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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to initiate research into possible (a) health and (b) psychological side effects associated with the use of the drug Ritalin. [156511]

Dawn Primarolo: The safety of the use of methylphenidate is kept under careful review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in conjunction with other European regulatory authorities. In June 2007, at the request of
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the European Commission, a Europe wide review of the safety of methylphenidate products, including the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders, was initiated. As part of this review, the United Kingdom, on behalf of Europe, is in discussion with the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture methylphenidate products about the conduct of research to better characterise and further investigate the safety profile of methylphenidate. As new data emerge it will be carefully evaluated by the MHRA and where necessary current prescribing advice will be updated to reflect the new evidence.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure the use of Ritalin only as part of a comprehensive programme including social, psychological and behavioural treatments as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [156512]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We fully support the advice given by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) in England on the use of drug therapy in treating children and young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and expect the national health service to take this guidance into account when treating patients.

NICE have advised that drug therapy to treat ADHD, of which Ritalin is but one option, should only be part of a comprehensive treatment programme that includes a range of social, psychological and behavioural interventions. These are mainly aimed at the child, but sometimes involve the parents and/or teachers. NICE has recommended that drug therapy should only be initiated by an appropriately qualified healthcare professional with expertise in ADHD and should be based on a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. Continued prescribing and monitoring of drug treatment may be performed by general practitioners, under shared care arrangements.

Psychological interventions that may be helpful include behavioural management, parent training, family and/or individual therapy, social skills training, cognitive behaviour therapy and problem solving techniques, among others. Careful, informed clinical decision-making, involving the parents and child should involve discussion of the benefits versus the risks of all interventions.

We have also asked NICE to develop a clinical guideline on both the pharmacological and psychological interventions to treat ADHD. The guideline will cover the care provided by primary, community and secondary healthcare professionals who have direct contact with, and make decisions concerning, the care of children, young people and adults with ADHD. The guideline will include:

Publication of the guideline is expected in July 2008.

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Smoking: Health Services

Ms Barlow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funds have been made available for smoking cessation programmes; and how the allocations to individual funds are determined. [155948]

Dawn Primarolo: The total funding allocation for the NHS Stop Smoking Services is set out in the following table.

Financial allocations to the NHS for stop smoking services
£ million






10 (HAZs only)


20 (10 HAZs, 10 Has)


(1)23 (10 HAZ, 10 Has)













HAZ= Health action zones. (1) £3 million in 2001-02 and 2002-03 for smoking in pregnancy initiative. (2) Including additional £5 million heavily weighted towards spearhead PCTs.

The 2006-07 and 2007-08 revenue allocations to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) separately identify £211 million in 2006-07 and £342 million in 2007-08, around half of the £1 billion promised, to support implementation of the Choosing Health White Paper. For the two years covered by this allocation, a total of £10 million has been identified nationally to invest in the NHS Stop Smoking Services initiative.

Funding to support the NHS Stop Smoking Services has been allocated to PCTs on a weighted capitation basis, with the majority of the funding directed towards Spearhead PCTs.

Information on individual PCT allocations has been placed in the Library and is available at:

Surgery: Manpower

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many surgeons in the NHS were capable of carrying out (a) hepatobiliary, (b) renal, (c) cardiac and (d) ophthalmic surgery in each of the last 10 years; [154266]

(2) what plans the Government have to increase the number of (a) hepatobiliary, (b) renal, (c) cardiac and (d) ophthalmic surgeons in each of the next three years. [154267]

Mr. Bradshaw: This information is not collected centrally.

It is the responsibility of primary care trusts and strategic health authorities to analyse their local situation and develop plans, in liaison with their local NHS trusts and primary care providers, to deliver high quality NHS services and take action to recruit the appropriate staff required to deliver these services.

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Surgery: Peterborough

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in Peterborough constituency have had their inpatient surgical treatment cancelled three times or more in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [154691]

Mr. Bradshaw: Information is not available in the format requested. However, the following table shows the number of last minute cancelled operations for non-clinical reasons at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for 2006-07 which are the latest data available.

Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Number of last minute cancellations for non clinical reasons


Number of urgent operations that were cancelled for a second or subsequent time for non clinical reasons


1. A last minute cancellation is one that occurs on the day the patient was due to arrive, after they have arrived in hospital or on the day of their operation.
2. Some common non-clinical reasons for cancellations by the hospital include: ward beds unavailable; surgeon unavailable; emergency case needing theatre; theatre list over-ran; equipment failure; administration error; anaesthetist unavailable; theatre staff unavailable; and critical care bed unavailable.
3. Urgent operations are as defined by National Confidentially Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths. ‘Immediate’, ‘Urgent’ and ‘Expedited’ operations are included in the definition. However, ‘Elective’ operations are not included in the definition
Department of Health datasets: QMCO and Weekly Situation Reports

Transplant Surgery: Manpower

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many surgeons in the NHS were capable of carrying out transplant surgery in each of the last 10 years. [154277]

Mr. Bradshaw: Transplant surgery is a sub-specialty of general surgery; the Information Centre for Health and Social Care does not collect information by sub-specialty.

The 2006 NHS workforce census showed there were 1,756 consultants working in the general surgery speciality, an increase of 578 or 49 per cent. since 1997.

University Hospital of North Staffordshire: Research

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies were undertaken at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire involving children from overseas in the 1990s. [154329]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not centrally held by the Department. The NHS West Midlands strategic health authority reports that University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust has recently written to the hon. Member following a similar request under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Vaccines: Sleeping Contracts

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 24 July 2007, Official Report, column 985W, on vaccines: sleeping contracts, when negotiations with the vaccine manufacturers were completed; with which vaccine manufacturers negotiations were held; whether the provision of pre-pandemic vaccines was discussed as part of the negotiations; whether the negotiations have implications for the public purse; and whether he expects to make the statement referred to in the answer alongside publication of an updated pandemic influenza preparedness plan. [154215]

Dawn Primarolo: Negotiations for the advanced supply contracts for pandemic specific vaccine were completed with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Baxter in May 2007 and the contracts became operational from 1 July 2007. The contracts are worth in total £155.4 million over four years, and are part of the continued work to prepare for and reduce the impact of a possible flu pandemic. Under these contracts GSK and Baxter are committed to supply a pandemic influenza vaccine to the United Kingdom as soon as the pandemic strain is identified and made available by the World Health Organisation.

Pre-pandemic vaccine did not form part of the negotiations.

A public announcement of the advanced supply agreements was made on 16 August 2007 and is reflected within the updated pandemic influenza preparedness plan which is due to be released shortly.

Westmorland Hospital: Mental Health Services

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the temporary closure of the adult mental health ward at Westmorland General Hospital could become permanent without a formal public consultation. [153651]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: National health service organisations currently have a duty to involve and consult patients, the public and their representatives in the planning and development of services, and to consult them on changes to the operation of services.

Kentmere Ward at the Westmorland General is the responsibility of the Cumbria Partnership NHS trust. NHS North West reports that the ward has been closed temporarily on clinical safety grounds due to problems around recruitment to key posts. A recruitment exercise is currently under way.

Wi-Fi: Health Hazards

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of (a) the number of people suffering health problems as a result of Wi-Fi communications and (b) the causes of sensitivity to Wi-Fi technology; [154577]

(2) what assessment he has made of the health implications of Wi-Fi communications; [154578]

(3) what representations he has received about the potential health implications of Wi-Fi communications; [154579]

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(4) if he will set up an inquiry into Wi-Fi communications and their environmental and health impact. [154582]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department is advised by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Wi-Fi or similar wireless (WLAN) technology and health issues.

Current advice from the HPA is that

On the basis of this advice the Department believes it is not feasible to conduct any further estimates of the numbers affected.

The HPA statement on Wi-Fi is available at:

In 2005 the HPA published a review of electrical sensitivity. This is a condition which some people attribute to exposure to electromagnetic fields associated with the electricity supply and electrical equipment. The review notes that although the symptoms are attributed to exposure to various types of electromagnetic fields, there is no proven scientific link between such exposures and symptoms. A number of studies have looked for diagnostic markers for electrical sensitivity but no consistent marker has been found. The HPA report entitled “Definition, Epidemiology and Management of Electrical Sensitivity” is available at:

From May to September this year the Department has replied to four parliamentary questions, four items of correspondence from organisations and twelve from members of the public that have cited Wi-Fi equipment as a cause of health problems including the disturbing symptoms referred to as electrical sensitivity.

The Department is not planning an inquiry into Wi-Fi but the HPA is announcing a programme of work on Wi-Fi and WLAN installations such as those used in schools and homes. Discussions are underway with partner agencies, especially those in the education sector. This project aims to systematically investigate the types of Wi-Fi equipment in use and produce information on exposures to radio signals from wireless computer networks.

An HPA fact sheet on Wi-Fi is available at:

Culture, Media and Sport

Balen Report

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the BBC on the publication of the Balen Report. [156720]

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James Purnell: None. The decision on whether to publish the Balen Report is a matter for the BBC.

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