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24 July 2006 : Column 1104W—continued

Healthcare Commission

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2006, Official Report, column 2098W, on the Healthcare Commission, when she expects to publish regulations to transfer the regulation of controlled drugs to the Healthcare Commission; and what consultation is planned prior to the publication of such regulations. [87737]

Andy Burnham: The Health Bill, which creates the regulation making powers, received Royal Assent on 19 July. The regulations will be laid, subject to parliamentary timetables, this autumn. The guidance on the new governance arrangements for controlled drugs was developed in conjunction with key stakeholders—professionals, regulators, police services, service providers and patient groups and was the subject of formal public consultation in the summer of 2005. The response to the consultation is available on the Department's website.

The controlled drugs advisory group commented on the draft regulations at their meeting on 28 June 2006 and self-nominated representatives from the advisory group meet for a more detailed workshop on the draft regulations on 7 July. The sub-group included many of the key regulators involved in controlled drugs inspection: the Healthcare Commission, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, General Medical Council, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, etc.

Although there are no plans to repeat the formal public consultation, the Department has just completed a series of six conferences around the country for service providers—both national health service and the independent sector and the key regulators—on the new framework for the use and management of controlled drugs created by the Health Act 2006 and subsequent regulations.

Herbal Medicines

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether manufacturers of products registered under the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive will be able to indicate on their label whether they comply with organic standards of production; [85631]

(2) what steps she intends to take to ensure that consumers of products registered under the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive are able to identify whether they comply with organic standards of production. [85632]

Andy Burnham: Article 62 of Directive 2001/83/EC provides that, in addition to other mandatory information, the outer packaging and the package leaflet of a medicinal product covered by the requirements of the directive may include other information compatible with the summary of product characteristics which is useful for the patient, to the exclusion of any element of a promotional nature. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is currently investigating the issue raised and in particular whether there are circumstances in which references to organic production could be compatible with the summary of product characteristics.

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The MHRA will also explore what scope there may be for companies to refer to organic production in advertising materials.

Hospital Telephone Calls

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the charge was per minute for telephone calls made (a) by patients from and (b) to patients in hospital, in each primary care trust in each of the past five years; and if she will make a statement. [87329]

Andy Burnham: The NHS Plan, published in July 2000, announced bedside televisions and telephones would be available in every major hospital by 2004. The systems have now been installed in around 80,000 beds in 160 major national health service hospitals.

Three private companies are licensed to provide bedside entertainment systems to major hospitals in England. They set the call charges.

The cost for patients to make telephone calls to these hospitals has remained constant at 10p per minute (minimum 20p) for local and national calls.

The incoming call charges have remained constant for two of the service provides at 39p per minute off peak and 49p per minute peak. Charges per minute for the third service provider were; 14p 2002, 17p in 2003, 20p in 2004 and they currently charge 35p.

Primary care trusts fall outside the NHS Plan remit for the availability of bedside televisions and telephones and they would therefore make their own provisions for telephone systems.

Housing (Health Hazards)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions she has had with the Department for Communities and Local Government on joint action to prevent health hazards resulting from poorly heated and insulated housing; and if she will make a statement. [86591]

Caroline Flint: In the recent “The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy” fourth annual progress report it highlights in most areas that there has been a lot of cross departmental work to address fuel poverty across the regions including the role of the health sector in reducing health related harm. The National Energy Action (NEA) has undertaken a wide range of projects during 2004-05 and these have aimed to contribute to the co-ordination of delivery of energy efficiency services at local level, develop strategic fuel poverty alleviation activity by regional bodies and to continue work with partners in the health sector.

The energy efficiency partnership for homes holds a fuel poverty strategy group and during 2005-06 has held cross-partnership seminars to encourage the take up of fuel poverty initiatives by the partnerships 12 other main working groups. The work of the fuel poverty strategy group is further facilitated through its two sub-groups, of which one is a health sub-group which funds the health housing and fuel poverty forum, initiated in 2005.

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The health, housing and fuel poverty forum held a national conference in February 2006, which focused on how to better engage the health sector via improved partnership working in order to minimise the health related harm due to cold homes and fuel poverty. More recently, in June 2006 the south east region has held round table discussions on how to take this work forward at national, regional and local levels.


Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of regional variations in availability of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence-approved treatments for lymphoma; and if she will make a statement. [87740]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In June 2004, the National Cancer Director published a report into variations in usage of cancer drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) including Rituximab (Mabthera) for lymphoma. This showed a 2.6 fold variation in the use of rituximab across the 34 cancer networks—this was the narrowest variation of all the NICE approved drugs considered.

An update of Professor Richards’s report will be published later this year and a copy will be placed in the Library.

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Government have spent on research into (a) prevention and (b) treatment of lymphoma in each year from 1997. [87741]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Lymphoma is the most common type of haematological cancer and includes Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The latter includes a wide range of conditions. Treatment depends on the type of lymphoma and staging of the disease.

Treatment ranges from low dose chemotherapy to high dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue (similar to a bone marrow transplant). Patients may also require supportive treatments such as blood transfusions and plasma exchanges.

We do not routinely track our research spend on specific tumour sites and cannot provide a figure for the amount spent on research into lymphoma prevention or treatment, but the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) strategic analysis of cancer research in the United Kingdom directly funded by NCRI partner organisation in 2004 revealed that approximately 7 per cent. of research spend, approximately £21.5 million, was in lymphoma.

McTimoney Chiropractic Course (University of Wales)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the regulation of chiropractic, with particular reference to the proposals of the General Chiropractic Council to withdraw accreditation from the McTimoney Chiropractic course at the University of Wales. [53085]

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Andy Burnham: I understand that agreement has been reached for those students currently in years three, four and five to graduate and be eligible for registration as chiropractors. The General Chiropractic Council and McTimoney College are continuing to work together to achieve a positive outcome for students currently in years one and two. However, the matter remains subjudice whilst discussions continue about the position of these students.

Medical Devices Directive

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she plans to make representations to the European Commission on revising the Medical Devices Directive. [86282]

Andy Burnham: The Commission published a proposed directive revising the medical devices directive in December 2005 which is currently being negotiated in the Council of Ministers working group. Given that these negotiations are ongoing there are no plans to request the Commission to undertake another revision exercise.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent advice she has received from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency with regards to the revision of the Medical Devices Directive. [85929]

Andy Burnham: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has the responsibility for negotiating the proposal to revise the Medical Devices Directive in the Council of Ministers working group. The United Kingdom’s negotiating position has been agreed by Ministers.

Mental Health Bill

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many service users from black and minority ethnic backgrounds attended each of the consultation events relating to the Race Equality Impact Assessment on the Mental Health Bill. [81978]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Care services improvement partnership and the National Assembly for Wales organised a series of seven consultation events to gather views on the proposed amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983, as part of the race equality impact assessment. The events, held in Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester and London, attracted approximately 430 people from a variety of backgrounds and organisations. Delegates were not asked to record their ethnicity, so we do not have a specific record of how many service users from black and minority ethnic backgrounds attended the events. However, of the organisations that registered their attendance there were representatives of service users groups from a range of black and minority ethnic backgrounds: Black, African, Afro-Caribbean, Somali, United Kingdom Asian, South Asian, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese and Irish.

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Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many midwives were practising in the National Health Service in (a) London and (b) England in each year since 1992, expressed as a (i) headcount and (ii) whole-time equivalent figure. [84431]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of midwives in London and England in each year since 1992 is shown in the table.

National Health Service Hospital and Community Health Services: Qualified Midwifery Staff in England and the London Strategic Health Authority (SHA) Area as at 30 September each specified year
England Of which: London SHA total( 1)











































Full-time equivalent
England Of which: London SHA total( 1)











































(1) London SHA figures 1996-2001 are estimated based on the 2005 organisational structure. Full-time equivalent figures are rounded to the nearest whole number.
(2) A new system of occupation coding for NHS non-medical staff was introduced in 1995. The new codes classify staff according to what they do rather than the terms and conditions under which they are employed i.e. national pay scales. Figures based on new occupation codes are not directly comparable with those based on the old pay scale classification, therefore figures since 1995 are not comparable with earlier years.
(3) Not available.
The Information Centre for health and social care non-medical workforce census.

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