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10 Sep 2007 : Column 1958W—continued

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts in England commission the drugs Avestin and Lucentis for the treatment of wet-eye age-related macular degeneration. [155022]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not collect data on the number of primary care trusts (PCTs) in England commissioning Lucentis or Avastin.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently carrying out an appraisal of Lucentis and Macugen, and final guidance is due next year.

Where NICE has not issued guidance, PCTs are expected to make their own decisions on the funding of specific treatments based on an assessment of the available evidence.
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Avastin has not been licensed for use in macular degeneration, although if a patient is willing to be prescribed a drug off-label it is available on the clinician’s judgment and subject to funding by the PCT.

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were (a) granted and (b) refused NHS treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration in the most recent year for which figures are available in Northamptonshire. [155040]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is not held centrally.


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library guidance made available to NHS trusts between 16 and 26 August 2007. [155032]

Mr. Bradshaw: 23 approved items of communication or guidance were issued from the Department to national health service organisations during the specified period. These were either sent electronically by e-mail or mentioned in bulletins which contained links to the Department’s website at Copies have been placed in the Library.

NHS Foundation Trusts

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS foundation trusts have been approved to date; how many trusts have applications under consideration; what the monthly average rate of approval is of foundations trusts; and if he will make a statement. [154888]

Mr. Bradshaw: 73 national health service foundation trusts (NHSFTs) have so far been authorised by Monitor (the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts), accounting for almost one third of the total number of acute and mental health trusts.

All remaining trusts have a timetable to apply for NHSFT status and more trusts are becoming authorised each month. There are currently 23 trusts that have gained support from the Secretary of State and are being considered for potential authorisation. Target dates for authorisation are agreed between Monitor and applicant trusts. Further waves of trusts will continue to be put forward to Monitor. The Department is working with strategic health authorities, who are managing the NHSFT pipeline, and Monitor to increase the success rate of around two thirds of trusts becoming authorised during a first assessment.

NHS: Finance

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was held in contingency reserves by each strategic health authority (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of its budget at the end of 2006-07; and how much each strategic health authority is forecasting it will hold in contingency reserves at the end of 2007-08. [155072]

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Mr. Bradshaw: At the end of the financial year strategic health authorities (SHA) do not hold contingency reserves in their accounts but they do report an under or over spend against the funding available to them on a resource but not a cash basis. The value of the under or over spend reported by each SHA is shown in the following table:

2006/07 Provisional under/(over) spend at Quarter 4 2006/07 Provisional under/(over) spend as percentage RRL 2007/08 Forecast under/(over) spend at Quarter 1

North East SHA




North West SHA




Yorkshire and the Humber SHA




East Midlands SHA


21 .8


West Midlands SHA




East of England SHA




London SHA




South East Coast SHA




South Central SHA




South West SHA




England total




Source: Financial Monitoring Returns.


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the investigation into the NHS IT failure in which systems in the West Midlands and North West crashed in July 2006 is expected to report. [155033]

Mr. Bradshaw: By the end of October a report of the investigation's findings will be placed in the Library and will also be available on the NHS Connecting for Health website.

NHS: Procurement

Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assurances he has received from the NHS supply chain that the decision making process undertaken by NHS supply chain product councils will be open and transparent; and to whom they will be accountable. [153624]

Mr. Bradshaw: The product council programme is still in the early stages. NHS supply chain have assured officials that the summaries from the meetings will be published. The NHS Business Services Authority will be represented on the council to oversee transparency, and will monitor and audit them on behalf of the Department.

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Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 876W, on obesity, if he will publish the findings of the core expert review group which validated the approach taken and outputs to date; who the members of the core expert review group are; and how often the group has met since 2005. [155123]

Mr. Bradshaw: The key findings underpinning the social marketing work are published in the MRC Human Nutrition Research Centre's report, “The Healthy Living Social Marketing initiative: A review of the evidence”. Details of the group members are on Page 1 of the report. The group has met on three occasions since 2005.

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 876W, on obesity, if he will give details of the new strategy building on Choosing Activity; what progress has been made on it to date; and what steps he intends to take in furthering this strategy. [155124]

Mr. Bradshaw: The work led by Ministers on a new strategy for physical activity will be taken forward as part of our wider work on obesity, nutrition and physical activity, which will be the subject of further announcements in the autumn. These will include details of national campaigns focusing on these areas.

