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6 Jun 2006 : Column 588W—continued

NHS Logistics Authority

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will place in the Library a copy of the paper assessing the impact on the efficiency of the NHS Logistics Authority of her proposal to outsource the Authority. [75190]

Andy Burnham: The Department is still conducting detailed commercial negotiations with the preferred bidder for the outsourcing. The information requested is therefore commercially sensitive.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will collect data centrally in respect of monies spent on private sector transportation by NHS trusts. [71392]

Andy Burnham: Information is already collected on patient transport services centrally. However, data on monies spent on private sector transportation are not separately identifiable.

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We do not currently anticipate requesting the national health service to collect specific information on private sector transportation by NHS trust.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS trusts (a) were (i) in surplus and (ii) in debt and (b) had balanced books by the end of financial year (A) 2004-05 and (B) 2005-06. [73352]

Andy Burnham: The 2004-05 audited financial position and the 2005-06 unaudited month six forecast position, as submitted to the Department by national health service organisations (strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and NHS trusts) is available on the Department’s website at:

Obesity (Young People)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has commissioned into using calorie free sweeteners in soft drinks to reduce the incidence of obesity amongst children; and what assessment she has made of the merits of so doing. [71009]

Caroline Flint: The Department has not commissioned any specific research on the potential impact on childhood obesity of soft drinks containing artificial sweeteners. Research has been carried out in the United States of America, and published in the Journal of American Academy of Paediatrics, on the effects of decreasing consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks on body weight in adolescents.

The Food Standards Agency has commenced discussions with stakeholders on a strategy to address the calorie levels in certain foods to help consumers achieve energy balance; the levels of sugar in some foods, including soft drinks, is being explored as part of this strategy.

Oral Health

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the oral health of the population in (a) Bolton South East constituency, (b) the North West and (c) England. [72610]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information available centrally shows that average number of decayed, missing or filled teeth (DMFT) among five-year-olds in the area of Bolton Primary Care Trust (PCT) is 3.23, compared to 2.42 for Greater Manchester and 1.49 in England as a whole.

We have also taken note of the fact that Rowley Regis and Tipton PCT, which has similar social profile to Bolton, but receives fluoridated water, has a DMFT of 0.98. Changes we have made in the legislative framework governing fluoridation give communities with high levels of dental decay a real option of having their water fluoridated.

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Oxygen Cylinder Provision (East Sussex)

Ms Barlow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is taking to reduce the amount of time spent by patients in hospital in East Sussex as a result of a delay in the provision of oxygen cylinders by Allied Respiratory. [73841]

Andy Burnham: There is a six-month transition period, ending on 31 July 2006, to support the transfer of the home oxygen service to the new suppliers. We are continuing to work intensively with the national health service locally and Allied Respiratory on managing that transfer, including the requirement on suppliers to support the discharge of patients from hospital through timely delivery of oxygen equipment to patients’ homes.

Premature Births

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many premature births there were in each of the last five years. [74656]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The available information about length of gestation at delivery is published annually in table 21 of the statistical bulletin “NHS Maternity Statistics: England”. Copies of the bulletins, the latest of which relates to 2004-05, are available in the Library.

Private Healthcare

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact on the NHS of pensioners in occupational pension schemes opting out of private healthcare provision as a result of it being taxed as a benefit in kind. [69285]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: National health service capacity requirements are assessed by each primary care trust as part of its local delivery planning responsibilities. The information requested is not available centrally.

Private Patient Transportation

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of the cost to the NHS of private patient transportation in each NHS trust in England and Wales; and if she will make a statement. [73785]

Andy Burnham: Each national health service organisation is free, and expected, to use its resources in the way that delivers the best available value for money which will include consideration of a range of different providers.

Section 64 Grants

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many voluntary organisations have received funding through section 64 General Scheme of Grants for 2006-07; when these payments were finally agreed; and how much money was allocated in total for section 64 funding in 2006-07. [72825]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 23 May 2006]: The number of voluntary and community organisations that have been awarded a section 64 General Scheme of Grants for 2006-07 is 426 with awards finally agreed 12 May 2006. The 2006-07 budget for section 64 is £17.2 million.

TGN 1412

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the interim report by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on the drug TGN 1412; what steps she has taken to assess the longer term impacts of TGN 1412 on the health of trial participants; and what assessment she has made of the current health of these volunteers. [73862]

Andy Burnham: I am satisfied with both the interim and final investigation reports by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the TGN1412 clinical trial of 13 March 2006, which were published on 5 April and 25 May 2006 respectively. The scientific issues which arise from this trial are being addressed by the expert scientific group on phase one clinical trials, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Jane Kennedy) asked to be established in April. It will provide an interim report within three months. The MHRA is following up the major findings identified in the final investigation report.

