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5 Feb 2009 : Column 1498W—continued

Cannabis

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence his Department holds on the effects of habitual, long-term use of cannabis on (a) physical and (b) mental health. [253789]


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Dawn Primarolo: At the request of my right. hon. Friend the Home Secretary, the Government’s advisory committee on drugs, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), carried out a substantial review last year of the harms associated with cannabis use, including the physical and psychological effects of cannabis. The report, ‘Cannabis: Classification and Public Health (2008)’, was published in May 2008 and copies have already been placed in the Library.

Additionally, the Department commissioned a systematic review of studies relating to cannabis and mental health. The peer-reviewed results of this review were published in the Lancet in July 2007 and confirmed the evidence of an association, possibly causal, between prior cannabis use and later development of psychosis and schizophrenia with a 40 per cent., increase in risk reported, up to a 200 per cent. increase for at-risk heavy users.

Care Homes: Standards

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many care homes in each region did not comply with minimum infection control standards in each of the last three years. [254151]

Phil Hope: We are informed by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that its inspectors assess the performance of care homes against each national minimum standard (NMS) and rate them on a four-point scale. A score of 4 indicates that a standard has been exceeded. A score of 3 shows that it has been met. A score of 2 denotes that the standard was almost met with minor shortfalls—this indicates that one of the numerous sub-sections in the standard has not been completely met. A score of 1 means the standard has not been met.

The following table shows the numbers and percentages of care homes with scores of two and one against the relevant NMS for Care Homes for Older People relating to hygiene and infection control for the years ending 31 March 2006-08.

Numbers of services per region which failed the hygiene and infection control standard (NMS for care homes for older people)
As at 31 March;
CSCI region 2006 2007 2008

East Midlands

181

125

104

Eastern

232

268

195

London

173

169

142

North East

123

129

97

North West

282

260

180

South East

457

427

365

South West

307

299

268

West Midlands

383

357

293

Yorkshire and Humberside

288

258

219

Total

2,426

2,292

1,863



5 Feb 2009 : Column 1500W
Percentages of services per region which failed the hygiene and infection control standard (NMS for care homes for older people)
As at 31 March;
CSCI region 2006 2007 2008

East Midlands

18

12

11

Eastern

22

25

19

London

21

21

18

North East

22

23

18

North West

18

17

12

South East

23

22

19

South West

20

20

18

West Midlands

36

33

28

Yorkshire and Humberside

26

23

21

Total

23

22

18

Note:
Figures show scores for homes which were active on the date shown and which had been inspected against NMS 26 - NMS for Care Homes for Older People—at some point prior to the date shown but not necessarily during that particular year.
Source:
CSCI database

Chronically Sick

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether his Department’s review of prescription charges for long-term conditions will take into account the socio-economic profile of the patient group affected by individual conditions; [253728]

(2) whether his Department’s review of prescription charges for long-term conditions will take into account the views of patients with sickle cell disease and thalassaemia. [253730]

Dawn Primarolo: The president of the Royal College of Physicians (Professor Ian Gilmore) is carrying out the review of prescription charges that is considering how to implement the commitment to exempt patients with long-term conditions from prescription charges. The review is due to make its recommendations to departmental Ministers in summer 2009.

The review is engaging widely with stakeholders to seek the views of patients, the public, patient representative bodies, clinicians and healthcare organisations and to take account of the specific circumstances of patients with long-term conditions. It will do this via written consultation; web based consultation, oral evidence sessions; deliberative research with patients and the public and with general practitioners; stakeholder workshops, literature review and data analysis. The Government will carry out an Equality Impact Assessment of any policy proposals that emerge from the review prior to implementation.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on sickle cell and thalassaemia has been in contact with the review and the Sickle Cell Society has been invited to provide written evidence to the review.

Complementary Medicine

Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether any NHS patient wishing to choose (a) homeopathic treatment and (b) other forms of complementary medicine is able to receive it from an NHS homeopathic hospital; [254003]

(2) what assessment the Government have made of the potential for use of complementary and alternative medicines in place of conventional drugs on the NHS. [254004]


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Phil Hope: The Government consider that it is the responsibility of the national health service to make decisions on what treatments are most appropriate for their patients, including complementary and alternative medicine treatments and referrals to homoeopathic hospitals. In some cases complementary and alternative medicine treatments may be appropriate and a general practitioner would make a decision to refer taking into account safety, clinical and cost effectiveness as well as the availability of suitably qualified and regulated practitioners. The Government are currently giving careful consideration to the issue of cost but would consider the provision of such treatments would usually be complementary to, rather than provided in place of, conventional treatments.

