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18 Dec 2007 : Column 1400W—continued

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons an EU-wide legal framework for organ donation has been proposed. [173002]

Ann Keen: A European Union Commission analysis of organ donation and transplantation across EU member states has revealed large differences in organ donor rates and transplant activity. On 31 May 2007 the EU Commission adopted a communication on
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organ donation and transplantation proposing two mechanisms. Firstly an action plan to encourage closer cooperation between member states sharing expertise to maximise organ donation and to optimise equity of access to transplantation. The Commission would also monitor organ trafficking and consider any necessary additional action. Secondly, it would put in place a legal framework that would establish the basic level of quality and safety for transplantation at community level.

Patients: Nutrition

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria are used by the Healthcare Commission for assessing adherence to core standards on food and nutritional care, as described on page 18 of his Department’s document, Improving Nutritional Care; and in what ways these criteria are new. [170064]

Ann Keen: Core standard C15 focuses on the provision of food in relation to choice, safety, balanced diet, nutrition, dietary requirements and access. As part of their self-declaration process the Healthcare Commission have published the following criteria for assessment of C15:



For the 2006-07 assessment year, there was only a minor clarification to the criteria the Healthcare Commission used for assessment purposes.

For the 2007-08 assessment year, the criteria dropped reference to the Better Hospital Food programme as the programme came to a close.

Pharmacy Regulation and Leadership Oversight Group: Finance

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding the Government will make available to the Pharmacy Regulation and Leadership Oversight Group in each of the next three financial years. [174012]

Dawn Primarolo: At the British Pharmaceutical Conference in September 2007, my hon. Friend the Minister of State, (Mr. Bradshaw), announced £3 million towards establishing the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). This will be allocated in two amounts across
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two financial years: £1.5 million in 2008-09 and £1.5 million in 2009-10. At present, there is no allocation for the financial year 2010-11. As part of its work, the Pharmacy Regulation and Leadership Oversight Group will advise Ministers on the financial considerations of establishing the GPhC.

Pharmacy: Personal Records

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how data are shared between pharmacists and the Prescription Pricing Division of the NHS Business Services Authority; and what medium is used to transmit the data; [174721]

(2) what encryption is used when sending data from pharmacists to the Prescription Pricing Division of the NHS Business Services Authority. [174722]

Dawn Primarolo: The prescription pricing division (PPD) of the NHS Business Services Authority currently uses the paper prescription forms received for reimbursement and remuneration purposes only.

PPD also receive prescription messages under Release 1 of the electronic prescription service (EPS) but no PPD processing takes place for reimbursement and remuneration purposes. Approximately 1.1 million messages have been received since August 2007, which are held for approximately 60 days then deleted. The service protects the confidentiality of the data received.

The data received through the EPS are encrypted under transport layer security termination and conform to the national health service cryptographic standards. The data are unencrypted at PPD and are processed through a secure batch processing system.

Post-natal Depression

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many mothers have been diagnosed with post-natal depression in each year since 1997 (a) one week, (b) one month and (c) one year after giving birth; and how many mother and baby beds are available in mental health units. [173283]

Ann Keen: Information about the number of mothers who were diagnosed with postnatal depression, within any given time period following birth, is not collected centrally. Accurate data are not available about overall mother and baby bed numbers.

Poultry Meat

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his Department's policy is on the addition of animal or vegetable proteins or other high nitrogen materials into chicken breasts; what assessment he has made of the effect of this practice on the accurate measurement of the amount of added water in the product; and if he will make a statement; [174921]

(2) what assistance the Food Standards Agency has (a) requested and (b) received from (i) the European Commission and (ii) the Dutch Government in relation to the use of added animal proteins in chicken breasts in the last five years. [174923]

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Dawn Primarolo: The production and labelling of meat products are regulated in law. European legislation places no limit on the addition of proteins of animal or vegetable origin. If proteins are added to chicken breast products they must be correctly described on the label so as not to mislead consumers.

