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Elderly: Malnutrition

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) with reference to the answer of 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 1016W, on the elderly: malnutrition, for how long the monitoring of the Nutrition Action Plan by the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board will be ongoing; [206647]

(2) what the timetable for publication is of the first progress report from the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery board; how many progress reports the Board plans to produce in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009; and if he will make a statement. [206671]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Terms of Reference for the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board state that the monitoring of the Nutrition Action Plan will exist during the course of 2008 in order to oversee implementation of the document.

The Terms of Reference for the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board state that the chair of the board will publish two reports this year. The first of these
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reports will be published in summer and one by December 2008. The Department will review whether to extend their existence beyond December 2008 upon consideration of their end of year report and any implications from that progress update.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2008, Official Report, columns 2097-98W, on the elderly: nutrition, when he expects to publish the minutes of the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board’s meeting of 12 February; if he will place in the Library a copy of the agenda of the meeting of the Board of 12 February; and if he will make it his policy to place in the Library copies of the (a) agendas and (b) minutes of all meetings held by (i) the Board and (ii) the Board’s sub-groups. [206648]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The minutes of the 12 February 2008 meeting of the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board have been placed in the Library. This includes the agenda and verbal updates on progress from the board’s five subgroups as noted during the course of the meeting.

The 12 February was the first meeting of its kind. Subsequent meetings were held on 29 April and 10 June. The minutes of subsequent meetings will also be placed in the Library once they become available.


Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to monitor the effects on health of ingestion of fluoride; [208968]

(2) what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the relative prevalence of thyroid disease in fluoridated areas. [209109]

Ann Keen: Under section 90A of the Water Industry Act 1991, strategic health authorities (SHAs) are required to monitor the effects of fluoridation schemes on the health of persons living in the fluoridated area and publish reports containing an analysis of the effects on health at four-yearly intervals. The West Midland Public Health Observatory is leading on the compilation of a set of standard indicators which can be used by SHAs in fulfilling this responsibility. This approach would use information on concentrations of fluoride in drinking water and intakes from dietary studies to estimate ingestion of fluoride. We understand that in compiling proposals the observatory is considering whether thyroid disease could be monitored using such routine data sources.

A review “Water fluoridation and health” undertaken by the Medical Research Council of the need for research on the effects of fluoridation and published in 2002 ascribed a low priority to further research on thyroid disorders. We will consider the need for further research on thyroid disorders in the light of any recommendations which may be made by the observatory.

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to assess public opinion on proposals to fluoridate water in the North West of England. [208969]

Ann Keen: It is for strategic health authorities (SHAs) to decide whether to undertake consultations on proposals for new fluoridation schemes. We understand that the North West SHA has been working with the primary
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care trusts in the area to assess cost, benefits and technical options, but has not yet decided whether to proceed to a consultation.

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what budgeting allocation has been made for the proposed implementation of water fluoridation in the North West; and from which budget. [209375]

Ann Keen: Funding for the investigation, public consultation, installation and operation of any fluoridation scheme would be agreed locally between the responsible strategic health authority (SHA) and participating primary care trusts, drawing upon their local national health service budgets, and the relevant water company. In addition, the Government announced in February 2008 that up to £43 million would be available from centrally managed NHS capital funds over the three years 2008-09 to 2010-11 to assist SHAs with the capital cost of establishing new fluoridation schemes which have been supported by local communities, or refurbishing plant to maintain existing fluoridation schemes.

Health Authorities

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are served by each strategic health authority; and what percentage of the population each figure represents. [208979]

Mr. Bradshaw: The population in each strategic health authority (SHA) is set out in the following table.

Population in each SHA
SHA Population (thousand) Percentage of England

North East



North West



Yorkshire and the Humber



East Midlands



West Midlands



East of England






South East Coast



South Central



South West






1. Provisional 2006 mid-year, resident population estimates, which are the latest available.
2. The figures for SHAs may not sum exactly to the England total due to individual rounding of each SHA figure.
3. The populations for which the SHAs are responsible may differ marginally from the figures supplied. SHAs will be responsible for patients resident in other SHAs who are registered with general practitioner practises in their own areas.
Office for National Statistics website

Health Centres: Milton Keynes

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what polyclinics are planned for Milton Keynes primary care trust. [211038]

Mr. Bradshaw: None. The proposal in Milton Keynes is a general practitioner-led health centre.

