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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the Ministers from his Department who will be (a) attending and (b) speaking at the Marie Stopes International Conference being held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on 23-24 October; whether his Department will be contributing (i) direct funding, (ii) informal support and (iii) personnel; whether there are restrictions on the use of these contributions; whether officials from his Department will (A) attend and (B) participate; if he will place in the Library any material produced for the conference by his Department; what discussions his Department has had with the Department for International Development on this conference; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: No Ministers from the Department of Health are attending or speaking at the Marie Stopes International Conference being held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on 23-24 October 2007.
Ministers from both the Department and the Department for International Development were invited to speak at the conference. There was correspondence between the Departments about attendance but due to business and travel pressures neither Minister was able to attend.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to allow the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to undertake appraisals of medicines prior to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency granting them a product licence. 
Dawn Primarolo: Under the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Single Technology Appraisal process, NICE can already start to conduct an appraisal of a medicine when its marketing authorisation is imminent. However, NICE is unable to publish its final guidance until the medicine has received its marketing authorisation.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential impact on health outcomes of instructions to consultants by primary care trusts to reduce by 40 per cent. follow-up appointments. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 15 October 2007]: We are not aware of any blanket instructions by primary care trusts (PCTs) to consultants to reduce follow-up by 40 per cent. As good practice we would expect PCTs to be working with primary and secondary care clinicians to identify areas where redesign of the patient pathway can eliminate clinically unnecessary appointments, thereby speeding up and improving the patient experience. But this must be taken forward on the basis of clinical appropriateness.
Dawn Primarolo: The Department does not issue formal guidance to national health service bodies on contributing to health awareness weeks. Participation by individual NHS organisations in such events is arranged at local level.
Where the Department is directly involved in organising awareness weeks, for example National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, it will promote the event to health care professionals and make resources available for use in local activities. For National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, the Department has provided resources such as posters and leaflets.
Where the Department supports awareness weeks organised by third parties it will work with major stakeholders to promote the event to health care professionals through newsletters and other existing channels.
(2) what estimate he has made of the savings achieved within the NHS by the Healthcare Purchasing Consortium in 2006-07; and what estimate he has made of the expected equivalent figure for 2007-08. 
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the numbers of herbal products currently on sale in the United Kingdom which will require registration under the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive if they are to remain on the market; by what date applications for registrations must be made to ensure continuity of supply; and by what date the products will become illegal if not successfully registered; 
(2) how many applications for registration have been received by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency; and how many positive decisions the Agency has taken to register herbal products under the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the number of herbal products which are likely to become unavailable to specialist retailers as a result of the inability or reluctance of manufacturers to submit applications for registration of such products under the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) what steps are being taken by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to maximise the opportunities afforded under the Traditional Herbal Medicines Products Directive and other legislation to allow the continued availability of long-established herbal products whilst maintaining appropriate safety standards. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has so far received applications for traditional herbal registration in relation to 29 products from a total of nine different companies. Five registrations have been granted and the other 24 applications are under assessment. In the light of discussions with individual companies, the MHRA expects steady growth in the number of applications received and registrations granted. The rate of build up of the scheme is reflective of the extent to which many companies needed to acquire expertise, for example in the manufacture of herbal medicines to systematic quality standards, before they could be in a position to submit applications.
Under provisions in Directive 2004/24 /EC, unlicensed herbal medicines legally on the United Kingdom market at 30 April 2004 under section 12(2) of the Medicines Act 1968 received transitional protection until 30 April 2011. Following discussions with industry and the former Better Regulation Task Force the MHRA decided not to require companies to notify the agency of products for which transitional protection was claimed. Accordingly, there is no estimate of the number of products on the UK market
being sold legally under section 12(2) but which cannot legally be placed on the market after 30 April 2011.
We do not believe it is realistic to specify a date by which applications need to be made in order to secure continuity of supply. Time taken by the MHRA to assess applications depends on a number of factors including the quality of the application and how quickly the applicant responds to queries raised by the MHRA. The MHRA is giving extensive help to the industry through individual company meetings. Guidance to industry has stressed the importance of companies progressing their applications now if they wish to ensure continuity of supply.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he was (a) informed and (b) given sight of the recent petition from Surrey residents on the future of hospital services in the county; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which industries he has deemed essential in the event of an influenza pandemic; and what support will be provided to them by the Government. 
