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25 Mar 2010 : Column 488W—continued

We do not hold information centrally on local profiling of expenditure for community hospitals. It is for strategic health authorities to work with their primary care trusts to monitor progress and support local management on individual schemes.

Drugs and Alcoholic Drinks

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether a recent assessment has been made of the effectiveness of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in (a) Chorley, (b) Lancashire and (c) primary care trusts in the North West. [324102]

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Gillian Merron: Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for providing and commissioning health services to meet the health care needs of their local populations. It also for PCTs to consider the effectiveness of services commissioned. This includes the provision of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

The Department and the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) provide advice, guidance and data to help PCTs better understand their local drug and alcohol service needs. Local drug commissioning partnerships are responsible for commissioning drug treatment services from national health service and voluntary sector organisations, and all partnerships will produce local drug treatment plans that set out how they plan to improve the delivery of drug treatment locally. The NTA's regional teams will monitor the performance of partnerships and the services they commission by measuring performance against locally set targets, which are set out in treatment plans.

The NTA's north-west regional team assesses the performance of the Lancashire Drug and Alcohol Action Team, and the drug services it commissions, on an annual and ongoing basis.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has for the future funding of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services; [324103]

(2) how much funding his Department made available to primary care trusts for drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in the latest period for which figures are available. [324105]

Gillian Merron: Direct central Government funding for drug treatment through the pooled treatment budget in 2010-11 is £406.7 million. In addition, an estimated £200 million is spent locally by primary care trusts on adult drug services.

No decision has been taken regarding future Government funding for drug services.

The cost of alcohol treatment is met through national health service mainstream expenditure according to local needs and priorities.

Residential rehabilitation is funded by local authority social services through their Community Care Act responsibilities.

Decisions on future funding for alcohol treatment will be made at a local level in line with local needs.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has made a recent assessment of the level of consistency across the country in criteria used by service providers to determine admittance to drug and alcohol treatment programmes. [324104]

Gillian Merron: Criteria for entry to drug and alcohol treatment programmes are determined at a local level between treatment providers and commissioners.

The Department of Health, National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence have issued commissioning guidance and effectiveness reviews to assist providers and commissioners in this process.

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Eyesight Testing

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to encourage people to have regular sight tests. [323371]

Ann Keen: Free sight tests are available under the national health service to large parts of the population including people aged 60 and over, children under 16, those aged 16-18 in full-time education, people on benefits, those people at particular risk of developing eye disease, and people who are registered blind or partially sighted or who have a complex spectacle prescription. Sight tests allow the opportunity to review all aspects of eye health, including investigations for signs of disease. Those at risk of specific eye disease (e.g. diabetic retinopathy) may be asked to attend regular screening.

Information about the extensive arrangements for providing help with NHS optical services and other health costs is published in leaflet HC11 "Are you entitled to help with health costs?" Posters are also available for display in optical practices and hospital out-patient departments. A copy of the leaflet has already been placed in the Library.

The uptake of NHS sight tests continues to increase. In 2008-09, there were 11.3 million NHS sight tests, an increase of 2.1 per cent. on 2007-08.

The Department is also supporting National Eye Health Week which will be held between 14 and 18 June and is aiming to promote the importance of regular sight tests.

Glaucoma: Bolton

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in Bolton have been treated for glaucoma in each of the last three years. [323372]

Ann Keen: The information is not available in the format requested. The information that is available is shown in the following table.

A count of finished consultant episodes( 1) where there was a primary diagnosis( 2) of glaucoma for the Bolton Primary Care Trust (PCT) for 2006-07 to 2008-09( 3)
Activity in English national health service hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector

Finished consultant episodes







(1) A finished consultant episode (FCE) is a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. FCEs are counted against the year in which they end. Figures do not represent the number of different patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the same stay in hospital or in different stays in the same year.
(2) The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 20 (14 from 2002-03 to 2006-07 and seven prior to 2002-03) diagnosis fields in the HES data set and provides the main reason why the patient was admitted to hospital. The ICD-10 codes that have been used to define glaucoma are H40-Glaucoma and Q15.0 Congenital glaucoma.
(3) Assessing growth through time. HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. Changes to the figures over time need to be interpreted in the context of improvements in data quality and coverage (particularly in earlier years), improvements in coverage of independent sector activity (particularly from 2006-07) and changes in NHS practice. For example, apparent reductions in activity may be due to a number of procedures which may now be undertaken in out-patient settings and so no longer include in admitted patient HES data.
HES are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and PCTs in England and from some independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain.
The NHS Information Centre for health and social care, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)

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Health Education

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to self-care for minor ailments, with particular reference to provision of information for (a) the general public and (b) school children; [323431]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to encourage GPs to increase the number of their patients self-caring for minor ailments. [323433]

Ann Keen: Community pharmacies already support people to self care, providing advice on how to treat or manage their minor ailments and appropriate use of over-the-counter medicines. They are conveniently located on the high street, in the community and in supermarkets. The pharmacy communications programme, currently underway, aims to raise awareness of the services available from pharmacies.

Information on self care support, including "Making the most of your pharmacist" is available through Your health, your way on NHS Choices. NHS Choices and NHS Direct offer facilities, such as online symptom checkers and self assessment tools, to help people understand where self care is appropriate in the treatment of minor ailments and when they should seek advice from medical professionals. NHS Choices also provides online advice about accidents to children at home and details a number of instances when children should be taken to hospital.

