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Public Health Observatory

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) public health observatories have been established and (b) public health observatory reports have been published. [105346]

Caroline Flint: There are 12 public health observatories (PHOs) covering the whole of the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland.

The Association of Public Health Observatories (APHO) was established to ensure a high degree of co-ordination of PHOs' activities. This network now covers PHOs in the whole of the UK and Ireland. APHO has also developed strong links with equivalent organisations at national and regional levels across Europe.

All of the PHOs work together as a co-ordinated network to produce key national outputs. For example, the PHOs in England, Wales and Scotland have produced local authority based profiles—one for each local authority in those countries. The PHOs publish a very wide range of material. It is estimated that, nationally, they produce some 200-300 publications per year, including the indications series on public health in the English regions. In addition, some 350 local authority based profiles are also produced per year.

A great deal of output from PHOs comes through individual requests, e.g. from primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, including production of data packs, electronic downloadable tools, CD/DVD
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ROMs etc. PHOs also produce regular articles for publication in professional journals such as the Health Service Journal.

Public Involvement

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to decide whether local involvement networks will have statutory powers of inspection. [105356]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Following the publication of ‘A Stronger Local Voice’ we received many comments and suggestions from stakeholders about our plans for the future of patient and public involvement. We value the opinion of those with experience on the ground of working in the PPI system, and for that reason we are listening to their advice and giving Local Involvement Networks (LINks) the power to enter and assess facilities. We feel that this will give LINks access to people's views, at the time at which they experience services.

The Government also published their response to ‘A Stronger Local Voice’ on 11 December, which outlines in greater detail the role, rights and responsibilities of LINks. This document has been placed in the Library and can be found at the following website address:

Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions about reduced ignition propensity cigarettes officials in her Department have had with representatives of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association. [107423]

Caroline Flint: Following the written ministerial statement on reduced ignition propensity cigarettes on 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 67W5, the Tobacco Manufacturers Association arranged a presentation for officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department of Trade and Industry and this Department on 5 October, setting out their concerns regarding the introduction of reduced ignition propensity of cigarettes and a possible European technical standard.

Residential Drug Rehabilitation

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many residential drug rehabilitation places are available in England; and how many are available to women and their children. [104629]

Caroline Flint: There are 115 residential rehabilitation services in England with a total of 2,441 beds for drug and/or alcohol treatment.

There are nine services providing 143 beds for single parents with children in England, and five services providing 107 beds for couples with children.

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Rural Health Services

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what programmes her Department operates to provide particular provision to rural areas; and what the cost of such programmes is expected to be in 2007-08. [108869]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 12 December 2006]: The Department operates a number of policies that will inevitably support rural areas, but it is for primary care trusts (PCTs) to determine local services in consultation with local people and other health and social care professionals. All new departmental policies are rural-proofed in liaison with colleagues in the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Some examples of these policies are as follows:

Community hospitals and services programme

Through the community hospitals and services programme, £750 million worth of capital funding is available over the next five years, to fund the provision of community hospitals and services, with up to£150 million worth of capital funding available in 2007-08. Whilst funding is not specifically targeted at rural areas, it is inevitable, because of the nature of community hospitals, that some of this funding will fund services in rural areas.

Mental health

The needs of those living in rural communities are set out in the mental health national service framework (NSF), published in 1999, feature particularly in reports on progress to implement the strategy to reduce the rate of death by suicide. The NSF is a 10-year programme.

The Department operates a number of activities, which affect the problems of rural stress as part of a wider programme of action to tackle mental illness and promote good mental health in rural areas, these include:

The Government are committed to ensuring that mental health services are more accessible to service users 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We have established a number of key access points including NHS Direct where a specialist mental health team has been established which, through training and supporting nurse advisors, enables the provision of 24 hour service across the country. This is particularly valuable to people living in isolated areas. We have also established over 700 new mental health teams working in the community (i.e. assertive outreach, early
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intervention, crisis resolution teams) which have improved access to mental health services around the clock.

Primary Medical Care

PCTs are now consistently reporting that almost all patients, including those in rural areas, have the opportunity to be seen by a general practitioner within two working days, or by a primary care professional within one working day in line with the NHS plan target for fast access.


Allocations to PCTs are made on the basis of a fair funding formula, which directs funding to those areas of greatest need. It is for PCTs to determine how to use the funding allocated to them to commission services to meet the healthcare needs of their local populations.

