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18 May 2006 : Column 1165W—continued

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) information and (b) support on breastfeeding is routinely made available to parents; and what assessment she has made of whether provision is consistent across the country. [67653]

Caroline Flint: The Department undertakes work at a national level to support breastfeeding including providing a range of breastfeeding publications, guidance and leaflets which are made available through the national health service to health professionals and parents.

The Government have adopted the World Health Organization recommendations to encourage exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with continued breastfeeding alongside the introduction of complementary feeding.

Breastfeeding services and support for breastfeeding at a local level is the responsibility of NHS primary care trusts. The Government have a commitment in the NHS Plan to increase support for breastfeeding as part of its strategy to reduce health inequalities and has set a target to increase breastfeeding initiation rates by 2per cent. per year.

Child Drug Addicts

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of children taking (a) heroin and (b) cocaine. [69346]

Caroline Flint: Figures from the schools survey, ‘Drug use, Smoking and Drinking among Young People in England in 2005: Headline Figures’(1) show that 1 per cent. of secondary school children aged 11 to 15 had used heroin in the last year and 2 per cent. had used cocaine in the last year.

These headline figures do not contain estimates of numbers and nor do any of the full schools survey reports. There would be difficulties in taking account of the survey design and sampling, which mean we are unable to supply estimates of actual numbers.

The Home Office's yearly British crime survey (BCS) has published figures for 2004-05 estimating the numbers of young people(2), who have taken drugs in their lifetime, in the last year and in the previous month. These figures are shown in table one.

Table 1( 1)
Drug Used ever Used last year Used previous month

Cocaine

531,000

298,000

127,000

Heroin

34,000

9,000

5,000

(1) Estimates are derived by multiplying the prevalence rate by the estimated population aged 16 to 24 in England and Wales. The figures are calculated using population estimates provided by the Government Actuarial Service.

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Children's Health Services

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health service staff have received specific training and support to promote the psychological well-being of children. [67644]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information regarding the number of health service staff receiving training and support to promote the psychological well-being of children is not held centrally by the Department.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff in primary care have received specific training in the assessment of (a) children, (b) mental health conditions and (c) child mental health conditions. [67646]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information regarding training for the assessment of children, mental health conditions and children's mental health conditions in primary care is not held centrally by the Department.

Doctors

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations have been held with the Community Relations Council on the implications of the new immigration rules for Commonwealth doctors and their prospects for employment and training. [65032]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Community Relations Council was not consulted on the implications of the new immigration rules.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether EU doctors appointed under new work permit regulations will have to take (a) the International English Language Testing System examinations and (b) an equivalent test of proficiency in English. [64654]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Doctors who are nationals of the European Economic Area are not required to pass a language proficiency exam for the purposes of registering with the General Medical Council.

However, national health service employers are required to ensure that those whom recruit can safely communicate with patients.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessments she has made of the likely effect of the new regulations on work permits for non-EU doctors on the (a) numbers and (b) quality of doctors recruited from the Commonwealth. [64668]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The success of our investment in workforce and training has led to increasing competition for posts. As a result, there will be correspondingly fewer opportunities for doctors from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), who will, however, still be able to apply to posts which have not been filled by a suitable EEA candidate.


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It is the responsibility of the General Medical Council to ensure that all doctors registered in the United Kingdom are fit to practise.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how long doctors of overseas origin who are UK graduates will be allowed to complete their foundation training before they are sent home. [65026]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Doctors from outside the European Economic Area who have graduated in the United Kingdom will have up to three years to complete their foundation training. Once the foundation course has been completed doctors will need to meet the normal requirements of the immigration rules.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to ensure that overseas junior doctors working in the UK are allowed to complete their training without a permit. [66841]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have put in place transitional arrangements to ensure that doctors currently in training posts are able to complete their training.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will give overseas doctors living in the UK who are not employed a grace period of up to two years in which to find a training post. [66843]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has been working with the Home Office to put in place transitional arrangements. Those doctors and dentists, who were offered a relevant training post before the changes were announced will be given the opportunity to complete their training.

There is no need for any additional arrangement. It was already the case before this recent change that doctors and dentists could not be granted an extension of stay as a postgraduate doctor or dentist without having a recognised training post arranged. Those without posts would not have been eligible to extend their stay.

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact of the new rules restricting the employment of non-European economic area doctors on such doctors working in England; and if she will make a statement. [67273]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has been working with the Home Office to put in place transitional arrangements. Those doctors and dentists who were offered a relevant training post before the changes were announced will be given the opportunity to complete their training.

Overseas doctors and dentists will still be able to come and train in the United Kingdom. They will now be considered as being in employment for immigration purposes and will need to meet the requirements of an employment category of the immigration rules.

