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2 Dec 2005 : Column 852W—continued

Joint Planning Group

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) remit and (b) membership of the Joint Planning Group is; and how often the group meets. [31928]

Jane Kennedy: The terms of reference of the Joint Planning Group are to:

The group is chaired jointly by a Deputy Chief Medical Officer from the Department and the Chairman of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Membership comprises

Mental Health

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to be in a position to publish the Mental Health Bill. [32014]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Mental Health Bill will be introduced when the legislative timetable permits.

MRSA

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of MRSA have been identified in hospitals within Coventry South in each year since March 2003. [31424]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 28 November 2005]: The information requested is not available centrally on an individual hospital basis. The information in the following table shows the number of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) reports and the rate per 1,000 bed days for the university hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS trust for the periods shown.
 
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University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS trust

Number of MRSA bacteraemia reportsMRSA rate per 1,000 bed days
April 2003 to March 2004790.19
April 2004 to March 2005(9)
55
0.13


(9)The MRSA rate for 2004–05 per 1,000 bed days is provisional, as final 2004–05 activity data for the trust is not yet available.


National Diet and Nutrition Survey

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the results of the national diet and nutrition survey of 2000; what impact the survey results have had on her public health and nutrition policy; and what plans her Department has to evaluate the nutritional status of people aged (a) under 19 and (b) over 64 years. [29553]

Caroline Flint: The findings of the 2000–01 national diet and nutrition survey of adults aged 19 to 64 years show a mixed picture of the diet and nutritional health of this age group. On average, adults in Britain were getting sufficient nutrients from their diets. There were some positive dietary changes since the previous survey of this group in 1986–87, notably the fall in average intake of fat, which is now close to the recommended amount. However, intakes of saturated fat, non-milk extrinsic sugar and salt are still higher than the recommended levels. Young adults in particular had low consumption of fruit and vegetables and low intakes of some vitamins and minerals.

The survey findings have informed the development of Government's priorities for action on diet and nutrition set out in Choosing A Better Diet: a food and health action plan" to reduce the consumption of fat, salt and sugar and increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables. It has also informed the development of specific targets in the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) Strategic Plan for 2005 to 2010. These include targets to reduce population intakes of salt and saturated fat.

The FSA is setting up a new rolling programme of national diet and nutrition surveys. The survey will cover all age groups including people under 19 years and over 64 years, providing data to supersede earlier surveys of these age groups. The first results from the rolling programme should become available by 2008–09.

NICE

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State (1) for Health when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence single technology appraisal for Velcade will commence; and when guidance will be published; [33034]

(2) whether the statutory timeframe for primary care trusts to implement National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance issued under the single technology appraisal will be less than three months. [33035]

Jane Kennedy: I announced on 3 November that proposed changes to enable the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce faster guidance on life-saving drugs would go ahead
 
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immediately. Preparatory work on the appraisal of Velcade has commenced and I understand that NICE will publish a time scale for completion of this work in due course.

The existing direction to primary care trusts and national health service trusts concerning arrangements for the funding of technology appraisal guidance from NICE, does not differentiate between appraisals conducted using the existing appraisal process and those conducted using the new single technology appraisal processes.

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average time taken by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence to appraise pharmaceuticals under the early referrals process has been since it was established; [31463]

(2) if she will issue interim guidance to primary care trusts on the prescription of bortezomib (Velcade) for use as a myeloma treatment. [31465]

Jane Kennedy: I announced on 3 November that proposed changes to enable the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce faster guidance on life-saving drugs would go ahead immediately. It is not possible to give an average for the length of appraisals conducted under this new process because none have yet been completed.

In 1999, the Department issued Health Service Circular 1999/176, which asks national health service bodies to continue with local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies where guidance from NICE has not yet been issued. These arrangements should include an assessment of the available evidence.

Obesity Clinics

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 14 November 2005, Official Report, columns 970–71W on obesity clinics, if she will list the services provided at each of the clinics; and what the (a) average waiting time, (b) the number of people waiting and (c) number of finished consultant episodes were in each year since inception. [31044]

Caroline Flint: The information requested is not collected centrally, as data is only collected at trust level and not specialist clinic level.

Ophthalmic Practices

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on her plans to reduce the number of ophthalmic practices that deliver NHS eye examinations. [31481]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 24 November 2005]: There are no plans to reduce the number of ophthalmic practices delivering eye examinations funded by the national health service.


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