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16 Jan 2006 : Column 1071W—continued


Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients were referred to weight management clinics in each of the last five years for which figures are available; [39563]

(2) what the average waiting time for obese patients to receive treatment at a weight management clinic was in the most recent period for which figures are available. [39564]

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

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on her Department's policy on the effectiveness of the Body Mass Index in assessing the health effects of being overweight. [40660]

Caroline Flint: Trends in overweight and obesity and their relationship to other risk factors are monitored each year through the Health Survey for England. Body fatness is most commonly assessed by body mass index (BMI). A BMI of 25 to 30 is considered overweight and greater than 30, obese. There is a graded increase in the risk of total mortality and cardiovascular mortality with increasing BMI above 25. BMI combined with waist measurement is a good indicator of obesity and associated health risks. Waist circumference levels of greater than 102 centimetres in men and greater than 80 centimetres in women are associated with increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contracts Paymaster has within her Department. [26423]

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Jane Kennedy: The Department contract Paymaster to provide pension administration for the principal civil service pension scheme, to which the majority of established civil servants within the Department are members. The contract has been in place since April 2004 and will be due for renewal in April 2009. The Department has no other contracts with Paymaster.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has commissioned into genetic susceptibility to illness following contact with pesticides. [25498]

Caroline Flint: The Department has not commissioned any research into genetic susceptibility to illness following contact with pesticides.

However, in deriving the acceptable exposure levels for pesticides from the required animal data, variation within the human population is part of the assessment carried out by the pesticides safety directorate, for consideration by the advisory committee on pesticides. A 100 fold factor is routinely applied to the critical dose that produces no adverse effects in the test species. The 100 is made up of 10 to extrapolate from the animals to humans (humans are considered more sensitive) and 10 to account for variation in response within the human population (individuals that are more sensitive than the norm).

Podiatry Provision (Gray Report)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will place in the Library a copy of the report published by the taskforce chaired by Dr. Muir Gray on podiatry provision. [40630]

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Mr. Byrne: The report called Feet First", published by the NHS executive in 1994, is available in the Library.


Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been identified as having had an episode of polio at some time in their life in each primary care trust. [39262]

Caroline Flint: This information is not available centrally. Annual notifications of acute poliomyelitis since 1912 and a summary of cases occurring between 1985–2003 in the United Kingdom can be found at:

Pre-term Labour

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance is given on the appropriate clinical definition of pre-term labour. [39246]

Mr. Byrne: Pre-term labour is defined as the onset of labour when the foetus is viable and before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has not specifically given guidance on the incidence of pre-term labour but has produced guidelines on the administration of corticosteroids and tocolytic drugs to try and arrest pre-term labour.

The national service framework for children, young people and maternity services published in September 2004 requires maternity care service providers and trusts to ensure that a comprehensive high quality ante-natal screening and diagnostic service, based on the current recommendations of the National Screening Committee and designed to detect maternal or foetal problems at an early stage, is offered to all women.

Primary Care Staff

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations she has received concerning the impact of the proposals within Commissioning a Patient Led NHS" on the morale of primary care staff, with particular reference to representations on the prospect of staff leaving or retiring early; and if she will make a statement. [18896]

Mr. Byrne: The Department, NHS Employers and the national health service trade unions have produced a joint framework setting out how the human resources (HR) changes, arising form Commissioning a Patient Led NHS", should be managed. The framework identifies the processes that organisations are expected to follow to ensure the changes are managed fairly, with national support underpinning local decision making.

Following publication of the framework on 1 December, a number of questions have been received from people seeking more detailed guidance on the implications of the anticipated organisational changes. NHS Employers is providing responses to those questions through its website. In addition, NHS Employers is playing a key role in supporting NHS organisations and staff during these changes, including issuing best practice guidelines, providing employment opportunities for NHS staff through the on-line clearing
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house NHS Jobs", and advising on redeployment support. Local support will be provided by HR cluster leads, who will provide advice and guidance, drawing upon best practice.

School Nursing/Health Visiting

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the development of (a) school nursing and (b) health visiting services. [39442]

Mr. Byrne: Though the detail of developing school nursing and health visiting services rests with primary care trusts (PCTs), we recognise the important role these nurses play in addressing health priorities. This was reinforced in the children's national service framework and the chief nursing officer's review of the nursing, midwifery and health visiting contribution to vulnerable children and young people, as well as in the White Paper, Choosing Health.

Additionally, we are providing new funding so that by 2010 every PCT, working with children's trusts and local authorities, will have at least one full-time, year-round, qualified school nurse working with each cluster or group of primary schools and the related secondary school. Revenue allocations to PCTs covering the period 2006–07 and 2007–08 were announced in February. For the two years covered by this allocation, a total of £62 million has been identified nationally to invest in the school nurses, £20 million in 2006–07 and £42 million in 2007–08.

Choosing Health also commits the chief nursing officer to work with nurse leaders and the Department for Education and Skills to modernise and promote school nursing and to develop a national programme for best practice that includes reviewing children's and young people's health and supporting the use of children's personal health guide.

Sexual Health

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases there were in each primary care trust in London in (a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05. [33309]

Jane Kennedy: The number and rates of diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases made at genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in each of the London strategic health authorities (SHAs) are shown on the Health Protection Agency website at:

The dataset used to compile these data is based on diagnoses made in GUM clinics. Testing undertaken in other clinical settings, such as general practice, is not recorded in the dataset.

The release of small area statistics is being reviewed and sexually transmitted infections data is currently only published at SHA level. The data are shown in calendar years. Data are not available for 2005.
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