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Darzi Review

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many civil servants are employed on Lord Darzi's review of the future of the NHS; [180335]

(2) when he expects to publish Lord Darzi's final report on the future of the NHS. [180336]

Ann Keen: The national health service Next Stage Review is core business for all civil servants in the Department. The final report will be published in June.

Drugs: Durham

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what facilities exist for the treatment and rehabilitation of those on addictive drugs in (a) the county of Durham and (b) Easington constituency. [182660]

Dawn Primarolo: The information is not held centrally but can instead be obtained from the County Durham Primary Care Trust.

Hearing Impaired

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of trends in the incidence of hearing loss in the adult population in the last 10 years. [178756]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has made no assessments of the trends in the incidence of hearing loss in the adult population in the last 10 years.

Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much of the additional £270 million that he has allocated to tackle healthcare associated infections by 2010-11 will be available in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. [179117]

Ann Keen: The Department will provide £80 million in funding in 2008-09, £200 million in 2010-11 and £270 million in 2010-11, a total of £550 million of additional funding over three years, to support the strategy to improve infection prevention and control and improve cleanliness in the national health service.

For elements of the strategy which require local investments by a primary care trust (PCTs) or trusts, the funding will be reflected in future PCT allocations and tariff uplifts. PCT allocations and the national tariff have been issued for 2008-09 and will be issued for 2009-10 and 2010-11 in due course.

Hospitals: Standards

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking in relation to hospitals which are not meeting the Government’s core standards on the care of older patients. [177052]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: National health service organisations are expected to adhere to core standards in their treatment of all patients, as assessed by the Healthcare Commission (HCC). When the HCC find that services are not meeting
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core standards, it may refer serious failure to the Secretary of State (or for foundation trusts, Monitor) with a recommendation that special measures may be taken. This option is rarely exercised because trust managers and, where appropriate, the strategic health authority (SHA) are expected to act as soon as a failure to reach a core standard is recognised.

75 per cent. of all inpatients are older people. Many elderly patients find mixed sex accommodation distressing as it reduces their privacy. The 2008-09 Operating Framework sets out an expectation that primary care trusts (PCTs), which are responsible for working with healthcare providers to agree and implement plans for improving services, will set stretching local plans for improvement in performance in reducing mixed sex accommodation. The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement published guidance in December 2007 to help NHS healthcare providers adhere to the requirements of their local PCTs. The guidance clarifies that single-sex accommodation can be provided in single-sex wards, single rooms with adjacent single-sex toilet and washing facilities (preferably en-suite), or single-sex bays within mixed wards.

Where patient survey scores are available, monitoring should be based on seeking specific improvements in these scores in the next survey. SHAs are responsible for the assurance of these processes and for the performance management of NHS trusts.


Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his statement of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 1499, on obesity, how healthy towns will be selected; and what process towns will have to follow to apply for designation as healthy towns. [182951]

Dawn Primarolo: The criteria and process for towns to apply for designation to become healthy towns are being developed by the Department of Health, Children, Schools and Families and Communities and Local Government, and will be announced in due course.

Prescriptions: Income

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was received in prescription charges for drugs prescribed for (a) cancer, (b) cystic fibrosis, (c) Parkinson's Disease, (d) asthma patients and (e) colitis and Crohn's Disease patients in 2006-07. [182890]

Dawn Primarolo: The information is not held in the format requested.


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on what progress has been made with the Choosing Health White Paper including the delivery of alternative routes and the expansion of choice available to smokers. [183151]

Dawn Primarolo: Smokers who want to quit with the support of the national health service now have a wide range of options available. There are over 150 local NHS Stop Smoking Services across England that offer a range of free services in different settings. Stop smoking pharmaceutical aids, including nicotine replacement therapy, are available in many different
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formats on prescription and can be accessed by young smokers. Smokers can also quit with free support from the NHS Smoking Helpline and Together Programme which provide information, advice and motivation by telephone, email, post or by text message at key moments during the smoker’s quitting process. The NHS Pregnancy Smoking Helpline and the Asian Tobacco Helpline are also in operation. The NHS makes a wide range of printed materials available on quitting smoking, and the NHS Go Smokefree website at has information and tools to support smokers to quit, and the location of NHS Stop Smoking Services across England.

While the United Kingdom is recognised as a world leader in the provision of stop smoking support, the Department closely monitors international developments in this area. Pilot projects are planned for 2008 to develop new forms of NHS support for smokers who want to quit.

Tranquilisers: Rehabilitation

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many involuntary tranquiliser addicts have been successfully withdrawn by NHS treatment in each year since 1998. [183072]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 31 January 2008]: The information requested is not available.

