Previous Section Index Home Page

19 Jan 2009 : Column 1185W—continued

In addition to the diagnosis of chlamydia in GUM clinics, the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) provides screening for chlamydia to asymptomatic people aged under 25 years of age in England. The NCSP was launched in 2003. Information on the proportion of people diagnosed with chlamydia through the NCSP in the South East Coast SHA broken down by PCT for April 2008 to September 2008, the latest date for which figures are available, is published in “NHS Vital Signs 2008/9—Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Strategic Health Authority (SHA) specific tables 1st April 2008 to 30th September 2008”. A copy of the tables have been placed in the Library.

Contaminated Blood and Blood Products Inquiry

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 December 2008, Official Report, columns 675-76W, on contaminated blood and blood products inquiry, how many of the documents discovered in unregistered files and subsequently withheld from release under exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 were also withheld from release from the documents returned to his Department's solicitors in May 2006 by Blackett, Hart and Pratt. [247231]

Dawn Primarolo: Around 4,500 documents were discovered in unregistered files, and 35 were withheld from release under exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as set out in my answer of 30 June 2008, Official Report, column 652W. One document was withheld from release from around 600 documents returned by a firm of private solicitors. The one document withheld from those returned by private solicitors was also among those withheld from documents found in unregistered files. The document was withheld under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account his Department is taking in its policy on testing for vCJD infection amongst at-risk groups of the recent completion of the trial of the EP-vCJD(TM) test by Amorfix Life Sciences in collaboration with the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control; and if he will make a statement. [247049]

19 Jan 2009 : Column 1186W

Dawn Primarolo: Advice on the use of this test will be sought from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs and from the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Incidents Panel when additional independent ongoing studies are completed.

Departmental Air Travel

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many journeys (a) he and his predecessors and (b) his officials made by aeroplane in the course of their duties in each of the last five years. [246666]

Mr. Bradshaw: Travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the ‘Ministerial Code’ and the ‘Civil Service Management Code’ respectively.

The number of aeroplane journeys undertaken by the Secretary of State and his predecessors over the last five years is:

Period Number

July 2004 to March 2005


April 2005 to March 2006


April 2006 to March 2007


April 2007 to March 2008


April 2008 to December 2008


Numbers of aeroplane journeys for officials are not easily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Languages

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) Ministers and (b) civil servants in his Department received coaching in a foreign language in the last 12 months; what expenditure his Department incurred in providing such coaching; and in what languages such coaching was provided. [248081]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not hold central records of expenditure on foreign language classes, either for Ministers or for its employees. Any survey to gather the relevant information could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Marketing

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on advertising in the last 12 months. [243714]

Mr. Bradshaw: In the last 12 months, (1 December 2007 to 30 November 2008 inclusive), the Department has spent a total of £35,907,558 on advertising. This includes advertising on major public health and social care campaigns including tobacco control, sexual health, alcohol awareness, substance abuse support and advice, vaccination programmes and recruitment to social care work.

For the majority of staff in the Department, recruitment costs including advertising, are paid for locally by the business units that carried out the recruiting, and to gather the information from local sources would incur a disproportionate cost.

19 Jan 2009 : Column 1187W

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what expert advisers have been commissioned by his Department and its agencies since 1997; on what topic each was commissioned; and whether the adviser so appointed made a declaration of political activity in each case. [246955]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department and its agencies commission a wide range of expert advisers from relevant fields to provide clinical and scientific input to their work.

Information is not held centrally and, given the time period, to collect it would incur disproportionate cost. Information about experts commissioned to provide professional or technical advice as members of advisory committees, boards and advisory public bodies would again incur disproportionate cost to collect.

Information about specific bodies can be found at:

Information about the 310 committees of the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory products Authority (MHRA) can be found at:

Information about special advisers, who are political appointees and advise on political, presentational and policy issues, has been announced to the Commons on an annual basis since 2003, usually in July.

All members of committees and advisory public bodies of the Department and its agencies are subject to the rules and procedures of the Appointments Commission including the requirement to declare any political activity.

Departmental Telephone Services

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what use (a) his Department and (b) service providers under contract to his Department make of (i) 0844 and 0845 telephone numbers and (ii) revenue-sharing telephone numbers for calls from members of the public; for which services such numbers are used; what prefixes are used for revenue-sharing numbers; how much revenue has accrued from revenue-sharing numbers in each of the last five years; what consideration his Department has given to introducing 03-prefixed telephone numbers for calls to all such services; and if he will make a statement. [247343]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department runs or supports the following 0845 telephone numbers.

