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31 Oct 2006 : Column 346Wcontinued
Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what response she has made to the General Dental Council's consultation on the new rules for dental care professionals; and what assessment she has made of the effects of the rules on denturists. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The General Dental Council (GDC) launched a new statutory register for dental nurses and technicians including clinical dental techniciansdenturistsin July 2006. The GDC is independent of Government and the consultation that preceded the setting-up of the registration system was therefore a matter for GDC, not the Government.
The Government however strongly support the principle of registration. Its launch means that denturism has become a legitimate clinical activity subject to normal professional regulation. Work is under way with training institutions and representatives of clinical dental technicians to develop appropriate training courses leading to registration.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been allocated to implement the revised EU food hygiene legislation that came into force on 1 January; how much has been spent on such implementation to date; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has policy responsibility for the new food hygiene regulation that came into effect on 1 January 2006, replacing and simplifying previous legislation. Enforcement of the legislation is largely through local authorities (LAs) that are provided with funds for this purpose as part of their revenue support grant.
The board of the FSA discussed implementation of the regulation at its open meeting in March 2005 and agreed a package of additional measures to assist the food industry, focused on small businesses. Details of this discussion are available in a paper that has previously been placed in the Library of the House, and can be also found on the FSA website at: www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/fsa050302.pdf.
The main change for food businesses resulting from the new legislation is the requirement to have documented food safety management procedures in place that assure good hygiene standards so as to protect consumers. It is for businesses to make arrangements to comply with the new legislation and most larger businesses already had effective systems in place.
In England, a support programme called Safer Food Better Business has been launched to help small catering and retail businesses. £11.5 million has been allocated to this programme over three years starting in September 2005. The main elements of the programme are free guidance packs for businesses along with a special grants scheme that supports LAs to provide training and advice. Up to October 2006, 175,000 packs have been distributed free of charge to businesses and 86 projects involving 254 LAs, some two-thirds of the total number have been funded, directly supporting over 52,000 small businesses.
Grants were awarded to projects run by LAs following appraisals of applications. Appraisals were carried out by the FSA assisted by stakeholders, including the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the Local Authority Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) and an independent academic expert. Not all applications were successful. Between September 2005 and October 2006 just over £3.5 million had actually been spent. All figures exclude value added tax (VAT).
Similar schemes to support businesses are in place in other countries in the United Kingdom.
Details of the Safer Food Better Business grants can be found on the FSA website at: www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2006/sep/foodsafetycash.
In addition, the new regulation applies to farmers and growers, in many cases for the first time. In England, the FSA has allocated £1.2 million excluding VAT in 2006-07 to train local authority officers to undertake this new work and to directly support inspections. This funding is likely to remain in place until arrangements have been made to provide funding through the revenue support grant from 2008-09. Plans to deliver this activity are under way from late 2006. No money had actually been spent up to October 2006.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners in (a) single and (b) multiple practices in Peterborough constituency were (i) aged below 55 years of age and (ii) above 55 years of age on 30 September 2006; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is in the following table.
|All practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars)( 1) for specified primary care trusts (PCT), as at 30 September 2005( 2)|
|( 1) All practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars)||Under 55||55 and over|
|(1)General Medical Practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars) includes Contracted GPs, GMS Others and PMS Others.|
(2)Latest available data
The Information Centre for health and social care General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 47WS, on Herceptin, whether she has received a progress report from the National Cancer Director on the availability of HER2 testing to all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients of all ages. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: In March 2006, the national cancer director sought a progress report from cancer networks on the availability of HER2 testing for breast cancer patients in their area. This showed that there had been a significant improvement in the number of cancer networks providing HER2 testing for all women diagnosed with early breast cancer.
As set out in the written ministerial statement on 12 June, 28 out of 34 cancer networks reported that they were HER2 testing all women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. The remaining six reported that they would be testing all these women by the end of this month, October 2006. A further progress report has not been requested.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what research her Department has conducted on the introduction of human papilloma virus vaccines; 
(2) what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the introduction of human papilloma virus vaccines in the NHS. 
Caroline Flint: The Department commissioned some preliminary research in 2005 into the possible use of human papilloma virus vaccines. The research found that generally parents were very positive about a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. However, concern was expressed by some parents about offering such a vaccine to young children, with the opinion generally favouring the vaccine being offered in early adolescence at secondary school.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people who have received treatment at an independent sector treatment centre later (a) presented at an accident and emergency department and (b) were admitted to hospital by their GP in each of the last two years, broken down by treatment centre. 
Andy Burnham [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The information requested is not collected centrally.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the level of infant mortality was (a) in England and (b) in each English region in each year since 1997; what assessment she has made of the differences in infant mortality between different socio-economic groups; and what targets she has to reduce the level of infant mortality. 
Caroline Flint: The level of infant mortality for England and for each English region for each year since 1997 is shown in the table.
Our assessment of the differences in infant mortality between different socio-economic groups reflects the infant mortality aspect of the Government's health inequalities public service agreement target which is:
by 2010 to reduce inequalities in health outcomes by 10 per cent. as measured by infant mortality and life expectancy at birth;
starting with children under one year, by 2010 to reduce by at least 10 per cent. the gap in mortality between routine and manual groups and the population as a whole.
Progress on the target is reported in Tackling Health Inequalities: A Status Report on the Programme for Action. It states that despite overall improvements in infant mortality rates, the relative gap between the routine and manual groups and the population as a whole has widened since 1997-99. It was 19 per cent. in 2002-04 compared to 13 per cent. higher in the baseline period of 1997-99.
Infant mortality rates are at an all-time low and the rates among the routine and manual group continue to fall.
Other targets that support the infant mortality target include:
reducing adult smoking rates from 26 per cent. in 2002, to 21 per cent. or less by 2010, with a reduction in prevalence among the routine and manual groups from 31 per cent. in 2002 to 26 per cent or less;
reducing the under-18 conception rate by 50 per cent. by 2010, as part of a broader strategy to improve sexual health.
|Infant deaths and infant mortality rates for England and Government Office region, 1997-2005|
|England||North East||North West||Yorkshire and the Humber||East Midlands|
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