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1 Mar 2006 : Column 758W—continued


Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the progress of the chlamydia 2007 objective; and if she will make a statement. [48352]

Caroline Flint: The White Paper, Choosing Health: Making healthier choices easier", a copy of which is available in the Library, announced an accelerated timetable to achieve national roll out of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) by 2007.

The NCSP provides opportunistic screening for genital chlamydia infection and is aimed at all sexually active women and men aged between 16 and 24-years-old attending a variety of health and non health care settings in England.

We have rolled out the screening programme successfully to 25 per cent. of primary care trusts and we expect to see national screening begin in April 2006. This is well ahead of the 2007 target.


Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis recently-opened dental practices will be paid under the proposed dental contract; and if she will make special arrangements for recently-opened specialist orthodontist practices where payments are concentrated at the end of the course of treatment. [43373]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 19 January 2006]: Where a dental practice has opened since the start of the October 2004—September 2005 reference period, it is for primary care trusts locally to agree an appropriate contract value and a corresponding level for annual services.

Guidance on agreeing appropriate contract values for specialist orthodontist practices was published in February and is available on the Department's website at:

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Farley's Rusks

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the recent decision of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to withdraw a consignment of Farley's rusks; and how many other products have been withdrawn by the FSA over the last 12 months. [52077]

Caroline Flint: Farley's withdrew a consignment of rusks which were contaminated with a pesticide, chlorpropham, at levels which exceeded maximum concentrations set by the Processed Cereal-based Foods and Baby Foods for Infants and Young Children (England) Regulations 2003. The levels found were not a health concern for infants but they were illegal.

Under European Commission regulations, it is the responsibility of the company concerned to initiate a product withdrawal and notify both their customers and the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Where appropriate, the FSA would then consider issuing a food alert. There were 84 food alerts issued by the FSA from 1 February 2005 until 1 February 2006. 67 of these were food alerts for information and involved product withdrawal. The other 17 were food alerts for action and required the relevant local authority to perform further investigation or enforcement in addition to the withdrawal.

Fiscal Incentives

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her annual lecture to the Faculty of Public Health, delivered on 16 November, if she will make a statement on the effectiveness of using fiscal incentives to change consumer behaviour in order to promote public health. [31100]

Caroline Flint: Our thinking on fiscal incentives in order to promote public health is at an early stage. However, we recognise that they can form part of the social marketing approach that can be used to incentivise people to change their behaviour and choose a healthier lifestyle.

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to promote the consumption of more fruit and vegetables. [52405]

Caroline Flint: The Department's 5 A DAY programme, school fruit and vegetable scheme (part of the 5 A DAY Programme) and healthy start all promote increased consumption of fruit and vegetables. For example, under the school fruit and vegetable scheme, nearly 2 million four to six-year-olds in local education authority maintained infant, primary and special schools throughout England receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable every school day. Over 550 organisations are licensed to use the 5 A DAY logo and it currently appears on over 700 fruit and vegetable products in shops and restaurants. The new healthy start scheme offers qualifying families vouchers to exchange for fresh fruits and vegetables as well as milk.

Websites, publicity material and guidance have also been provided to help support people to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption.
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Health Action Zones

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of health action zones. [49550]

Caroline Flint: In 2000, the Department commissioned an evaluation of the 26 health action zones (HAZ) that were set up in 1998 and 1999. The evaluation included an analysis of how HAZs sought to tackle inequalities in health.

The findings were published in Health Action Zones: Partnerships for health equity", Barnes et al (2005), London: Routledge, copies of which have been placed in the Library.

Health White Paper

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she plans to launch the high-profile campaign to encourage people to contribute to the drive for a fitter Britain by 2012, described in paragraph 2.99, of the White Paper, Our Health, Our Care, Our Say; what resources she plans to provide in support of the campaign; which organisations are designing the campaign; and if she will make a statement. [49523]

Caroline Flint: The Department will work with partner organisations, including Sport England and the London Olympic Games organising committee, to maximise opportunities for people to take part in recreational and health promoting activities. A high profile campaign will be developed building on the health strategies of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Department is working with the Department of Culture Media and Sports to realise the wider health benefits that the United Kingdom can reap from holding the Olympic Games in London and the proposed campaign will fit closely with this work and support the realisation of the Olympic Games health legacy. Funding for development of the campaign will be allocated in due course as part of the normal process for deciding on central programme funding.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health where exercise-on-prescription pilots have been carried out as described in paragraph 2.93, of the White Paper, Our Health, Our Care, Our Say, what estimate she has made of the costs to the NHS of issuing exercise-on-prescription; and what evidence was used to inform the judgment in paragraph 2.93 of the White Paper that exercise-on-prescription pilots have often been successful. [49524]

Caroline Flint: During the Your health, your care, your say" consultation, exercise referral schemes were found to be popular with the public. The Fitness Industry Association estimates that there are over 600 schemes in England.

A number of studies have looked at exercise on prescription projects. The health technology assessment, Promoting physical activity in South Asian Muslim women through exercise on prescription" published in 2002 estimated that there had been between 150 and 200 exercise on prescription pilots or projects since 1990 and shows that these were often considered to be successful. An evaluation undertaken by the Oxford School for Healthcare Research at Oxford Brookes University
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identified the positive benefits of two green gym pilot schemes attended by people recommended by health service professionals. The Exercise Referral Systems: National Quality Assurance Framework commissioned by the Department and published in 2001 stated that exercise referral programmes may incur initial higher resource costs, but may be more cost-effective in the longer term if higher risk patients can reduce their risk of morbidity and mortality.

An assessment of four commonly used methods to increase physical activity in primary care, including exercise referral schemes, is currently being undertaken by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The findings currently out to consultation, are broadly supporting the effectiveness of exercise on referral at increasing physical activity levels in the short-term.

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