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors who are non-European Economic Area citizens who work in the NHS received their medical training in the United Kingdom; how many received their training in another part of the European Economic Area; and if she will make a statement. [67274]


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Ms Rosie Winterton: Information is not collected centrally relating to the country of origin of national health service staff.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps NHS trusts will have to take to ensure that no EU or EEA applicants are available for doctors posts, with particular reference to the advertisement of posts; [65024]

(2) what demonstration of a lack of suitable EU or EEA nationals for vacant medical posts NHS trusts will have to make before they can consider international medical graduates from other countries; and whether work permits will be issued to non-EU and non-EEA nationals (a) before application, (b) on application and (c) on appointment. [65039]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Before they employ a person who requires a work permit to work in the United Kingdom, national health service trusts will need to satisfy the resident labour market test. To demonstrate they have done this, they should provide:

Work Permits (UK) expects vacancies to be placed in the most appropriate medium for reaching suitably qualified resident workers.

Employers should apply for a work permit once the appointment has been made.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the new recruitment process for overseas doctors will be put in place; and when examinations will be held overseas as part of its arrangements. [65025]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The new recruitment process for junior doctors will be in place by October 2006 for posts starting in August 2007.

The professional and linguistic assessment board is the responsibility of the General Medical Council and it is their responsibility to determine when and where the exam will take place.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations she has received from the British Medical Association (BMA) on the new regulations on work permits for trainee doctors; and how many of the BMA's proposals she accepted. [64710]

(2) what representations she has received from the BMA on the new regulations on work permits for trainee doctors. [65057]


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Ms Rosie Winterton: We have received no representations. Departmental officials have met with the British Medical Association's junior doctors committee and the international committee to clarify the arrangements.

Dignity Nurses

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what measurable outcomes a dignity nurse will deliver in each care setting where a nurse is so designated; [67552]

(2) what assessment she has made of how the (a) content of and (b) curriculum for nurse training fits her plans for dignity nurses; [67553]

(3) what process will be used to appoint dignity nurses; and what estimate she has made of the number of dignity nurses who will be in post by the end of (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; [67554]

(4) how the work of designated dignity nurses will be evaluated; [67555]

(5) what the (a) role and (b) remit will be of designated dignity nurses; and how she expects this to differ from the role of other nurses. [67556]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There is not a specific nursing role called a dignity nurse. All nurses are expected to protect patients’ dignity and be trained to deliver high standards of care.

‘A New Ambition for Old Age—Next Steps in Implementing the National Service Framework for Older People’ was published in April 2006. This builds on the role of existing nurse leaders such as modern matrons, ward sisters and directors of nursing and strengthens their responsibility for ensuring that older people in their area of care are treated with respect for their dignity. Organisations need to identify specific nurses from their existing clinical leaders and these nurse leaders are to be champions for maintaining patient dignity, providing leadership and support to others and embedding dignity considerations in all working practices.

Nurse leaders can use the national benchmarking system to evaluate their effectiveness. ‘Essence of Care’ includes a measure for assessing the preservation of dignity. Standards of care are also monitored through the Healthcare Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection and patient feedback surveys.

Drug Rehabilitation

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many publicly funded residential drug rehabilitation places there were in England and Wales in each of the last five years. [68946]

Caroline Flint: The Department does not hold annual records of publicly funded residential rehabilitation places for the last five years.

The National Treatment Agency for substance misuse launched a residential directory on 8 August 2003, and an online bed vacancy directory, BEDVACS, started on 23 April 2004. There is no record of any data prior to 1 February 2005. On 1 February 2005, there were 118 English residential rehabilitation units with a total of 2,498 beds. The most recent data from
18 May 2006 : Column 1170W
February 2006 show that the directory lists 119 English residential rehabilitation units with a total of 2,530 beds.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are on (a) methadone, (b) buprenorphine and (c) naltrexone in England in order to treat drug addiction. [71935]

Caroline Flint: The Department does not hold information centrally for the number of people in drug treatment who receive prescribed drugs methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.

Figures for 2005-06 taken from the National Treatment Agency's national drug treatment monitoring system (NDTMS) give data on the number of people receiving all opiate substitutes, including methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone, as part of a drug treatment programme. However, we are unable to split data taken from NDTMS into separate opiate substitutes. The overall figures are shown in table.

2005-06
Numbers treatment

Specialist prescribing (secondary care)

48,786

General practitioner prescribing

21,577

Total

70,363


John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many individuals have (a) entered and (b) remained for over three months in drug rehabilitation treatment in (i) Birklands and (ii) Meden ward of Mansfield in each of the last five years. [71931]

Andy Burnham: Data are not held centrally. The table shows information relating to the Nottinghamshire drug action team. Data are not available prior to 2003-04.

Drug rehabilitation treatment, Nottinghamshire drug and alcohol action team
Number of patients entering rehabilitation treatment Number of patients remaining in rehabilitation treatment for more than three months

2003-04

1,678

480

2004-05

1,702

557

Source: National Treatment Agency, national drug treatment monitoring system


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