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Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of foetal alcohol syndrome were diagnosed in (a) England and (b) each English region in each of the last five years. [186444]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not collected centrally.

Food: Allergies

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will revise the guidance given in the Food Standards Agency publication, “The Provision of Allergen Information for Non-Pre-Packed Foods”, to extend the distribution of such information beyond those consumers who request it. [185980]

Dawn Primarolo: The guidance on the provision of allergen information in foods sold non-prepacked was introduced because eating out is recognised to be a high-risk situation for allergic consumers. The aim of the guidance is to increase awareness of food allergy issues in food businesses so that, should they be asked, they can provide accurate information on the allergens in the foods they sell, both deliberate ingredients and from the potential for accidental cross-contamination. By raising awareness of allergy issues it is hoped that businesses, such as caterers, will be able to provide this information pro-actively to customers.

The guidance was issued as best practice to reflect the practical issues, raised during the public consultation, for small businesses in this part of the food sector in providing this information on a statutory basis. The European Union has recently issued a proposal on food labelling following a review of the existing legislation, that includes strengthening the requirements to provide allergen information in this sector. There will be a full public consultation on this proposal prior to negotiations.

Food: Labelling

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps (a) his Department and (b) the Food Standards Agency is taking to monitor compliance with the voluntary guidance on the provision of information on food allergens on non-prepacked food for the purposes of improving consumer confidence. [186624]

Dawn Primarolo: Due to the voluntary nature of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidance, compliance will not be monitored. However, the FSA will be monitoring the awareness and uptake of the guidance package by food business operators.

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Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had on the standards of labelling of food allergens in food imported from non-EU countries; and if he will make a statement. [186632]

Dawn Primarolo: No discussions have been held on the standards of allergen labelling on foods imported from outside the European Union (EU). All food products imported from non-EU countries are required to comply with the requirements of the European labelling legislation, including the provisions on the labelling of allergenic ingredients. These provisions are implemented through the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 as amended.

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Food Standards Agency guidance on cross-contamination of foodstuffs contained in the provision of allergens information for non pre-packed foods. [186633]

Dawn Primarolo: No assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the cross-contamination information contained within the guidance because the main aim of the Food Standards Agency guidance is to raise awareness of allergens in the non pre-packed foods sector. The guidance focuses on deliberate ingredients as these present the greatest risk for allergic consumers. However, cross- contamination is highlighted in the guidance as an additional factor to consider when answering queries from allergic consumers.

General Practitioners: York

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average remuneration per general practitioner was in City of York constituency in (a) the most recent period for which figures are available and (b) each of the previous 10 years. [187186]

Mr. Bradshaw: Data on average general practitioner (GP) pay by individual primary care trusts and at national level are not available in the format requested.

Information on average GP net profits was determined at United Kingdom level only until 2001-02. However, since 2002-03 information on average GP pay has been available on a country basis (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) as well as at Great Britain/UK level.

The following table provides the latest available average GP net profit from 1997 to 2005-06 as agreed with the Technical Steering Committee which is a UK- wide committee incorporating representatives from all UK Health Departments, the NHS Confederation and the British Medical Association.

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Average GP pay since 1997
Amount (£) Increase over previous year (percentage)




























(1) Not applicable as a new data series started this year
1. Figures for 1997-98 to 2001-02 inclusive are for national health service income only in Great Britain (GB).
2. Figures for 2002-03 onwards are for all sources of income, including private, but for 2002-03 is for GB and for 2003-04 onwards are for the UK. The figures do not include earnings of those doctors working as salaried employees.
Information Centre for health and social care.

Health Services: Private Sector

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role his Department has in (a) monitoring and regulating and (b) securing patients' interests in takeovers of NHS services by private health care companies. [186935]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 18 February 2008]: The Department's role in relation to the involvement of private health care companies in providing national health service services is to establish the conditions and rules to ensure that such involvement is in the interests of patients, the public and taxpayers. The Department does not directly regulate or monitor private companies' involvement in specific local services.

It is for primary care trusts (PCTs), the local leaders of the NHS, to commission an appropriate range of high-quality health care services to meet the needs of their population. In circumstances where existing services are not of the required quality, or where new services are needed, PCTs may decide to procure alternatives from other NHS organisations or from the private sector or the third sector. Strategic health authorities ensure that PCTs carry out their commissioning role effectively, and in line with the principles and rules for competition established by the Department.

The Healthcare Commission is responsible for regulating independent sector providers and assessing NHS providers.

Hospitals: Food

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to improve the quality and nutritional value of hospital food for children. [186738]

Ann Keen: The Department produced, in 2003, a guidance document entitled ‘Catering Services for Children and Young Adults’, which was designed to assist national health service trusts in providing appropriate catering services for these groups of patients. Decisions relating to the implementation of the guidance, or any parts of it, are a matter for individual trusts. A copy of the guidance document has been placed in the Library.

