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8 Feb 2010 : Column 697W—continued


Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will place in the Library a copy of the advice issued to staff of her Department on stress recognition and management. [314527]

Jonathan Shaw: DWP provides comprehensive guidance on stress as part of its wider Wellbeing at Work programme. Detailed policies, procedures and advice can be accessed via a dedicated intranet site which also helps staff to recognise the symptoms and understand the underlying causes of stress and how these can be managed.

I will place copies of our advice in the Library.


Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on levels of binge drinking in other EU member states. [315703]

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Gillian Merron: The Department uses the percentage of adults drinking more than twice the recommended number of units for regular drinking (two-three units for women; three-four for men) on the individual's heaviest drinking day in the last week, as a proxy estimate for binge drinking levels in the population. The latest available data, "General Lifestyle Survey 2008: Smoking and drinking among adults, 2008", published January 2010, showed that 18 per cent. of the adult population exceeded this measure on their heaviest drinking day during one survey week in 2008 compared with 20 per cent. in 2007.

We are aware of a number of studies which compare levels of binge drinking between European Union member states, such as Hemström Ö, et al, Alcohol in Postwar Europe: consumption, drinking patterns, consequences and policy responses in 15 European countries (2002), Gmel G, et al, Binge drinking in Europe: definitions, epidemiology, and consequences (2003) and the Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study (GENACIS Project). International Research Group on Gender and Alcohol. It is important to note that the data sources and definitions of binge drinking used are not the same as that used by the Department of Health. They also vary between the different studies.

Back Pain: Medical Treatments

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the implementation of guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on lower back pain; [315437]

(2) how many primary care trusts are commissioning services for people with lower back pain. [315438]

Ann Keen: The policy set out in 'Standards for Better Health' requires national health service organisations to take account of all relevant guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), and to implement them where appropriate in line with locally-determined priorities for service development. A copy of 'Standards for Better Health' has already been placed in the Library. NHS organisations are also required to publish an overall assessment of how they have taken NICE guidelines into account as part of their annual declaration of compliance with national standards. The Care Quality Commission assesses these declarations, but organisations are not required to make declarations in respect of specific guidelines.

Detailed information on the services commissioned by primary care trusts for people with lower back pain is not held centrally. We are funding a national clinical audit of pain management services which is currently in progress. We expect the results of the first phase to be available in October 2010.

Care Homes

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Care Quality Commission has provided advice on the provision of warden-assisted housing placements for elderly residents registered as blind. [315417]

Phil Hope: The Care Quality Commission has not provided any such guidance.

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The Commission is the regulator of providers of health and adult social care. As such it regulates providers of personal care to people living in warden-assisted housing but does not have a role in other aspects of the housing.

Consultancy: Contracts

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department takes to monitor contracts awarded to consultancy firms by NHS trusts and primary care trusts. [316366]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: As part of its ongoing drive to make the national health service accountable at a local level, the NHS constitution and the statement of NHS accountability have placed the emphasis on ensuring value for money to the boards of NHS organisations.

The Department, and the Office of Government Commerce, provide advice and guidance to NHS organisations on the procurement of consultancy advice to support NHS boards.

Departmental Communication

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department publishes an annual report on departmental communications. [315602]

Phil Hope: The Communications Directorate publishes a chapter within the Department's annual report summarising activity, results and expenditure. The next report is due to be published in May 2010. Additionally, research summaries of our marketing work are published regularly on the departmental website.

Departmental ICT

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department and its agencies have spent on font licensing in the last three years. [315492]

Phil Hope: The Department has spent £18,112 on font licences over the last three years.

The Department's executive agency, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, has made no purchases of font licences over the period specified.

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

Departmental Information Officers

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff in his Department and its agencies have the status of (a) embedded communicators and (b) are members of the Government Communications Network and are not listed in the Central Office of Information White Book. [315569]

Phil Hope: There are currently 19 (full-time equivalent) staff employed by the Department and its agencies with the status of embedded communicators.

Government Communications Network (GCN) membership data are not held by individual Departments. The Cabinet Office, which administers the GCN, is
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unable to share membership data without the permission of individual members. Therefore it is not possible to readily provide this information accurately.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for which Google Adword online advertising keywords his Department and its agencies have paid in the last 12 months; and at what cost. [315469]

Phil Hope: For the period 1 February 2009 to 31 January 2010 the Department ran 21,939 active search terms, (including searches on specific campaigns and those used by NHS Choices).

The total spend on all these searches was: £2,720,457.11.

In relation to which Google keywords have been bought for use, such information is commercially sensitive; in particular the collection of the keywords the Department has paid for on NHS Choices is estimated to have taken approximately one year to complete.

