b) hospital setting. [26855]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 10 November 2005]: The information requested is not collected centrally. However, all primary care trusts will commission these services to meet the needs of their local population.
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Prostate Cancer

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to raise awareness of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer among men; and how many PSA tests have been carried out in each year since 1997. [26013]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The NHS Prostate Cancer Programme, launched in September 2000, set out the Government's commitment to improve early detection of prostate cancer. The prostate cancer risk management programme (PCRMP) has been set up to ensure that all men considering a test for prostate cancer are given information on the benefits, limitations and risks associated with having a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.

Raising public awareness of prostate cancer is one of the key challenges for the future. We want men to know what their prostate is, what it does and what can go wrong with it. However we have to raise public awareness in a responsible way so as not to cause undue anxiety and worry. Thanks to the work of the prostate cancer advisory group we now have, for the first time, a definitive set of key messages for the general public about the prostate gland, including prostate cancer. The key messages have been agreed by 20 organisations, including charities, patient groups and professional bodies as well as the Department.

On 31 October, we announced a joint venture to pilot raising awareness of the prostate using the key messages in a primary care trust area. The effectiveness of the intervention will be fully evaluated, along with the impact on local health services. £100,000 is being provided by the Government, with the remaining £50,000 being provided by signatories to the prostate cancer charter for action. The pilot is due to begin in spring 2006.

We have provided funding for the following organisations to increase public awareness of prostate cancer:

The number of PSA tests carried out each year is not collected centrally. However, research funded by the Department and carried out by the cancer screening evaluation unit, Institute of Cancer Research, has shown that the overall rate of PSA testing increased significantly from 1999 to 2002. The number of PSA requests submitted by participating laboratories rose by 42 per cent.
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