The allocation formula used in the 2006-08 allocations provides the best available measure of health need in all areas. In calculating health need in rural areas, it takes account of the effects of access, transport and poverty.

The 2006-07 and 2007-08 revenue allocations represent £135 billion investment in the NHS,£64 billion to PCTs in 2006-07 and £70 billion in 2007-08. Over the two years covered by this allocation, PCTs will receive an average increase of 19.5 per cent.

The Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation will be considering the question of how best to take account of rural issues within the funding formula.

School Nurses

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the budget was for the school nursing service in the Coventry Teaching primary care trust area in each of the last five years; [105646]

(2) what budget is being proposed for the school nursing service in the Coventry Teaching primary care trust area in 2007-08. [105647]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not held centrally.

Strategic Health Authorities

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she made of the potential effects of cuts in the training budgets of strategic health authorities before the cuts were made. [105006]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In recognition of the overall financial situation in 2006-07, the Department issued the education and training budget as part of a bundle of central budgets to strategic health authorities (SHAs) at the end of July. The bundle included money to fund workforce programmes, the quality and outcomes framework, clinical excellence awards, as well as other miscellaneous programmes at a level higher than in 2005-6. Within the overall resources allocated, this approach has provided the SHAs with the maximum flexibility to determine their own local priorities, including how much is invested in education and training. It would not therefore have been possible for the Secretary of State to assess in advance what those decisions would be.

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Sudan One

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prosecutions there have been under the General Food Regulations 2004 and Article 14 of EC regulation 180/2002 with regard to the presence of Sudan One in UK food since 2004-05. [108963]

Caroline Flint: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that the information requested is not available centrally.

Local authorities (LAs) are required to report to the FSA the number of inspections of food premises which they have carried out, and information on the number of establishments that have been subject to formal enforcement actions.

The data on prosecutions is broken down by area of offence - hygiene of personnel, general hygiene, composition, contamination, labelling and presentation, and other—but does not go into more detailed levels.

Data for the year 2005-06 are currently in preparation but have not yet been published.


Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the effect on health of sulphites in alcoholic beverages; and if she will make a statement. [108962]

Caroline Flint: Sulphites have been approved for food use in the EU following a rigorous safety assessment. However, since sulphites are known to trigger reactions in asthmatic individuals, foods, including alcoholic drinks, containing them have to declare their presence on the product label.


Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients normally resident in Wales and treated in English hospitals received the drug Temozolomide in each year since 2000. [104620]

Mr. Hain: I have been asked to reply.

This information is not held centrally.

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether English general hospitals whotreat patients normally resident in Wales with Temozolomide receive reimbursement from the Welsh Assembly Government. [104621]

Mr. Hain: I have been asked to reply.

This information is not available as details of expenditure on individual drug therapies are not kept centrally.

Waiting Times

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the current average waiting time is for an outpatient appointment at (a) Chorley and South Ribble District hospital and (b) Preston hospital. [109118]

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Andy Burnham: The information is not available in the requested format. In October 2006, the median outpatient waiting time for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust, which the two hospitals are part of, was 3.5 weeks. This figure relates to the wait from general practitioner referral to the first outpatient appointment.

Working Time Directive

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate has been made of the total cost of the working time directive to the national health service since 2001; and if she will make a statement. [109781]

Ms Rosie Winterton: ( )The Government agreed to implement the European working time directive as UK( )legislation to improve the health and safety and working lives of all employees in this( )country. The vast majority of staff groups have been covered by the 48-hour week since( )1998. The Government negotiated an extension to the WTD for doctors in training to enable( )phased implementation from August 2004.

Implementation of the working time directive is the responsibility of local national health( )service trusts, who with strategic health authorities were required to draw up affordable( )plans to meet working time directive 2004.

Actual costs of the financial impact of the working time directive are not held centrally and( )could not in any case be separated from the overall cost of the NHS growth and( )modernisation. However, the Department in England worked with the health professions and( )NHS employers to provide joint guidance and invested an extra £46 million to support( )implementation, including 20 national pilots and the hospital at night project.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 23 November 2006, Official Report, column 714, to the hon. Member for Warrington, North (Helen Jones), in which areas of the country (a) people are not using and (b) councils are refusing to use the powers given to them to tackle anti-social behaviour, broken down by type of party political control. [106310]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 30 November 2006]: The Home Office does not collect this information centrally.

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