Added water is calculated using methodology agreed at European level. The method was developed to take account of the addition of hydrolysed collagen protein and works well for the type of product that it was developed for. The need for further methodological development is kept under consideration.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has urged the European Commission to take action on the use of hydrolysed proteins from different animal species in poultry products, including in chicken breast products. The European Commission responded with a number of actions, including:

In relation to assistance from the Government of the Netherlands, adverse sampling and testing results on imported frozen chicken breasts with added water and protein from the Netherlands have been forwarded by the FSA during 2007 to the Dutch enforcement authorities. The Dutch authorities have taken action against the relevant company.

Prescription Drugs

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) pre-market launch and (b) post-market launch medicines are on which the National Prescribing Centre provides evaluated information; and which condition each treats. [175122]

Dawn Primarolo: The National Prescribing Centre publishes two newsletters on its website to assist the national health service in managing the introduction of new medicines. “On the Horizon—Future Medicines” contains information on selected medicines prior to launch, and “On the Horizon—Post-Launch Update” provides information on selected medicines after they have been launched in the United Kingdom.

The following tables show topics and indications from both publications from April 2005 to December 2007.

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Pre-market launch medicines
Topic Indication



Adjunct to surgery for Duke’s C colon cancer


Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis


Early hormone-responsive breast cancer




Age-related macular degeneration


Adjuvant treatment of HER2 positive early breast cancer


Irritable bowel syndrome


Chronic iron overload


Smoking cessation




Sitagliptin and Vildagliptin

Type 2 diabetes


Advanced non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer


Chronic hepatitis B

Continuous erythropoietin receptor activator (CERA)

Anaemia of chronic kidney disease



April 2007 to date


Treatment of high uric acid levels in gout


Prevention of blood clots after orthopaedic surgery




Pain due to diabetic neuropathy

Rivaroxaban (in production)

Prevention of blood clots after orthopaedic surgery

National Prescribing Centre: On the Horizon—Future Medicines

Post-market launch medicines
Topic Indication


Inhaled insulin

Type 1 diabetes


Multiple sclerosis




Smoking cessation

April 2007 to date


Type 2 diabetes

Vildagliptin (in production)

Type 2 diabetes

National Prescribing Centre: On the Horizon—Post-launch Update

Prescription Drugs: Side Effects

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) estimate he has made of and (b) research he has (i) commissioned and (ii) evaluated on the number of patients who have had adverse reactions to medicines due to (A) prescription and (B) use after the use-by date; and if he will make a statement. [171910]

Dawn Primarolo: The data collected on suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) through the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) Yellow Card Scheme do not record whether the drug suspected to have caused an adverse reaction was received by prescription or if the drug was used after the use-by date.

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No research into the numbers of patients who experience ADRs from medicines received by prescription or use of medicines after the use-by date has been commissioned by the MHRA.


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 3 December 2007, Official Report, column 1013W, on prescriptions, what operational issues were discussed. [175051]

Dawn Primarolo: Since January this year, a representative but not exhaustive list of the operational issues discussed at the monthly departmental meetings with the prescription pricing division of the National Health Service Business Services Authority, have been the performance report, the business plan, the capacity improvement programme, information services and the electronic prescription service.

Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of prescription items were dispensed free of charge in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. [174795]

Dawn Primarolo: The information centre for health and social care’s “Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community Statistics for 1996 to 2006: England” published in July 2007 shows that 88 per cent. of prescription items were dispensed in the community in England with no charge paid at the point of dispensing.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the 18 to 60-year-old population is not required to pay prescription charges. [174796]

Dawn Primarolo: Data are collected on the number of items dispensed and, when free of charge, the reason for the exemption. It is not possible to answer this question because prescription data on individuals are not collected.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the levels of awareness of the NHS Low Income Scheme among people likely to be entitled to such help. [174798]

Dawn Primarolo: The Prescription Pricing Division of the National Health Service Business Services Authority, which is responsible for publicising the prescription charging arrangements in England including the NHS low income scheme, takes every opportunity to publicise the arrangements. This includes regular mailings to all pharmacies, general practitioner (GP) dispensing practices and all other GP practices.

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals his Department has made to raise patients' awareness of prescription prepayment certificates. [175261]

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