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2 Jun 2008 : Column 602W

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what key pieces of evidence the nutritional advice relating to salt intake is based; and what opposing evidence was considered in formulation of the advice. [207286]

Dawn Primarolo: The Food Standards Agency’s advice to reduce salt intake is based on the report, “Salt and Health” (2003), by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). SACN considered a wide range of published scientific evidence that was both supportive and non-supportive of an association between salt intake and hypertension.

SACN concluded that a reduction in the average population salt intake would proportionally lower population average blood pressure levels and confer significant public health benefits by contributing to a decrease in the burden of cardiovascular disease.

Oxygen: Medical Equipment

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what costs have arisen from the provision of (a) liquefied and (b) medically pure home oxygen to patients in each primary care trust in each year since 2004. [205863]

Mr. Bradshaw: Costs for the provision of the home oxygen service are held centrally by region. This is a total cost for all of the home oxygen services provided. The costs are as follows:

£
Region March to December 2006 January to December 2007 January to April 2008

North West

6,762,483

11,114,012

4,204,762

West Midlands

5,423,750

9,029,037

3,533,439

Yorkshire and Humberside

4,348,374

7,431,217

2,843,236

London North

3,452,318

5,306,863

2,039,633

East Midlands

3,955,305

5,995,808

2,392,224

South West

4,950,441

15,120,279

6,137,667

Eastern England

7,650,570

13,315,612

4,816,562

South East London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex

4,148,019

8,672,380

3,260,518

South West London, Thames Valleys, Hants and Isle of Wight

3,540,710

7,172,604

2,634,541

North West

4,870,846

9,066,662

3,374,883

Note: The service was in transition between March 2006 and October 2006, and therefore this data are not directly comparable to data from October 2006 when transition to the new service was completed.

The new home oxygen service came into effect on 1 February 2006. Prior to the introduction of the new service, costs were for the provision of equipment rather than the oxygen services provided for patients, and comparative data cannot be provided.

Parasitic Diseases

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been diagnosed with a toxocara canis infection in the last five years. [207171]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of people diagnosed with Toxocara species ( Toxocara canis ( T. canis) and Toxocara cati ( T. cati)) infection in the last five years in England and Wales is shown in the following table:

Number of cases

2007

1

2006

1

2005

5

2004

5

2003

3

Note:
Toxocara reports are not broken down by species into T. canis and T. cati.
Source:
Information provided by the Health Protection Agency.

2 Jun 2008 : Column 603W

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have a visual impairment caused by a toxocara canis infection. [207172]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of people that have a visual impairment caused by a Toxocara canis infection is not known as this information is not routinely reported to the Health Protection Agency.

Pharmacy: General Practitioners

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the Government plans to reform selling over-the-counter medicines by authorised GP practices. [206327]

Dawn Primarolo: The White Paper “Pharmacy in England; Building on Strengths—Delivering the Future” puts forward proposals to broaden access to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines—those categorised as ‘Pharmacy only (P)’ or as ‘general sale list (GSL)’. Copies of the White Paper are available in the Library.

A consultation paper will be launched in late summer after the publication of the primary and community care strategy. The consultation will ask for comments about broadening the access of patients to OTC medicines through the reform of some of the existing controls on general practitioners selling OTC medicines to their patients.

Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the proportion of people defined as having a disability under disability discrimination legislation who incur prescription charges; [207495]

(2) what estimate he has made of the proportion of people defined as having a disability under disability discrimination legislation who have not been able to obtain a prescription because of prescription charges in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [207496]

Dawn Primarolo: No such estimates have been made.

Preventive Medicine: Social Services

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the increase in the provision of preventative social care services. [206584]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department published a concordat, “Putting People First: A shared vision and commitment to the transformation of adult social care”, in December last year, which recognises that prevention is one key element of the transformation agenda. Copies of the publication are available in the Library. The concordat sets out the cross-sector commitment to personalising public services and aims to support all councils to transform their adult social care systems by moving away from intervention at the point of crisis towards early intervention and prevention, focused on promoting independence and improved wellbeing. We are extracting and disseminating early lessons learnt from the Partnerships
2 Jun 2008 : Column 604W
for Older People Projects programme and related initiatives to support the transformation programme.

It is for councils to determine the allocation of their resources in their area depending on local needs and priorities. This Government has made unprecedented investments in care and support, including a 45 per cent. real terms increase in local Government funding since we took office up to 2010-11.

Psychiatry: Standards

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure compliance of mental health trusts with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommendations on computerised cognitive behaviour therapy. [207769]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Technology Appraisal TA097, and the directions on NICE appraisals impose an obligation on primary care trusts (PCTs) to ensure that cCBT is ‘normally available’ to be prescribed or supplied and administered to patients.

