Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department recognises that we all now live in a multicultural, multi-faith society. The Department is committed to recognising the needs of patients and staff of diverse religious groups, and to responding sensitively and appropriately to these needs.
As part of a series of guides to support the national health service in complying with existing and forthcoming public sector duties on equalities, the Department has commissioned guidance for the NHS on religion and belief which will be published in April 2008 and once available will be placed in the Library. This guidance will outline examples of good practice and feature case studies from NHS organisations that are working towards achieving equality in treatment of patients from diverse religious backgrounds.
The NHS has been committed for some time to the recognition of the needs of patients and staff of diverse religious groups. Guidance on meeting the spiritual needs of patients and staff has been in place since 1992 and states that:
The NHS should, where necessary, make every effort to provide for the spiritual needs of patients and staff. As far as reasonably possible, this provision should recognise the welfare needs of both Christians and non-Christians.
In November 2003 the Department published NHS Chaplaincy: Meeting the Religious and Spiritual needs of Patients and Staff, which aims to ensure that NHS chaplaincy services reflect the religious diversity of the communities the NHS serves. This guidance was developed with advice from the Multi-Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy, an independent group, which includes representatives from nine faith communities. A copy of the guidance has been placed in the Library and is also available on the Departments website at:
In December 2007 the Department published a leaflet entitled Going to Hajj or Umrah? This leaflet explains and offers advice on some of the risks concerning meningitis for travellers to the Muslim pilgrimage.
This commitment was strengthened further in September 2007, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the Department will publish a comprehensive strategy in 2008 for reducing health inequalities that will address unjustified gaps in health status and ensure fair access to national health service services for everyone and good outcomes of care for all.
The current cross-Government national health inequalities strategy, Tackling Health Inequalities: A Programme for Action is in place to deliver the 2010 health inequalities target to narrow the gap in infant mortality, by social class, and life expectancy at birth, by geographical area.
A review of the infant mortality element of the 2010 target, published in February 2007, will help improve delivery of local services to disadvantaged populations by working in partnership with local government and others. An implementation plan and good practice guide to promote the findings of the review was published in December 2007.
Health inequalities are a key priority for the NHS as set out in the NHS operating framework 2008-09. Incentives for the NHS and local authorities have been aligned with the same health inequalities indicators in both the NHS operating framework 2008-09Vital Signs and the New Performance Framework for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships: Single Set of National Indicators.
Joint Strategic Needs Assessment supports primary care trusts (PCTs) and local authorities to develop a whole health and social care system, which meets the needs of local people and takes account of inequalities, and Communities for Health is a local authority-led initiative focused on health improvement and reducing health inequalities by promoting action across local organisations, including all Spearheads.
The Department is also providing tailored, intensive, assistance to areas that face the biggest challenges in delivering the 2010 target. We have established national support teams on health inequalities and on tobacco control and smoking cessation that will disseminate best practice across areas with high infant mortality rates and Spearhead areasthe local authority areas with the worst health and deprivation indicators and PCTs which map to them.
The Department and the Association of Public Health Observatories have developed the interactive Health Inequalities Intervention Tool. Launched in August 2007, the tool helps local health services and councils improve life expectancy in Spearhead areas.
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many letters his Department has received from users of stoma and urology products commenting on the proposed changes to Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of stoma and incontinence appliances and related services to primary care in the last three months. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 14 March 2008]: The Department has received over 2,100 letters and e-mails concerning part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of stoma and incontinence appliances and related services to primary care since 12 December 2007. However, the Department can supply the number of these that were specifically from users of stoma and urology products only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 5 February 2008, Official Report, column 1078W, on influenza, whether the final uptake data for the season 2007-08 seasonal influenza campaign are now available. 
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the number of (a) serious and (b) fatal accidental injuries sustained by children in 2007; and what estimate he has made of the number of these which were the result of participation in sport; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of serious injuries arising from playing rugby that resulted in (a) quadriplegia, (b) paraplegia, (c) concussion, (d) ligament damage and (e) fractures in males aged (i) 12 to 15 and (ii) over 16-years-old, broken down by region, in 2007. 
Dawn Primarolo: Information on serious and fatal accidental injuries for 2007 would normally be provided by the Office for National Statistics but is not yet available. Information is not collected centrally on serious and fatal accidental injuries that result from participation in sport including rugby.
|Emergency incidents: response times by ambulance service and category A call, in North West Ambulance trust 2006-07
Form KA34, the Information Centre for health and social care.
|Emergency incidents: response times by ambulance service and category B call in the North West, 2006-07
For 2006-07 the 14/19 minute response times were dropped with the urban/rural split and replaced with 19 minutes for all trusts.
Form KA34, the Information Centre for health and social care.
Dawn Primarolo: It would not be appropriate for the Department to publish these. However, we understand that Moorfields eye hospital would, on request from my hon. Friend, send him a copy of the guidelines they use in assessing cases of age related macular degeneration before applying to primary care trusts for funding.
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the occupancy rates of (a) medium and (b) high security mental health beds were in each mental health trust in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information is not available in the form requested. Data are collected on the numbers of mental health and learning disability secure unit beds, available and occupied, in NHS units. The data are not broken down by mental health trusts and do not include independent sector beds.
|Average daily number of mental health and learning disability secure unit beds in NHS units
|n/a = not available
(1 )The definitions of Mental Health and Learning Disability Secure Unit Beds, for the purposes of the KH03 annual beds collection, are:
Mental illnessother ages, Secure unit
An Age Group Intended of National Code 8 Any age, a Broad Patient Group Code of National Code 5 Patients with mental illness and a Clinical Care Intensity of National Code 51 for intensive care: specially designated ward for patients needing containment and more intensive management. This is not to be confused with intensive nursing where a patient may require one to one nursing while on a standard ward.
Learning disabilitiesother ages, Secure unit
An Age Group Intended of National Code 8 Any age, a Broad Patient Group Code of National Code 6 Patients with learning difficulties and a Clinical Care Intensity of National Code 61 designated or interim secure unit.
(1)( )Department of Health Dataset KH03.
|Number of high secure beds commissioned by NHS
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children (a) aged around 13 months and (b) immediately before starting school were given the MMR vaccine in each of the last five years. 
Dawn Primarolo: Information about the uptake of MMR immunisations and other childhood immunisations is published annually. The latest information is contained in the Statistical Bulletin NHS Immunisation Statistics, England: 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07. Copies of 2004-05 and 2005-06 bulletins are available in the Library. Copies of 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2006-07 bulletins have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what percentage of calls to NHS Direct were referred to (a) 999, (b) accident and emergency, (c) an out-of-hours GP service, (d) self-care, (e) a pharmacy and (f) another service in each quarter since January 2003. 
|NHS DirectSorting of clinical calls
|Accident and Emergency
|General practitioner (GP)( 1)
|Self Care( 2)
|(1) Includes all GP referrals
(2) category includes referral to a pharmacy