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Innovation, Universities and Skills

Higher Education: Admissions

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much has been spent through (a) Aimhigher, (b) bursaries paid out by universities from fee income, (c) the higher education funding councils and (d) other public spending on widening access to university in each year since 2001. [182645]

Bill Rammell: This Government remain fully committed to widening access to higher education for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Widening access requires long term investment and change across the higher education system. We have reformed student finance, reintroducing grants and raising the income threshold at which repayments start. No one is required to pay a contribution to their higher education up-front. These reforms, together with Aimhigher, have been instrumental in bringing about progress. The proportion of UK domiciled, young, full time, first degree entrants to English higher education institutions who were from lower socio-economic groups rose from 27.9 per cent. in 2002/03 to 29.1 per cent. in 2005/06.

Expenditure from 2001-02 to date on widening access is as follows:

£ million
2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Aimhigher and predecessors(1,2)








Regional Projects(3)



Student support(4)








Widening participation allocation(5)








University bursaries and outreach(6)


Not yet available









(1 )The unified Aimhigher programme was introduced in 2004. Predecessor programmes were Excellence Challenge, funded by the then Department for Education and Skills, and Partnerships for Progression, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Aimhigher is funded jointly by DIUS, HEFCE, the LSC and the Department of Health.
(2) Excellence Challenge included Opportunity Bursaries. These were grants to eligible people from lower income families and were worth £2,000 over three years. From September 2001, 26,000 such bursaries were made available at a total cost of £37 million. With the wider reintroduction of grants in 2006, the Opportunity Bursary scheme was withdrawn.
(3 )Funded by HEFCE
(4) Includes student loans RAB charge, fee loans, student support grants, Maintenance Grant, HE Grant, grants for vulnerable students, tuition fee grants, grants for part-time students and access funds and bursaries. The student loans RAB charge estimates the future cost to Government of subsidising and writing off the student loans issued in that year; it does not represent the amount of cash lent to students, which has risen each year since the introduction of student loans.
(5) These figures also include the allocation to widen access and improve provision for disabled students.
(6) The Office for Fair Access forecasts that around £300 million annually will be spent by higher education providers on bursaries and scholarships benefiting students from low-income and other under-represented groups by the academic year 2008/09.
(7) In 2001-04, Aimhigher contributed £10 million a year towards the widening participation allocation. The figure given as the total for each of these years is therefore less than the sum of the parts to avoid double counting.

Students: Autism

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many people under 25 years with autism or Asperger’s syndrome are currently studying in universities. [180093]

Bill Rammell: In the 2006/07 academic year, 650 students under the age of 25 at Higher Education Institutions in England reported that they had Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Autistic Spectrum Disorder includes Asperger’s syndrome. Information separating Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome is not held centrally. Figures for the 2007/08 academic year will be available in January 2009.

International Development

Commission for Africa

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of whether the Government are on course to implement the recommendations made by the Commission for Africa for which it is responsible; and if he will make a statement. [181743]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Many of the recommendations of the Commission for Africa (CfA) were taken up by the G8 at Gleneagles and agreed as
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collective commitments, including on peace and security, good governance, human development, cancelling debt and promoting growth. To mark the first anniversary of the launch of the CfA report the Government published a detailed report on the UK’s contribution to taking forward the Commission’s recommendations and ensuring that the other G8 countries deliver on their Gleneagles commitments. The report was deposited in the Library of both Houses on 9 March 2006.

I made a written statement to the House on the Gleneagles commitments on 25 October 2007 ( This showed good progress by the international community on the majority of milestones the UK Government identified as important for the period December 2006 to July 2007, in particular new funding for health, education and infrastructure. The UK has substantially increased its own aid to underpin these efforts: DFID’s bilateral spending in Africa for 2007-08 is expected to reach £1.25 billion, up from £850 million in 2004-05.

Ethiopia: Money

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what currency transactions over the value of £25,000 were made by his Department where pounds sterling were changed into local currency in Ethiopia between 1 January and 30 June 2007. [178631]

Gillian Merron: The following transactions were made:

Value (£) Exchange rate Commission paid (£)

17 January 2007




23 March 2007




15 May 2007




Ghana: Money

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what currency exchanges over the value of £25,000 from sterling to the local currency in Ghana have been made by his Department in the last six months. [183209]

Gillian Merron: In the last six months DFID Ghana has made the following transfers from sterling into Ghana new cedis:

Value (£)

7 August 2007


13 September 2007


5 November 2007


12 December 2007


9 January 2008


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