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Health Services

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his Department plans to issue the consultation on investment in access and clinical services referred to in its press release of 4 May 2008, entitled Strengthening Family Doctor Services, ref 2008/053. [209888]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 9 June 2008]: A detailed written proposal is currently being prepared to implement the Doctors' and Dentists Pay Review Body recommendations for general practitioners. The intention is that this should be with the British Medical Association's General Practices Committee as soon as possible. This will also enable changes that need to be made to the Statement of Financial Entitlements to introduce the new enhanced patient services set out in the press release of 4 May 2008.

Health Services: Religion

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received on health care chaplaincy in the NHS; and if he will make a statement. [210193]

Ann Keen: Since the beginning of November 2007, the Department is aware of 17 letters relating to health care chaplaincy and spiritual care. We have received representation from the representative bodies of the nine principal world faiths in relation to central funding for chaplaincy workforce development. We have also received representation from the Multi-Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy on issues arising from the completion of the Caring for the Spirit programme led by NHS Yorkshire and Humber.

Hypertension: Medical Treatments

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the potential use of non-drug appliances to lower blood pressure. [211030]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has made no assessment of the effectiveness of such appliances.

Infant Mortality

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many premature babies died as a result of early birth each week on average in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what steps he plans to take to reduce infant mortality among prematurely born babies. [209969]

Ann Keen: The Department does not collect information relating to the number of premature babies that die.

The Office for National Statistics produced a report, “Introducing data on gestation specific infant mortality among babies born in 2005 in England and Wales” which details death rates of babies born in 2005, broken down by gestation rate.

The recent report “Perinatal Mortality 2006 - England, Wales and Northern Ireland” published by the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH)
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in April 2008, found a continuing decline in the overall neonatal mortality rate and in the stillbirth, perinatal and neonatal mortality rates in multiple pregnancies.

Tackling health inequalities in infant mortality, including among prematurely born babies, remains an important government priority as reaffirmed in the publication “Health Inequalities: Progress and Next Steps” published on 9 June.

Copies of each of these reports have been placed in the Library.

Junior Doctors: Employment

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of junior doctors who qualified in 2007 who have not been employed by the NHS. [209199]

Ann Keen: All medical students who applied to the foundation programme in 2007 were offered a place, subject to their obtaining their medical degree that year.

Lung Diseases

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) emergency hospital admissions and (b) inpatient bed days that could be saved by improving the rate of early diagnosis for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [209833]

Ann Keen: There were 179,611 hospital admissions and 917,644(1) bed days for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis in 2006-07.

It is expected that improving the early diagnosis of COPD will reduce the number of hospital admissions and bed days. However, information is not available centrally to quantify that reduction.

Maternity Services

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what neonatal units there are in each health authority area. [209096]

Ann Keen: There are 109 neonatal units in England. A detailed list has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many children were admitted to neonatal units in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) age of the child and (b) health authority; [209097]

(2) how many children admitted to neonatal units died within (a) 24 hours, (b) two days, (c) three days and (d) seven days in each of the last five years; and how many survived and were discharged. [209116]

Ann Keen: The information is not collected centrally.

NHS: Industrial Health and Safety

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what procedures are in place to reduce the number of needlestick injuries to NHS staff; [209174]

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(2) how many injuries to NHS staff in each trust were recorded as a result of needlestick injury in each of the last five years; and what types of infection resulted from such injuries. [209175]

Ann Keen: There are a range of measures to reduce the risk of sharps injuries, including the safe handling and disposal of sharps, the provision of medical devices that incorporate sharps protection and the wearing of protective clothing.

The Department's ‘Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections’, revised in January 2008, places a duty on national health service bodies to ensure that health care workers are protected from exposure to communicable infections during the course of the their work, and that all staff are suitably educated in the prevention and control of health care associated infections. Copies have been placed in the Library and are also available on the Department's website at:

NHS Employers have also issued guidance on the avoidance of needlestick injuries in ‘The healthy workplaces handbook’, which is available by subscription.

Information on the number and outcomes of needlestick injuries to national health service staff in each trust is not collected centrally. However, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) collects information on surveillance of significant occupational exposures to blood-borne viruses in health care workers in the United Kingdom; its latest report is available on the HPA's website at:

NHS: Public Participation

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidelines his Department provides to primary care trusts to ensure the provision of accurate information in documents they publish for public consultations; [207900]

(2) what steps he takes to ensure that primary care trusts make accurate figures available to members of the public when embarking on consultations for major changes in the services provided by hospitals. [209864]

Ann Keen: The Department does not provide guidance on the accuracy of information contained in public consultations undertaken by primary care trusts but expects that best endeavours are made to ensure information shared is up-to-date, accurate and validated.

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