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19 Feb 2007 : Column 44W—continued

Health Start Scheme

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many retailers have been deregistered from the Healthy Start scheme since its inception. [118109]

Caroline Flint: No retail outlets have been deregistered from the Healthy Start scheme since its inception in November 2005. To date, over 26,000 retail outlets have been registered to participate in the Healthy Start scheme across Great Britain.

Healthy Living Social Marketing Strategy

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2007, Official Report, column 1589W, on Healthy Living Social Marketing Strategy, which (a) individuals and (b) organisations attended the public stakeholder event on 15 December 2006. [112557]

Caroline Flint: The stakeholder event on 15 December 2006 was attended by a wide range of external organisations. The Department is unable to disclose personal details of individual delegates who attended this event, as this information is not in the public domain. However, a list of those organisations who attended this event is as follows:

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Hepatitis C

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she plans to set targets for the identification of those infected with hepatitis C; and if she will make a statement. [111690]

Caroline Flint: We have no plans to set national targets for the diagnosis of individuals infected with hepatitis C. In the ‘Hepatitis C Action Plan for England’, there are two national outcome indicators, drawn from epidemiological surveillance by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), intended to track increased testing.

The first indicator is the total number of laboratory confirmed hepatitis C infection reports. There has been a significant increase in hepatitis C diagnoses in England reported to the HPA through national surveillance from around 4,700 in 2001 before initial hepatitis C awareness-raising activities begun, to around 7,600 in 2005.

The second indicator is the proportion of those attending treatment and support agencies for injecting drug users who are aware of their hepatitis C infection. This proportion has increased from 41 per cent. in 2001 to 52 per cent. in 2005.

Other surveillance sources also indicate that hepatitis C testing and diagnosis is increasing. For example, in the unlinked anonymous prevalence monitoring programme, the proportion of injecting drug users attending specialist services who self-report a previous hepatitis C test has increased from 55 per cent. in 2001 to 71 per cent. in 2005. Sentinel surveillance of hepatitis C testing in nine laboratories from 2002-2005 indicates that overall the number of individuals tested for hepatitis C increased by nearly 40 per cent. Testing by general practitioners and in genito-urinary medicine services both increased by over 50 per cent. and in prisons by around 65 per cent.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the population in England has been identified by the NHS as infected with hepatitis C; and if she will make a statement. [111691]

Caroline Flint: From 1992, when national surveillance began to 2005, the latest year for which data are currently available, there have been around 54,000 laboratory diagnoses of hepatitis C reported to
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the Health Protection Agency (HPA). This means that 0.11 per cent. of the population of England has been diagnosed with hepatitis C and reported to the national surveillance system.

There is some indication from comparison of the number of hepatitis C diagnoses reported through sentinel surveillance in certain parts of the country against those reported to national surveillance that there may be significant under-reporting by laboratories. The HPA's view is that it may be possible that under-reporting of hepatitis C diagnoses to routine surveillance could be significant. This could mean that approximately 100,000 people in England might already have been diagnosed.


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what source of supply the national health service uses to acquire heroin for medicinal purposes; whether the supply is sufficient to meet demand; and if she will make a statement. [114555]

Caroline Flint: There are two suppliers of diamorphine injection to the national health service—Novartis and Wockhardt UK. Both companies are manufacturing to their full available capacity but they are unable to produce sufficient to meet historic levels of demand. We have been in close and ongoing discussions with the suppliers to increase the levels of the drug supplied to the NHS and believe that through careful prescribing and use of available stocks patient care is not being compromised. This is in part because we arranged for the increased production and availability of other alternative drugs such as morphine when the problem arose in December 2004.

Hospital Planning

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice her Department provides to (a) health trusts and (b) strategic health authorities on taking steps to ensure that services provided in a hospital setting could not be provided in a community setting. [111487]

Andy Burnham: It is a matter for the national health service locally to plan and commission services which are appropriate to the needs of local people.

However, our vision for providing more services in settings that are convenient for patients was set out in “Our Health, Our Care, Our Say”.

We know from the listening exercise leading up to the White Paper that the public wants more health care closer to home and to support this vision we are evaluating 30 clinically driven closer to home demonstration sites.

These will test how teams of consultants from six clinical specialties, general practitioners, nurses and other health professionals can safely and effectively provide a range of operations and procedures closer to where people live.

The recommendations from this project will be used to help inform local commissioning decisions.

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Although one of our goals is to treat people more quickly and conveniently closer to home, this should only be where this is consistent with safety and good quality care.

Hospitals: Waiting Lists

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish the anticipated trajectory on which the percentage of (a) admitted and (b) non-admitted patients waiting 18 weeks or less for treatment will migrate towards 100 per cent. by 2008. [118168]

Andy Burnham: We have published milestones for March 2008 for both admitted and non-admitted patients of 85 per cent. and 90 per cent. respectively, as a step towards 100 per cent. for December 2008. It is for local organisations to agree their trajectory between these points. Strategic health authorities are currently agreeing these plans for 2007-08 and 2008-09.

There will always be patients for whom the 18 weeks schedule is inconvenient or clinically inappropriate. The Department intends to set a nationally agreed tolerance for the 18-week target later in 2007 to take account of this. Primary care trusts and providers will need to be able to demonstrate that cases that take longer than 18 weeks to reach the start of first definitive treatment are legitimate exceptions.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 919W, on inpatient waiting times, what percentage of people were removed from the NHS waiting list in each year since 1989-90. [118219]

Andy Burnham: The figures are shown in the table.

National provider based inpatient figures from 1989-90 to 2006-07
Financial year Removals as a percentage of admissions





































Notes: 1. The rate is calculated as using the number of removals divided by the number of admissions plus the number of removals in each year. 2. For 2006-07, the percentage is based on the first two quarters. Source: Department of Health, KH06

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