The Department's role is to set out a strategic framework and secure adequate funding for the national health service and adult care services. PCTs are responsible for providing local health services, including the provision of cCBT and together with their strategic health authorities are responsible for deciding which services to plan, commission and develop to meet the health needs of their local communities.

Salt

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effects on blood pressure of sodium intake; whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of people in England with blood pressure problems whose condition would be alleviated by changes in the amount of salt in their diet; and if he will make a statement. [207431]

Dawn Primarolo: The relationship between sodium and blood pressure was considered by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) in 1994. COMA concluded that a reduction in salt intake would reduce the average blood pressure of the population. In 2001, the Food Standards Agency asked the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) to review the evidence since the COMA report. SACN considered a wide range of evidence for the relationship between salt and hypertension which is detailed on their report, ‘Salt and Health’ (2003). Copies of this report are available in the Library. SACN concluded that a reduction in the average population salt intakes would proportionally lower population average blood pressure levels and confer significant public health benefits by contributing to a decrease in the burden of cardiovascular disease.

The Government have not estimated the number of people in England with hypertension whose condition would be alleviated by changes in the amount of salt in their diet.


2 Jun 2008 : Column 605W

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the evidential basis was for the recommendation that the national guideline for dietary salt intake to be set at six grams a day. [207432]

Dawn Primarolo: The Food Standards Agency's campaign to reduce salt intakes is based on advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) which is published in their report, ‘Salt and Health’ (2003). Copies of this Report are available in the Library. SACN considered a wide range of evidence for the relationship between salt and hypertension and concluded that a reduction in the average population salt intake to six grams per day would proportionally lower population average blood pressure levels and confer significant public health benefits by contributing to a decrease in the burden of cardiovascular disease.

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has made an estimate of (a) the number of lives to be saved annually and (b) other effects on health arising from reducing dietary salt intake to within the Government's guideline amount of six grams a day. [207433]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of lives saved annually by reducing average population intakes of salt to six grams has been estimated by the Food Standards Agency to be around 20,200. While the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition considered the effects of salt intake on other health outcomes, the effects on these of reducing salt intakes to six grams have not been estimated.

Salt: Health Education

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on the Full of IT campaign; and what (a) mechanisms, (b) baselines and (c) targets have been established to measure the effectiveness of the campaign. [207032]

Dawn Primarolo: The total cost of the ‘Full of it’ campaign was £3,745,000.

To measure effectiveness of the campaign specific pre- and post-campaign tracking research was established using RSGB face-to-face adult omnibus survey which interviews a nationally representative sample of adults 16 years old and over in the United Kingdom. The pre-campaign research set a baseline on awareness and claimed behaviour. Targets were set based on the latest baselines. These were:

Scientific Advisory Committees

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance is given to members of his Department's scientific advisory committees on taking into account all studies and data submitted in support of applications for novel foods, medicines and veterinary
2 Jun 2008 : Column 606W
medicines and data on the safety of additives, contaminants and potentially harmful organisms before providing advice to Ministers. [206910]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 22 May 2008]: To ensure that the advice they provide to Ministers is informed by a robust appraisal of the available evidence, all of the Department's scientific advisory committees work according to the Government Chief Scientific Adviser's Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees. The Code of Practice is available at: www.dius.gov.uk/publications.html. In addition, members of the Department's scientific advisory committees are directed to relevant good practice guidelines and statutory requirements.

The scientific advisory committees that consider applications for novel foods and data on the safety of additives, contaminants and potentially harmful organisms, have developed a set of good practice guidelines in conjunction with the Chief Scientist of the Food Standards Agency, which cover the gathering and interpretation of scientific data and presentation of advice. The Good Practice Guidelines are available at:

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency ensure that all new members of scientific advisory committees are given appropriate introductory training on the scientific and legal basis of evaluation and assessment of applications for a marketing authorisation of a medicinal product, based on statutory requirements as set out in appropriate legislation.

Smoking

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many smoking shelters were built at his Department's London buildings in each of the last five years; and where these shelters are located. [205041]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department's London estate is 'smoke-free'. There are no smoking shelters on the London estate provided by the Department.

Tuberculosis

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to reduce the number of new cases of tuberculosis. [207025]

Dawn Primarolo: The Chief Medical Officer’s Action Plan “Stopping Tuberculosis in England” sets out our aim to reduce the risk of people being newly infected with tuberculosis (TB) in England. Copies of this publication are available in the Library. Early detection of cases and completion of treatment are both necessary to reduce the number of new cases. In order to achieve this, the Department has provided guidance and tools to help the national health service commission TB services best suited to local needs, and deliver services according to best practice. The Department is funding complementary work to raise awareness of TB among healthcare professionals and groups within the population at increased risk of TB. In addition, the Department continues to fund and evaluate the effectiveness of specific interventions aimed at improving TB control, and will make the evaluations available to the NHS.


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