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Ambulance Services: Pendle

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many ambulances are based in Pendle; and how many were based there in 2003. [126050]

Andy Burnham: The information requested is not held centrally.

Aneurysm Screening

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) of 31 January 2007, Official Report, columns 402-03W, on aneurysm screening, what assessment she has made of the cost of establishing a national screening programme for men aged 65 and over for abdominal aortic aneurysms. [123156]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Preliminary cost analysis by the UK National Screening Committee’s Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Working Group indicates that a full roll-out of an AAA screening programme for men aged 65 would cost between £20 and £25 million revenue to implement in England in year one. Final costs will be subject to a number of factors such as the configuration of services. This is ongoing work.

Blood Cholesterol

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to set targets for reducing blood cholesterol levels in England to the same level as that indicated in the guidelines produced by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. [124778]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department’s policy on cholesterol targets is set out in the national service framework for coronary heart disease, and reflected in key drivers of practice such as the quality and outcomes framework of the general medical service contract.

The guidelines produced by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network are welcomed as a contribution to policy development. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently working on guidance on lipid management, due out later this year. That guidance will set out any revisions to current policy on targets for controlling cholesterol.

Care Homes: Standards

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2007, Official Report, column 1411W, on care homes, what form the public consultation on review of the National Minimum Standards for Care Homes will take; and how members of the public will be able to participate in the consultation. [120950]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The consultation will be available on the Department’s website. Hard copies will be provided on request. Members of the public will be able to respond via email or post their responses to the addresses given in the consultation document.

Chase Farm Hospital

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the option to retain Chase Farm hospital’s (a) accident and emergency department and (b) consultant-led maternity services is in accordance with the Government’s national clinical strategy. [124710]

Andy Burnham: As part of the work leading up to the launch of the formal public consultation on the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey clinical strategy, NHS London has asked Professor Sir George Alberti, the NHS National Director for Emergency Access, to work with the local NHS and offer an independent view on the clinical case for change.

It is for the local NHS, in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders, to plan, develop and improve services for local people. Any change to local services would only happen after full public consultation with local people.

Chiropody: Greater London

Derek Conway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines her Department has issued on eligibility and access criteria for podiatry services; and what steps she has taken to assess compliance with such guidelines in (a) Bexley primary care trust and (b) London primary care trusts. [123699]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: There are no central guidelines in respect of eligibility or access criteria for podiatry services and we have no plans to carry out an assessment. It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) in
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partnership with local stakeholders to commission services in order to meet local needs. Strategic health authorities are responsible for ensuring that PCTs fulfil this duty.

Chlamydia Infection: Screening

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects each primary care trust to start Chlamydia screening as part of the national chlamydia screening programme. [122785]

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of primary care trusts is participating in the Chlamydia screening programme; and when she expects 100 per cent. geographical coverage to be achieved. [123137]

Caroline Flint: In November 2005 the operational management of the national chlamydia screening programme was transferred to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). To the end of December 2006, we had 43 per cent. of Primary Care Trusts reporting data to the HPA. This covers 35 programme areas. More programme areas have started screening since then. The next data will be reported to the HPA in April.

We expect to see 100 per cent. geographical coverage during 2007. Strategic health authorities have submitted plans to screen at least 15 per cent. of their population aged 15-24 by March 2008.

Cochlear Implants

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cochlear implant operations were performed on patients resident in England in (a) English and (b) Welsh hospitals in each of the last three years. [119329]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) shows that there have been 1,406 cochlear implant operations performed on patients resident in England in the last three years (2003-04 to 2005-06). HES is only able to supply data on operations conducted in national health services hospitals in England. Data have been supplied for residents of English strategic health authorities.

The Department does not hold data on the number of cochlear implant operations performed in Welsh hospitals on patients who are resident in England.

Coeliac Disease

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had on extending the range of foodstuffs available by prescription to sufferers of coeliac disease. [118956]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have had no such discussions.

Community Hospitals: Finance

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria govern primary care trusts' applications to access the funds allocated for community hospital refurbishment; and if she will make a statement. [120949]

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Andy Burnham: Strategic health authorities have been asked to submit only schemes that fit with their strategic priorities, meet local need and demonstrate value for money. Individual schemes are expected to meet the design principles set out in “Our Health our care, our community—investing in the future of community hospitals and services”. The role for the Department is to validate that these criteria have been met and to reassure itself that the schemes deliver the objectives set out in “Our health, our care, our community—Investing in the future of community hospitals and services”.

Dental Services

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what average number of units of dental activity she expects an average patient to consume in a year. [124937]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has not made any assumptions nationally about average numbers of units of dental activity for patients. Primary care trusts are responsible for commissioning dental services on the basis of local needs assessments.

Dental Services: Leeds

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans there are to increase the number of NHS dentists and oral health specialists operating in the Leeds area. [123327]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Leeds primary care trust is working to improve access to national health service dentistry. It has recruited three additional dentists in North West Leeds and has established the Leeds Dental Advice Line to help patients access dental services, including emergency services.


Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will bring forward proposals to use dexrazoxane for the prevention of cardiac damage caused by antibiotics. [116838]

Ms Rosie Winterton: A marketing authorisation for Cardioxane (dexrazoxane) was approved in the United Kingdom in July 2006, initially to Chiron Corporation Ltd. The current marketing authorisation is held by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd following a change of ownership application, completed in September 2006.

