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25 Jan 2010 : Column 550W—continued


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 758W, on hotels, what the cost of his Department's hotel booking contract has been since 2007. [311982]

Phil Hope: The Department uses a framework contract let by the Office of Government Commerce for its hotel bookings. The Department pays no fees for the use of this contract and the use of this contract enables the Department to make savings against the bookings made.

The total cost of hotel bookings made since 2007 through the contract are as follows:

Hotel room bookings (£)





Industrial Health and Safety

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the health and safety advice issued to each new starter upon joining his Department. [311816]

Phil Hope: The Department is committed to giving new staff the tools they need to carry out their jobs effectively, as quickly as possible. This is achieved through induction, which is delivered in three parts-local induction activities, an online induction programme and a corporate induction day.

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On arriving at the Department, staff receive an automatic welcome e-mail. This also outlines the different components of induction and how to access them. Health and safety is covered by Section 3 of the on-line induction programme, accessed via an intranet link. Local health and safety procedures are covered by the line manager on the first day of employment, as directed by the line manager's checklist.

A copy of the induction checklists and a text version of the health and safety section of the on-line induction programme have been placed in the Library.

Mentally Ill

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate has been made of the proportion of people who have mental health problems; and on what basis that estimate is made. [311952]

Phil Hope: One in six adults has a common mental disorder at any one time. This estimate is based on the 2007 Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity Among Adults living in private households in England.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Inquiry

Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library at the earliest opportunity a copy of the report of the inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust commissioned by his Department and chaired by Robert Francis, QC. [313019]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Yes. The inquiry is due to report within the next few weeks. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State intends to place a copy in the Library in due course.

Monitor: Pay

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much (a) the executive chairman and (b) each of the five paid directors of Monitor were paid in the latest period figures are available. [312695]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We are advised by the chairman of Monitor (the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) that in 2008-09 (a) the executive chairman of Monitor received a salary payment of £235,647 which included a 5.5 per cent. non-consolidated payment of £12,001 and (b) the four non-executive directors were paid in £000 within a £5,000 band as follows:


Christopher Mellor (deputy chairman)


Jude Goffe


Elaine Murphy


Stephen Thornton


NHS: Finance

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received from the Charity Commission on changes to accounting standards in respect of charitable donations to hospital funds. [311762]

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Phil Hope: Officials have met with representatives of the Charity Commission, together with other stakeholders, on several occasions in the last year to discuss changes in the accounting standards in respect of linked charitable funds and national health service organisations. I will be meeting with the chief executive and chair of the Charity Commission on 28 January 2010 to discuss this issue further.

NHS: Negligence

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many clinical negligence cases funded by conditional fee agreements were closed in each of the last five years; in how many such cases damages were paid, whether by agreement to settle or award; in such cases where damages were paid, what the costs of defending the cases were; what the legal costs paid to the claimants for (a) base costs and (b) success fees were; and in cases where damages were paid, what amounts were paid in after the event insurance premiums. [312648]

Ann Keen: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 21 January 2010, Official Report, column 446W.

Non-profit Making Associations: Finance

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) financial and (b) other assistance his Department is providing to the social enterprise Your Health proposed by Kingston's Primary Care Trust; and if he will make a statement. [311853]

Phil Hope: Your Health has received £30,000 from the Right to Request First Wave monies that was granted to London strategic health authority in November 2009. A commitment of £619,000 has been made from the Social Enterprise Investment Fund to Your Health, which they intend to draw down over the next few weeks.

Your Health has received general support from the Department, alongside others considering social enterprise, in the form of attendance at peer-supported learning events.


Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to make it a criminal offence for the food industry to manufacture and sell artificial food products which are known to have seriously harmful effects on health. [312891]

Gillian Merron: The sale of any food that is unsafe is already prohibited by Regulation (EC) 178/2002. Food is considered to be unsafe if it is either injurious to health or unfit for human consumption. The General Food Regulations 2004 and the General Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004 create offences of contravening or failing to comply with the food safety requirements of Regulation (EC) 178/2002.

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent reports he has received from (a) professional, (b) campaigning and (c) other public health organisations on the effects on coronary health of artificial trans fats;
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and if he will bring forward proposals to ban the sale of products containing artificial trans fats in light of the most recent evidence on those effects. [312892]

Gillian Merron: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) carried out a comprehensive review of the health impacts of trans fats in 2007, and reported that voluntary action taken by the food industry to reduce the levels of trans fats in foods in the United Kingdom has been successful in achieving the reduction in dietary intakes to 1 per cent. of food energy. As part of this review the Government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) examined the evidence regarding the health effects of trans fat, including coronary heart disease (CHD). The SACN review concluded trans fat from partially hydrogenated oils has a moderate impact on increasing the risk of CHD and recommended that trans fats should contribute no more than 2 per cent. of food energy.

