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22 Jun 2010 : Column 173W—continued


Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate has been made of the number of people who are classified as underweight. [3094]

Anne Milton: Adult Trend Table 4 in the "Health Survey for England-2008:" trend tables contains information on the percentage of adults aged 16 and over who are underweight.

Information on the estimated number of underweight adults is included in the Health Survey for England-2008: trend tables, Population number estimate tables, Table 1. This publication is available on the NHS Information Centre's website at:

and has already been placed in the Library.

Information on the proportion of children who are underweight in England is collected through the National Child Measurement programme (NCMP). Table A in the NCMP main report for 2008-09 shows the prevalence of underweight children aged four-five years and 10-11 years. This publication has already been placed in the Library.

Muscular Dystrophy: Health Services

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to improve specialist neuromuscular services for people with muscle-wasting conditions. [3849]

Mr Burstow: Primary care trust commissioners have responsibility for commissioning services, using the national service framework for long-term neurological services, that reflect the needs of their patients living with neuromuscular conditions.

Some rare neuromuscular conditions, detailed in the specialised services definitions set, are regarded as specialised and therefore subject to collaborative commissioning arrangements. The 10 specialised commissioning groups, acting on behalf of their member primary care trusts, are responsible for the commissioning arrangements for specialised services.

Ultimately, it is for those in the local national health service who commission services to ensure that care packages take account of patient needs.

NHS: Snow and Ice

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many primary care trusts in England provided funding to local highway authorities to clear snow off pavements and roads in winter 2009-10. [2943]

Anne Milton: The Department does not routinely collect data from primary care trusts regarding funding of the clearance of snow from pavements and roads.

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NHS: Wigan

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which regional office of the proposed NHS Commissioning Board will have responsibility for the area covered by Wigan constituency; and what plans he has for that office. [2753]

Mr Simon Burns: The coalition agreement included a commitment to establish a new independent NHS Commissioning Board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidelines. The NHS Commissioning Board will exercise its functions through regional offices that will report directly to the Chief Executive. We will bring forward proposals for the NHS Commissioning Board and how it will work in due course. In the meantime, strategic health authorities will continue to have a vital role in delivering financial control and performance, and driving improvements in quality and productivity.


Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the (a) clinical effectiveness and (b) cost-effectiveness of specialist nurses. [2801]

Anne Milton: There are multiple variables that have an impact on the effectiveness of nurse specialist services. Local national health service organisations are best placed to develop service models that put patients at the heart of care and have a clear and rigorous focus on improving health outcomes.

Not all nurse specialist services are designed and delivered in the same way. There are many different objectives for these services based on either enhancing current care provision or substituting the professional delivering the care. As such, determining the clinical and cost effectiveness of these services is often not straight forward.

The variety in the way services are delivered by nurse specialists often makes direct comparison difficult. For example, some nurse specialists may prescribe or order and interpret diagnostic tests which are usually done by a doctor, others may provide intensive counselling and support that enhances the care provided by other professionals. Services tend to evolve locally to meet the specific needs of local patients.

There are several studies, some including cost effectiveness, of specialist nurses who are managing some or all of the care of patients that would normally be done by hospital consultants. Generally, the outcomes can be equivalent. There is often an indication of improved patient experiences, and for nurse delivered enhanced services, improved outcomes.

For consultant nurses, there is evidence that evaluation is often undertaken before the role has had time to develop fully, often making judgements about the effectiveness of the role misleading. This is a problem for primary care in particular. There is emerging evidence of consultant nurses having a positive impact on patient outcomes.

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Pesticides: EU Law

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his Department plans to review the implementation of EU Regulation 669/2009 with regard to pesticide sampling requirements concerning high-risk non-animal original foodstuffs; and what discussions his Department plans to hold with the Food Standards Agency on the matter. [3606]

Anne Milton: In the United Kingdom the Food Standards Agency is the central competent authority responsible for the implementation of EU Regulation 669/2009. This legislation is directly aimed at protecting public health, and covers the level of official controls on imports of certain feed and food of non-animal origin.

Annex 1 to the regulation contains a list of feed and food of non-animal origin imported from certain third countries that, based on known or emerging risks to public health, are subject to an increased level of official controls at designated points of entry to the European Union. The product, the country of origin, the health hazard-including pesticide residues or other contaminants-and the frequency of checks are reviewed quarterly by the Commission.