Cardioxane is authorised for prevention of chronic cumulative cardiotoxicity caused by doxorubicin or epirubicin (anthracycline antibiotics) use in advanced and/or metastatic cancer patients after previous anthracycline containing treatment.

Disability Aids: Children

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what entitlement there is for disabled children to have aids and equipment provided for them by primary care trusts. [123533]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Children, Young People and Maternity Services National Service Framework (NSF) sets out high expectations of what we think health and social care services for children should be. While all the standards within the NSF are relevant to disability, standard 8 specifically relates to disabled children who need ongoing health and social care interventions having access to high-quality evidence-based care delivered by staff with the right skills.

As a result of implementation of the children's NSF, disabled children, young people and their families should experience services based on assessed needs, which promote inclusion and, wherever possible, enable them to live ordinary lives. Provision of aids and equipment is based on an assessment of need, not an entitlement to specific items or services. Decisions on whether or not to meet individual equipment needs are based on assessments carried out at a local level.

The “Transforming Community Equipment Services Project—helping to make independence a reality” is undertaking a radical review of community equipment and wheelchair services with a view to implementing a new model of service delivery by autumn 2007, with the objective of developing a new model of service delivery in collaboration with all key stakeholders. We anticipate that a new model of service delivery, capable of implementation by autumn 2007, will involve a greatly expanded role for the third sector.

Drugs: Rehabilitation

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many drug treatment services have provision for crèche facilities in relation to (a) day care and (b) residential care. [121228]

Caroline Flint: The information is not available centrally.

Durham Primary Care Trust: Finance

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what cash savings have been made as a result of the amalgamation of trusts into Durham Primary Care Trust; and what savings are projected in the next 12 months. [124685]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The costs of the changes that were announced on 16 May will depend on a number of factors, including the location of new organisations being created, the number of people in the new organisations and new pay ranges for very senior managers, as well as changes in estate costs following reconfiguration.

These arrangements are currently being worked up and discussed with trade unions and staff. Until those discussions have been concluded and the detail of new arrangements agreed, it is not possible to confirm or accurately forecast costs.

Commissioning a patient-led national health service is designed to deliver £250 million savings from administration costs through streamlining for reinvestment in frontline services. The savings are expected to be realised by the end of 2007 and then every year for reinvestment beginning in 2008-09.

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Strategic health authorities (SHAs) have been asked to oversee the Generation of the savings locally. Each SHA has a cost “envelope” that it should realise but it is for local determination to work out the best way of achieving these savings.

Folic Acid

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the potential health benefits of compulsory fortification of flour with folic acid, with particular reference to spina bifida and other neural tube defects; and if she will make a statement. [124140]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department currently recommends that women trying to get pregnant should take a daily 400 microgram folic acid supplement from the time they stop using contraception until the 12th week of pregnancy. Women should also eat foods containing folate—the natural form of folic acid—such as green vegetables and brown rice as well as fortified bread and breakfast cereals. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects including spina bifida in the newborn.

The Food Standards Agency is currently undertaking a consultation exercise on the options for increasing the folate intake of young women to reduce the number of pregnancies affected by a neural tube defect. One of the four options being considered is the mandatory fortification of bread or flour with folic acid. The closing date for comments is 13 March 2007.

Food: EC Law

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Food Standards Agency has received a copy of the European Commission consultation document on the proposal that the European Food Safety Authority be permitted to charge fees for the consideration of dossiers submitted under European food law; and if she will make a statement. [123949]

Caroline Flint: The Food Standards Agency has received a copy of the Commission’s consultation document, and has co-ordinated and submitted a reply on behalf of the United Kingdom Government. The response agreed with the principle of charging for work done in assessing authorisation files, but indicated that such charging should be limited to circumstances in which the applicant is the sole commercial beneficiary. The comments also underlined the important need to take account of the potential impact on small and medium-sized enterprises. These would be at a particular disadvantage with any charging arrangements.

General Practitioners

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to ensure that primary care trusts support general practitioners in delivering services to patients in innovative ways; and if she will make a statement. [122740]

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Andy Burnham: Practice-based gives primary care professionals an opportunity to engage in commissioning and redesign services to better meet patients’ needs. PBC gives general practitioners more responsibility for local health budgets. This acts as a driver for more responsive and innovative models of joined-up support within communities, delivering better health outcomes and well-being, including a focus on prevention.

All primary care trusts (PCTs) had arrangements in place to support general practitioners in commissioning and delivering services as part of PBC by December 2006, providing each practice with an indicative budget, information on activity and an incentive to become engaged. PCTs are expected to support practices that are innovative and entrepreneurial, working with them to redesign clinical pathways and secure the services that are needed locally.

New guidance published on 28 November 2006 sets out further obligations on PCTs to help advance PBC. Strategic health authorities are expected to assure themselves that there is a quality framework to support PBC.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the briefing paper issued in 2006 by her Department entitled “An assessment of the clinical effectiveness, cost and viability of NHS General Practitioners with Special Interest (GPSI) services” in relation to the efficacy of moving clinical services from district general hospitals to GP surgeries. [122769]

Andy Burnham: None yet. The commitment to offer more national health service services closer to people’s homes was announced in the White Paper “Our Health, our care, our say”, which was published in January 2006. Subsequently, in February 2006 we launched the “Care Closer to Home” demonstration project to support delivery of the White Paper commitment. The research paper was published some months later and we will take it into account in evaluating the demonstration project.

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