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13 Jan 2009 : Column 682W—continued

NHS Early Years LifeCheck

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in the pilot of the NHS Early Years LifeCheck; and if he will make a statement. [245754]

Ann Keen: The NHS Early Years LifeCheck online service was piloted in selected Sure Start children’s centres during spring 2008. After considering recommendations from the professional evaluation of the pilots, a revised version was launched in the 83 Community for Health spearhead and other deprived local authority areas in October 2008.

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NHS: Drugs

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 926W, on NHS: drugs, if he will place in the Library copies of all submissions made to Professor Mike Richards' review reported on in “Improving access to medicines for NHS patients”. [245649]

Alan Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 926W.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the number of adverse reactions from medicinal drugs in each of the last three years. [246156]

Dawn Primarolo: Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are collected by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Commission for Human Medicines through the spontaneous reporting scheme; the Yellow Card scheme. The Yellow Card scheme allows health professionals and patients to report suspected ADRs on a voluntary basis. In addition, there is a legal requirement for companies to report suspected ADRs to their drugs. The scheme collects suspected ADR reports from across the whole United Kingdom and includes all medicines, including prescription only medicines, pharmacy medicines and general sales. Reports are also received for herbal medicines and other unlicensed medicines.

The following table shows the number of suspected ADRs received by the MHRA between 2005 and 2007.

Year received by MHRA Total number of spontaneous UK suspected ADR reports received (including company ADR reports)







Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department issues to prescribers on special medicines. [246355]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has not issued guidance on this subject.

NHS: Manpower

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were employed in the NHS in April 2008. [245765]

Ann Keen: The national work force census shows that there were 1,331,109 people employed in the national health service as at 30 September 2007. The following table shows the breakdown of staff groups. The information is available on the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care website at:

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NHS HCHS and General Practice work force as at 30 September each specified year, England, 2007




Total employed staff (excluding GP retainers)


Professionally qualified clinical staff (excluding retainers)


All doctors


All doctors (excluding retainers)(1)


Consultants (including directors of public health)




Other doctors in training


Hospital practitioners and clinical assistants (non-dental specialties) (3)


Other medical and dental staff


GPs (excluding retainers)(2)


GPs excluding retainers and registrars


GP Providers


Other GPs


GP registrars


GP retainers


Total qualified nursing staff(3)


Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff


GP practice nurses(2, 4)


Total qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff(5)


Qualified Allied Health Professions


Other qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff


Qualified ambulance staff


Support to clinical staff


Support to doctors and nursing staff


Support to scientific, therapeutic and technical staff


Support to ambulance staff


NHS infrastructure support


Central functions


Hotel, property and estates


Manager and senior manager


Other non-medical staff or those with unknown classification


Other GP practice staff(2)


(1) All doctors excluding GP retainers.
(2) GP data as at 1 C.
(3) Nursing and midwifery figures exclude students on training courses leading to a first qualification as a nurse or midwife.
(4) Headcount practice nurse figures are estimated for 1998 and 1999 based on the 1997 FTE to headcount ratio.
(5) To make the census data comparable with the Review Body for Nursing Staff and Other Health Professionals definitions, qualified Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) now include Speech and Language Therapists (previously these were included in Other Qualified ST and T staff).
For comparability, historical data has been reassigned to match the revised definition. The number of AHPs will not match those published in previous years.
In 2006, ambulance staff were collected under new, more detailed, occupation codes. As a result, qualified totals and support to ambulance staff totals are not directly comparable with previous years.
Enhanced validation processes have led to the removal of duplicate records from the non-medical census (from 2006 onwards).
Although percentages were small (less than 1 per cent.), comparisons with years prior to this need to be treated with caution. This only effects headcount.
The Information Centre.

NHS: Standards

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what standards of accreditation are required by NHS trusts of laboratories testing products for use in NHS hospitals; what powers his Department has to enforce those standards; and if he will make a statement. [246326]

Dawn Primarolo: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) licences facilities that manufacture, assemble and/or import medicinal products for human use. The holder of a manufacturer's licence may use a contract laboratory approved by MHRA for the testing of their medicinal products.

A quality control laboratory, which is performing analysis of medicinal products for a licensed manufacturer and which is named by the holder on their licence, is required to comply with European Union guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and is inspected by MHRA against these requirements on a routine basis.

The requirement for a manufacturer's licence and compliance with GMP is enforced by MHRA, acting on behalf of the licensing authority, through the Medicines Act 1968 and its supporting regulations.

A licence is not required for preparation of medicinal products where this is carried out solely for retail sale or supply, by or under the supervision of a pharmacist in a
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registered pharmacy or hospital. However, registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are bound by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's “Code of Ethics for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians” and the supporting professional standards.

Patients: Safety

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were harmed as a result of an error or missed diagnosis in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley district and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency in the last 12 months. [245807]

Ann Keen: For the period from July 2007 to June 2008, the National Patient Safety Agency received 2,300 reports where patients were harmed due to patient safety incidents classified as diagnostic delay, failure or error. Ninety-nine of these incidents were reported from the North East Strategic Health Authority. Reporting and learning data are collected on the basis of service providers. It is therefore not possible to provide a breakdown of data to constituency level.

People Matters Executive Group

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions the People Matters Executive Group has met. [245766]

Ann Keen: The People Matters Executive Group has met 13 times since it was created in November 2007.

Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how sufficient stocks of medicines to meet patient demand will be ensured when the new pharmaceutical price regulation scheme is implemented; [246793]

(2) whether his Department has agreed with medicines manufacturers stock compensation arrangements for pharmaceutical wholesalers when the new pharmaceutical price regulation scheme is implemented; [246794]

(3) whether his Department has conducted an assessment of the effects of the new pharmaceutical price regulation scheme on the availability of medicines. [246795]

Dawn Primarolo: Implementation of the price cut has been delayed until February 2009 to allow further time for arrangements to be made and to avoid coinciding with the Christmas period. Stock compensation is a matter for pharmaceutical companies and wholesalers to agree. The Department is in regular contact with pharmaceutical companies and wholesalers and does not expect that the implementation of the 2009 pharmaceutical price regulation scheme will lead to shortages of medicines.

However, medicine supply problems can and do occur for a number of reasons and often it is not possible to predict them. The Department of Health and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry have published joint best practice guidelines in order to help manage shortages as and when they arise. These guidelines give guidance to companies on what to do in the event of a shortage and recommend that companies communicate
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with the Department as soon as possible about impending shortages that are likely to have an impact on patient care.

Quality and Outcomes Framework

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the difference between the lowest and highest rate of exception reporting for quality outcomes framework indicator CHD 08 was in each year since the introduction of the framework. [245881]

Ann Keen: The lowest and highest rates of exception reporting for the Quality and Outcomes Framework indicator Coronary Heart Disease 08, for each year of the framework(1) is as follows:

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