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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The latest figures for July 2007 indicate that the number of people waiting over 13 weeks for an audiology assessment at Stockport Primary Care Trust was 1,296. The Department does not collect data on the numbers of people waiting to be fitted with a hearing aid.
Councils and their NHS partners have already made significant progress in reducing delays in hospital. Between September 2001 and June 2007 the number of people over the age of 75 delayed in hospital reduced from 5,673 to 1,627, a reduction of 71 per cent., and total delays for the same period reduced from 7,065 to 2,173, a reduction of 69 per cent.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many delayed discharges there were of patients aged (a) below 65 years and (b) 65 years and over nationally in each year since 1997, broken down by health trust. 
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost was to the public purse of the Ipsos MORI research study on public engagement to inform the 2007 pandemic influenza national framework and supporting guidance, published on 30 May 2007; whether his Department is undertaking any other programmes of work to engage the public on plans to prioritise treatment in the event of an influenza pandemic; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The cost of the research study on public engagement was £59,000. After the publication of the National Framework for responding to an influenza pandemic in the autumn, we will further test the publics reactions to many issues in pandemic planning and decision-making. This will include issues of prioritisation of access, should that be necessary, to clinical countermeasures. Work continues on the design of a public engagement programme to facilitate this process.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the modelling referred to in the paper published on his Department's website on 8 August 2007 entitled Use of antiviral drugs in an influenza pandemic. 
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential impact of an influenza pandemic on the (a) supply of and (b) demand for (i) blood and (ii) blood components; what steps he is taking to ensure an adequate supply of blood in the event of a pandemic; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), together with the Department modelling team, have created a series of planning assumptions based on the best available estimates of demand for blood, the experience within NHSBT and that of other blood services, and the best possible estimate of supply under these conditions. While supply is dependent upon donors continuing to make altruistic gestures during the pandemic the current estimate based on these assumptions is that, in the worst case scenario, supply could fall by about 20 to 30 per cent.
Likewise, the estimates that can be made for demand are based on best available evidence and current knowledge. NHSBT's conservative estimate is that current demand for red cells could fall by about 10 to 25 per cent., while the demand for fresh frozen plasma and platelets could reduce by lesser amounts, although it is possible that demand could fall further.
NHSBT has a well-developed emergency planning system, which includes specific plans covering pandemic influenza. NHSBT's plans are regularly reviewed and updated to keep them in line with the latest emerging guidance.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths resulting from influenza infection there were in each year since 1979; what the population coverage of seasonal influenza immunisation was in each year since 1979; and in which years since 1979 there were epidemics of seasonal influenza. 
Dawn Primarolo: It is not possible to determine the precise number of deaths due to influenza in a population because influenza itself is rarely the direct cause of death. Influenza may be complicated by bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, or may worsen an underlying illness, such as heart disease, and death results from the subsequent illness. In addition, by the time someone whose illness began with influenza gets to hospital, or dies, no evidence is apparent that the individual had influenza.
As a result, estimates of the number of deaths resulting from influenza epidemics are based on the number of deaths from all causes occurring during a period when influenza is circulating in the community, from which is subtracted the total number of deaths that would have been expected to have occurred in the absence of on influenza epidemic. This is generally referred to as the number of excess deaths due to influenza.
|Estimated excess deaths due to influenza in England and Wales|
|Influenza season||Number of excess deaths|
|Uptake in those aged 65 and over (Percentage)|
Epidemic years have been classified as those in which "higher than average seasonal activity" has occurred. Since 1979, the following seasons would be classified as epidemic using this definition: 1989-90, 1993-94, 1996-97, 1998-99 and 1999-2000.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 1223W, on influenza pandemic, whether any of the stockpile of A/H5N1 vaccines have been used; at what cost the stockpile was purchased; and what the shelf-life of the vaccine is. 
Dawn Primarolo: None of the current stockpile of H5N1 vaccine has been used. The stockpile was purchased at a cost of £33.4 million. Vaccine from two different manufacturers has been stockpiled. Vaccine from one manufacturer has a shelf life of two years and the vaccine from the other has a shelf life of 12 months, and is subject to on-going stability testing by the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control and the manufacturers.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is shown in the following table. The reduction in mental health bed numbers reflects the increasing provision by the national health service in England of treatment for patients with mental health conditions in primary care and community settings, without the need for hospital admissions.
|Average daily beds available for acute mental health services in the national health service in England|
| Source: Department of Health form KH03.|
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in England with mental health problems were prescribed (a) drug and (b) psychological treatment in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Around 7 million adults in England have a common mental health problem, with approximately 90 per cent. of these people being treated in primary care. However, information is not collected centrally about diagnoses for any condition in primary care, so reliable data are not available about the number of people who receive, or have received specific treatments, including those with mental health problems who have been prescribed drug treatments or psychological therapies.
We know that there is a significant level of unmet need for people suffering with depression and/or anxiety disorders. This is why the Government announced on 10 October their commitment to building a new psychological therapy service, with additional investment rising to £170 million over the next three years. By 2011, this service will help to treat 900,000 more people with depression, who would otherwise not have been treated.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many representations his Department received from the voluntary sector about mental illness in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department is committed to working with all mental health stakeholders. The voluntary and community sector has had and continues to have a positive role in both helping to shape policy and its implementation, and in delivering services to people with mental illness.
|(1) 87 per cent. complete.|
Information on suicides by people in contact with mental health services is collected by the National Confidential Inquiry (NCI) into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. The NCI is funded by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) to ensure that everyone involved in mental health services learns and implements lessons from the factors associated
with serious mental illness. The Department has been and remains committed to taking appropriate action in response to the inquiry's findings.
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