The FSA is aware that the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a scientific update on trans fats in 2009. This reviewed evidence since the 1993 joint Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Oils in Human Nutrition, including the effects of trans fat consumption on CHD. The WHO conclusions are consistent with the SACN position statement.

The Government note the reports by the Faculty of Public Health and the Royal Society for Public Health regarding the banning of artificial trans fats from foods. However, given the reduction in levels of trans fat in the UK and the fact that no new evidence has come to light since the 2007 SACN position statement, the UK Government believe that legislation would be unlikely to deliver any further health benefit.

The FSA continues to monitor the intakes of trans fats and encourages the food industry to eliminate them.

Prescription Drugs

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what research his Department undertook for the purposes of its consultation and impact assessment on automatic generic substitution in respect of assessment of the (a) effect on incentives for investments in research and development, (b) the potential health impacts on patients and (c) the one-off costs, ongoing costs and potential savings; and if he will make a statement; [312642]

(2) what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that patients continue to receive the most appropriate treatment under its preferred approach in the proposal for automatic generic substitution of medicines; what role the quarterly reviewed select list will play in this process; and if he will make a statement; [312643]

(3) whether his Department consulted the National Patient Safety Agency during its discussions on proposals to introduce automatic generic substitution of medicines. [312644]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In developing the proposals and analysis set out in the consultation document The proposals to implement 'Generic Substitution' in primary care, further to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) 2009 and its associated partial impact assessment,
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published on 5 January 2010, the Department was informed by input from stakeholders supported by published literature and in-house modelling.

The Department recognises that further evidence may be available, which is why we are holding a full public consultation, to which all those with an interest can input, including patients. We are also holding a number of consultation events (through NHS Primary Care Commissioning). The National Patient Safety Agency's views were not specifically sought before publishing the consultation document.

Under the Department's preferred approach (option 3), there are two mechanisms for ensuring that patients continue to receive the most appropriate treatment. Firstly, the creation of a select list will clearly define those drugs falling within the scope of the generic substitution arrangements. This list has been drawn up to include those medicines that deliver the most savings and excludes drugs where there are any general, clinical or patient safety concerns with regard to interchange between different manufacturers' products. Secondly, preservers' clinical autonomy to tailor prescribing to their individual patients' clinical needs will be maintained. Where a prescriber judges that there is a clinical need, a mechanism will be in place to ensure that patients can continue to receive a specific manufacturer's product.

The consultation document and partial impact assessment can be found on the Department's website at:

Copies have been placed in the Library. Details of the consultation events will be published on the NHS Primary Care Commissioning website at:

Screening: EU Law

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the effect of the Physical Agents Directive on the number of patients per week who receive medical scans. [312348]

Gillian Merron: The Physical Agents Directive has yet to be implemented. The adopted Directive has been amended to provide for a later implementation date of April 2012 so that the European Union can reassess its potential impact. The Directive itself covers both optical and electromagnetic (EMF) radiation, but is specifically aimed at workers. Both the optical and the EMF parts of the Directive explicitly exclude patients. Therefore, there should be no effect on the number of medical scans patients receive each week unless implementation limits the types and number of scans that can be done because of exposure to clinical staff attending the patient. This cannot be assessed until the Directive is finally implemented.

Snow and Ice

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the costs to his Department arising from the severe weather conditions in the period 4 January to 18 January 2010; and if he will make a statement. [313589]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: This is a matter for the local national health service. The NHS, as part of its planning process, ensures operational challenges such as adverse weather are factored into local contingency plans, including the cost of treating patients.

Swine Flu: Vaccination

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2009, Official Report, column 1059W, on swine influenza: disease control, what consideration he has given to the merits of (a) using the NHS number alone to track take-up of the vaccine and (b) requiring only monthly totals of vaccinations administered by each GP or practice to be submitted. [312649]

Gillian Merron: The Department's policy is to collect only anonymised statistical data for swine influenza vaccine uptake and therefore no individual patient identifiable data are collected as part of this vaccine uptake data collection. Using national health service numbers would have been inconsistent with this policy.

The Department only requires swine influenza vaccine uptake data from all general practices on a monthly basis. The weekly vaccine uptake figures are based on an automated extraction of data from about 40 per cent. of general practitioner practices. This data extraction places no burden on these practices.

Women and Equality

Equality and Human Rights Commission: Industrial Disputes

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 12 October 2009, Official Report, column 31W, on the Equality and Human Rights Commission: industrial disputes, what the outcome was of each of the 15 employment disputes that were taken to an employment tribunal; and what the grounds of the dispute were in each case, anonymised where necessary. [312052]

Maria Eagle: The information requested in relation to the 15 employment disputes made by Equality and Human Rights Commission employees or recruits since the opening of the Commission in October 2007 is provided as follows:

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