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4 Sep 2006 : Column 2061W—continued

Alzheimer's Disease

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what tests are used to determine whether a patient is in the (a) mild, (b) moderate and (c) severe stage of Alzheimer's; and how each stage is medically differentiated. [88639]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: A clinical judgment is based on several factors. These include a clinician's interview with the patient, and information from carers and others about factors such as memory and behaviour. On the basis of this information, the clinician makes a medical judgment on the stage of Alzheimer's reached. These judgments are often informed by mini-mental state examination scores. In research, a number of other skills are additionally used.

Ambulance Service

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average response time to an emergency call to the Ambulance Service was in (a) the Ruislip-Northwood constituency and (b) each London borough in 2005-06. [86478]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is not held in the format requested, as the Department collects ambulance response time data by ambulance trust rather than by London boroughs. However, the following table shows the percentage of calls responded to within 8 to 14 minutes for the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (LAT).


Category A calls responded within eight minutes

LAT - 76.6(1)

Category A calls responded within 14/19 minutes

LAT - 95.9(1)

Category B/C calls responded within 14/19 minutes

LAT - 78.8(2) 81.2(3)

(1) April 2004 to March 2005
(2) April to September
(3) October to March

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to ensure that all ambulance trusts meet national response time requirements. [88532]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department sets national response time requirements for ambulance trusts, and works with the Healthcare Commission to ensure that both ambulance trusts and primary care trusts, as commissioners of ambulance services, are assessed on performance against these requirements.

The Department performance-manages trusts through strategic health authorities.

The Department has made available advice and tools to support trusts, both directly and through the Modernisation Agency. In addition, in 2008 changes to performance reporting will be introduced, which will align the reported response times more closely to patients' experience. To support trusts in preparing for this change, the Department is currently giving support to ambulance trusts through the provision of advice and specialist support, and the sharing of data, analysis and best practice.

The Department is also operating a £25 million capital incentive scheme during 2006-07. A similar scheme operated in 2004-05.


Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) male and (b) female patients were hospitalised for anorexia in (i) 2000 and (ii) 2005; and what steps are being taken (A) to treat and (B) to prevent anorexia. [86970]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on finished consultant episodes of patients with a primary diagnosis of anorexia in 1999-2000 and 2004-05 is shown in the table.

In order to improve the identification, treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published a clinical guideline on the core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders in 2004. The guideline covers physical and psychological treatments, treatment with medicines, and what kinds
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of services best help people with eating disorders. It also includes information specifically for patients, carers and the public.

The Department’s five-year initiative to tackle stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues in England, Shift, works with young people and professionals to promote awareness of all mental health problems including eating disorders.

The Department also supports voluntary organisations such as the Eating Disorders Association to provide information and advice for people with mental health problems in England through the mental health help lines partnership project.

Primary diagnosis (4 char) R630 anorexia/F500 anorexia nervosa/F501 atypical anorexia nervosa
Gender Age group Finished consultant episodes (FCEs)

Mean and median results



All ages



All ages






All ages



All ages




1. Finished consultant episode (FCE):
An FCE is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Please note that the figures do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the year.
2. All diagnoses count of episodes:
These figures represent a count of all FCEs where the diagnosis was mentioned in any of the 14 (seven prior to 2002-03) diagnosis fields in a Hospital Episodes Statistics record.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) number of prescription items and (b) prescription expenditure was for anti-depressant drugs in 2005; and what the percentage change was between (i) 1985 and 1995, (ii) 1995 and 2005 and (iii) 1985 and 2005. [88509]

Andy Burnham: The information shown in the table represents the number of prescription items and net ingredient cost of antidepressants that have been dispensed in the community in England in 1985, 1995 and 2005, together with the percentage change between 1985 and 1995, 1995 and 2005 and 1985 and 2005.

