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13 Mar 2007 : Column 306Wcontinued
21. Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to tackle obesity in adults and children. 
Caroline Flint: We are totally committed to tackling obesity, working in partnership nationally and locally. We have set ourselves a public service agreement target to halt the year on year rise in obesity among children aged under 11 by 2010 in the context of a broader strategy to tackle obesity in the population as a whole.
22. Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that NHS staff have opportunities for work-based learning. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The national health service has received unprecedented levels of investment in recent years. This has allowed the NHS to invest heavily in training and development opportunities for all staff.
Employers have a duty to ensure staff have the appropriate education and training including work-based learning to support priorities and deliver services.
23. Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on proposed changes to acute NHS services in England. 
Andy Burnham: Any proposals for changes to services are a matter for the national health service locally. There is a well established and well understood process for managing consultations on such changes so that patients, the public and local stakeholders can help to inform the local debate.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to replace chlorofluorocarbon-based asthma inhalers with CFC-free version for patients over the age of 12. 
Caroline Flint: The transfer of patients to chlorofluorocarbon-free (CFC) metered dose inhalers (MDIs) began in 1995 when the first one was licensed for use in the United Kingdom. Many more have been introduced to the market since that time.
The Governments plan for phasing out CFCs in asthma inhalers is set out in the UK Transition Strategy for CFC-based MDIs, which was developed after consultation with all relevant stakeholders and published by the Department and the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions in 1999. It was communicated widely to health care professionals in the national health service, patient groups and patients at that time.
The Department and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs continue to actively pursue the phase-out of CFCs in MDIs in accordance with the UK Transition Strategy. In February 2007, the UK declared CFCs to be non-essential for four of the six drug categories set out in this strategy.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average waiting time was for each primary care trust in (a) East of England Strategic Health Authority and (b) South Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust for audiology-related treatment in the last period for which figures are available; 
(2) how many patients were waiting for audiology-related treatment in (a) East of England Strategic Health Authority and (b) South Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not held centrally.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on the 11 spearhead areas in London towards (a) better detection and (b) more treatment of (i) high blood pressure and (ii) high blood cholesterol levels. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The new general medical services (GMS) contract specification encourages primary care practices to identify and treat patients with high blood pressure and to test and control cholesterol levels in patients with coronary heart disease, diabetes or stroke. The tables show the number of available points achieved against these indicators demonstrating that general practitioner practices are making good progress of improving these detection and treatment rates.
The applicable quality and outcomes framework (QOF) data has been placed in the Library.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account was taken of NHS guidelines on blood cholesterol levels in Scotland when setting those for England. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Departments policy on cholesterol levels is set out in the national service framework (NSF) for coronary heart disease (CHD). The NSF for CHD set cholesterol levels taking into account the Joint British Societies recommendations reported in 1998, as well as the Scottish report Secondary prevention clinics for coronary heart disease: randomised trial of effect on health written by Campbell, Thain, Deans et al. which detailed emerging evidence in 1998.
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what her Departments (a) plans and (b) projected budget are for the carers grant in (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) how many carers of older people had short breaks funded by the carers grant in (a) 2002, (b) 2003, (c) 2004 , (d) 2005 and (e) 2006; 
(3) how her Department monitors local authorities spending of the carers grant. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Decisions about the future of the carers grant in the next spending review period will be taken later this year.
Sustaining carers support will be ensured through the existing system for monitoring councils performance by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.
The number of carers for older people receiving breaks services through the carers grant in England are shown in the table. Figures for 2002-03 are not available.
2005-06 adults delivery and improvement statementCommission for Social Care Inspection.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the process is for applying to her Departments community hospital and services programme to build a community hospital in Hartlepool constituency. 
Andy Burnham: The process for applying for funding from the community hospital and services programme is as follows:
Primary care trusts interested in applying for funding should, as a first step, and in partnership with their local practice based commissioners, local community and stakeholders develop or review current plans for community services (including existing community hospitals) against the design principles, as set out in Our health, our care, our community: investing in the future of community hospitals and services.
PCTs should then submit their proposals to their respective strategic health authorities (SHAs).
The SHAs will assess the bids submitted, and check that they meet local need, demonstrate value for money, and meet with their strategic priorities. Those that satisfy these criteria, will then be passed on to the Department for further consideration.
Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to promote awareness of long acting contraceptives; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The Government recognise the importance of women having access to the full range of contraceptive methods. A guideline has been developed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) and this emphasized the cost effectiveness of currently available LARC methods.
