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21 Apr 2009 : Column 575W—continued


Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued on the legality of the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces. [268697]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has not issued any guidance on the legality of the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces.

The Department has commissioned research through the local authorities coordinators of regulatory services (LACORS) to test e-cigarettes to see if they comply with the law. This scientific research has found these contain toxic levels of nicotine and that none of the products tested to date comply with product safety regulations. Local Authority Trading Standards Departments have accordingly been informed.

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The four products that: have been tested so far did not contain tobacco. However, there are many different e-cigarette products on the UK market, which function in different ways and some products may contain tobacco. Therefore it cannot be assumed that all e-cigarettes can be used legally in smokefree premises.

Local authorities enforce the product safety regulations and the Government are working with them to protect the public from the dangers of e-cigarettes that contain toxic levels of nicotine.

E-cigarettes should not be sold as an aid to quitting smoking without authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Fertility: Medical Treatments

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors his Department has identified as hindering full implementation on the part of primary care trusts of National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on fertility treatment. [269475]

Dawn Primarolo: The pace of implementation of clinical guidelines produced by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence is determined by primary care trusts (PCTs) at local level. Many PCTs are now progressing towards the full implementation of the guideline on the assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems. The expert group on commissioning national health service infertility provision, which we established in 2008 to provide advice to the Department and to PCT commissioners, has identified that increasing awareness of the consequences of infertility, and developing the expertise of commissioners, will contribute to further progress in this area of health provision. The expert group is producing a commissioning guide to address these issues.

Health Professions

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department’s definition of a (a) district nurse, (b) community matron and (c) health visitor is. [269799]

Ann Keen: The Department does not provide definitions of nursing disciplines, these are determined by education, qualification, role and the needs of patients.

Health Professions: Manpower

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) nurses, (b) midwives and (c) health visitors returned to work in the National Health Service in each year since 2004. [269335]

Ann Keen: The number of midwives and health visitors that have returned to work in the national health service is not collected centrally. However, between February 1999 and March 2004, over 18,500 former nurses and midwives had returned to work in the NHS as a result of the return to practice initiative.

From 1 April 2004, responsibility for the provision and funding of return to practice programmes was devolved to local NHS organisations.

21 Apr 2009 : Column 577W

Health Visitors: Schools

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the likely cost of introducing a universal health visitors programme in schools. [269197]

Ann Keen: The Health Visiting service is a universal service. Work continues to strengthen the service and maximise its effectiveness. The universal programme for 0-5 year olds, the Healthy Child Programme (formerly the Child Health Promotion Programme), led by health visitors, was set out in updated guidance issued in March 2008. The associated impact assessment estimated the additional costs of introducing new assessments of all pregnant women and under-fives for obesity risks at £20 million per annum, greatly outweighed by the estimated benefits.

In Healthy Lives, Brighter Futures, the strategy for children and young people's health, the Government set out the intention to ensure that every Sure Start Children's Centre has access to a named health visitor to work as part of the team and oversee the health work of the centre.

The new Action on Health Visiting programme, announced on 12 March, will look further at the key roles of health visitors and the action needed on skills, development and career opportunities to ensure the national health service is able to recruit and retain the right workforce. We anticipate that this will require growth in health visitor numbers. It is for local areas to decide the skill mix of teams according to population needs.

The Impact Assessment: for the Child Health Promotion Programme may be found at:

A copy has been placed in the Library.

Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria his Department used in choosing the winners of the Healthcare Associated Infection Technology Innovation programme Awards; and whether each of the products commended in the awards have been reviewed by his Department's Rapid Review panel. [269295]

Ann Keen: The Healthcare Associated Infection (HCAI) Technology Innovation Programme Awards were not part of the Rapid Review Panel (RRP) process but part of a wider programme involving innovation in general and HCAI technology innovation.

The awards categories, winners and whether they have a RRP recommendation are shown as follows.

21 Apr 2009 : Column 578W
Category Winner RRP recommendation

Innovative technological concept: originating from industry with the most potential to prevent HCAI

ErgoMedica Ltd. for MedMat

RRP recommendation 2

Team or individual from the NHS or industry that has contributed in the most practical way to promoting the development and/or adoption of HCAI related technology

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the implementation of a new rapid MRSA PCR testing technology

Outside RRP remit

For Actual new and/or novel HCAI related product or technology likely or proven to help reduce infection

TwistDx for applying its novel DNA technology to develop a rapid, portable MRSA test

Not submitted to RRP

Innovative technological concept or new and novel product or technology offering the greatest contribution in controlling Clostridium difficile

BIOQUELL plc for its hydrogen peroxide vapour system

RRP recommendation 1

New and/or novel product or technology with the greatest contribution to enhancing the cleanliness of the hospital environment

OSPREY DEEPCLEAN steam cleaning technology.

