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11 May 2006 : Column 551W

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that NHS dental treatment is available to all (a) children and (b) residents of Eastbourne and Willingdon. [65498]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Since 2003-04, the Department has invested an additional £250 million in national health service dentistry and supported the NHS in recruiting the equivalent of an extra 1,459 dentists to improve patient access. The Government are also funding an additional 170 training places per year from 2005.

From April 2006, primary care trusts (PCTs), including Eastbourne Downs PCT, have devolved responsibility and ring-fenced budgets for commissioning primary dental services. This means that if a dentist leaves the NHS or reduces their NHS commitment, the resources stay with the PCT to be re-invested in local dental services.

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Eastbourne Downs PCT has commissioned replacement NHS capacity in Eastbourne valued at £450,000. The PCT has retained NHS treatment in for children in all but two of the practices that have rejected the NHS contract.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists have (a) signed and (b) refused to sign the new contract for NHS dentistry in the primary care trusts which serve Portsmouth; and if she will make a statement. [66418]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of dentists who have signed the new contract and the number who have not signed is not available centrally. We do however have some provisional information that covers contracts. A contract may be for more than one dentist so cannot be broken down further to individual dentist level.

Provisional management estimates show that in the Portsmouth city primary care trust area:

Contracts signed Contracts still in discussion Contracts rejected Contracts signed

A: Number

B: Approximate unites of dental activity (UDA) value

C: Number

D: Approximate UDA value

E: Number

F: Approximate UDA value

% UDAs

G: Number signed without dispute

H: Number signed in dispute

% Disputes











Note: The information provided is not validated. It represents a snapshot of the position in early April.

A contract may be for either a practice or an individual dentist.

Primary care trusts (PCT) are working with dentists to resolve as many disputes as possible locally.

The majority of NHS dentists in Portsmouth have accepted the new NHS contract and as a consequence the loss is relatively minimal. However, the PCT will be using the funding available to purchase additional units of dental activity from other interested dentists in the short term to seek to maintain levels of dentistry.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on NHS dentistry in the Barnet primary care trust area in 1997; how much has been allocated for 2006-07; and if she will make a statement. [64706]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The main element of national health service dental services are the primary dental care services previously provided by dentists working within the general dental service (GDS) or personal dental service (PDS) pilots.

The latest available data shows that the net and gross expenditure on these services within the area of the Barnet primary care trust (PCT) in 1997-98 were £5.701 million and £7.207 million respectively(1,2). The difference between net and gross expenditure is the contribution to costs from dental charges collected directly from patients.

A net funding allocation for 2006-07 of £11.55 million has been awarded to Barnet PCT for local commissioning of equivalent NHS primary dental services. The associated indicative gross budget, taking into account expected patient charge income, is £13.787 million. PCTs may direct additional funding to dentistry from their general NHS resources if they judge this to be a necessary and appropriate local priority.

Expenditure figures for 1997-98 do not capture certain elements of the cost of primary dental care services which are reflected in the 2006-07 dental allocations.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people newly qualified as dentists in each of the last five years; and how much the training cost (a) per dentist and (b) in total in each year. [68936]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of graduates from dentistry courses leading to professional registration, in England, is held centrally only from 2002 which is shown in the table.

Dentistry graduates







Note: HESA do not collect data on dentistry students at Eastman Dental Hospital and Defence Dental Agency Training Establishment. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record.

We estimate that in 2005-06 the average cost of training a dentist was £160,000 over the five-year course or £32,000 per year. On this basis, the total cost of training the 3,500 students in dental schools in England in 2005-06 was £112 million. Comparable information is not available centrally for earlier years, but we estimate that these costs have moved broadly in line with inflation over the last five years.

Departmental Management Structure

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she will publish the conclusions of the review of her Department's top management structure. [69836]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The conclusions of the review of the Department's top management structure were presented and circulated to staff in January. The presentation, staff bulletin and a supplementary question and answer pack have been available on request from the Department. Copies have now been placed in the Library.

Disability Equipment (Internet)

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what regulations are in place to ensure appropriate risk assessments are carried out on disability equipment sold on the internet. [68026]

Andy Burnham: New disability equipment such as mobility aids, environmental controls, communication aids, posture management, pressure management and moving and handling systems which are classed as medical devices and have been placed on the European market since June 1998 are required to meet the Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC. This directive is brought into United Kingdom law under the Medical Device Regulations 2002 (amended 2003). Such medical devices must carry the CE mark indicating conformity to the directive.

