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HIV/AIDS

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS among primary care staff; what guidance she has issued to primary care staff to ensure the care received by those with HIV/AIDS is fair and equitable; and what plans she has to issue further guidance on this issue. [26018]

Caroline Flint: Recommended standards for NHS HIV services" was published in 2003. This includes a chapter on primary health care for people with HIV. This document was produced jointly by the Department and the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health (MEDFASH). The latter has also produced a booklet, HIV in Primary Care—an essential guide to HIV for general practitioners, practice nurses and other members of the primary health care team".

The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) also has guidelines on HIV testing in primary care.

The National HIV Nurses Association is due to publish a set of HIV nursing competencies in 2006. All these guidelines help ensure that HIV/AIDS care is fair and equitable.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list public consultations undertaken by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in each of the last 10 years; and what conclusions were reached in each case. [30412]

Caroline Flint: Information on the public consultation exercises undertaken by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) can be found on its website at www.hfea.gov.uk. Where the outcome is not shown, the consultation has resulted in amendments to the HFEA's code of practice or the issue of new or revised directions.

Infertility Treatment

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether all primary care trusts in England are providing at least one cycle of IVF to eligible couples with infertility; and if she will make a statement; [29837]
 
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(2) what assessment she has made of the extent to which primary care trusts are limiting the provision of NHS-funded infertility treatment to couples with no existing children; and if she will make a statement; [29838]

(3) what assessment she has made of whether primary care trusts are applying more restrictive female age criteria to couples seeking NHS-funded infertility treatment than the 23 to 39 years range set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; and if she will make a statement. [29839]

Caroline Flint: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 23 November 2005, Official Report, column 2110W.

Influenza Virus

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the evidential basis was for the statement on page 44 of the UK pandemic influenza contingency plan, published on 19 October, in relation to pneumococcal immunisation preventing some of the complications due to secondary pneumococcal infection following influenza infection; and whether the evidence indicates that this is an effective course of action for (a) adults over 65 years and (b) children. [28705]

Caroline Flint: Both pneumococcal vaccines used to vaccinate children and older people in clinical risk groups, including adults over 65 years have been shown to provide protection against pneumococcal bacteraemia. In the case of the vaccine that is recommended for children under five years who are in a risk group, the vaccine also provides protection against non-bacteraemic infections such as pneumonia and ear infections.

It is well documented that secondary bacterial infection follows influenza infection during seasonal flu epidemics. It is reasonable to assume that there may be an increase in pneumococcal disease during a pandemic. It would be prudent to ensure that there is high vaccine coverage among the risk groups recommended pneumococcal vaccine.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the possibility of (a) co-infection within a single human host of a human-adapted influenza virus and H5N1, with a consequent interchange of genetic material between the viruses and (b) random mutation giving rise to a new pandemic influenza virus; [23988]

(2) what assessment she has made of whether there are human influenza strains which could combine with an H5N1 strain giving rise to mutagenesis from which a virulent, human host adapted strain could emerge. [25463]

Caroline Flint: There are little data available on this issue. There is good evidence that the 1918 pandemic virus arose from random mutation giving rise to a new human virus. There is also good evidence that the 1957 and 1968 pandemic viruses arose from reassortment between a human virus and an animal virus. At this time, it is impossible to determine how a new human pandemic virus might be created and which influenza strains might be involved in the reassortment.
 
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Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the expenditure was on the Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority in 2004–05; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005–06 and 2006–07 in (a) cash and (b) real terms, including the reductions proposed in the NHS non-departmental body review; [30459]

(2) how many full-time equivalent staff were employed by the (a) Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority and (b) Health Protection Agency (i) in total and (ii) in each (A) region, (B) country and (C) main office location in each of the last five years; and what job reductions are planned in each case. [30460]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 21 November 2005]: Expenditure by Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA) in 2004–05, taken from the finance report and accounts, shows a net resource out-turn of £72.676 million; capital expenditure of £4.702 million; and a net parliamentary funding of £76.477 million.

PPA expenditure for 2005–06, taken from the latest finance report and accounts indicates a net resource out-turn of £76.192 million (forecast); capital expenditure of £6.03 million (forecast); and a net parliamentary funding of £78.095 million.

The gross domestic product deflator for 2005–06 was 2.5 per cent.

In terms of planned expenditure for 2006–07, the PPA will become part of the new NHS Business Services Authority. Individual budgets will no longer be allocated to the component organisations within the NHS Business Services Authority as synergy through the merger will be used to realise efficiencies.

In terms of the numbers of staff employed by the PPA, the figures in the finance report and accounts, shows the number of employees (whole-time equivalent) as being:
Number
2004–052,123
2003–042,108
2002–032,260
2001–022,080
2000–012,145

This excludes those employed on behalf of other agencies.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) was created on 1 April 2003. Published information on staffing levels is available in its annual reports and accounts for 2003–04 and for 2004–05, both of which are available in the Library. The Department does not have information about HPA staffing in each region or county. Sites at which HPA currently operates and the whole-time equivalent staff numbers at each site as at 1 April 2005 has been placed in the Library.

Both the PPA and the HPA are in discussion with the Department about reductions in staffing levels in response to the arms length body review.
 
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Pneumococcal Vaccine Supply

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which manufacturers supply pneumococcal vaccines to the NHS; and what evidence she has received on the relative effectiveness of each. [28707]

Caroline Flint: The pneumcococcal polysaccharide vaccine is supplied by Sanofi Pasteur MSD Ltd and is the vaccine recommended for those aged two years and over in at-risk groups, including all those aged 65 years and over.

The vaccine provides protection against 23 pneumococcal strains. Overall effectiveness in preventing pneumococcal bacteraemia, invasive pneumococcal pneumonia, septacaemia and meningitis, is around 50 to 70 percent, for this vaccine 1 . Current evidence suggests that the polysaccharide vaccine is not effective in protecting against non-bacteraemic pneumococcal infection such as pneumonia 2 .

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is supplied by Wyeth vaccines as is the vaccine recommended for at-risk children under five years.

The vaccine provides protection against seven common pneumococcal strains. Pre and post-licensing studies have shown the vaccine to be 97 percent, effective in preventing pneumococcal bacteraemia caused by these strains. The vaccine also provides protection against pneumonia and otitis media 3 .


 
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