Dawn Primarolo: Whether it would be necessary to consider particular industries as essential in the event of an influenza pandemic is kept under review. As part of that process we will consider the results of the public engagement programme, designed to increase the Government's understanding of public attitudes to pandemic preparedness, that is planned for autumn 2007.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what total expenditure was on research into pharmaceutical interventions for use in the event of an influenza pandemic from (a) his Department's research and development budget, (b) the Medical Research Council and (c) other sources of public funding in each year since 1997-98. 
Dawn Primarolo: Many pharmaceutical interventions that would be used in an influenza pandemic (such as antiviral drugs and antibiotics) are also used for other purposes, and research conducted for such purposes would inform our response in an influenza pandemic. Research on seasonal influenza vaccines is also relevant to the development and use of vaccines for use in pandemic influenza.
Over the last 10 years, the main part of the Department's total expenditure on health research has been devolved to and managed by national health service organisations. Details of individual NHS supported research projects including a number concerned with influenza are available on the national research register at:
Over the next five years, the Department of Health has committed, through the National Institute for Health Research, £2.59 million to projects related to vaccines and immunity in the context of influenza. In December 2005, the Medical Research Council announced a £13.5 million initiative for research relevant to pandemic influenza. A number of other publicly funded bodies also support research relevant to pandemic influenza.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Home Department on the 25 per cent. clinical attack rate assumed for planning purposes in the Home Office's consultation document Planning for a possible influenza pandemica framework to manage deathsconsultation, published on 30 August 2007; what his latest estimate is of the most likely clinical attack rate in the event of an influenza pandemic; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Department meets regularly with Home Office officials to discuss planning for pandemic influenza. The United Kingdom's plans are based on a range of attack rates from 25 per cent. up to a reasonable worst case of 50 per cent. This range is reflected in the draft Home Office guidance Planning for a possible influenza pandemicA framework for planners preparing to manage deaths.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in (a) each strategic health authority, (b) each primary care trust and (c) England will be eligible for the free influenza vaccine this winter; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: Data are not collected centrally for each strategic health authority or each primary care trust. We estimate that 14.2 million people are eligible for the influenza vaccine in England.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many influenza vaccination doses (a) are available and (b) will be available this winter to those eligible for the free winter influenza vaccine in each (i) strategic health authority, (ii) primary care trust and (iii) England; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many doses of influenza vaccination are available in 2007 for (a) strategic health authorities, (b) primary care trusts and (c) doctors surgeries to purchase this winter; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The UK Vaccine Industry Group has agreed to make over 15 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine available this winter for the United Kingdom. So far, over 4.4 million doses have been delivered. The information is not available by strategic health authority or primary care trust.
Dawn Primarolo: We announced our seasonal influenza campaign on 28 September, incorporating a number of strategies aimed at encouraging people aged 65 years and over to receive their flu immunisation. The campaign incorporates:
national TV advertising;
advertising in national and regional newspapers and magazines, including ethnic media;
advertising on pharmacy bags;
work with voluntary organisations and commercial stakeholders such as the Alzheimer's society, AFTAID, Arthritic Association, British Heart Foundation, Lloyds Pharmacy, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Superdrug and Morrison's pharmacists.
The Chief Medical Officer also wrote to all general practitioners with details of this year's flu vaccination programme in his letter of 30 March 2007. This provides surgeries with a number of months to plan their vaccination programme.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to issue guidance to NHS trusts on how they should prioritise their staff for receiving a pandemic-specific vaccine in the event of an influenza pandemic. 
Dawn Primarolo: The pandemic vaccination strategy will be determined by an assessment of the strength of the virus, and its impact on the population. As this assessment can only take place once the virus has emerged, specific advice on the vaccination of any part of the population, including health care workers, can only be issued at that point.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he will issue guidance to employers on the stockpiling of clinical counter-measures for use in an influenza pandemic, with reference to his letter sent to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire, dated 2 October 2007, reference PO00000234688. 
Dawn Primarolo: No central guidance has been issued to employers wishing to stockpile clinical countermeasures. Employers who are considering this as part of their business continuity planning should do so in conjunction with their own occupational health advisers. The National Framework for responding to an influenza pandemic includes information in relation to stockpiling and use of clinical countermeasures. Work is also progressing on testing a clinical algorithm/protocol as part of the process for providing access to antivirals.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was paid to Rose Gibb, the former chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust, upon the termination of her employment. 
Ann Keen [holding answer 16 October 2007]: The employment of staff, clinicians and managers within the national health service is a matter for local NHS Boards. In the case of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells we have asked the NHS trust to withhold any severance payment to the former chief executive prior to the Department considering legal advice on the matter.
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