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26 July 2007 : Column 1315W—continued

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the progress towards the pledge to reduce health inequalities measured by infant mortality by 2010. [152252]

Dawn Primarolo: The most recent assessment of progress against the infant mortality aspect of the 2010 health inequalities target shows a slight narrowing of the health inequalities gap between the routine and manual group and the rest of the population for 2003-05, compared to 2002-04 and 2001-03. Infant mortality rates are at an all-time low for both groups. However, at 18 per cent. the gap is still wider than the 13 per cent. at the 1997-99 target baseline.

A further update on the infant mortality gap will be available later this year in the 2007 edition of ‘Tackling Health Inequalities: Status Report on the Programme for Action’.

Health: Nutrition

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to tackle (a) overweight and obesity and (b) underweight in the adult population. [153404]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Present action to tackle obesity in adults includes the care pathways for national health service primary care professionals and a self-help guide, ‘Your Weight, Your Health’; the National Heart Forum's toolkit ‘Lightening the Load: tackling overweight and obesity’; work on foods high in salt, fat
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and sugar; front-of-pack labelling as an easy-to-understand way of helping individuals and families to make healthier food choices; the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire; Local Exercise Action Pilots; and the National Step-0-Meter Programme.

We will also continue to work closely with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to support dissemination and implementation of its guidance on physical activity public health intervention and on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children.

Regarding steps to tackle underweight, Government advice is that people should consume a healthy balanced diet, which includes a wide variety of foods, is low in fat, and is based on plenty of fruit and vegetables and starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, and other cereals. The diet should contain moderate amounts of meat, fish, meat alternatives, milk and dairy products and sparing or infrequent amounts of foods containing fat/foods and drinks containing sugar. Eating a balanced diet in combination with physical activity should enable people to maintain a healthy weight.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the percentage of adults aged 16 years and over (a) in England and (b) in each primary care trust area who had a body mass index (i) in excess of 30 and (ii) of less than 18.5 in each year since 1997, broken down by age. [153405]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information is not available in the format requested. Data on prevalence of different body mass index (BMI) values among adults aged 16 and over are available from the health survey for England. Data on the percentage of men and women in England with a body BMI of over 30 and under 18.5 are presented in Table 1, copies of which have been placed in the Library. Data are shown for the years 1997 to 2005 and are broken down by age group and gender.

Hearing Impairment

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average waiting time for a hearing test was in (a) Surrey, (b) Oxfordshire and (c) England in (i) 1997, (ii) 1998, (iii) 1999, (iv) 2000, (v) 2001, (vi) 2002, (vii) 2003, (viii) 2004, (ix) 2005 and (x) 2006; [152996]

(2) what the average time interval between receiving a hearing test and the fitting of a hearing aid was in (a) Surrey, (b) Oxfordshire and (c) England in (i) 1997, (ii) 1998, (iii) 1999, (iv) 2000, (v) 2001, (vi) 2002, (vii) 2003, (viii) 2004, (ix) 2005 and (x) 2006; [152997]

(3) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the procurement of audiology service pathways from the private sector; and if he will make a statement; [152998]

(4) what assessment he has made of the procedures for the referral of NHS patients to the independent sector for the fitting of hearing aids; and if he will make a statement; [152999]

(5) what assessment his Department has made of the fitting of hearing aids by the independent sector
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following the abolition of the Hearing Aid Council; and if he will make a statement. [153000]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department does not collect data on waiting times for fitting of digital hearing aids. Since January 2006, the Department has been collecting data on the waiting times for audiology assessments. The latest figures, for May 2007, indicate that there are currently 1,322 people waiting over 13 weeks for assessments in Surrey and 13 people waiting over 13 weeks for assessments in Oxfordshire. In England as of May 2007, 73,381 people are waiting over 13 weeks for an assessment.

A National Framework Contract Public Private Partnership with David Ormerod Hearing Centres and Ultravox Holdings plc was in place from October 2003 until March 2007. It was fundamental to the National Framework Contract that the quality of service, and hearing aid, that the patient received mirrored those of the local NHS audiology department. Quality assurance was key in the initiative. Both companies demonstrated their commitment to meeting these standards and invested resources in terms of equipment, IT and staff training in order to do so.

Further independent sector capacity for audiology has been procured as part of the Phase 2 Diagnostics Procurement. Providers are subject to ongoing audit and must meet stringent key performance indicators through the delivery of the contract. Independent sector capacity is utilised at a local level alongside NHS capacity and is subject to the same standards and referral procedures.

The Hearing Aid Council, which is responsible for standards of professional practice, remains in operation and is working towards transferring its regulatory functions to other bodies in advance of its abolition.

Henderson Hospital: Finance

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the budget for Henderson hospital is in 2007-08; and what the proposed budget for the hospital is for 2008-09. [150999]

Mr. Bradshaw: Revenue allocations are made directly to primary care trusts (PCTs), not national health service trusts or individual hospitals. NHS trusts receive most of their income through the commissioning arrangements they have with PCTs.

We understand that the Henderson hospital is managed by South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust. We would advise the hon. Member to contact the chairman of the trust for information about the hospital budget. The contact details are:

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Hip Replacements and Knee Replacements

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for (a) hip replacements and (b) knee replacements on the NHS was in each of the last five years. [151485]

Mr. Bradshaw: Information on the median time waited for hip and knee replacement is set out in the following table.

Median days waited for hip and knee replacements 2001-02 to 2005-06
Hip replacements Knee replacements
















Source: Hospital Episode Statistics, The Information Centre for health and social care.

HIV Infection: Pregnancy

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of levels of transmission from mother to baby of HIV/AIDS in each of the last five years; in what proportion of cases transmission took place (a) at birth and (b) subsequent to birth; what treatments are available in each case; what assessment he has made of the merits of testing all pregnant women for HIV/AIDS at an early stage of their pregnancy; and if he will make a statement. [152601]

Dawn Primarolo: Information on the number of babies born in the United Kingdom and confirmed infected with HIV from 2002 to 2006 is shown in the following table.

Number of babies born in the UK and confirmed infected with HIV, 2002-2006
Year of birth Maternal diagnosis before or at around time of delivery Infected children born to undiagnosed women Total infected

























Data include reports received by end of June 2007 and are subject to reporting delay.
National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood, Institute of Child Health, University College London

It is not possible to assess accurately what proportion of transmissions occurred prior to birth, at birth and after birth during this period. In utero transmission is uncommon, and most transmissions occur during labour and delivery, or through breastfeeding. Infant samples need to be taken within 48 hours of birth to make inferences about timing of transmission, and since the majority of infected infants were born to undiagnosed women, sufficient samples were not available.

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If the woman is diagnosed before or during pregnancy, she can be offered:

If the woman is diagnosed at or shortly after delivery, the infant can still be offered antiretroviral therapy starting as soon as possible after birth, and the woman can still be advised not to breastfeed, both of which will reduce the risk of transmission if the baby was not already infected in utero.

Since the introduction of the routine recommendation of antenatal HIV testing in 2000, the majority of infected pregnant women have been diagnosed prior to delivery. In 2005, the latest year for which data are available, about 95 per cent. of infected pregnant women were diagnosed before delivery. During the 1990s, before antenatal testing was routine, the majority of infected women remained undiagnosed at delivery and therefore appropriate treatment and advice could not be offered.

Home Care Services: Oxygen

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints Ministers received about domiciliary oxygen services in each of the last 18 months. [151016]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of items of correspondence received by the Department from hon. Members and the public concerning the home oxygen service in the last 18 months is shown in the following table. Not all were letters of complaint but to identify these separately would incur disproportionate cost.

Month and year Items of correspondence









































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