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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health has made the following Written Ministerial Statement today.
The Secretary of State's Written Ministerial Statement on 16 July set out the Government's plans for rebuilding National Health Service dentistry, ensuring better access to NHS dental care and improving oral health in England. The plans included a significant increase in funding and a substantial programme of action to increase dental workforce capacity. These improvements will be made against the background of the move to local commissioning in October 2005.
The views of a wide range of organisations were helpful to us in drawing up our proposals. For example the British Dental Association and representatives from the NHS and higher education were among those who contributed to the report of the primary care dental workforce review which was completed in 2002. Although time has moved on, the report is important contextual information about the perceived needs as seen in 2002. The report assisted our thinking as we developed the comprehensive plans announced last week. We are therefore publishing the report today. It is available on the department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/publications. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library.
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This Statement follows publication of the independent inquiry into the death of David (Rocky) Bennett, and my Written Statement on 12 February at col. 77WS, which set out the action being taken to deliver race equality in mental health services, and respond to the recommendations of the inquiry.
I wish to inform the House that, further to the reply given to the honourable Member for Gloucester (Mr Dhanda) by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Dr John Reid) on 8 June at col. 138, our response to the inquiry will not be available in July, but will be provided later this year.
I want to reassure the House that this delay is because we want to ensure that our response to the inquiry report recommendations can be set alongside our wider programme of action to improve mental health care for black and minority ethnic communities. This will be published in the autumn, following our consultation on the framework in the report, Delivering Race Equality. We need more time to consider the significant issues raised during our consultation on this document. We also want to ensure that we properly address the recommendations of the inquiry report.
In the mean time we must ensure that NHS staff have the skills they need to provide services, without discrimination, for people from black and minority ethnic communities. I am pleased to inform the House that the NHSU will be giving priority to developing and delivering this training for NHS staff, starting with staff in mental health settings.
Further information about progress on the national work we have started and to which I referred in my Statement of 12 February is now available1. This includes information about the programme of work led by the National Institute for Mental Health to support the development of effective services for people with mental health problems from black and ethnic minority communities; and guidance on best practice to support the safe and therapeutic management of aggression and violence in mental health inpatient settings.
1 Details of the NIMH(E) programme, including key publications, can be found at: http://www.nimhe.org.uk/priorities/black.asp. NIMHE's guidance Developing Positive Practice to Support the Safe and Therapeutic Management of Aggression and Violence in Mental Health Inpatient Settings: Mental Health Policy Implementation Guide has been developed to support mental health service providers and enable them to review their current policies and procedures relating to education, training and practice in the safe and therapeutic management of aggression and violence. It can be found at: http://www.nimhe.ore.uk/whatshapp/item display publications.asp?id=441
I would like to draw particular attention to the publication yesterday of our health and social care standards and planning framework. It sets out the local action needed to commission services for the public to take forward the NHS Improvement Plan through effective partnership working. It sets out the national framework for PCTs and their partner organisations to take account of different needs and inequalities in their local populations. It commits us to providing national data year on year on the experience of service users from black and minority ethnic communities. It sets out how PCTs should support access to assessment, treatment and care for all those at risk, paying particular attention to the needs of those from black and minority ethnic communities and other groups that may be hard to reach.
I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate my view that there is no place for racism or discrimination in the NHS. Discrimination, both direct and indirect, does exist. It is unacceptable; it contradicts the basic value of equity that is the cornerstone of the health service. We are committed to rooting out racism, tackling the inequalities that exist, and ensuring that the experience of people from black and minority ethnic communities is improved.
The annual report and accounts and any accompanying Comptroller and Auditor General report for the Counter Fraud and Security Management Service have today been laid before the House of Commons pursuant to Section 98(1C) of the National Health Service Act 1977. Copies have been placed in the Library.
My Statement on 17 December 2003 informed the House of the first case of possible transmission of vCJD via blood transfusion and the actions taken as a result of this case to protect future blood supplies. I promised then to provide updates on any major changes.
My Statement of 16 March 2004 indicated that the Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissue for Transplantation (MSBT) had met at my request to consider whether further measures were needed. The recommendations were to exclude from donating blood anyone who had previously received transfusions of whole blood components since January 1980. These measures were introduced with effect from 5 April 2004.
MSBT met again on 29 June to review experience of these measures. The committee recommended tightening the exclusion criteria for two groups who have similarly received transfusions of whole blood components since
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January 1980: previously transfused apheresis donors; and donors who were unsure if they had previously had a blood transfusion.
Apheresis donors are a small pool of committed donors who make frequent attendances to donate blood, where machine processing removes only certain blood components and the rest is returned to the donor.
In the light of experience since the exclusions came into effect, MSBT has now advised that these groups can be excluded without adverse impact on the blood supply. These new exclusions will take effect from 2 August.
In a separate development, a second case of possible vCJD prion transmission via blood transfusion has now been confirmed. A patient in the UK received a transfusion of blood in 1999 from a donor who subsequently developed vCJD. Though the patient died of causes unrelated to vCJD, abnormal prion protein has been found in spleen tissue. This patient had a genetic type that differs from that so far found in patients who have developed vCJD.
I understand that a detailed account of the case will be appearing soon in the medical journal the Lancet. This new finding was referred to the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) and MSBT for expert advice. SEAC agreed that this second patient with apparent vCJD infection added to the evidence that the vCJD agent can be transmitted by blood. MSBT concurred with this view, and has advised that no additional public health measures are required to protect the blood supply. This confirms the precautionary approach set out in my Statement of 17 December.
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