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 876W, on obesity, if he will give details of the 5 a Day Top Tips for Top Mums campaign; how he intends to take forward work on the initiative; how much has been spent from the public purse on it; how much has been set aside for the initiative in total; and how he plans to measure the initiative’s success. [155125]

Mr. Bradshaw: The “Top Tips for Top Mums” campaign aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in families with young children and has a particular focus on low-income families. This audience faces the most barriers to increase fruit and vegetable consumption including cost, lack of cooking skills, fussy eaters and a lack of structured mealtimes. “Top Tips for Top Mums” has been developed to show parents that helping their children to eat more fruit and vegetables is a healthy option and easier than they may think.

To take the campaign forward, we are working with our existing “5 a Day” stakeholders and engaging with new partners to support the campaign. We are developing new radio and TV fillers which will help to promote the ideas of the Top Tips campaign and encourage fruit and vegetable consumption. The fillers are planned to go live in November 2007 and are expected to achieve at least £4 million pounds worth of free advertising space over a three-year period. New web pages will launch on the “5 a Day” website to coincide with the launch of the TV and radio fillers,
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and will incorporate a mechanism for parents to upload and share their own Top Tips with others.

To date, we have spent approximately £481,000 on the “Top Tips for Top Mums” campaign including activity to support partnership marketing, public relations (PR) aimed at both the national and local media and on website development.

The production of the TV and radio fillers will cost £300,000 and a further £300,000 has been committed to extend the campaign initiative into 2008 to recruit key partnerships, and sustain high profile PR and media activity to promote awareness of the campaign.

We track changes in consumption in fruit and vegetables in different population groups using the Food Standards Agency Consumer Activity Survey and the Health Survey for England.

Ophthalmology: Standards

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many optometrists were (a) struck off and (b) subject to other disciplinary action for malpractice in each of the last five years. [154907]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not hold this information. We understand that the information is available from the General Optical Council.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional monitoring his Department plans to carry out of the quality of services offered by optometrists. [154908]

Mr. Bradshaw: The General Optical Council (GOC) is the statutory body which regulates the optical professions. The GOCs main aims are to protect the public and promote high standards of professional conduct and education among opticians.

The GOC has an investigation committee which is responsible for investigating any concerns about the fitness to practice of registered optometrists and dispensing opticians, the fitness of student optometrists and dispensing opticians to undertake training and the fitness of corporate bodies to carry on business, in the United Kingdom.

Optometrists providing services under the national health service must be on a primary care trust (PCT) list. PCTs have powers to carry out inspections and to remove or suspend businesses or individual optometrists where they think that is justified.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies his Department has conducted or arranged into links between abuse of alcohol, narcotics or substances and incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. [154887]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has not conducted or arranged such studies. However, in June 2007 the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV published a report of a seminar they held in January 2007 on the impact drugs and alcohol have on
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young people’s sexual behaviour. The Department is considering the recommendations in the report and will respond in due course.

Tobacco: Marketing

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to prohibit (a) the sale of cigarettes from vending machines and (b) residual point of sale marketing of tobacco products; and if he will make a statement. [154902]

Mr. Bradshaw: Ministers are keeping these issues under constant review but there are no immediate plans for legislation.

Tobacco: Sales

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had on the impact of introducing a requirement for tobacco sellers to obtain a licence before being able to sell tobacco; and if he will make a statement. [154993]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government consulted on the introduction of licensing for tobacco products in 2006. The majority of respondents favoured the introduction of a negative licensing scheme under which a retailer is free to sell tobacco products unless they have been found to persistently flout the law on under-age sale. Following the conclusion of the consultation the Government now intend to bring forward legislation at the next first legislative opportunity.

A copy of the consultation is available in the library.

Tobacco: Young People

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to deter adults from supplying cigarettes to under-age smokers. [154994]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government have no plans at present to penalise adults for supplying cigarettes to under-age smokers. However, as part of our communications campaign on changing the age of sale for tobacco, we are making parents aware of the dangers of young people smoking through magazine feature stories. Our continuing tobacco advertising TV campaign will also help to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and benefits of quitting. In this way, we hope to discourage adults from supplying tobacco to young people under the minimum age.

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he plans to introduce to ensure effective enforcement of the increased age of sale of tobacco products from 16 to 18 years. [154995]

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