The commercially competitive nature of the cost of Google Adword keywords means that putting specific information in the public domain on actual keywords used could put the Department at a future competitive disadvantage.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust: Finance

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether he expects the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust to reduce its spending in 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement; [316015]

(2) whether he expects NHS East Lancashire to reduce its spending in 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement. [316016]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Management of national health service spending is determined at a local level. Services are commissioned by local primary care trusts (PCTs) and management of expenditure is determined locally. All NHS organisations are expected to meet their statutory duty to achieve financial balance.

East Lancashire PCT will receive £629.3 million in 2009-10 and £663.9 million in 2010-11. This reflects an increase over the two years of £67.4 million, 11.3 per cent. in cash terms.

General Practitioners: East Sussex

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many, and what proportion of GP surgeries in Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust area are open (a) in the evenings and (b) at weekends. [315765]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The latest published figures for general practitioner (GP) surgery extended opening hours are for July 2009. In July 2009 East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust had 28 of their 43 (65.1 per cent.) GP practices offering extended opening. For South East Coast Strategic Health Authority, these figures are 502 of 641 (78.3 per cent.), and for England 6,834 of 8,279 (77.1 per cent.) of GP practices offering extended opening.

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The Department does not hold figures that distinguish between evening and weekend opening.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research projects funded by (a) his Department and (b) the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in the last 10 years on which he relies on to fulfil his responsibility to ensure that genetically modified food is safe to eat have been designed specifically to show whether there are risks of adverse health effects for people from the consumption of genetically modified food. [316125]

Gillian Merron: I refer my right hon. Friend to the written answer given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State (Ann Keen) on 1 December 2009, Official Report, column 654W.

Health Hazards: Radiation Exposure

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reports there were of health problems allegedly related to wireless radiation from (a) high-voltage powerlines, (b) telephone antennae and (c) radio frequency and microwaves from telecommunications masts in the last 10 years. [315491]

Gillian Merron: The Department of Health does not hold this information centrally.

The Department has supported research over the last decade in relation to concerns that there might be adverse effects from the low levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields from power lines, mobile phones and telecommunications masts. In the course of this work, the scientific and medical communities have become aware of people who report an unusual sensitivity to electric or magnetic fields. A range of symptoms was noted by the Health Protection Agency's (HPA's) Radiation Protection Division in its publication, "Mobile Phone and Health 2004", which is available on the HPA website at:

The HPA also published a study entitled Definition, Epidemiology and Management of Electrical Sensitivity, which is also available on the HPA website at

The Health Protection Agency and the World Health Organisation keep scientific reports on health effects from electromagnetic fields under review.

Health Services: Australia

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of (a) Australian nationals treated by the NHS and (b) UK nationals treated in Australia under reciprocal healthcare obligations in the last 12 months; and what the cost to the public purse was of such treatment. [315805]

Gillian Merron: Under the agreement between the United Kingdom and Australia, residents of each country can access emergency state healthcare in each country;
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however no reimbursements are sought from either country for treatment provided, and so the data relating to this are not collected centrally. There is no provision for referrals for planned treatment between the two countries.

Health Services: Greater London

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will request from NHS London a copy of the report, The South West London Strategic Plan; and if he will place in the Library a copy of that report. [316386]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: This is a matter for the local national health service, and it is for the local NHS to publish their plans when appropriate.

Hospital Beds

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospitals were on a black alert bed status in (a) December 2009 and (b) January 2010; and what proportion of the beds involved were occupied by older patients requiring chronic care in each month. [316126]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: These data are not collected centrally.

Hospitals: Admissions

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have attended hospital for treatment for injuries consistent with a dog attack in each year since 1998. [314768]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Information is not currently collected centrally in the form requested. Information for 1998 to 2002 on non-fatal accidental injuries consistent with a dog attack leading to an accident and emergency (A and E) hospital attendance is available from the Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System (HASS/LASS), which ran until 2002. These data cover injuries from home and leisure accidents only (intentional injuries, and road traffic and work accidents are not included), and are estimates for the United Kingdom based on a sample of 16 to 18 hospitals.

UK estimates of number of A and E attendances for non-fatal injuries resulting from home and leisure accidents recorded as 'Attack by Dogs'

A and E attendances (UK national estimate)











1. Figures are for attendances at A and E departments-the majority of cases will not have resulted in admission to hospital as an in-patient.
2. Figures are estimates based on a sample of 16 to 18 hospitals across the UK, and have been rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Figures are for the number of A and E attendances, not for the number of people who have attended A and E (some people may have attended on more than one occasion for a dog attack).

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