Previous Section Index Home Page

6 Nov 2006 : Column 771W—continued

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the annual financial cost of hospital acquired infections. [95413]

Andy Burnham: This data is not available. A commonly used estimate is that hospital acquired infections cost the NHS £1 billion a year(1).

Hospital Chaplains

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what her policy is on the employment of hospital chaplains in NHS hospitals; and what guidance her Department offers to local NHS trusts on the role of hospital chaplains; [92450]

(2) if she will examine the proposals to reduce the chaplaincy service at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS trust; and if she make an assessment of their impact on the work of the trust and its service to patients and their families. [92451]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department is committed to the principle of ensuring that patients and staff in the NHS have access to spiritual care, whatever faith or belief system they follow.

NHS trusts are responsible for delivering religious and spiritual care in a way that meets the diverse needs of their patients. Issues concerning staffing chaplaincy services in hospital are a matter for local determination. However, we expect NHS trusts to adhere to guidance “NHS Chaplaincy: Meeting the Religious and Spiritual Needs of Patients and Staff”.

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to answer questions 92450 and 92451, on hospital chaplaincy, tabled by the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire on 6 October. [99502]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Answers have been given today.

Human Genetics Commission

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who the Chairman of the Human Genetics Commission is; what relevant specialist qualifications he or she holds; what his or her career has been to date; where the post was advertised; how many persons applied for the post; how many were short listed for interview; and if she will make a statement. [97867]

Andy Burnham: The current chair of the Human Genetics Commission is Baroness Helena Kennedy QC. Baroness Kennedy is a practicing barrister and broadcaster, whose work has included a focus on civil
6 Nov 2006 : Column 772W
liberties and wider ethical and legal issues. She has a high public profile together with considerable experience in chairing advisory committees and producing reports on sensitive issues. A full register of Baroness Kennedy’s interests can be found at

Advertisements inviting applications for Human Genetics Commission membership and chair posts were placed in the national press in 1999. Seven applications for chair were received and three candidates were shortlisted for interview.


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether an understanding of Kernicterus forms part of the (a) pre-qualification training of and (b) annual post qualification refresher courses for midwives. [96100]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The content and standard of training for midwives is a matter for the Nursing and Midwifery Council and relevant higher education institution in collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives and other stakeholders. The Department does not provide direction on the content of these courses.

Midwives are obliged to undertake continuing professional development, and are required to declare they have met the Nursing and Midwifery Council's continuing professional development standard on a three-yearly basis in order to maintain their registration.

Local Involvement Networks

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether local involvement networks will have the formal power to refer their concerns to (a) the local primary care trust, (b) the local overview and scrutiny committee, (c) the health service regulator, (d) her and (e) any other body. [99549]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Details of the powers we proposed to give to local involvement networks are being finalised following the responses we received to “A stronger local voice”, and will be published shortly.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether local involvement networks will monitor and inspect (a) the delivery of NHS services and (b) the structure of the market in healthcare. [99550]

Ms Rosie Winterton: One of the roles of local involvement networks (LINks) will be to monitor the commissioning and provision of national health service services. We are currently considering what powers LINks will need to enable them to fulfil this role.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether patient forums will continue to exist following (a) the abolition of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health and (b) the establishment of local involvement networks. [99551]

6 Nov 2006 : Column 773W

Ms Rosie Winterton: It is our intention, subject to the passage of primary legislation, that patients forums will not continue to exist following the abolition of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health and the establishment of local involvement networks.

Macular Degeneration

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what treatments are provided by the NHS for age-related neovascular macular degeneration. [98846]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: All primary care trusts are funding photodynamic therapy treatment for patients with both the wholly classic and predominantly classic forms of age-related macular degeneration.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently carrying out an appraisal of Lucentis and Macugen for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and final guidance is due to be published in August 2007. However, NICE will only publish appraisal guidance on Lucentis if it receives a licence from the European Medicines Agency.

Where guidance from NICE is not yet available, PCTs are expected to apply local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies. These arrangements should include an assessment of the available evidence.