Contraception

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what training on the provision of advice on (a) contraception and (b) long-acting methods of contraception is available for nurses whose main duties do not relate to the provision of sexual health services. [253454]

Dawn Primarolo: Education and training for all nurses is the responsibility of their employers in light of local priorities and local assessment of training needs. The need for both general contraception and specifically long acting reversible contraception training has been identified as a priority, locally, regionally and nationally.

Training is available from a range of professional bodies, voluntary organisations and educational establishments.

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will review the role of termination of pregnancy clinics in providing advice on contraception; [253455]

(2) if he will review his policy on the provision of advice on contraception immediately following (a) the termination of a pregnancy and (b) repeat terminations of pregnancies. [253456]

Dawn Primarolo: As set out in the NHS Operating Framework for 2009-10, from 1 April 2009, the standard national health service contract includes the requirement that abortion service providers should provide contraception advice and treatment services. The contract specifies that providers must draw up plans, to be approved by each commissioner, to improve access for women to the full range of contraception advice and treatment during attendance for medical or surgical abortion. This should include follow up arrangements for women who do not receive contraceptive advice or treatment at the time of abortion.

Contraception: Young People

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps he has taken to increase the level of awareness and knowledge amongst young people of the range of available contraceptive methods. [253458]


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Dawn Primarolo: The NHS Operating Framework for 2009-10 calls upon primary care trusts to reduce teenage pregnancy rates by providing a full range of contraception services and methods.

In support of the £26.8 million additional funding for contraceptive services, a new targeted campaign will begin this year to highlight the full range of contraception available, including long acting reversible contraception.

We are also improving young people's access to contraceptive and sexual health advice, by making services more young people friendly and by locating services in places that fit with young people's daily lives, including in schools, further education colleges and other youth settings.

Dementia: Carers

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support is available to carers of those diagnosed with dementia. [253942]

Phil Hope: The National Dementia Strategy, published in February 2009, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library, highlights the need to support carers of those diagnosed with dementia. We will do this by taking forward the Carers’ Strategy.

The Carers’ Strategy, “Carers at the heart of 21(st) century families and communities”, published in June 2008, recognises the increasingly important role that carers play in our society and acknowledges that all carers, including carers of those diagnosed with dementia, need more help and support than has been available in the past. A copy has already been placed in the Library. The strategy contains a number of commitments including information and advice, new break provision and a recognition that family carers should be involved in decisions about treatment and support.

Dementia: Expenditure

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on medical research on (a) Alzheimer’s disease and (b) dementia in the latest year for which figures are available; and what proportion of his Department’s budget this represents. [253997]

Phil Hope: National health service support for degenerative neurological disorder research and National Institute for Health Research investment in dementia research amounted in 2007-08 to £22.2 million. The Medical Research Council (MRC) spent £10.2 million on dementia research in the same year. This total expenditure of £32.4 million amounts to some 2.5 per cent. of the combined departmental research and development and MRC expenditure for the year.

Details of expenditure on research specifically concerned with Alzheimer’s disease are not available.

Departmental Pensions

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to advise staff of pension options available to them in relation to added years or additional voluntary contributions. [253270]


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Mr. Bradshaw: In November 2007, the Department advised its staff via its intranet about the withdrawal of the added years facility as from 1 April 2008. They were also given details of the new added pension arrangements and directed to the pension reform pages on the Civil Service Pensions website, where they could get more detailed information and could access an added pension calculator.

Via its intranet, the Department directed staff to the civil service website which provides detailed information on the options for increasing pension—including the option of added voluntary contributions. Staff are also given a civil service pensions email address and telephone number, that they can use to obtain further information, and who to contact if they want specific information booklets.

Doctors and Nurses: Manpower

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many NHS doctors were working in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) the Tees Valley and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2008; [253424]

(2) how many NHS nurses were working in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) the Tees Valley and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2008. [253425]

Ann Keen: The following tables gives the number of national health services doctors and nurses working in England, the North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and the primary care trusts (PCTs) that make up the requested constituency. There is no geographical definition for the Tees Valley.


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