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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2007, Official Report, column 1553W, on departments: public expenditure, what items of specific guidance have been given to (a) the Finance Directorate and (b) his Department generally on the Comprehensive Spending Review process. 
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when Ministers of his Department expect next to meet representatives of Consumers for Health to discuss the implementation of the food supplements directive; 
(2) if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Working Group meeting of EU member states held on 24 September to discuss the setting of maximum permitted levels for nutrients in food supplements and fortified foods; 
(3) whether officials of (a) his Department and (b) the Food Standards Agency have made representations to the European Commission on the extent of the circulation of the Commission's recent orientation paper on the setting of nutrient levels for food supplements and fortified foods; and if he will make it his policy to encourage the Commission to improve the openness and transparency of its activity on the implementation of the food supplements directive; 
(5) what legal principles informed the contribution of the Food Standards Agency to discussions with the European Commission on the setting of maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements; and if he will make a statement; 
(6) what recent contacts there have been between officials of the Food Standards Agency and their counterparts in (a) the Republic of Ireland and (b) other European member states to discuss the setting of maximum permitted levels for nutrients in food supplements; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The meeting of the Working Group on 24 September was to obtain member states' initial views on an orientation paper on setting maximum and minimum levels for vitamins and minerals in foodstuffs, issued by the Commission in late July. We have been advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that general discussions on the orientation paper in the working group revealed that many member states are yet to establish views on many issues. The Commission has asked member states to consider the various issues presented in the orientation paper in preparation for more detailed discussions at the next working group meeting which has provisionally been scheduled for November.
FSA officials have raised the issue of circulation of the orientation paper with the European Commission. The Commission recognised that member states have obligations to consult their stakeholders and did not place restrictions on the circulation of the paper, leaving this to the discretion of the member states. The FSA sent the paper to United Kingdom stakeholders on 8 August seeking their initial comments and held a meeting on 14 September during which the paper was discussed in detail. Further meetings between the FSA and Ministers will be arranged when necessary.
The European Commission has indicated its intention to produce proposals in the form of draft amending legislation to go forward to the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) for consideration in early 2009.
Recent discussions between FSA officials and the European Commission focussed on the Commission's orientation paper, and have not extended to detailed
discussions of legal principles. The legal basis for setting levels of vitamins and minerals in foodstuffs that informs the FSA's contribution to discussions with the Commission is outlined in the Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC and the Regulation on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to foods EC No 1925/2006.
FSA officials met with their counterparts from the Republic of Ireland and other member states during, and in the margins of, the European Commission's working group meeting with member states on 24 September, on the setting of maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the Vendafit needle dispensing machine in the context of managing the condition of drug dependent patients. 
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the findings of Sir John Tookes independent review of the Modernising Medical Careers programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: The Department would like to thank Sir John Tooke and his review group for investing so much time and expertise in providing recommendations for the future of medical training for 2009 and beyond. We will consider Sir Johns findings carefully.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what restrictions there are on the bringing into the UK of non-prescription medical drugs purchased by individuals on the internet; whether the Government have any plans (a) to tighten these restrictions and (b) to impose the enforcement of existing restrictions; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: Under the Medicines for Human Use (Marketing Authorisations Etc.) Regulations 1994, it is unlawful for medicinal products for human use to be marketed, manufactured, imported from a third country, distributed and sold or supplied in the United Kingdom except in accordance with the appropriate licences or exemptions.
Medicinal products for human use that are brought into the UK by an individual for his or her own use or that of a member of his/her family, including those purchased via the internet or by mail order, are not regarded as being imported for sale or supply within the UK and accordingly are not subject to the controls of the Marketing Authorisation Regulations. Any onward sale or supply, however, would place the product on the market and bring it within the regulatory system designed to protect public health and safety. There are no plans at this time to change the legislation.
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's guidance on the treatment of prisoners diagnosed with epilepsy; 
Ann Keen: The Department is working to reduce the level of stigma experienced by those with epilepsy by raising awareness of this condition among the public. Information on epilepsy is made available on the NHS Direct website at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk as well as the Epilepsy Information Network.
We commissioned the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce clinical guidelines for the diagnosis, management and treatment of epilepsy. This guidance, published in October 2004, specifically covers the importance of informing patients and their families of the risks of sudden death in epilepsy. In addition, we have made a grant of almost £290,000 to the National Society for Epilepsy to improve support and information for people with epilepsy and their families through their Epilepsy Information Network.
Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effects of the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence epilepsy clinical guidance on the treatment of people with epilepsy with learning disabilities. 
Ann Keen: We have made no assessment of the effects of the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellences epilepsy guidance on the treatment of those with learning disabilities.
Since 1997, there has been an increase of almost 80,000 qualified nurses employed in the national health service in England, and the number of training places for nurses and midwives has risen by 51 per cent. This will increase the pool of nurses from which nurses specialising in epilepsy can be drawn.
No assessment has been carried out centrally. It is for local trusts in partnership with local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health and to commission services accordingly, this includes provision of specialist nursing posts.
John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many photosensitive epileptic seizures caused by electronic games were recorded in (a) England and (b) the South West in each of the last five years. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the introduction of charges for (a) eye tests and (b) dental check-ups on demand for these services; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: There is no system of national health service charges for sight tests. Certain groups including children, people aged over 60, those on a low income and those predisposed to eye disease are eligible for NHS funded sight tests. Those not eligible for NHS funded sight tests have to pay privately.
In 1999 we reintroduced free sight tests for everyone aged 60 and over. This resulted in a switch from private to NHS sight tests, rather than any material increase in
the overall number of sights tests. This suggested that the cost of a sight test is not a disincentive for individuals.
This Government have not introduced charges for dental examinations. NHS charges for dental examinations have been in place since 1989 for those patients who are not exempt on income or other grounds. In April 2006 the system of charges was simplified as part of the wider reforms to NHS dentistry. Under the reforms, dental examinations are no longer charged as a separate item of service but as part of a course of treatment. A basic course of treatment (band 1) costs £15.90 and includes examination, diagnosis (including x-rays if needed), preventative advice and, if clinically indicated, a scale and polish.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of patients visiting their general practitioner were subsequently referred on in the latest period for which figures are available; 
For the period 2006-07, the total number of commissioner based general practitioner referrals to first consultant outpatient appointment was 9,226,012. The following table provides a breakdown of this figure by primary care trust for the same period.
|General practitioner (GP) written referrals made for first out - patient appointment, all specialties, England, 2006-07 commissioner based|
|Strategic health authority||Code||Name of primary care trust (PCT)||GP referrals made|
Department of Health monthly monitoring return
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