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12 Nov 2008 : Column 1204W—continued


Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to reduce smoking rates among those ethnic minority communities whose rates are higher than the national average. [234184]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department and the national health service make a range of support available to all smokers who want to quit. According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE):

(NICE public health guidance 10, 2008).

The NHS has a network of NHS stop smoking services available in communities across the country. These services are encouraged to provide stop smoking services that are accessible for all potential service users, including for smokers from minority ethnic communities. To assist with the provision of stop smoking services to smokers for ethnic communities, the Department for Communities and Local Government published “Working with Black and Minority Ethnic Communities: A guide for Stop Smoking Service Managers” earlier this year. Health trainers, recruited from local communities also encourage smokers to quit with the support of the NHS.

The Department operates an Asian Tobacco Helpline, and makes available printed materials available in a range of languages. The NHS's “GoSmokefree” website at

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includes downloadable resources in a range of languages. The Department also supports a number of specific projects for minority ethnic communities at regional level.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to reduce smoking rates in regions where they are above the national average. [234185]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department works in close partnership with the national health service and local authorities to reduce smoking prevalence in all regions.

In 2006, smoking prevalence was highest in the north west and north east with both regions having smoking prevalence rates of 25 per cent. of persons aged over 16, compared to the national average of 22 per cent. Dedicated tobacco control offices have been established by the NHS in both regions to reduce smoking rates.

The Department resources the NHS to provide NHS stop smoking services, with additional funding made available to spearhead areas. Funding is also provided for regional tobacco teams to co-ordinate tobacco control activity.

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The Department also runs national marketing campaigns. Marketing activity is upweighted in high prevalence areas and regions where appropriate.

The Department encourages local areas and regions to undertake comprehensive action to reduce smoking prevalence, involving a range of partners including the NHS and local authorities. To guide this action, the Department published “Excellence in tobacco control: 10 High impact changes to achieve tobacco control—An evidence based resource for local alliances” earlier this year. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of a disease which can be attributed to smoking in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [234186]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not available in the precise form requested. Data on NHS hospital admissions for adults aged 35 and over where there was primary diagnosis of diseases which can be caused by smoking over the period 1996-97 to 2006-07 are in the following table.

NHS( 1) hospital admissions for adults aged 35 and over( 2, 3) where there was primary diagnosis( 4) of diseases( 5 ) which can be caused by smoking. 1996-97 to 2006-07. England
Number of admissions

All admissions which can be caused by smoking Cancers which can be caused by smoking( 6) Respiratory diseases which can be caused by smoking Circulatory diseases which can be caused by smoking Diseases of the digestive system which can be caused by smoking Other diseases which can be caused by smoking














































































(1 )NHS hospitals and activity performed in the independent sector in England commissioned by the NHS. The data include private patients in NHS hospitals (but not private patients in private hospitals).
(2 )Figures are presented for adults aged 35 and over except for admissions for age related cataracts where patients must be 45 years and over and admissions for hip fracture where patients must be aged 55 years and older due to risk ratios only being available for these age groups.
(3 )The figures exclude people whose gender was unknown or unspecified and whose country of residence was not confirmed as England.
(4 )The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 14 (seven prior to 2002-03) diagnosis fields in the hospital episode statistics (HES) data set and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital
(5 )ICD-10 codes used have been updated since the 2007 bulletin. See Appendix C for corresponding ICD-10 codes used with aforementioned categories.
(6 )Figures exclude admissions for cervical cancer whose gender was specified as male. Source:
Hospital Episode Statistics. The NHS Information Centre, 2008

Water: Pollution

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his reasons were for rejecting funding applications for research into the deaths of two women with raised levels of brain aluminium, following the 1988 Lowermoor water poisoning episode; what the reasons were for not giving full access to his Department’s records to the coroner over this matter as requested; whether officials who worked on the incident in 1988 have given advice to inform his latest decision; and whether he has consulted the Chief Medical Officer on the matter. [231819]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 30 October 2008]: The Department has mechanisms to fund policy related research, but usually commissions such work by issuing a call for proposals for research to address the problem at hand and tendering. The Department would then use peer review to commission the most appropriate and promising proposal. This ensures that money is spent, and research commissioned, through a transparent process and one that is fair to all those who may be interested in carrying out the research. We would not normally respond to specific requests to fund specific researchers.

