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This option would have a large negative impact on people on low incomes and with high levels of need, as the group of people who would previously have been eligible for state support and also who are unable to afford the costs of care or insurance themselves; and
Those individuals unable to afford the cost of care would be left without the care they need. This could result in high levels of unmet need in the future, or pressure on friends/families to provide informal care.
The Department monitors diversity data at all stages of the recruitment process to ensure fairness at every point. The Department has a range of measures in place to encourage applicants from under-represented groups, including operating the Guaranteed Interview Scheme for people with disabilities and offering a broad range of flexible working options to all staff.
The information covers the Department's central administrative estate of Richmond House, Wellington House and Skipton House. The Department is a minor occupier in New Kings Beam House (HM Revenue and Customs) and Quarry House in Leeds (Department for Work and Pensions) and the data for these sites is reported by them.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many sick days were taken by staff of his Department in each of the last five years; and what the cost to the public purse of these absences was. 
Phil Hope: The following table presents the average working days lost per person in the Department for the years available and the associated cost estimates for sickness. The cost estimates for 2007-08 and 2008-09 are not available.
|Average working days lost per person||Cost estimate (£ million)|
|n/a = not available|
Cost estimates given are based on information published in the annual civil service sickness absence reports, available on the Cabinet Office website.
John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many external training courses were attended by staff of his Department in the last 12 months; and what the cost was of attendances on each such course. 
Phil Hope: Decisions on external training courses for staff are made locally. The Department does not therefore hold central records of course attendance or the costs involved. To collect such information would incur disproportionate cost.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on (a) car hire, (b) air travel, (c) hotels and (d) restaurant meals for (i) Ministers and (ii) staff of his Department in each of the last five years. 
Phil Hope: Travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the ministerial code and the civil service management code respectively and all expenditure on air and rail travel has to be incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
The Cabinet Office publishes an annual list of overseas visits made by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500 dating from 1997 onwards. Details on all Health Ministers overseas travel for 2008-09 can be found on the Cabinet Office website.
Phil Hope: Travel by Ministers is undertaken in accordance with the ministerial code and all expenditure on rail travel has to be incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Phil Hope: Diabetes networks, as defined in the diabetes national service framework, can play an important role in driving the delivery of quality of diabetes services, and improving patient outcomes. We are working with NHS Diabetes and Diabetes UK to expand networks across England.
We have not undertaken any formal assessment of the effects on the quality of diabetes in primary care trusts of diabetes networks or the effects of diabetes networks on patient outcomes for people with diabetes.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the potential role of community pharmacies in helping to reduce health inequalities for people (a) at risk of and (b) diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 
Phil Hope: The White Paper, "Pharmacy in England: Building on strengths - delivering the future", published in April 2008, is closely aligned with the Government's strategy for primary and community care, developed as part of the NHS Next Stage Review, and set out in our vision for primary and community care. It sets out the contribution that community pharmacy can make to reducing health inequalities by identifying and managing chronic disease, such as diabetes, especially in the most deprived areas as community pharmacy services are well placed to reach groups and individuals who do not routinely use primary care or general practice. Copies of both publications have already been placed in the Library.
(2) what steps his Department plans to take to encourage commissioning by primary care trusts of services provided by community pharmacies for (a) screening for and (b) treating Type 2 diabetes; 
Phil Hope: The Government take its advice on screening matters from the National Screening Committee. It has advised that, while whole population screening for diabetes would not be clinically nor cost effective, targeted screening in a wider context of cardiovascular risk assessment would be effective. We do not have any plans for the introduction and provision of screening for diabetes alone.
However, we have introduced the NHS Health Check programme which will assess people's risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes and will support people to reduce or manage that risk through individually tailored advice. This programme is for the whole population between 40-74 that is not already on a disease register for cardiovascular disease, diabetes or kidney disease.
To ensure that it contributes to tackle health inequalities, the programme has been designed so that the risk assessment element can be undertaken in a variety of settings, including community pharmacy. Phased implementation of the programme began in April and some primary care trusts (PCTs) have commissioned services from community pharmacies.
To help PCTs commission the NHS Health Check programme from community pharmacies, we have been working with a number of organisations, including those representing pharmacy, to develop a number of tools. With the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, a national template has been designed to help PCTs commission the programme from community pharmacy and is available at
In association with Primary Care Contracting, a Primary Care Service Framework has been developed to assist PCTs in commissioning the NHS Health Check programme from a number of providers including community pharmacy and is available at:
Community pharmacists are well placed to support people diagnosed with diabetes to manage their condition effectively and many are doing so. Community pharmacy can provide a range of services from blood glucose testing, blood pressure management, safe use of medicines to providing healthy lifestyle advice.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many instances of counterfeit (a) medicines and (b) devices have been discovered in the supply chain in each of the last four years. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Since 2004, there have been 15 incidents of counterfeit medicines and 13 of counterfeit medical devices discovered in the United Kingdom supply chain. 10 incidents of counterfeit medicines reached pharmacy and patient level and led to the products being recalled. All 13 incidents of counterfeit medical devices reached patient level and action was taken to remove the products from the supply chain and inform the public.
Although this represents a fraction of the 850 million prescriptions dispensed annually in the UK, or over 93,000 different types of medical devices on the market, the Government take the issue of counterfeit medical products very seriously.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has implemented a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting strategy which focuses on reducing the availability of counterfeit medical products in the UK.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent advice he has received on the possible relationship between incidence of childhood leukaemia and exposure to extremely low frequency electrical and magnetic fields; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Department has received advice from the Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields (SAGE). SAGE is a group of stakeholders representing sectors engaged with electricity transmission, regulation, property valuation, academic research and public concern campaigning. The remit of SAGE is to explore the implications for a precautionary approach to extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields (ELF/EMF) and to make practical recommendations to Government. SAGE's First Interim Assessment: Power Lines and Property, Wiring in Homes and Electrical Equipment in Homes considered two sources of EMF: high voltage overhead power lines and electrical wiring and equipment inside the home and was published in April 2007.
I will be issuing a written statement on the Government's response to the SAGE First Interim Assessment very shortly on behalf of myself and my hon. Friends the Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath), and the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr. Austin).
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