A range of material about self care and personalised care planning is available for health and social care professionals. This aims to raise awareness of the choices of self care options available and how to incorporate self care into personalised care planning discussions.

In addition, a web-based training module for clinicians and other professionals is offered through the national learning management system - Supporting Self Care was developed with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and DH e-learning for Healthcare. It is also available to GPs as part of their e-GP training materials.

The Department fully supports a greater focus on self care. With proper support from the NHS and health professionals, such as GPs and pharmacists, people can take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

Health Services

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether primary care trusts are required to provide funding for clinical decisions and medicines included within recommendations by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence contained in Technology Appraisal Guidance; and under what circumstances a primary care trust may decide not to fund clinical decisions and medicines within such recommendations. [324371]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Primary care trusts are legally required to make funding available for drugs and treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as part of a technology appraisal within three months of NICE'S final guidance being published. Patients also have a right to receive such treatments, where clinically appropriate, under the
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NHS Constitution. There is a small number of technology appraisals for which this legal requirement has been waived or amended.

Health Services: Asbestos

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent progress his Department has made towards establishing a network of research practitioners for asbestos-related diseases. [324093]

Gillian Merron: The written ministerial statement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Straw) made on 25 February, Official Report columns 79-83WS, expressed the Government's determination to expand research in the area of asbestos related disease.

Our first priority is to take steps to build research capacity, particularly in mesothelioma research. The Department will work to that end with the British Lung Foundation and others with a particular interest. The initiative will be supported by a donation of £3 million from the Association of British Insurers.

The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) has a central role to play in maintaining strategic oversight of cancer research in the United Kingdom. The institute reported in 2006 on the state of lung cancer research. I believe the time is right for the institute to undertake a fresh review of mesothelioma research. I will write to Sir Kenneth Caiman, the Chair of the Institute, asking him to initiate such a review, and to report on its findings by the end of the summer.

The mesothelioma sub-group of the NCRI's lung cancer clinical studies group has an important role in the development of clinical trials. We will ensure the contribution the sub-group has to make is maximised.

The outcome of the NCRI review and other developments will underpin the future strategies and work of the Institute's partner funders, and will help develop the potential to drive an increase in research investment in mesothelioma and other asbestos related

disease research, and will inform the Government's longer term approach. Progress on all this will be reported in the autumn.

Health Services: Devon

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what funding his Department allocated to health authorities in Devon (a) in total and (b) per head of population for 1995-96; [323677]

(2) what funding his Department allocated to health authorities in England (a) in total and (b) per head of population for 1995-96. [323678]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In 1995-96, revenue allocations for Devon were within the allocation for South Western Regional Health Authority. Revenue allocations in 1995-96 for South Western Regional Health Authority and the total for England are given in the following table, along with the allocation per head.

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Allocation (£ million) Per-head allocation (£)

South Western Regional Health Authority






Prior to 1996-97, revenue allocations were made to Regional Health Authorities.
Financial Planning and Allocations Division, Department of Health

Health Services: Greater London

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to his Department's first stage report on Delivering healthcare for London: an integrated strategic plan 2010-2015, what NHS sites in London are classified as (a) unoccupied and (b) under-utilised for each reason; and to what extent each site is under-utilised. [323772]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The report "Delivering Healthcare for London-An Integrated Strategic Plan 2010-2015" is a NHS London report, not Department of Health.

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Information is not available in the format requested. Since 2000-01, the Department has collected annual data on internal floor areas from national health service trusts through the Estates Returns Information Collection (ERIC). Data collection on each NHS organisation's gross internal floor area and unoccupied internal floor area first began in 2000-01, with non-patient occupied floor area beginning in 2002-03.

The information provided has been supplied by the NHS and has not been amended centrally. The accuracy and completeness of the information is the responsibility of the provider organisation.

Health Visitors: South West

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health visitors have been employed in each primary care trust in the South West in each year since 1997. [323347]

Ann Keen: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the following table.

NHS hospital and community health services: Qualified health visiting staff in the South West Strategic Health Authority (SHA) area by organisation as at 30 September each year

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

South West SHA area








Bath and North East Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT)








Bournemouth and Poole PCT








Bristol Teaching PCT








Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT








Devon PCT








Dorset PCT








Gloucestershire PCT








North Somerset PCT








Plymouth Teaching PCT








Somerset PCT








South Gloucestershire PCT








Swindon PCT








Torbay Care Trust








Wiltshire PCT








1. South West SHA area total includes a small number of staff who are employed by NHS trusts.
2. It is not possible to map accurate work force figures for these organisations prior to the formation of the PCTs in 2002.
3. The drop in numbers for Gloucestershire PCT in 2006 seems to be due to a local coding issue. It appears that around 50 health visitors were coded as district nurses in 2006, then recoded as Health Visitors in 2007.
4. Data Quality: The NHS Information Centre for health and social care seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data but responsibility for data accuracy lies with the organisations providing the data. Methods are continually being updated to improve data quality where changes impact on figures already published. This is assessed but unless it is significant at national level figures are not changed. Impact at detailed or local level is footnoted in relevant analyses.
The NHS Information Centre for health and social care Non-Medical Workforce Census.

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