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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 29 April 2008


Allergies: Consultants

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many consultant allergists there are in England per head of population; [202669]

(2) how many consultants specialising in allergies there are in England. [202670]

Ann Keen: The majority of patients with an allergy are treated in primary care. There are 18 consultant allergists in England. This equates to 0.04 per 100,000 population. There are also 444 consultant dermatologists, 58 consultant immunologists and 2,156 consultant paediatricians who treat patients with allergies.


Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people with autistic spectrum disorder have been detained under mental health legislation since the relevant provisions came into force. [200794]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not held centrally.

Autism: Diagnosis

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the frequency with which autistic spectrum disorder was misdiagnosed as a mental health condition, in the latest period for which figures are available; [200267]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of occasions on which a misdiagnosis of an autistic spectrum disorder led to an inappropriate prescription of psychoactive drugs in each of the last five years. [200268]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not held centrally.

The content of curricula of courses for health and social care professionals is a matter for a variety of independent professional and educational bodies such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Children: Health Services

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role health visitors will play in delivering the Child Health Promotion Programme; and what estimate he has made of the number of health visitors required to deliver the target outcomes of the programme. [200518]

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Ann Keen: Health visitors are central to delivering the Child Health Promotion Programme (CHPP). With expertise in children, families and public health, together with their background as nurses they are ideally placed to lead the delivery of CHPP in the community. The recent review into the future role of the health visitor, ‘Facing the Future’, recommended two roles for health visitors. One of the roles is to lead and deliver the CHPP for a defined population working across general practice and children's centres. The recently updated CHPP promotes the important role of the health visitor to commissioners and services providers.

It is the responsibility of local organisations to commission and develop services to respond to local needs, including the recruitment of health visitors. The operating framework for 2008-09 highlights the importance of children's services and the need for local organisations to commission and provide the necessary services and work force.

Chlamydia: Screening

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to have developed a national template for service specification for chlamydia screening through the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework; and what steps he will take to encourage primary care trusts to commission chlamydia screening as an advanced service. [201335]

Dawn Primarolo: The Sexual Health National Support Team (SH-NST) will be working closely with the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) to increase screening volumes. The SH-NST will also be working jointly with strategic health authorities to identify those areas facing the greatest challenge in commissioning services, to help drive up screening volumes. The Government plan to publish a national template later in 2008 to support primary care trusts’ commissioning of chlamydia screening from community pharmacies as part of the NCSP.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that recommendations for research into myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome set out in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines are met in respect of (a) the causes of the illness, (b) the clinical and cost effectiveness of intervention strategies and (c) identifying efficient ways to deliver domiciliary care for people who are severely affected. [201793]

Dawn Primarolo: Research recommendations made in National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines are considered on behalf of the Department by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme (HTA). The director of the HTA programme meets annually with NICE for this purpose. The next of these joint meetings will be held in September.

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Departmental Sustainable Development

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has adopted the Carbon Trust's Carbon Management Programme. [181317]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department started working with the Carbon Trust on the Carbon Management Programme last autumn. We are currently engaged in a tender exercise for the consultants who will work with us on the Programme.

Doctors: Pensions

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of the NHS pension abatement rules on doctors who have been obliged to retire on the grounds of disability and who are re-employed by the NHS on a part-time contract. [200910]

Ann Keen: Abatement is a common feature of public service pension schemes. It affects all members of the NHS Pension Scheme who receive an enhanced national health service pension funded by the scheme or their employer if they return to NHS employment. It continues until they are aged 60 for members of the 1995 scheme, or age 65 for those members of the 2008 scheme. It does not affect those who have retired on voluntary grounds with an actuarial reduction in their pension. Abatement will usually only affect those who earn more than 50 per cent. of their previous salary.

Eyes: Diseases

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what requirements his Department places on ophthamologists to maintain statistics to monitor the incidence of keratoconus. [200437]

Ann Keen: The majority of keratoconus patients will receive contact lenses or glasses from their optometrist or ophthalmic medical practitioner and will have their condition managed in the community.

The Department places no requirements on individual ophthalmologists to maintain statistics on such patients. Hospitals are required to collect data on the diagnosis of patients being admitted to hospital. This include those patients with a diagnosis of keratoconus.

Hospitals: Cleaning Services

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which hospitals in (a) Southend and (b) Essex had not been deep cleaned by the target date; and if he will make a statement; [198741]

(2) how much was given to each hospital in (a) Southend and (b) Essex to fund its deep clean; and if he will make a statement. [198742]

Ann Keen: As set out in my written ministerial statement on 21 April, Official Report, columns 93-94WS, a list of the trusts which have undertaken or are undertaking a deep clean as part of this national programme is available in the Library. This list sets out which trusts completed
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their deep clean by 31 March 2008 and which are still undertaking their deep clean and are due to complete by the end of May 2008.