Not submitted to RRP

All entries were reviewed and short listed by the judging panel. All short listed entries were then invited to present their product to the panel during two interview days. From the presentations and interviews the judges chose their winners.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 30 March 2009, Official Report, column 1223W, on hospitals: infectious diseases, for what reasons the average of all quarters of the year was not used to calculate the reduction in methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus; and if he will make a statement. [269713]

Ann Keen: The October to December 2008 quarter was used because it was the most recent information available. There is a downward trend over the last three quarters, April to June 2008 being a 56 per cent. reduction, July to September 2008 a 62 per cent. reduction and October to December 2008 a 65 per cent. reduction compared to the 2003-04 quarterly average.


Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many new cases of influenza were diagnosed in December and January of the year (a) 2008-09, (b) 2007-08 and (c) 2006-07. [268763]

Dawn Primarolo: Information on cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) is collected by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on a weekly basis. The information requested is shown in the following table as rates of new cases of ILI per 100,000 general practitioner (GP) population for the four weeks of December and the four weeks of January. The information relates to England and Wales.

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Rates of new cases of ILI per 100,000 GP population

2006-07 2007-08 2008-09



























The Health Protection Agency publishes weekly national influenza reports, incorporating RCGP data, on the website

Life Expectancy

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which local authorities in the Spearhead Group (a) had widened the gap in life expectancy at birth compared with the population as a whole in the latest year for which information is available and (b) are not on course to meet the 2010 target of reducing that gap by 10 per cent. [269774]

Ann Keen: This information is contained in “Tackling Health Inequalities: 2005-07 Policy and Data Update for the 2010 National Target”, which has been placed in the Library.

Maternal Mortality

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women have died (a) in childbirth and (b) as a result of complications in childbirth in each year since 1997; and how many such women have died in each NHS organisation in the most recent period for which figures are available. [269078]

Ann Keen: We do not collect that information centrally. However, the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health publishes a report once every three years, formerly entitled “Why Mothers Die”, but now entitled “Saving Mothers’ Lives”. The most recent, published in December 2007, covered the years 2002-05. This publication gives numbers of deaths in the United Kingdom reported to the inquiry in the three-year periods considered and divides them into deaths directly and indirectly due to pregnancy and childbirth, (it also includes coincidental deaths and late deaths, which are not included in the table). Copies of the latest report have already been placed in the Library.

Three year period Direct deaths Indirect deaths Total direct and indirect deaths rate per 100,000 maternities













1. Direct deaths result from obstetric complications of the pregnant state, from interventions, omission, incorrect treatment or from a chain of events resulting from any of these.
2. Indirect deaths result from previous existing disease, or disease that developed during pregnancy and which was not due to direct obstetric causes, but which was aggravated by the physiological effects of pregnancy.

We are unable to break these figures down by NHS organisation.

21 Apr 2009 : Column 580W

Medical Equipment: Finance

Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much Government funding will be provided to develop new medical devices for use in the NHS during 2009-10. [268850]

Dawn Primarolo: The National Institute for Health Research invention for innovation programme has a budget for 2009-10 of £13 million. Other investment the Government plan to make in medical technology research in 2009-10 and beyond includes:

Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many funding applications for development of medical devices were received in the last three years for which information is available; [268851]

(2) how many medical technology developers received development grants of above £30,000 in the last three years for which information is available; [268853]

(3) which Government funding agency distributed the most funding to medical technology developers in the last three years for which information is available. [268854]

Dawn Primarolo: The information available in respect of the three years from 2006-07 to 2008-09 is shown in the following table.

Medical technology research: 2005-08
Funding body Applications received Grants of or exceeding £30,000 awarded

National Institute for Health Research: Invention for Innovation and Health Technology Devices programmes



National Institute for Health Research: New and Emerging Applications of Technology programme



Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences Research Council



Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)



Medical Research Council



Technology Strategy Board



n/a = not available
The 132 awards made by the EPSRC have a total value of £81 million.

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