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Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance she has issued on the fitting of emergency vehicles with satellite navigation systems; and what percentage of each NHS ambulance fleet is fitted with such devices. [68485]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 11 May 2006]: In 2001-02, there was a £3.4 million allocation from the Department to enable services to equip frontline ambulance vehicles with state of the art satellite navigation to help ambulances reach life-threatening emergencies more quickly. The Department expects all ambulance trusts to meet the national response time standards set, to ensure patients receive the most appropriate, timely care.

The Department does not collect central figures on ambulance vehicles fitted with satellite navigation systems.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much was spent by the NHS on autism spectrum-related disorders in each of the last five years; [69399]

(2) what definition of autism is used by her Department; [69400]

(3) what her Department's latest estimate is of the incidence of autism among (a) males and (b) females; [69401]

(4) how many children have been diagnosed with autism in each of the last five years. [69436]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information on spend by the national health service on autism spectrum-related disorders is not held centrally.

For the purposes of statistical collection, the Department defines autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) as including childhood autism, atypical autism, Asperger's syndrome, Rett's syndrome, and other less common ASDs.

Diagnoses of ASDs within hospitals are available from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), as shown in the tables.

Number of finished consultant episodes involving a diagnosis of ASDs, by gender at end of episode, England, 2004-05
Gender 2004-05







All diagnoses


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The Information Centre for health and social care.

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Number of finished consultant episodes involving a diagnosis of ASDs, by age at end of episode, England, 1997-98 to 2004-05
16 and Under

















Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The Information Centre for health and social care.

Bowel Cancer Screening

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps have been taken to roll out the bowel cancer screening programme since 1 April; how many people have been offered screening since 1 April; how many people will be offered screening by (a)1 July 2006, (b) 1 January 2007 and (c) 1 April 2007; and if she will make a statement’ [65381]

(2) what funding she plans to make available for the bowel cancer screening programme in each of the next five years; and what changes in the funding allocation have been made since the programme was announced. [65744]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The national bowel cancer screening programme will be rolled out nationally over the next three years. Funding for the first year of the screening programme is being transferred to the national cancer screening team in Sheffield, and Wolverhampton will be the first local screening centre.

We estimate that around £10 million will be spent on the first stages of the national bowel cancer screening programme. Funding decisions have not yet been made for future years but we are committed to ensuring that the necessary funding is available to see through the full implementation of the programme.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to promote public awareness of bowel cancer and its symptoms. [65745]

Caroline Flint: Research has shown that a national, untargeted campaign will not be as effective as local initiatives targeted on areas where there is a higher risk of people developing cancer, often linked to their lifestyle choices.

We have learnt from other awareness raising programmes, for example the west of Scotland cancer awareness project, that people at risk can be encouraged to seek medical help if the message is delivered locally, in the most appropriate way for that audience.

We are working with the healthy communities collaborative and a small number of primary care trusts to pilot different local approaches to raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, using a model developed by the healthy communities collaborative in their programmes to promote healthy diets, and reduce falls. These pilots will run throughout 2006-07.

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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines her Department provides to British-based airlines on deep vein thrombosis. [67191]

Caroline Flint: The Department has not issued any specific guidelines to British-based airlines on deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, in 2001, the Department issued advice and information to the airlines and the public about minimising the risk of DVT during long journeys, which is available on the Department's website at:


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many orthodontists there are in England, broken down by primary care trust (PCT); and what each PCT annual contract value with orthodontists was as of 1 April 2006. [66074]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The number of orthodontists in England is not available centrally as orthodontists are not separately identified within general dental services contracts or personal dental services agreements. The number of dentists claiming fees in relation to 200 or more orthodontic appliances in the year ending 31 March 2006 has been placed in the Library.

Information on annual contract values for orthodontists is not held centrally.

Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many full-time equivalent NHS general dental practitioners there were in the East Hull and West Hull primary care trust area in each year since 1997; [64094]

(2) how many NHS dentists were employed by (a) East Hull and (b) West Hull primary care trust in each year since 1997. [65465]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on a full-time equivalent basis is not available. Dentists are able to vary the amount of hours they work and to vary their national health service commitment. Many dentists do some private work.

Numbers of dentists with a general dental services (GDS) or personal dental services (PDS) contract for the relevant primary care trust (PCT) areas are shown in the following table.