19 Jan 2009 : Column 1188W

Telephone numbers

EHIC Order Line

0845 605 0707

EHIC enquiry line

0845 606 2030

Healthy Start

0845 607 6823

Healthy Start Minicom

0845 601 7698

Social Work and Care Careers Recruitment Line

0845 604 6404

Social Work and Care Careers Recruitment Minicom

0845 601 6121

The 0845 numbers serving recruitment for social care and social workers will be moved over to the new 0300 tariff by the end of February. The use of 0845 numbers for the other services is currently under review.

The Department ran the following non-revenue generating lines, using 0870 numbers. While they were mainly for the use of national health service and social services professional there was some use by the public. Since May 2008, these services have been available via 0300 numbers but the 0870 numbers needs to be maintained until the end of March 2009 to allow for the transition.

Telephone numbers

Department of Health Publication Order line

08701 555 455

Department of Health Publication Order line minicom

08700 102 870

The Department’s Executive agencies, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency have no 0845 or similar cost telephone numbers for use by the public.

The Department does not centrally hold information on the telephone numbers used by the NHS.

The Department has 24 arm’s length bodies and a number of national programmes e.g. NHS Employers. Information about telephone services for these bodies is not held centrally and cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost.

The Department also grants funds to a wide range of voluntary and charitable organisations to provide services relating to health and healthy living. Some of these organisations include telephone helplines as part of their services. It is not possible, without incurring disproportionate cost, to identify individual projects with telephones services and whether 0845 telephone numbers are used.

In February 2005, my right hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness (Mr. Hutton), then Minister of State for Health announced a ban on the NHS using premium rate telephone numbers such as 0870.

We recently launched a public consultation on the intention to prohibit the use of 084 numbers in the NHS. This will run from 16 December 2008 until 31 March 2009.

Direct Payments

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to increasing the safeguards for people who lack capacity and have their direct payments managed on their behalf by a suitable person to a level which matches those for people who manage their own direct payments. [248129]

Phil Hope: Consultation on draft regulations in respect of the provisions in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to extend direct payments to people lacking capacity has now closed and comments are currently being considered.

19 Jan 2009 : Column 1189W

The draft regulations set out specific and robust conditions which a local authority must ensure can be met by the suitable person to whom it is making direct payments on behalf of the person lacking capacity. Before making any payment, the local authority must be satisfied that the appointed suitable person is capable of managing the direct payment and that in all circumstances it is appropriate for he or she to do so. In particular, the suitable person is required at all times to act in the best interests of the person lacking capacity, within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The suitable person must provide any information to the local authority as it sees fit, including notifying the local authority whenever they believe that the direct payment beneficiary has regained capacity. Local authorities will be under a duty to carry out regular reviews to ensure that making a direct payment in this way meets the needs and serves the best interests of the person lacking capacity.

Practice guidance will be published alongside the regulations to support local authorities to take appropriate safeguarding measures and therefore ensure that people lacking capacity are also able to benefit from direct payments.

Doctors: Children

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) named and (b) designated doctor posts in charge of child safety in primary care trusts are vacant. [247034]

Ann Keen: This information is not collected centrally.

Down’s Syndrome

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to increase awareness of Down’s syndrome. [245855]

Phil Hope: The Department does not single out any condition when raising awareness around learning disability, although the Department recognises the excellent awareness work carried out by third sector groups, which support people with Down’s syndrome and their families.

We have published today the “Valuing People Now” Strategy and Delivery Plan which will address people with learning disabilities having control over their lives and services, including what people do during the day, how they can be supported to access jobs, housing, better healthcare and making sure that change happens. Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library.

Elderly: Abuse

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 144W, on elderly: abuse, which local authority reported in each of the 15 serious case reviews; and for each such authority how many serious case reviews there have been in each of the last four years. [248506]

Phil Hope: The serious case review reports and reports that were similar in nature but were not titled serious case reviews, were considered on a confidential basis. Local councils took part, on the agreement and understanding that the names of the councils involved and the reports not in the public domain would remain
19 Jan 2009 : Column 1190W
anonymous. The Department must therefore respect this arrangement. All participants in this research were assured of anonymity.


Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's recommendation is for the amount of exercise people should take each week. [247917]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department’s recommendations on the amount of exercise people should take each week reflect the Chief Medical Officer’s views, set out in the report “At least five a week: Evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health” published in April 2004. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Children and young people should achieve a total of at least 60 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity each day. At least twice a week this should include activities to improve bone health (activities that produce high physical stresses on the bones), muscle strength and flexibility.

For general health benefit, adults should achieve a total of at least 30 minutes a day of at least moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days of the week.

Family Nurse Partnership Programme

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the family nurse partnership programme. [247382]

Ann Keen: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on the 9 December 2008, Official Report, column 71W.

Next Section Index Home Page