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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time equivalent physiotherapists there were in each NHS trust in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement on recruitment and retention of physiotherapists in the NHS. 
Workforce planning is now the responsibility of local NHS employers and strategic health authorities, who need to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of physiotherapists to meet local service needs. The workforce review team are continuing to provide information to support local workforce planners to model their requirements.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answers of 23 April 2007, Official Report, column 970W, on Physiotherapy: training and 20 April 2007, Official Report, columns 819-20W, on Nurses: training, what mechanisms are in place to
ensure that (a) the number of newly qualified staff meets the number of available posts and (b) the number of staff training in different specialities meets demand; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The work force review team (WRT) works in close partnership with the Department, strategic health authorities, professional bodies, and a range of other stakeholders to help shape work force strategies and to help ensure the levels of supply of newly qualified staff and the number of staff in training meets the levels of demand locally and nationally.
The WRT provides a national view of the planning and investment strategies needed to produce a work force with the right skills, in the right numbers, in the right places to deliver the health services that patients want and need in the future.
The WRT produces reliable data and intelligence about the work force, and their recommendations prepared each year inform local work force planners and provide guidance on the investment of national and local training budgets in work force development.
Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent changes her Department has made to its advice on the consumption of alcohol by pregnant women and by women who are trying to conceive; on what new scientific evidence the changes are based; what plans her Department has to convey the revised advice to pregnant women and those trying to conceive; what consultation has taken place with (a) the medical profession and (b) other interested stakeholders about the changes; and when the changes were finalised by her Department. 
Caroline Flint: We have just announced that the Department is amending its advice to pregnant women and those trying to conceive, to provide a clearer message. There is no change in the underlying scientific advice.
Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should not drink more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week and should avoid getting drunk.
Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol. If they do choose to drink, to minimise risk to the baby, they should not drink more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk.
The amended wording is designed to strengthen the message, make it clearer and easier to understand and to provide consistent advice across the whole of the United Kingdom. It has been agreed by the Chief Medical Officers of all four UK countries.
The Governments message in England is based on the advice of the Sensible Drinking Working Group set up in 1995 and the findings of a review commissioned by the Department in 2005 from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit to review available evidence. The 2005 review did not change the scientific basis of the advice.
The amended wording recognises that many women already stop drinking alcohol in pregnancy, while
acknowledging that an alternative is very low consumption, with re-statement of the previous advice in that context.
The aim is to minimise any underestimation of risk to the developing foetus from drinking in pregnancy and to help reduce the proportion of women drinking in pregnancy above the sensible drinking levels.
We are currently consulting the UK alcohol industry on proposals to include a short form of the new message as part of a health message on alcohol labels and containers. This should support future awareness raising campaigns on this issue. The wording we have proposed for labels is:
Avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions for drugs for the treatment of (a) allergies, (b) diabetes and (c) asthma were dispensed in the community in each year since 1997; and what the net ingredient cost of such drugs was in each case in each year. 
Caroline Flint: The number of prescription items dispensed in the community and the net ingredient cost (NIC), from 1997 to 2006, for England, categorised by allergies, diabetes and asthma, as defined by the most appropriate chapters in British National Formulary (BNF), are provided in the following tables:
|(a) AllergiesBNF section 3.4 Antihistamines, Hyposensitisation and Allergic Emergencies|
|Item s (Thousand)||NIC (£000)|
|(1) The drop in NIC between 2005 and 2006 is probably due to Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) and price changes to generic medicines (Category M).|
|(b) DiabetesBNF section 6.1 Drugs Used In Diabetes|
|Items (Thousand)||NIC (£000)|
3.3 Cromoglicate and related therapy and leukotriene receptor antagonists
|Items (Thousand)||NIC (£000)|
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescription items were dispensed in the community in each primary care trust in England in each year since 2003; and what the net ingredient cost of such items was in each year. 
Caroline Flint: In the United Kingdom, there are strict legal controls on the retail sale, supply and advertisement of medicinal products. Prescription only medicines (POM) and pharmacy medicines can be sold or supplied at registered pharmacy premises only by or under the supervision of a pharmacist. In addition, POMs may be sold or supplied only in accordance with a prescription from a prescriber, and cannot be advertised to the public. These legal controls apply equally to medicines sold or supplied via internet transactions. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) takes the view that internet sale and supply of medicines are acceptable provided these legal requirements are met, but investigates and, where appropriate, takes enforcement action against suppliers who operate outside the legal requirements. The MHRA do not hold figures, nor has any estimate been made, for sales of POMs to UK residents.
John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions were dispensed in Easington constituency for (a) methadone, (b) diamorphine and (c) anti-depressants in each year since 2002; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: Easington constituency has been assumed to be coterminus with Easington Primary Care Trust. This PCT merged with others to form Durham PCT in October 2006 and so separate figures do not exist for Easington PCT after this date. The Prescription Pricing Division maintain only 60 months data in their live systems and so figures are not available for the whole of 2002.
|Anti-depressants||Methadone||Diamorph i ne|
1. PCA data
Prescription information is taken from the Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) system, supplied by the Prescription Pricing Division (PPD) of the Business Services Authority (BSA), and is based on a full analysis of all prescriptions dispensed in the community i.e. by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England. Also included are prescriptions written in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man but dispensed in England. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospitals, including mental health trusts, or private prescriptions.
2. Prescription items
Prescriptions are written on a prescription form. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent submissions she has received in support of free prescriptions for asthmatics; and when she expects the findings of the review of prescription charges to be published. 
Caroline Flint: The Department has welcomed comments on possible options for changing the current prescription charge arrangements from all organisations that wished to make representations. Between 1 November 2006 and 10 May 2007, 52 representations were received from organisations and individuals advocating free prescriptions for asthmatics.
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