We will be issuing best practice guidance on reproductive healthcare this spring which will include further guidance on improving access to LARCs.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate her Department has made of the number of people requiring access to NHS dentistry to whom it is unavailable. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 6 March 2007]: The Department estimates that there are some two million people in England who would like to access national health service dental services but are unable to do so. This estimate predates the dental reforms introduced in April 2006.
The reforms have for the first time give primary care trusts (PCTs) direct control of resources for commissioning local dental services. PCTS are also now responsible for assessing local needs and developing services to reflect these needs. In Cumbria, for example, the local NHS has undertaken considerable work to assess oral health needs and reflect these in its commissioning programme, which has recently included establishing a new practice for some 2,500 NHS patients in Windermere.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many spare units of dental activity there were in East Yorkshire each month since the introduction of the new dental contract; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Under the new dental contracts introduced in April 2006, dental practices provide an agreed level of national health service services over the course of each year. Annual service levels are measured using a weighted indicator of courses of treatment, known as units of dental activity. There are no monthly quotas or targets for units of dental activity.
Since the introduction of the reforms, the level of dental services commissioned by the NHS has grown steadily throughout the year, and primary care trusts are now commissioning more dental services than were provided in 2005-06.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she has monitored the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on depression; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has not directly monitored the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellences (NICE) clinical guidelines on depression. Healthcare organisations compliance with NICE guidelines is part of the developmental standard D2 which is being assessed in shadow form in the Healthcare Commissions annual health check of mental health trusts in 2006-07. This means that assessment of performance against developmental standard D2 will not feed into the overall annual rating in 2006-07. However, it is expected to form part of the rating from 2007-08.
In May 2006, the Department embarked on the improving access to psychological therapies programme which is intended to increase the availability of evidence based psychological therapies and help full implementation of the NICE clinical guidelines on depression.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department will extend the protection afforded by the Protection of Vulnerable Adults Scheme to apply to vulnerable users of NHS facilities. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: On the recommendation of the Bichard Inquiry we are introducing a new centralised vetting and barring scheme for people working with children and vulnerable people. This scheme, as set out in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, will extend the coverage of the existing barring schemes and draw on wider sources of information to provide a more comprehensive and consistent measure of protection for vulnerable groups across a wide range of settings, including the whole of social care and the national health service.
The new scheme will be proactive, with vetting taking place on an individual's first application to work with children or vulnerable adults and will make it far more difficult for abusers to gain access to some of the most vulnerable groups in society. The new scheme will be phased in from autumn 2008.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate she has made of the cost of violent and abusive patients to West Midlands strategic health authority in terms of extra security, absenteeism, training of staff and legal bills. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: This is a matter for the relevant local national health service organisations. The NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS) is part of the Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (CFSMS), a division of the NHS Business Service Authority, and has overall responsibility for all policy and operational matters related to the management of security in the NHS. On behalf of the Secretary of State for Health, the NHS SMS determines the policies, legal framework, operational guidance and minimum standards necessary to ensure that the objective of providing a secure environment for the NHS can be achieved. It also provides central and regional support to those charged with undertaking security management work in health bodies, so that the required standards can be met.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps her Department plans to take to ensure that Glockhardt UK passes its technology to another manufacturer in order to guarantee continuity of supply of animal insulins, as discussed at the meeting between Department of Health officials and key stakeholders on 17 May 2006; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what her Department's strategy is for the supply of animal insulin; when it was published; and if she will place a copy of the strategy in the Library. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her letter to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill), dated 28 November 2006, and her letter to Earl Howe dated 10 July 2006, what her Department's insulin strategy is; when it was published; if she will place a copy of the strategy in the Library; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The Department has received assurances from Wockhardt UK that if at any time in the future it decided to cease supply of its animal insulins, it would actively support another manufacturer with its licence application, sharing licence data to support it coming into the market to the best of its ability. The Department will support and facilitate this process.
The Department's strategy for the supply of animal insulins has been placed in the Library.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her letter of 28 November 2006 to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst, on the strategy of supply of animal insulin, whether the provision of the option of animal insulin to patients only if considered appropriate by the health care professionals is in accordance with the Doctor-Patient Partnership outlined by the General Medical Council's new good medical practice guidelines which came into force on 13 November 2006. 
Caroline Flint: All decisions about appropriate treatment regimes for people with diabetes should be made between the individual concerned and their health care professional. The choice of insulin is the result of their joint decision-making process.
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