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Human Papilloma Virus: Vaccination

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to issue guidance to primary care trusts on (a) the delivery of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccinations and (b) the consent required for administering the HPV vaccination; whether he plans to recommend a school-based delivery programme; and if he will make a statement. [185342]

Dawn Primarolo: Guidance on the implementation of the human papilloma virus (HPV) immunisation programme will be issued to the national health service and others through various information channels such as the Chief Medical Officer Letters, Chief Executives Bulletin, the guide “Immunisation against infectious disease” (the ‘Green Book’), websites and a range of NHS immunisation leaflets when all the appropriate information becomes available. A national conference for primary care trusts (PCTs) was held in October on the HPV vaccination programme. A second conference is planned, and a range of supporting resources is being made available on the website as they are developed.

The principles for consent for HPV vaccination are the same as those for other childhood vaccination, and are covered in Chapter 2 of the “Immunisation against Infectious Disease”.

Introduction of a HPV immunisation programme to routinely vaccinate girls aged 12 to 13 years of age against cervical cancer will start in September 2008 and a two-year catch up campaign will start in autumn 2009, for girls up to 18 years. PCTs will plan how to deliver the vaccination programme locally, and the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that HPV vaccination would be most efficiently delivered through schools.

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether parental consent will be necessary for the administration of the human papilloma virus vaccine to children; and what guidance his Department has given on the steps to be taken should a child request the vaccine and the parent withhold consent. [186124]

Dawn Primarolo: The principles for consent for human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination are the same as those for other childhood vaccination, and are covered in chapter 2 of the “Immunisation against Infectious Disease”. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library and is also available on the Department’s website at:

A range of information materials to support the HPV vaccination programme are being prepared and will be distributed in due course.

Incontinence: Medical Equipment

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions he has had with officials at the (a) Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and (b) Office of Fair Trading on the implications of reducing reimbursement prices for stoma and incontinence products to below cost; [185698]

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(2) if he will issue guidance to dispensing appliance contractors on how to prioritise those patients who should receive a stoma customisation service in the event of a volume cap being placed on this service. [185702]

Dawn Primarolo: During the course of this review there have been meetings with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform—formerly the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Lord Sainsbury represented the DTI. These covered all aspects of the review, including reimbursement for items.

There have been no discussions with the Office of Fair Trading specifically about the potential impact of the proposed reimbursement for items, although it is aware of the review taking place.

It is premature to decide if any guidance should be issued to dispensing appliance contractors regarding any aspect of the proposed service provision, as the review is ongoing.

Infant Foods: Fluoride

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) with reference to his answer of 17 September 2007, Official Report, column 2209W, on infant foods: fluoride, whether his Department has completed its evaluation of advice issued by the American Dental Association that fluoridated water should not be used to make up powdered infant formula because of the risk of dental fluorosis; and if he will publish that evaluation; [185732]

Fluoride: Drinking Water

(2) what proportion of the population have dental fluorosis; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of the population likely to have dental fluorosis in areas where the public water supply is fluoridated. [185937]

Ann Keen: Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic effect with no implications for systemic (general) health. It may nevertheless, in a small minority of cases, give people concerns about the appearance of their teeth. A research project reported in the British Dental Journal (volume 189 No 4 August 26 2000) on the prevalence of fluorosis of children who had been continuous residents in fluoridated Newcastle or non-fluoridated Northumberland found that 54 per cent. of children in water fluoridated areas had fluorosis and 23 per cent. in the fluoride deficient areas. In response to the advice from the American Dental Association, we are to investigate the aesthetic impact of fluorosis. We are funding a research project involving the use of intra-oral cameras and automated software to obtain consistent readings in surveys of levels of dental fluorosis. If, as we expect, the project is successful, the researchers will use the photographs to obtain the views of a representative sample of people on the appearance of teeth with fluorosis at different levels of severity.

Macular Degeneration: Wirral

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the incidence of macular degeneration in Wirral West constituency has been in the last five years; and what plans he has to screen those over 60 for the disease. [185850]

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Ann Keen: The information requested is not collected centrally. There are no plans to introduce screening at this time.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust: Pay

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what powers he has to (a) prevent and (b) limit the payment of severance pay to the former Chief Executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust; and whether his Department has prevented or limited the severance payment to the former Chief Executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust; [181830]

(2) on what grounds he determined that the severance payment to the former Chief Executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust should not be made. [183905]

Ann Keen: The employment of staff, clinicians and managers within the national health service is a matter for local NHS boards. Secretaries of State have power to give directions to NHS trusts about their exercise of any functions, which may include the making of payments to staff. This power could still be relevant to any matters outstanding regarding severance payments.

In the case of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells we asked the NHS trust to withhold any severance payment to the former chief executive prior to considering legal advice on the matter. We understand that the trust has since taken legal advice on this matter, and following that advice, has issued a statement that the former chief executive will be paid her legal entitlement of six months salary.

Maternity Services

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government have taken to improve maternity services since 1997. [183842]

Ann Keen [holding answer 19 February 2008]: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him on 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1390W. Also on 25 January 2008, we announced extra funding for maternity services for each of the next three years, totalling £330 million. This will ensure that mothers will get the best possible care and will be guaranteed a full range of choices. Trusts will have access to this additional money from April.

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