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Dental Services

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many dentists were listed on the primary care NHS list for (a) Southend-on-Sea, (b) Essex and (c) England (i) in each year since 1997 and (ii) at the latest date for which information is available; [210525]


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(2) how many NHS dentists there were in (a) Essex and (b) Southend-on-Sea in each year since 1997; what steps he (i) has taken and (ii) plans to take to increase the number of NHS dentists in each area; what recent representations he has received about the provision of NHS dentists in each area; what recent discussions he has had on the matter; and if he will make a statement. [210691]

Ann Keen: The number of national health service dentists on primary care trust (PCT) lists in England, as at 31 March, 1997 to 2006 is available in Annex E of the “NHS Dental Activity and Workforce Report England: 31 March 2006” report. The information is provided by strategic health authority (SHA) and by PCT. This information is based on the old contractual arrangements which were in place up to and including 31 March 2006.

This publication is available in the Library and is also available at:

The number of dentists on open NHS contracts in England as at 30 June 2006, 30 September 2006, 31 December 2006, and 31 March 2007 are available in Table El of Annex 3 of the “NHS Dental Statistics for England: 2006/07 report”. This information is based on the new contractual arrangements introduced on 1 April 2006. The information is provided by SHA and by PCT.

This publication is available in the Library and is also available at:

The numbers quoted are headcounts and do not differentiate between full-time and part- time dentists, nor do they account for the fact that some dentists may do more NHS work than others.

Increasing the number of patients seen within NHS dental services is now a formal priority in “The Operating Framework. For The NHS in England 2008-09” and we have supported this with an 11 per cent. uplift in overall dental allocations to PCTs from 1 April 2008. Copies of this publication are available in the Library.

The Department does not have any record of any recent representations made to the Secretary of State for Health on the provision of dental services in Southend-on-sea or in Essex SHA, nor any record of recent discussions on this issue.

Dental Services: Waiting Lists

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were on a waiting list for an NHS dentist in (a) Southend West constituency, (b) Essex and (c) England (i) in each year since 1997 and (ii) at the latest date for which figures are available. [210514]

Ann Keen: The information requested is not collected centrally. It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) to determine how best to manage patients seeking NHS dental services.

However, increasing the number of patients seen within NHS dental services is now a formal priority in
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“The Operating Framework. For the NHS in England 2008-09”. We have supported this with an 11 per cent. uplift in overall dental allocations to PCTs from 1 April 2008. Copies of the Operating Framework are available in the Library.

Departmental Accountancy

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department’s (a) chart of accounts and (b) resource account codes and usage descriptions for the current financial year. [210991]

Mr. Bradshaw: The chart of accounts for 31 May 2008 has been placed in the Library and reflects the Department’s structure at that date and will not necessarily reflect the 2007-08 structure, or that for future periods. The chart shows the relationship between parent codes (used for preparing resource accounts) and children codes (used for more detailed management purposes). Each code has a brief description that describes its use.

Departmental Manpower

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of his Department’s employees are (a) male, (b) female, (c) from an ethnic minority, (d) disabled and (e) not heterosexual; and if he will make a statement. [208393]

Mr. Bradshaw: The latest available data on the gender of civil servants are as at 31 December 2007 and are published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as part of their wider Quarterly Public Sector Employment Statistics. Information can be accessed via the following website:

The latest available data on the ethnic background and the disability status of civil servants in Departments and agencies are as at 30 September 2006 and are also published by ONS as Civil Service Statistics 2006. Information can be accessed from the following websites:

Declaration of ethnic background and disabled status is voluntary.

Information on civil servants’ sexual orientation is not currently collected or published.

Departmental Postal Services

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on sending mail overseas in each year since 2001, broken down by delivery company. [208516]

Mr. Bradshaw: The following table shows a breakdown of the amount spent on overseas mail in each year since 2001, broken down by delivery company:


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£
Royal Mail Point to Point

2008

n/a

(1)

2007

3,486.21

(1)

2006

6,931.16

(1)

2005

6,310.53

3,314.47

2004

5,117.47

5,134.80

2003

5,414.84

n/a

2002

7,109.41

n/a

n/a = Not available.
(1) May 2006 to May 2008 total is £8,683.15.

Dietary Supplements

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent representations he has received on the continued availability of higher potency vitamin and mineral supplements under the provisions of the Food Supplements Directive; and if he will make a statement; [210217]

(2) what assessment he has made of (a) the results of the Food Standard Agency's customer survey into consumption patterns of folic acid products and (b) the implications of the survey results for the Agency's modelling of folic acid intake from food supplements and fortified foods; [210218]

(3) on what date the Food Standards Agency wrote to the European Commission to seek clarification of the legal implications of the decisions of the European Food Safety Authority that there was insufficient evidence upon which to assess the status of vanadium; and what response the Agency has received; [210219]

(4) when he expects the relevant Council of Ministers Working Group next to be convened further to discuss the setting of maximum permitted levels of food supplements. [210222]

Dawn Primarolo: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has received representations recently from some sectors of the food industry and Consumers for Health Choice in support of the continued availability of higher potency vitamin and mineral supplements.

The aim of the FSA's consumer research on food supplements was to gain a better understanding of United Kingdom consumers' consumption of vitamin and mineral food supplements and an insight into what motivates consumers to take these supplements. This research was not commissioned, or designed, to obtain data on consumption patterns to support the FSA's work on folic acid fortification. The results of the research will not be used in the modelling of folic acid intake.