The annex is currently being reviewed by experts from member states and the UK will make representations, based on discussions held with stakeholders, including importers and the port health authorities, and experience gathered following implementation. The UK will continue to press for the listing criteria to be more transparent and evidence based.

Smoking: Hartlepool

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to increase the number of people ceasing to smoke in Hartlepool constituency. [3229]

Anne Milton: The Department is currently considering how best to tackle this issue in the context of the new prioritisation and focus on public health.

Leader of the House

Early Day Motions

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Leader of the House if he will bring forward proposals for the automatic debate in the House of Early Day Motions which have attracted support from a minimum number of hon. Members. [3453]

Mr Heath: Debates on motions tabled by backbenchers will be a matter for the Backbench Business Committee, which is currently being elected under arrangements made by the Speaker.

I expect the Committee to be established next week.

Members' Staff: Training

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Leader of the House if he will discuss with the House authorities the establishment of a human resources department to handle professional training for the staff of hon. Members. [3175]

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Mr Heath: The House of Commons provides training for the staff of hon. Members, both in-house and through a contract with Capita Learning and Development. A full list of courses and booking details is available on-line at:

Deputy Prime Minister

Fixed-term Parliaments

7. Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent representations he has received on plans to establish fixed-term Parliaments. [3365]

Mr Harper: As well as representations made by Members of this House in debates and questions, I have received a number of items of correspondence. I have also been working closely with colleagues across Government to deliver our pledge to introduce fixed term Parliaments, including the Leader of the House of Commons who has made it clear that the Committee Stage of the Bill will be taken on the floor of the House and there will be adequate opportunity for the House to debate it. I look forward to engaging further with Members from both sides of the House.

Returning Officers

8. Andrew Selous: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he plans to continue the existing system of payments to returning officers for the local elections to be held in May 2011. [3366]

Mr Harper: Under section 36 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, all expenditure properly incurred by a returning officer in administering local authority elections must be paid by the local authority, in so far as it does not exceed any scale fixed by the local authority. This may include a fee for the returning officer, however some local authorities do not pay a fee but include remuneration for undertaking returning officer duties in the salary of the relevant officer.

This money is paid from the revenue support grant which is administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government. We have no plans to change these arrangements.

We need to make sure that all public services are delivered effectively and there is clarity about how public monies are spent. Returning officers are paid for this additional work but we expect in return that they ensure the effective planning for and conduct of elections.


Richard Harrington: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress he has made on his proposals to create fewer constituencies with more equal numbers of electors. [3289]

Mr Harper: The Government have announced that they will introduce legislation to provide for the creation of fewer and more equally sized constituencies. Proposals are being carefully considered within Government and details will be announced in due course, with Parliament having the opportunity to debate them in detail.

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Electoral Systems

Mr Bain: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he plans to set a timetable for a referendum on electoral reform; what his timetable is for introducing to this House a Bill to give effect to legislative proposals for the holding of the proposed referendum. [3262]

Mr Harper: The Government have made clear their intention to introduce legislation providing for a national referendum on the Alternative Vote for future elections to the House of Commons. The appropriate timetable for this legislation and the subsequent referendum are currently being considered. Further details will be announced in due course.

Cabinet Office


Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when he expects the final report on the Strategic Security and Defence Review to be published. [3614]

Mr Letwin: The Coalition Agreement outlined the Government's commitment to carry out a full, wide-ranging Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and the Queen's speech of late May announced this commitment formally. The Government expect to report their findings from the SDSR in the autumn alongside the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Departmental Manpower

Mr Watson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many full-time equivalent staff at each Civil Service grade are employed in the private office of each Minister in his Department. [130]

Mr Maude: The breakdown of staff at each grade showing full time equivalents is shown in the following table:

MinisterStaff gradesFull- time equivalents

Minister for the Cabinet Office

Senior Civil Servant








Minister of State





Minister for Civil Society





Minister for Constitutional Reform





Minister without Portfolio





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Work and Pensions

Carer's Allowance: Easington

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals in Easington constituency (a) are in receipt of carer's allowance and (b) were in receipt of carer's allowance in each of the last five years. [3061]

Maria Miller: The information requested is as follows:

Number of people in receipt of carer's allowance in Easington constituency November 2004 to November 2009


November 2004


August 2005


November 2006


November 2007


November 2008


November 2009


Department for Work and Pensions Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

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