All six volunteers who experienced the serious adverse reactions following the clinical trial on 13 March were transferred to Northwick Park Hospital from the Parexel unit. They continued to improve and were discharged from critical care in early April. Five of the volunteers were sent home within a month of the incident, while one patient remains in hospital and is making a steady recovery. All six are under close supervision by hospital specialists.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with representatives of Statens Serum Institute in the past year, with particular reference to the licensing arrangements for the Purified Protein Derivative used in skin testing for tuberculosis. [74050]

Andy Burnham: Departmental officials, together with the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency, have held meetings with Statens Serum Institute to consider the viability of an application for a marketing authorisation for purified protein derivative solutions for use in testing for tuberculosis.

Unpasteurised Milk

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on the labelling of cheeses made from unpasteurised milk at retail level. [73761]

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Caroline Flint: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued generic guidance to food businesses and to enforcement agencies on the new European Union food hygiene regulations, which came into effect from 1 January 2006. This guidance cross-refers to the European Commission’s guidance on the relevant legislation (Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004) and also provides a website link. So far as the labelling of cheese is concerned, the Commission’s guidance explains that raw milk products should be labelled made with raw milk at the point of retail sale.

The FSA is currently considering what further guidance is required for local food authorities on a number of issues in relation to milk and dairy products, including the labelling aspect.

Waiting Times

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health why direct referrals to audiology services have been excluded from the 18-week waiting time target as set out in “Tackling hospital waiting: the 18 week patient pathway”. [74774]

Andy Burnham: As detailed in paragraph 2.5 of the publication “Tackling hospital waiting: the 18 week patient pathway. An implementation framework” the 18-week patient pathway is focused on changing traditional hospital consultant pathways. Audiology, and adult hearing services in particular, are mainly accessed directly by primary care. Therefore, they are predominantly outside the scope of the 18-week pathway.

However, a separate action plan is currently under consideration to improve access to adult hearing services outside the 18-week programme. The intention is to develop the action plan in partnership with stakeholders.

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time is for an initial paediatric cardiology assessment. [74702]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The average waiting time, for a child aged 0 to 17 years, from receipt of a general practitioner’s written referral request to attending a paediatric cardiology out-patients clinic is seven weeks.

Winchcombe Hospital, Gloucestershire

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what covenants exist on the grounds of Winchcombe hospital, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire; and if she will make a statement. [74164]

Caroline Flint: Cheltenham and Tewksbury primary care trust (PCT) has advised that no reference to any restrictive covenant appear in either the October 1991 transfer to the East Gloucestershire National Health Service Trust or in the current November 2002 Land Certificate that vests the property in the Cheltenham and Tewkesbury PCT.

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Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour (York)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the City of York Council Scrutiny Board on its review of drug and alcohol related antisocial behaviour in the city. [74610]

Mr. Coaker: The Home Office has received one representation from the Chief Executive of York city council on behalf of York city council’s Scrutiny Board. The Home Office has noted the contents of the letter and passed it to the Department of Constitutional Affairs for consideration.

Bruche Police Training Centre

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his Answer of 17 May 2006, Official Report, column 1027W, on Bruche Police Training Centre, on what dates discussions have taken place between officials from his Department and (a) the Centrex Estates and Facilities Management Team and (b) Warrington Borough Council. [73454]

Mr. McNulty: Routine and informal discussions are ongoing between Centrex and the Home Office with regard to the future of the police training facility at Bruche. The site disposal project board meets on a monthly basis and comprises Home Office officials and members of the Centrex estates and facilities management team. The last meeting was held on 9 May and the next is scheduled for 12 June.

A full planning appraisal in relation to the Bruche site was prepared for Centrex in September 2004 and consultants working for the Home Office have since re-contacted Warrington Borough Council in January 2006 in order to update that appraisal. The process of formally appointing advisers for the sale of the Bruche site is underway with appointment likely by early July. Once made, this appointment will enable a more active dialogue with the local authority.

Business in the Community Programme (Prisons)

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the business organisations twinned with each HM Prison establishment as part of the Business in the Community programme; what contributions are registered as having been made; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the programme; and if he will make a statement. [73748]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The organisations twinned with each prison are as follows:

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No contributions have been recorded. Three evaluations of the pilot have taken place, the third and final report being published in February 2006. The benefits of the partnerships have varied between establishments. Benefits gained include insight into different working cultures, personal development discussions, mentoring, exchange of managerial or leadership skills and sharing of good practice, facilities and ideas.

Crime Statistics

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many types of crime have been committed by people on probation in each of the last five years, broken down by type of crime and police authority area. [74562]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Information is not routinely collected in the form requested.

Data on crimes that are categorised as Serious Offences committed by offenders under the supervision of the Probation Service are available for the financial year 2004-05 in Table 5.6 of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin “Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2004”.

This report is available at

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