Following the European Food Safety Authority's inconclusive opinion on the safety of six vanadium substances due to the lack of available data, the FSA wrote to the European Commission on 7 March 2008 requesting its views on the status of these substances as regards their use in food supplements. To date the FSA has not received a reply from the European Commission.

The date of the next European Commission-led working group meeting with member states in connection with setting levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements has not yet been notified.


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Dispensing Practices

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of changes in the number of jobs in the dispensary and ancillary service areas of dispensing practices as a result of the proposed changes outlined in the Pharmacy White Paper; [211116]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on rural GP practices of the proposed changes to dispensing powers outlined in the Pharmacy White Paper. [211117]

Dawn Primarolo: The White Paper “Pharmacy in England; Building on Strengths—Delivering the Future” looks at aligning the future provision of pharmaceutical services and sets out proposals to look at the market entry criteria for doctors and pharmacists—but no decision has yet been taken on the criteria to be used in future for patients to receive pharmaceutical services from their general practitioner. Copies of this publication are available in the Library.

A consultation paper will be launched in late summer after the publication of the primary and community care strategy. We will consider fully the impact of any proposals on patients, the national health service and contractors.

Equality

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to establish a strategy to tackle age discrimination and promote age equality in the provision of goods and services (a) by the Department and (b) within the sector for which he has policy responsibility; and if he will make a statement. [210464]

Mr. Bradshaw: Ending unfair age discrimination is one of the many priorities for the Department. Therefore, action to address age discrimination in health and social care services is not new and was central to the “National Service Framework (NSF) for Older People”, published in 2001. Copies of this publication are available in the Library. The NSF set out to develop actions to address age discrimination in the first of the eight standards it set. Notable progress includes an increase in the proportion of older people receiving intensive help to maintain high quality, independent lives at home and a continuing improvement in specialist services for age-related needs such as stroke and falls.

More broadly, the Government will shortly be publishing their response to the consultation paper on proposals for the Equality Bill which signalled that it is considering the case for prohibiting age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services and for a single public sector duty extended to cover age.

Food Standards Agency: Belgium

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many times the Chief Executive or other senior officials at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have travelled to Brussels to hold events which have in part aimed to outline and promote the FSA’s Multiple Traffic Light labelling scheme in the last two years. [211128]


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Dawn Primarolo: During the last two years, the chair of the Food Standards Agency has attended one event in Brussels to outline and promote multiple traffic light labelling. This was also attended by senior officials.

In addition to this, the chief executive and other senior officials attended a further meeting in Brussels which briefly discussed signpost labelling.

General Practitioners: Fees and Charges

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines cover (a) the charging for letters sent by GPs to patients and (b) the use of revenue accruing from such charges. [210897]

Mr. Bradshaw: General practitioners (GPs) may provide a variety of services that are private matters between the patient and the doctor providing the service. It is for the doctor to decide which private services he wishes to provide and the level of fee. The use of revenue accruing from such charges would be a matter for the GP practice to decide. General Medical Council guidance “Good Medical Practice” advises GPs on financial and commercial dealings with patients.

Health Professions: Vetting

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether people employed in the private health sector are required to have Criminal Records Bureau checks carried out on them; and if he will make a statement. [211235]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 16 June 2008]: Private health providers are already under an obligation to carry out Criminal Records Bureau checks. Contractors working in a national health service trust should be checked to the same level and standards as staff directly employed by the trust.

Hospital Beds

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 20 May 2008, Official Report, column 200W, on hospital beds, (1) how many hospital beds are in single rooms in each NHS trust; and what proportion of all beds this represents in each trust; [209145]

(2) what percentage of beds were in single rooms in (a) acute, (b) geriatric, (c) mental illness, (d) learning disability and (e) maternity wards; [209146]

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of additional single rooms that will be provided on the basis of current projections for hospital building and refurbishment projects already underway; [209147]

(4) what percentage of beds were in single rooms, excluding intensive care and children’s beds. [209148]

Mr. Bradshaw: All national health service trusts make an informed choice regarding the appropriate percentage of single room provision in new or refurbished developments, based on clinical and operational considerations such as site restrictions and affordability.

Data is held centrally on 33 private finance initiative and public capital funded new hospital schemes currently under construction or in procurement (capital value over £25 million and approved by the Department).
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Details of these schemes which have a total value of some £6.5 billion, have been placed in the Library and show the percentage of single rooms being provided in the construction or proposed.

The Department’s guidance for new hospital developments is that the proportion of single rooms should aim to be 50 per cent., but should not fall below 20 per cent., and must be higher than the facilities they are replacing. The policy and design guidance for the provision of single rooms in mental health accommodation is 100 per cent.

For the existing health estate, the Department makes a retrospective collection of information about the number of available beds at each NHS trust site and the proportion of those beds that are in single rooms. This information has also been placed in the Library. As the data is collected on a site rather than a ward basis, it is not possible separately to identify the number of single rooms each trust may use ‘specifically to deliver geriatric care, children’s services, intensive care or maternity services. Information about single room provision in the specific trust types requested (acute, mental health and learning disability) has also been placed in the Library.

All the information given relates to the NHS in England. Information provided in my previous answer to the hon. Member on 20 May 2008, Official Report, column 200W, stated that the proportion of available beds in England that are in single rooms had risen from 22.6 per cent. in 2002-2003 to 27.9 per cent. in 2006-07. Due to an error, the figure given for 2006-07 related to the position for England and Wales when it should have reflected the position in England for which the correct figure in 2006-07 is 28.3 per cent.


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