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7 Feb 2006 : Column 1180W—continued


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 September 2005, Official Report, columns 2742–43W, on obesity, what progress has been made in setting up the national partnership of obesity; and if she will make a statement. [32307]

Caroline Flint: Over the coming months, the Department will explore with relevant non-governmental organisations how it could support the establishment of a national partnership for obesity. As set out in the Choosing Health White Paper, the objective will be to promote practical action on the prevention and management of obesity and provide a source of information and evidence of effectiveness.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the potential impact of primary care trust debt on the carrying out of routine hospital operations. [44835]

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Mr. Byrne: All national health service organisations have minimum standards of quality they must deliver, including meeting targets for maximum waiting times. These are dramatically better than the standards of the NHS in the past and there can be no trade-off between these quality standards and removing deficits.


Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of NHS prescription items issued by general practitioners were repeat prescriptions in 2004–05; [45885]

(2) what estimate she has made of the percentage of NHS patients who received more than 14 prescription items over the last 12 months who had bought a 12 month prescription prepayment certificate. [45886]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not readily available from data available to the Department. Information on prescriptions from the Prescription Pricing Authority does not link individual patients to prescriptions dispensed. Therefore it is not known how many prescription items were repeat prescriptions or how many prescription items patients received.

Public Health

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what public health campaigns her Department (a) is running, (b) has announced and plans to start in 2006 and (c) has promised but not yet announced a start date for. [44923]

Caroline Flint: The Department is currently running tobacco education, drug prevention (FRANK, jointly with Home Office and the Department for Education and Skills) and 5 a Day public health campaigns. The Department has also announced plans for a sexual health campaign to start in 2006, and to launch a long-term obesity social marketing programme in the autumn of 2006. Its focus will be on providing the general public with the necessary information and support to lead healthier lifestyles in relation to diet and physical activity, and has promised but not yet announced a start date for a campaign on alcohol harm reduction.

Sexual Health

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people under 16 years have attended a sexual health clinic in (a) West Lancashire and (b) Lancashire in the last year for which figures are available. [45096]

Mr. Byrne: The number of new episodes of selected diagnoses (chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea, herpes and warts) in the under 16 age group seen in genitourinary medicine clinics in Cumbria and Lancashire strategic health authority for 2004 is 85.

The data contains the number of new diagnoses and not the number of people attending. The latter is not collected centrally.
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Smoking Ban

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of public houses in the Hammersmith and Fulham constituency likely to be exempt from a smoking ban under the provisions of the Health Bill; and what assessment she has made of the likely impact of the Health Bill on health inequalities within the Hammersmith and Fulham constituency. [45290]

Jane Kennedy: The Health Bill has not been assessed on the basis of its likely impact on the constituency of Hammersmith and Fulham nor on any other individual constituency. No estimate has been made of the number of public houses in Hammersmith and Fulham in this context.

A partial regulatory impact assessment for the Health Bill has been published and is available in the Library.

TB Vaccinations

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason it is her policy not to make TB vaccinations available to children or adults who might be in contact with cattle diagnosed with bovine TB. [33785]

Caroline Flint: There are approximately 1 per cent. of human tuberculosis (TB) cases attributed to M. bovis each year. Most of these cases are reactivated disease in older adults who were infected perhaps decades ago or are due to more recent infections contracted abroad.

The strict policy of testing cattle for TB infection combined with meat inspection and pasteurisation of milk and milk products has dramatically reduced the risk from bovine TB. While transmission of tuberculosis from cattle to humans is possible, it is extremely rare. There has been no reported case of transmission of bovine TB from cattle to a child in England and Wales since the Health Protection Agency national reporting system MycobNet began in 1993.

In the event of children coming into contact with cattle with tuberculosis the general principles for contact tracing are the same as for contacts of a human case of tuberculosis and should be limited to close contacts likely to have had significant exposure to infection. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccination may be offered to previously unvaccinated tuberculin negative children who have been exposed to cattle with tuberculosis.

Walk-in Centres

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been treated at NHS walk-in centres in each year since their inception; and if she will make a statement. [46314]

Mr. Byrne: There are now 72 national health service walk-in centres open and a further 17 in development. Since the first NHS walk-in centre opened in 2000, the number of visits has increased each year, which is shown in the table
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NHS walk-in centres, 2000–01 to 2004–05

Total number of visits

Department of Health.

NHS walk-in centres focused on serving commuters are beginning to open with newly opened centres near Liverpool Street station in London and Piccadilly station in Manchester. The Government's White Paper, Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services" published on 30 January 2006 highlights that NHS walk-in centres already provide
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easy access to a range of primary care services and commits to further expansion of these services, according to local need.

Working Time Directive

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the financial impacts of extending the working time directive to junior doctors. [47335]

Mr. Byrne: The European working time directive (WTD) is health and safety law. The Government negotiated an extension to the WTD for doctors in training to enable phased implementation from August 2004. Actual costs of the financial impact of extending the working time directive to doctors in training are not held centrally and could not in any case be separated from the overall cost of the national health service growth and modernisation.