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18 Dec 2007 : Column 1405Wcontinued
Dawn Primarolo: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 662W.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to exempt those on low incomes from liability for prescription charges. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Government will be inviting views shortly on possible options for changes to prescription charges that are cost neutral to the national health service.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have applied to pay for a prepayment prescription certificate by direct debit since this payment method was introduced in July 2007. 
Dawn Primarolo: The prescription pricing division of the National Health Service Business Services Authority, who administer the prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) arrangements for the Department, received 69,675 applications to purchase a 12-month PPC through direct debit instalments during the period 1 July to 30 November 2007.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the percentage of patients who have applied for a pre-payment prescription certificate (PPC) who are first-time PPC purchasers. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Prescription Pricing Division of the National Health Service Business Services Authority estimates that around 63 per cent. of the applications to purchase a prescription pre-payment certificate during November 2007, were not generated from a previously held record.
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people received continuing care in England during (a) 2003, (b) 2004, (c) 2005, (d) 2006 and (e) 2007, broken down by primary care trust. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 11 December 2007]: The information requested has been placed in the Library.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the food industry on the relationship between provision of information on sugar, salt and fat content of processed foods and individuals ability to manage diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity and other chronic medical conditions; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Department regularly engages with food manufacturers and retailers at ministerial and official level to discuss this issue.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to improve the effectiveness of multi disciplinary teams working in the field of prostate cancer; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: In 2002, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published Improving Outcomes in Urological Cancers.
This guidance sets out recommendations on how services for patients with urological cancers, including prostate cancer, should be organised in order to ensure the best outcomes. In particular, the guidance sets out recommendations on the organisation and membership of urological cancer multi-disciplinary teams (MDT).
Strategic health authorities have submitted action plans to demonstrate how they will implement this guidance. The Department and the Healthcare Commission monitor progress against these plans.
The National Cancer Action Team has also funded Leeds teaching hospitals NHS trust to develop and run a pilot programme to enhance MDT working and improve the quality of surgical techniques available to prostate cancer patients.
Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the adequacy of bed numbers in psychiatric wards in Wirral; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: The number of available and occupied beds for the specialties of mental illness and learning disabilities at the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been set out in the following table:
|Total||Mental illness||Learning disabilities|
| Source: DH Form KH03|
Not everybody who needs care for a mental health related problem needs a psychiatric bedeven in an emergency. We have developed a range of alternatives to in-patient acute beds. These include new models of practice, robust care pathways and supported accommodation or respite care in ordinary settings.
In-patient psychiatric activity has fallen over time as we have established more than 700 new mental health teams providing community based care as an alternative to acute in-patient care.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to combat the spread of sexually transmitted infections. 
Dawn Primarolo: Tackling the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections is a top priority. We are making excellent progress towards offering people an appointment at a genito-urinary medicine clinic within 48 hours, have established the national Chlamydia screening programme, and launched an innovative media campaign aimed at those at highest risk.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been diagnosed with a sickle cell disease through the National Newborn Screening Programme, broken down by (a) region, (b) primary care trust and (c) constituency. 
Ann Keen: Information is not available by primary care trust or constituency.
Data by new strategic health authority (SHA) for 2005-06, where they are available, and for England as a whole for 2005-06, are given as follows from the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme. These are the rates of screen positive results for significant sickle cell disease detected per 1,000 newborn screening tests undertaken. Not all sites were providing newborn screening for the full year.
|Sickle Cell diseasescreen positive rates per 1,000 newborn screening tests undertaken|
|n/a = Not available|
Significant sickle cell disorders included in these figures are Sickle Cell AnaemiaHb SS, Sickle Haemoglobin C DiseaseHb SC, Sickle Haemoglobin D DiseaseHb SD, Sickle Beta Thalassaemia DiseaseHb S/b thalassaemia (b+, b(0), db, Lepore), Sickle O Arab DiseaseHb SO(Arab), and Sickle and hereditary persistence of fetal haemoglobinHb S/HPFH.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the allocation of the social care reform grant will be to each local authority for each of the next three years. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding he has made available for research into tinnitus; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given on 12 September 2007, Official Report, column 2084W, to the hon. Member for North-West Leicestershire (David Taylor).
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to reply to the letter of 22 October from the right hon. Member for Banff and Buchan on the Unicef UK baby friendly initiatives. 
Dawn Primarolo: A reply was issued on 12 December 2007.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what resources his Department has made available to the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation to promote compliance with its guidance in the NHS. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Department does not make resources available to the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) for compliance with its guidance in the national health service. The role of JCVI is to advise the Secretaries of State for Health, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on matters relating to communicable diseases, preventable and potentially preventable through immunisation. However, the Department does provide information materials to the NHS which reflect JCVI agreed advice.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has given to the NHS on implementation of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation guidance. 
Dawn Primarolo: The role of Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) is to advise the Secretaries of State for Health, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on matters relating to communicable diseases, preventable and potentially preventable through immunisation. The Department's guidance based on JCVI advice is issued to the national health service through various information channels such as the chief medical officer letters, chief executives bulletin, the guide Immunisation against infectious disease, websites and a range of NHS immunisation leaflets.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons (a) Blackburn with Darwen Primary Care Trust, (b) East Lancashire Primary Care Trust and (c) Milton Keynes Primary Care Trust did not submit COVER reports in the second quarter of 2007; and when each primary care trust (i) last submitted a COVER report and (ii) will next submit a COVER report. 
The Health Protection Agency has informed the Department that both Blackburn with Darwen PCT and East Lancashire PCT were unable to
submit data due to staffing problems. The reason that Milton Keynes PCT did not send a COVER return is not known. All three PCTs provided data for the previous (January to March 2007) quarter and have submitted data for the June to September 2007, due to be published at the end of the month.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of the money available under the Big Lottery Fund Childrens Play initiative has been (a) committed and (b) spent. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The following figures reflect the proportion of money which has been committed and spent under the Big Lottery Funds childrens play initiative in England.
|Programme name||Current value (committed)||Total paid to date (spent)|
The total money available for the Childrens Play initiative is £155 million. The Big Lottery Fund has committed 88 per cent. of the total available and expect to commit all funds under the play initiative by September 2008.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many full-time equivalent press officers the Big Lottery Fund employs; and how many of those are based in its (a) London headquarters, (b) regional offices and (c) offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Big Lottery Fund currently employ eight full-time press officers. Five in England, one in Scotland, one in Northern Ireland and one in Wales. There are no press officers in regional offices.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many full-time equivalent press officers were employed in his Department in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: There are 11 full-time equivalent press officers employed by the DCMS.
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