Number of prescription items (millions) of antidepressants dispensed in the community in England Net ingredient cost (NIC) (£ millions) of antidepressants dispensed in the community in England










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Percentage change in items Percentage change in NIC










Source: Prescription pricing division of the Business Services Authority (formerly known as the Prescription Pricing Authority)

Audiology Services

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the extent to which the exclusion of direct referrals to audiology services from the 18-week waiting time target is consistent with the national service framework for older people. [85424]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We recognise that older people are the largest users of audiology devices and therefore have a particular interest in waiting times for audiology services. The national service framework (NSF) for older people includes hearing as one of the senses to be investigated in assessing an older person’s health and social care needs. One of the aims of the Healthy Ageing programme, in “A New Ambition for Old Age”, which updates the NSF, is to reduce hearing impairment as a barrier to active ageing.

Audiology and adult hearing services in particular are mainly accessed directly by primary care and are predominantly outside the scope of the 18-week pathway, which is focused on changing traditional hospital consultant pathways. A separate national action plan is being developed on improving access to adult hearing services. The needs of older people and the NSF commitments will be taken into consideration in relation to the action plan.

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the hon. member for Solihull (Lorely Burt) of 29 June 2006, Official Report, column 604W on audiology services, when she expects the data to be published. [87923]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: A written ministerial statement was made on 12 July 2006, Official Report, columns 69-70WS, announcing that data on diagnostic waiting times had been released and published on the Department's website at: This first publication of diagnostic waiting time figures will become a regular monthly release.

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Aylesbury of 19 April 2006, Official Report, column 732W, on audiology, when she expects to publish the results for the 2006 vacancy survey. [87924]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The 2006 national health service workforce vacancy survey was published on 27 July 2006. It is available on the Information Centre for health and social care website at:

Copies have been placed in the Library.

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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is earmarked for the diagnosis and treatment of autism in adults in 2006-07. [88686]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It is for local councils and national health service trusts to determine how much they allocate for diagnosis and treatment of autism in adults from the funding they receive.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many parents who are carers for children with autism in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) the Tees Valley and (d) the area corresponding as closely as possible to the Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency have received carers grants since 2001. [87970]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This Government introduced the carers grant in 1999 to support councils in providing breaks and other services for carers in England. The grant is not paid to individuals, but is paid each year to councils as a specific formula grant. Councils can use the grant to provide a range of services for carers in their area depending on local demand and need. This may include parents caring for children with autism.

Biometric Technology

David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) planned and (b) existing projects in her Department involve the use of biometric technology. [82581]

Andy Burnham: None.

Bird and Bird Solicitors

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contracts were awarded by her Department to Bird and Bird Solicitors in each year since 1997; what the (a) value and (b) duration of each such contract was; and if she will make a statement. [88158]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Bird and Bird have only been appointed on one contract by the Department which was to provide legal advice for the digital television project for NHS Direct.

The expenditure by the Department on this contract is commercially confidential. The contract commenced in January 2003 and was completed in June 2006. The Department's current financial system does not hold information for years prior to 2004, and could not obtain this information without incurring disproportionate costs.

Broomfield Hospital

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on progress in approving the Broomfield hospital private finance initiative scheme; and when approval is expected to be given. [86036]

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Andy Burnham [holding answer 24 July 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 16 May 2006, Official Report, column 932W.

Current indications are that an announcement will be made in mid-August, dependent on obtaining clearance from HM Treasury. The reappraisal report for Broomfield hospital has now been completed and we were aiming to be in a position to announce decisions from the revalidation exercise—including that for this trust shortly.

Care Costs

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2006, Official Report, column 1209W, on care costs, what the data requested are in real terms using the GDP deflator series instead of allowing for health pay and price inflation. [85832]

Andy Burnham: The average cost of delivering an episode of care in real terms using the gross domestic product deflator at 30 June 2006 is detailed in the following table.

Cost per episode (£)









There was a change in the data series between 2000-01 and 2001-02, so figures for 1997-98 and 2003-04 are not comparable.

A patient admitted to hospital is assigned to a practitioner responsible for their treatment. This period of care is termed an episode.

There is no data available for 1979.

Information is not available on a comparable basis after 2003-04.

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