A substantive review of the potential health consequences of the chemicals released in the incident undertaken by the Committee on Toxicity (COT) Subgroup on the Lowermoor Water Pollution Incident, chaired by Professor Frank Woods, was to publish its final report in July. But that publication has been delayed by the inquiry at the request of the coroner. The subgroup report includes a
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number of conclusions and recommendations. These include a number of recommendations for further research. The main Committee is currently considering and refining these recommendations before putting them to the Department.

The coroner has not to our knowledge requested access to any Department’s records.

Officials who worked on the incident in 1988 are no longer in the Department and were not asked for advice on this matter.

The Chief Medical Officer has not been consulted over this specific issue, although he is kept aware of developments in relation to. the work of the Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) Subgroup on the Lowermoor Water Pollution Incident. This subgroup has now prepared a final report but publication has been delayed at the request of the Coroner and on the advice of DH lawyers, for the duration of the inquest.

West Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust: Pay

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent by West Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust on salaries and wages for (a) general and senior managers, (b) nurses and midwives and (c) administrative and clerical staff in each year since its creation. [233846]

Ann Keen: West Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) was established on 1 October 2006. Data are provided for 2006-07 and 2007-08 as follows.


2006-07 2007-08

Managers and senior managers



Nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff



Administrative and clerical staff



1. West Hertfordshire PCT was established on 1 October 2006 from four dissolving PCTs: St. Albans and Harpenden, Dacorum, Watford and Three Rivers and Hertsmere. Note that the 2006-07 figures contain data for the four former PCTs for the first six months of the financial year plus West Hertfordshire PCT for the second half of the financial year and may be distorted due to the merger. It is not possible to split the 2006-07 data between the former PCTs and West Hertfordshire PCT.
2. Data include salaries and wages, social security costs and pension contributions. It is not possible to separately identify salaries and wages for these groups of staff.
3. Figures include permanently employed staff and non-NHS staff, e.g. agency staff.
Information is from the 2006-07 and 2007-08 financial returns for West Hertfordshire PCT. The data are not audited but are validated to the audited financial monitoring and accounts forms.

Northern Ireland

Access NI

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the performance of AccessNI against its objectives. [232878]

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Paul Goggins: Since its launch in April 2008, AccessNI has received more than 70,000 disclosure applications. While AccessNI has maintained service delivery within the performance targets for basic and standard disclosures, it has failed to achieve its targets in relation to enhanced disclosures.

Additional resources have been made available and I remain confident that the four week target for enhanced disclosures will be achieved before the end of the year.

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) basic, (b) standard and (c) enhanced applications have been processed by AccessNI since 1 April 2008; and what percentage of these was completed within the relevant performance target time. [232879]

Paul Goggins: Statistics collated up to 31 October 2008 indicate that AccessNI has received 9,040 basic applications, 2,377 standard applications and 57,183 enhanced applications. During the period in question AccessNI has maintained a performance target to complete 90 per cent. of basic applications within two weeks and 90 per cent. of standard applications within three weeks.

Additional resources have been made available and I remain confident that the four week target for enhanced disclosures will be achieved before the end of the year.

Departmental Conditions of Employment

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of employees in his Department are (a) on a flexible working contract, (b) on a job share employment contract and (c) work from home for more than four hours a week. [233857]

Paul Goggins: Within the Northern Ireland Office staff are expected to work conditioned hours, however there is a considerable amount of flexibility in the way staff are permitted to work. Flexible working time (that is, a flexible start and finish each day) is available to the majority of staff where operational/business needs permit.

In line with The Employment (NI) Order 2002 the Northern Ireland Office has processes in place to allow staff to request flexible working hours to enable them to balance their family and employment responsibilities.

The following table shows the percentage of staff on a flexible working contract (reduced hours, term-time full-time and term-time part-time) or job share employment contract at 3 November 2008.

Type of contract Number and percentage

Total number of employees


Percentage of staff on flexible working contract


Percentage of staff on job share contract


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