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22 May 2007 : Column 1236W—continued

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many times she has visited health services in the East Riding of Yorkshire since taking up her post; and if she will make a statement. [117302]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has not visited health services in the East Riding of Yorkshire since taking up her post.


Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of MRSA were contracted in NHS facilities in the period (a) 1987 to 1997 and (b) 1997 to 2007; and if she will make a statement. [136300]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not available.

National Media Evaluations

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 14 March 2007, Official Report, column 442W, on national media evaluations, if she will place in the Library copies of her Department's national media coverage evaluations in each month from July 2005 to December 2005 inclusive; and if she will publish the evaluations on her Department's website. [135819]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department's national media evaluation coverage from July 2005 to December 2005 was published on the Department's website in August 2006. However, the Department recently moved to a new content management system to manage its website. The site holds 22,000 pages and 28,000 attachments, so much of the content was moved from the old system to the new one by an automatic process. Although this generally went well, there were some small technical difficulties which resulted in these media evaluation reports being inadvertently missed. This has been rectified and the reports have been placed in the Library and are also available at:

Additionally, the January to July 2006 media evaluation reports will shortly be published on the website and when this happens we will arrange for hard copies to be placed in the Library.

NHS: Statistics

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the definitions are of (a) general and personal medical services, (b) medical and dental workforce census and (c) non-medical workforce census as used in the NHS hospital and community staff and general workforce statistics. [137711]

Andy Burnham: The three workforce censuses are collected annually on 30 September for England. They cover:

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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people taking methylphenidate drugs experienced adverse drug reactions in each year between 1997 and 2006. [132834]

Caroline Flint: 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 (ADHD). 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 (MHRA) in conjunction with other European regulatory authorities.

Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are collected by the MHRA and Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the Yellow Card Scheme. The Yellow Card Scheme provides a system for early detection of emerging drug safety hazards and routine monitoring for all medicines in clinical use.

Between January 1997 and December 2006 a total of 488 reports of suspected ADRs have been received in association with methylphenidate treatment. The reactions that were most commonly reported were recognised side effects that are listed in the product information for prescribers and patients or reactions that may be part of the underlying condition. The following table shows the number of reports received in association with methylphenidate each year between 1997 and 2006.

Year received by the MHRA Number of reports listing methylphenidate as a suspect drug





















When interpreting spontaneous reporting data, such as the data received through the Yellow Card Scheme, there are a number of factors that need to be considered including that:

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Smoking: Religious Buildings

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department has carried out an assessment of the (a) prevalence and (b) risk to public health of smoking in churches and other places of worship; and if she will make a statement. [138528]

Caroline Flint: The evidence of the risk to health from exposure to second-hand smoke is well established, regardless of the type of premises where people might be exposed. For this reason, the smoke free provisions of the Health Act 2006 will prohibit smoking in virtually all enclosed public places and work places in England from 1 July 2007, including in places of worship. The English legislation is in line with that already in place in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Department has not carried out a specific assessment of the prevalence of smoking in churches.

Social Services

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what elements she expects to be included in the new settlement in social care referred to by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Care Services in the web discussion for the Disability Rights Commission; what meetings (a) she and (b) her Ministers have had to discuss the new settlement, and with whom; whether a national consultation will take place on the new settlement; and when she expects the new settlement to be in place. [134693]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government have provided significant investment in local services, including in the area of social care, since taking office. Total government grant has increased by 39 per cent. in real terms since 1997 and this has delivered real improvements, with the Commission for Social Care Inspection reporting that social care services for adults have improved for the fourth successive year. We are committed to ensuring that local authorities can continue to deliver effective local services. We are working with local government representatives to identify future pressures on local authorities, and the ways in which these can best be managed, as part of the Comprehensive spending review (CSR) 2007.

As is normal in the run up to any Government spending review, the Secretary of State and her Ministers hold regular internal meetings to plan the new settlement.

The Government believe it is important that the 2007 CSR is informed by wide public debate on the long-term challenges facing the United Kingdom. Across Government, the public are being engaged on a wide range of issues related to the CSR. In social care, the consultation ‘Your Health, Your Care, Your Say’ provided an opportunity to hear the views of the public of the priorities for their local health and social care services.

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As the Chancellor announced in Budget 2007, the CSR settlement will be published this autumn, and will set public spending levels for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Social Workers: Medical Records

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether social workers are able to access patient records. [131757]

Caroline Flint: Initiatives such as the single assessment process (SAP) for older people, and the developing common assessment framework for adults, increasingly require health and social care services to share personal information about individuals receiving joined-up care, both as part of the commissioning process and to ensure that needs are addressed and that effort is not duplicated.

A patient’s records may be disclosed to social workers working as part of a multidisciplinary care team where they need to have them to provide effective joined-up care, providing the patient has been informed that this may occur and has given express consent, or has not objected or expressed concern. Registered social workers are subject to a code of practice that requires them to respect a person’s confidential information. Breaching the code can lead to their removal from the Social Care Register.

The practice expected of national health service organisations in facilitating these arrangements is set out in the document “Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice” published in November 2003. The code recognises that social workers are frequently involved in providing care for national health service patients and that sharing health information with them should be an essential part of providing joined-up services for patients.

Arrangements for sharing personal information with social care staff have included the development of local information sharing protocols. These are agreements between an individual NHS body and a council with social services responsibilities on how an individual’s data may be shared between them. These agreements are based on well known data protection principles and make clear under what conditions or circumstances a person’s data may be shared. All care employers are subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Where the NHS care records service is supporting SAP as an initial step in establishing joint services that contribute to the patient record, information sharing will be possible on the basis of implied consent subject to the requirements outlined above. Where SAP is supported by other systems, whether paper or electronic, explicit consent will normally be required and it will additionally be necessary to ensure that there are appropriate safeguards in place to protect patient confidentiality.

These arrangements are currently being supported by some 46 electronic SAP systems, and over 50 community patient record systems that have been delivered through the national programme for information technology, accessible by an estimated 114,000 authorised NHS users. These figures are continuing to grow rapidly.

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Spinal Injuries

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many single treatment episodes of people with spinal injuries took place in each of the last 10 years. [136761]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The number of finished consultant episodes, where the patient had a primary or secondary diagnosis of spinal injury, for the last 10 years are given in the following table.

Finished consultant episodes—England





















These are counts of finished consultant episodes, not the number of patients treated.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people with spinal injuries were admitted as accident and emergency patients in each of the last 10 years for which records are available. [136762]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The number of hospital admission episodes, where the patient had a primary or secondary spinal injury, and were admitted via accident and emergency (A&E), in the last 10 years is given in the following table.

Finished episodes in year—admissions via A&E





















Note: This is a count of episodes (not patients) where the patient was admitted to hospital via A&E. Patients who attended accident and emergency, but were not admitted to hospital, are not included.

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