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are being treated for wet age-related macular degeneration in each health authority area in England. [97370]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Those diagnosed with macular disease and treated as in-patients are shown in the table. The table shows the number of in-patient admissions during 2004-05 to national health service hospitals in England for those whose primary diagnosis was degeneration of the macular and posterior pole.

The data has been produced by former strategic health authority area and reflects NHS hospitals in the area. The numbers do not reflect residents of any one area but will include cross boundary referrals, depending on specialised services commissioning arrangements for each area.

6 Nov 2006 : Column 774W
SHA of treatment Number of patients

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire


Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire




North West London


North Central London


North East London


South East London


South West London


Northumberland, Tyne and Wear


County Durham and Tees Valley


North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire


West Yorkshire


Cumbria and Lancashire


Greater Manchester


Cheshire and Merseyside


Thames Valley


Hampshire and Isle of Wight


Kent and Medway


Surrey and Sussex


Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire


South West Peninsula


Dorset and Somerset


South Yorkshire




Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland


Shropshire and Staffordshire


Birmingham and the Black Country


West Midlands South


Due to reasons of confidentiality, figures between 1 and 5 have been suppressed and replaced with “*” (an asterisk).
Hospital Episode Statistics, The Information Centre for health and social care

Medical Careers

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration her Department has given to deferring the introduction of the modernising medical careers programme; and if she will make a statement. [97043]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We are aware of the views expressed in the media to defer implementation of MMC, a major initiative aimed to improve both patient care and doctor's training. For this reason, it is subject to significant governance processes involving both the Department and the national health service. Although it represents a challenging agenda of work the four United Kingdom health Departments believe that MMC is proceeding satisfactorily and do not consider it necessary to delay it. Deferral now could significantly disadvantage some doctors in training.

Medical Staff Employment Rates

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the percentage employment rate was of newly qualified (a) nurses, (b) physiotherapists and (c) doctors in the latest period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [94595]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not collected centrally.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the operation of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s national rules scheme for homeopathic medicines. [95235]

Andy Burnham: The national rules scheme for homeopathic products was launched on 1 September 2006. It complements current arrangements for the authorisation of homeopathic products used for minor
6 Nov 2006 : Column 775W
symptoms or conditions within the tradition of homeopathy practised in the United Kingdom.

Before the introduction of the new scheme, homeopathic products either held product licences of right (PLRs) or were registered under a simplified scheme. PLR licences were issued to all medicinal products on the market at the time that the Medicines Act 1968 was implemented in 1971. Homeopathic PLRs are allowed to carry descriptions of the symptom or condition that the product is used to treat, called indications. In 1992 European Union legislation introduced a simplified scheme for homeopathic products, so-called because the safety and quality of products have to be demonstrated, but there is no requirement to demonstrate efficacy. The simplified scheme is restricted to products for oral and external use and does not allow indications.

Products authorised under the new national rules scheme will comply with all the requirements placed on conventional medicines, with the exception of those relating to preclinical tests and clinical trials. This will enhance the information available to consumers on homeopathic products authorised under the new scheme while continuing to ensure their safety and quality. The new scheme will also enable products to carry indications for minor symptoms or conditions. In addition, over the next seven years the homeopathic PLRs will be reviewed.


Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information she collects on local prescribing patterns for alimta pemetrexed within the national health service. [98313]

Andy Burnham: The Department does not collect data on hospital prescribing centrally. Data are available to the Department from a commercial company about drugs issued in hospitals.

Full details of the use of Pemetrexed disodium (Alimta) by Strategic health authority cannot be provided under the terms of the agreement with IMS who provide the Department with hospital data.


Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2006, Official Report, column 2093W, on methylphenidate, if she will request that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency take account of the (a) work and (b) recommendations of the US Food and Drug Administration on methylphenidate. [99671]

Andy Burnham: Methylphenidate is a stimulant drug that is authorised in children over six years of age as part of a comprehensive treatment programme for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Treatment should be under the supervision of a specialist in childhood behavioural disorders. Its safety is closely monitored by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in conjunction with other European regulatory authorities.

Next Section Index Home Page