Information provided by strategic health authorities (SHAs) shows that they have all made available the funding they promised for the programme, as also set out in my written ministerial statement. Further information on the implementation of the deep clean of the national health service is available from SHAs.

Maternity Services: Merseyside

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many perinatologists are employed in each hospital trust on Merseyside. [201621]

Ann Keen: This information is not available in the format requested.

The trusts that most closely correspond within the Merseyside area have been included in the following table.

Hospital and Community Health Services: Medical staff within the Obstetrics and gynaecology specialty by organisation within the Merseyside area
Numbers (headcount) Full-time equivalents




Wirral Hospital NHS Foundation Trust



St. Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust



Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust



Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust



1. The table is up to date as at 30 September 2007.
2. The staff information cannot be summated at such a low level. Perinatologists have therefore been substituted for staff with the obstetrics and gynaecology specialty.
3. The information does not include primary care trusts in the area, some of which may have these specialities.
4. Only organisations which have obstetrics and gynaecological staff were shown. If a trust does not appear in the table, it indicates that there were zero obstetrics and gynaecological staff. This does not necessarily mean that this service is not provided at that trust.
The Information Centre for health and social care—medical and dental workforce census.

Mental Health Services

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations the Government has received on the likely effects of implementing the provisions of the Mental Health Act 2007 on independent mental health advocacy six months after the introduction of community treatment orders; [201872]

(2) when plans for the commissioning and implementation of mental health advocacy services under the Mental Health Act 2007 will be published; [201873]

(3) when training for mental health advocates under the Mental Health Act 2007 will begin; and what criteria will be used to select advocates. [201874]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Mental Health Alliance has asked the Department to consider placing together the implementation dates for the Mental Health Act 2007, and independent mental health advocacy provision to provide additional safeguards, particularly for patients discharged from hospital under supervised community treatment.

We aim to publish guidance on commissioning and implementing independent mental health advocacy later this year.

National training materials are currently being developed and tested. We aim to make these available for organisations to start training later this year. Local commissioners are responsible for contracting with organisations to provide independent mental health advocacy services. Departmental guidance for commissioners will provide guidance on service specifications and standards.

NHS (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had on the possible suspension of regulation 13 of the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005. [200433]

Dawn Primarolo: I discussed this matter with the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) recently and explained that there were no plans to suspend regulation 13 of the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005.

I meet officials regularly to discuss questions of policy. Our White Paper ‘Pharmacy in England Building on Strengths—Delivering the Future’ (Cm7341) published on 3 April 2008 sets out the Government's proposals in relation to pharmacies open at least 100 hours per week which have secured the right to provide NHS services under regulation 13. Full consultation will follow later this summer.

NHS European Office

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what work has been conducted by the NHS European Office since it was set up in 2007. [199416]

Dawn Primarolo: The NHS European Office intends to produce a report on its activities covering the period from establishment to the end of the financial year. This will be published shortly on the Office's website.

NHS: Consultants

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultants with clinical excellence awards, who have been obliged to retire on the grounds of disability and have been re-employed on a part-time contract by the NHS, have been required to repay a part of their pension under NHS pension abatement rules. [200914]

Ann Keen: The information requested is not collected centrally.

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NHS: Drugs

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether there are circumstances under which unused prescription medicines returned by patients may be re-allocated to other patients; and if he will make a statement. [201246]

Dawn Primarolo: It is not appropriate to promote the reuse of medicines returned from patients. The continuing quality of medicines returned from patients following storage in their homes and the ability of pharmacists to assure quality based on physical inspection cannot be guaranteed. Recycling medicines returned by patients is both unethical and unsafe.

NHS: Land

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Answer of 18 July 2007, Official Report, column 470W, on NHS: land, what progress has been made by his Department in examining how the review of surplus NHS land will apply to the NHS foundation trust sector; and if he will make a statement. [201978]

Mr. Bradshaw: The review of surplus land resulted in 299 national health service trusts replying to a request for details of their land holdings. About 190 sites were identified with a total area of 260 hectares, or enough for 6,300 new homes.

Of the responding trusts, 10 were foundation trusts. Discussions continue with all trusts to ensure that all surplus land is properly registered with English Partnerships.

NHS: Pay

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects of the market forces factor on hospital trusts that employ staff at nationally agreed pay rates in areas where average earning are below national averages. [201138]

Ann Keen: The Department has commissioned two pieces of research to look at the impact of external labour markets on national health service staff costs. The first, a study on regional pay differentials in 2005 known as the ‘Aberdeen Study’ found that private sector wage rates were correlated with the vacancy rate for qualified nurses. As part of its current work programme, the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation has carried out a review of the market forces factor. This work will be used to inform revenue allocations to primary care trusts for 2009-10 and 2010-11. The aim is to announce the revenue allocations by the summer.

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