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24 Nov 2005 : Column 2277W—continued


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the size of the AIDS support grant has been in each year since it was established; and what her policy is on the AIDS support grant. [26010]

Caroline Flint: The size of the AIDS support grant in each year since its introduction is shown in the following table. The AIDS support grant continues to be an effective tool in assisting local authority HIV social care provision to those living with the virus, their partners and families.
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Aids support grant 1989–90 to 2005–06
£ million

AIDS support grant amount

Hospital Doctors' Pay

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost of hospital doctors' pay was in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000, (e) 2001, (f) 2002, (g) 2003 and (h) 2004; and what estimate she has made for 2005. [24485]

Mr. Byrne: The information from 1997–98 to 2004–05 is shown in the table.
Doctors' salaries 1997–98 to 2004–05, England

Total (£)

These are the total England figures for medical staff working for all national health service trusts. The figures include locums.

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the projected cost of hospital doctors' pay in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008, (d) 2009 and (e) 2010. [24486]

Mr. Byrne: The projected cost of hospital doctors' pay in 2005–06 is £6.923 billion. The cost for 2006–07 and beyond will depend on future pay settlements and the recommendations of the doctors' and dentists' pay review body.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding has been granted from (a) her Department and (b) NHS budgets to procure artworks for hospitals in 2005–06. [23989]

Jane Kennedy: The Department has made grants to two organisations:

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The purpose of these charitable organisations is to improve the environment in which patients are treated. None of these grants were made for the specific purpose of procuring artwork.

National health service trusts provide information annually to the Department on the amount they spend on artwork. This information is provided on a voluntary basis and the figures for that spend in 2005–06 are not yet available.

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how charges for telecommunications from NHS hospitals by patients are regulated. [27330]

Jane Kennedy: All charges for telecommunications from National health service hospitals by patients are regulated by the Office of Communications, the independent regulator and competition authority for the United Kingdom communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. Charges for bedside television and telephone services are subject to the terms of national licences granted to the providers of these services and their agreements with NHS trusts.

Household Products (Health Effects)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research she has conducted into the impact upon human health of the use of (a) bleach, (b) chemicals in sanitary towels and related items, (c) home cleaning products, (d) detergents and (e) spray furniture polish; what advice has been given to the public relating to their use; and if she will make a statement. [27814]

Caroline Flint: The Department has not conducted any research on the impact on human health of bleach, chemicals in sanitary towels and related items, home cleaning products, detergents, and spray furniture polish.

It is the duty of manufacturers and suppliers to adequately test ingredients and products to identify any potential hazards to humans. There is a statutory duty to relay to consumers information on hazards to human health on product labels. Products where a biocidal claim has been made, for example, in respect of certain uses of bleach would be regulated under the Biocides Products Directive (EC/98/8) which require substantial amounts of testing for potential hazards to health to be undertaken and assessed through an European Union wide regulatory system.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the operation of (a) section 11 and (b) schedule 3 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. [28199]

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Caroline Flint: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has operated the licensing system, specified in section 11 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, effectively. I am also satisfied that the consent requirements contained in schedule three of the Act have been effective in protecting patients, ensuring they receive the fertility treatments and services to which they have agreed.

As part of our review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, our public consultation document, issued in August 2005, seeks views on a number of issues including the model of regulation and consent. Any comments received on these issues will be taken into account in deciding if any changes are required to current legislation.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her oral answer of 17 October 2005, Official Report, column 632W, on avian influenza, what definition of healthcare worker she plans to use for these purposes; and which categories of worker will be eligible for priority supplies of antivirals. [21145]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The contingency plans referred to in the question relate to a possible flu pandemic among humans, not avian flu, which is a disease which primarily affects birds.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with pharmaceutical wholesalers with regard to stockpiling and distribution of (a) antiviral drugs and (b) protective masks and clothing. [21220]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The stockpile of antiviral drugs is currently being held centrally, while it is being built up. Arrangements have been put in place to make them available to those who need it within 48 hours. Antiviral drugs will be made available and administered through the Health Protection Agency's (HPA) local health protection units in collaboration with the national health service in England (similar arrangements will apply in Wales and Scotland).

From March 2006, the antivirals will be stored regionally. These arrangements for their storage and distribution in England will be the subject of a tendering exercise conducted by the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency. It will be open to pharmaceutical wholesalers to respond to that tender. Any non-pharmaceutical items stockpiled are covered by standard NHS storage and distribution arrangements. Devolved Administrations are responsible for their own storage and distribution arrangements.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will place in the Library a copy of the guidance given to general practitioners regarding avian influenza; and if she will make a statement. [25284]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Avian influenza is a disease which mainly affects birds. There have been infrequent cases in some people who are closely exposed to infected poultry. To date (1 November 2005) there have been 122 cases of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in people in South East Asia, 62 of whom have died. There is concern that the virus could evolve into a strain which
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readily infects people and is easily transmissible between people, resulting in a pandemic virus. This is why we are planning for a possible human flu pandemic.

A copy of the information pack sent to general practitioner's on pandemic flu, which also contains information on avian influenza, is available in the Library.

More information on avian influenza can be found at: and at

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps will be taken to ensure that those infected in an influenza pandemic (a) are identified at the earliest possible opportunity and (b) receive anti-viral treatment as quickly as possible. [26578]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 8 November 2005]: Clinical guidelines for health professionals regarding the diagnosis and treatment of those infected during an influenza pandemic were published on 19 October.

The United Kingdom operational framework for antiviral medicines, which provides information to enable local National Health Service organisations to develop plans for the storage and distribution of antiviral medicines was published on 21 September. These local plans will need to set out local arrangements to ensure that the antivirals are prescribed to the patients who need them as soon as possible while minimising the risk of spreading the virus through contact with other patients.

Both of these documents can be found on the Department's website at

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the at risk population of West Lancashire are expected to be inoculated against existing strains of influenza by the end of 2005; and if she will make a statement. [27704]

Mr. Byrne: Under the new inspection system national targets are no longer set. Targets are now a local decision. In the Chief Medical Officer's letter to health professionals dated 25 July, he said that continued improvement of uptake rates across all groups should be encouraged.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contingency planning has been undertaken in West Lancashire for an influenza pandemic; and if she will make a statement. [27844]

Mr. Byrne: As part of their statutory duties, primary care trusts (PCTs) should ensure that arrangements are in place for the provision of primary care services in the event of an influenza pandemic. Local capacity planning should include arrangements with all primary care contractors including general medical services, personal medical services, PCT-led medical services as well as alternative providers of medical services. In order to meet the likely volume of work during a pandemic, PCTs should discuss with their general practitioners the non-essential work which can safely be put on hold. Specific arrangements will also be needed with the out-of-hours providers for individual PCTs.
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Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department plans for information and advice to be distributed to the public in the event of an influenza pandemic via (a) leaflets to be posted to households and (b) direct advertisements to the public. [22119]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Full details of the communication strategy in the event of an influenza pandemic is included in annex I of The UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan".

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to support the development of a rapid diagnostic test for use in the event of a pandemic influenza outbreak. [23010]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Rapid diagnostic tests are available for influenza, but these do not distinguish between different strains of influenza. The possible use of rapid diagnostic tests in an influenza pandemic has been considered by the influenza pandemic scientific advisory group. They have advised that the currently available tests would be of little use in a pandemic and more work is needed to develop an appropriate test. The group has undertaken to keep this under review.

We are also working with the Health Protection Agency to ensure that diagnostic services are in place across the country to enable accurate identification of influenza strains.

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