Before applying the CE mark the manufacturer must ensure that all risks are removed or minimised and any residual risks constitute acceptable risks when weighed against the benefit to the user and are compatible with a high level of protection of safety. If it is not possible to reduce these risks by means of inherently safe design
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or construction whilst providing benefit to the user then the manufacturer must inform users of the residual risks by means of labelling on the device and/or warnings contained in the user information.

On behalf of the Secretary of State for Health, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) acts as the competent authority for the UK Medical Device Regulations. The MHRA has a specialist unit covering all aspects of assistive technology which includes disability equipment. Proactive and reactive investigations involving medical devices including assistive technology are carried out. Where appropriate the MHRA also works with or refers cases to other regulatory bodies in the United Kingdom such as Trading Standards and also liaises as necessary with other competent authorities within Europe and also with the United States of America, Canada, and Australia.

The requirement for all medical devices placed on the market in the United Kingdom to carry an appropriate CE marking applies equally to products advertised on the internet, regardless of their country of origin. However, the regulation of the sale of medical devices available on the internet is more problematic than with sales from more conventional outlets. The MHRA advises the public to be wary when purchasing any medicinal or healthcare product from an unknown source, such as the internet, as it is not possible to guarantee the efficacy or safety of such items.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2006, Official Report, column 1203W, on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, what assessment has been made of the progress of research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy; and what actions have followed from the research. [67892]

Andy Burnham: The £1.6 million, four-year programme (2005 to 2008) of research towards a phase one clinical trial for duchenne muscular dystrophy that the Department has been supporting is administered through the company LGC Ltd. Progress is assessed through quarterly reports, and site visits by LGC Ltd. The programme started in January 2005, and the most recent site visit, in February 2006, found the research to be progressing well, with the first-year objectives completed, and the phase one clinical trial predicted to take place towards the end of 2008.

European Health Insurance Card

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 18 April, Official Report, columns 388-9W, on the European health insurance card, how many information leaflets were distributed; and what the total cost was of the awareness campaign. [65757]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The publicity campaign took place over two years at a total cost of £2.4million. The following leaflets were produced:

Free Diagnostic Testing

Derek Conway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the NHS hospitals in London offering free diagnostic testing to GP practices; and what the estimated financial value is of this offer. [67382]

Andy Burnham: The information requested is not collected centrally.

It is for local national health service organisations in conjunction with the primary care trusts and strategic health authorities to plan and develop services according to the needs of their local communities.


Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the prescription of Herceptin to patients with early stage breast cancer. [67960]

Andy Burnham: The position on the prescription and provision of Herceptin for HER2 positive early stage breast cancer, ahead of a decision on licensing or National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance, remains as set out in the NHS chief executive's bulletin: Issue 294, 4-10 November 2005. This is that:

This policy does not in any way replace either the licensing process or the NICE appraisal process.

Independent Treatment Centres

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have been treated by Barlborough Independent Treatment Centre since its inception; and how many of these patients lived in Bassetlaw. [69825]

Ms Rosie Winterton: At the end of March this year 3,678 patients had been treated at the Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre. Information on the number who lived in Bassetlaw is not held centrally.

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Isolation Wards

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of the availability of isolation facilities in NHS hospitals. [67550]

Andy Burnham: Full information on the availability of isolation facilities is not available but Departmental guidance is that new buildings should ideally contain at least 50 per cent. of their beds in single rooms. NHS Estates published guidance in February 2005 to assist local planning for isolation facilities and the Department is considering the need for guidance on ventilated isolation facilities.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will make a statement on the role of the national myalgic encephalomyelitis observatory; [70195]

(2) what funding has been provided by (a) central Government and (b) statutory bodies for the development and support of the national myalgic encephalomyelitis observatory. [70196]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Action on myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) has received over £500,000 funding from the Big Lottery Fund to establish a national ME/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) research observatory. No funding has been provided by central Government or statutory bodies to support this research observatory.

This research observatory will gather comprehensive data on a range of important clinical and social factors which affect those living with ME/CFS.

The three-year project, which involves teams from the University of East Anglia, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Hull-York Medical School, aims to increase the availability of information about the disease and reduce the stigmatisation which can arise from a lack of understanding of this distressing disease.


Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many changes to labelling applications were considered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in (a) 2003-04 and (b) 2004-05; and what the longest time taken to process an application was in each year; [67300]

(2) what representations she has received on the business impact of the time taken by the MHRA to process product licence and labelling applications; and if she will make a statement. [67264]

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