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General dental services (GDS) and personal dental services (PDS): numbers of dentists within the specified PCTs as at 31 March each year
Eastern Hull PCT West Hull PCT































Notes: 1. 2006 data includes all notifications of dentists joining or leaving the GDS or PDS, received by the Business Services Authority, up to 3 April 2006. Figures for the numbers of dentists at specified dates may vary depending upon the notification period, for example, data with a later notification period will include more recent notifications of dentists joining or leaving the GDS or PDS. 2. Dentists consist of principals, assistants and trainees. Prison contracts have been excluded from the data. 3. The postcode of the dental practice was used to allocate dentists to specific geographic areas. PCT areas have been defined using the Office for National Statistics all fields postcode directory. 4. A dentist with a GDS or PDS contract may provide as little or as much NHS treatment as he or she chooses or has agreed with the PCT. Information concerning the amount of time dedicated to NHS work by individual dentists is not centrally available. 5. Data on dentists that work only in private practice are not held centrally. Source: The Information Centre for health and social care Business Services Authority

Electrical Fields (Childhood Illness)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of links between overhead power lines and incidences of childhood leukaemia. [69404]

Caroline Flint: The Department's radiation protection research programme supports a number of studies investigating the possible health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF). A study by Dr. Draper and colleagues on childhood leukaemia and distance from power lines, funded under this programme and published in the British Medical Journal last year, has added to a large existing body of work in this area (BMJ, volume 330, 4 June 2005).

The Health Protection Agency's radiation protection division (HPA-RPD) keeps the world-wide research findings on EMF continually under review. In 2004, on the basis of a comprehensive review of the existing body of research to date, the HPA-RPD, previouslythe National Radiological Protection Board, recommended the adoption of new EMF exposure guidelines in this country. In addition, in view of the scientific uncertainties, the HPA recommended the Government

in relation to power frequency electromagnetic fields. They have also noted that the majority of elevated magnetic fields are due to variations in the electricity supply and distribution system, the presence of substations and equipment in the home rather than proximity to power lines.

Practical precautionary measures are currently being considered in detail by a stakeholder advisory group (SAGE) that includes the Government Departments, agencies, electricity industry, specialists and public concern groups. Details of the process can be found on the website at:

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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment the Health Protection Agency has made of the effects of exposure to electrical fields on children. [69405]

Caroline Flint: The Health Protection Agency's radiation protection division (HPA-RPD) continually monitors the research relating to the potential health effects of electric and magnetic fields. Prior to April 2005, HPA-RPD was the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) and as such it undertook a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence relating to possible adverse health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in 2004. This review is available on HPA's website at:

It provides the basis of HPA advice on quantitative restrictions on exposure and other measures to avoid adverse effects. It explored evidence on the possibility of variations in sensitivity between different groups in the population including children.

The preparation of this review was carried out at the request of the Department and has particularly examined the issues of uncertainty in the science and aspects of precaution. In developing this review, NRPB took advice from individual United Kingdom and international scientific experts, and from published comprehensive reviews by expert groups. It sought advice from an ad hoc expert group on weak electric field effects in the body and gave careful consideration to the views expressed in response to a consultation document on its proposed guidelines issued in May 2003.

Having considered the totality of the scientific evidence in the light of uncertainty and the need for a cautious approach, NRPB recommended that restrictions on exposure to EMFs in the UK should be based on the guidelines issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection in 1998.

General Practitioner Premises

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of general practitioners' premises were above minimum standards on the last date for which figures are available in (a) England and (b) each primary care trust. [61150]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Primary care trusts and predecessor organisations have responsibility for managing delivery of services provided by general practitioners (GPs), including the adequacy of their practice premises from which to provide services.

Since 1997, there has been a 60 per cent. increase in investment in GP premises. Part of this was through the NHS Plan targets to refurbish or replace 3,000 GP premises and create 500 primary care centres housing services appropriate to meet the local need by December 2004. These targets were achieved through the replacement or refurbishment of 2,848 GP premises and 510 primary care centres. We expect to see an additional 125 of these primary care centres built by the end of this year and in 2008 the total will standat 750.

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In addition, there are many examples of new premises provided under the NHS Local Finance Investment Trust initiative (NHS LIFT) that fully satisfy minimum standards. The LIFT programme has contributed to this progress and has proven to be a tremendous success. Already some £812 million in private sector and £210 million in public sector funding has been injected into GP premises and community facilities across the country. There are 42 NHS LIFT schemes established with another eight in procurement.

This has, to date, delivered 68 new buildings open to patients with, on average, a building a week opening during 2006. In addition, we are injecting a further £1 billion national health service capital this year specifically for new buildings and equipment. This money will further improve convenient access to health and social care.

A subjective assessment by PCTs of the proportion of premises meeting the minimum standards as at 31 March 2005 has been placed in the Library. This 2005 snapshot by PCTs shows that collectively they have judged some GP premises across the country as being below minimum standards. This needs to be set in context. Judgments for some of those standards are subjective which by their very nature may lead to some PCTs reporting higher levels of premises that do not meet minimum standards than other PCTs with similar premises. Being below minimum standards does not mean the buildings are in a dangerous state of repair. Rather, that the premises may not have for example, adequate access to and within premises and WC facilities for disabled patients and staff. Failure to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act requirements is a common reason for PCTs judging buildings as not meeting minimum requirements.

This is not because of a lack of intent by GPs' practices and their PCTs to provide these facilities but because for example, the building is too small to incorporate them; with a general lack of suitable, alternative locations to develop. These are historic problems for inner city PCTs that predate this Government and arose from difficulty of investing in smaller buildings.

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