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Paracetamol

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many self-poisoning episodes with paracetamol occurred in each of the last five years; and how many resulted in death. [6229]

Mr. Bowis: It is not possible to identify non-fatal cases of self-poisoning by the toxic substance involved.

The latest year for which deaths from paracetamol are available is 1992.

The data are published separately for each year in table 10 of "Mortality statistics: injury and poisoning, England and Wales", series DH4, copies of which are available in the Library.

GP and Consultant Guidance

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to review circular EL (91) 84. [6230]

Mr. Malone: None.

Research Projects, Sunderland

Mr. Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list all Department of Health funded pilots, trials and research studies which have been conducted since 1989 in (a) the city of Sunderland, (b) Wearside district and (c) Sunderland health authority

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identifying (i) the title, summary and duration of the pilot/trial, (ii) target population and total number of participants and (iii) whether each pilot or research finding was published indicating the date of publication; and if he will give details of all other non-Department of Health research bodies or other organisations involved in each pilot, trial or research scheme. [6307]

Mr. Malone: This information is not available centrally. The hon. Member may wish to contact Mr. George Bedell, chairman of Sunderland district health authority, for details of any Sunderland district health authority projects.

Mental Health

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the reports that he received by 30 November from regional directors of the NHS executive relating to health authorities' purchasing plans for mental health services. [6747]

Mr. Bowis: An announcement will be made in due course.

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the arrangements for making payments out of the mental health challenge fund. [6746]

Mr. Bowis: An announcement will be made in due course.

London Ambulance Service

Mr. Carrington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the London ambulance service. [7357]

Mr. Dorrell: I have approved the application for national health service trust status from the London ambulance service. It will become operational as an NHS trust from 1 April 1996.

Population Statistics

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current population of (a) South Hams, (b) the South West, (c) Greater London and (d) Bristol. [6591]

Mr. Horam: The latest available resident population estimates relate to mid-1994. The estimated populations of the requested areas are as follows:

Thousands
Greater London6,966.8
South-west (standard region)4,795.7
Bristol (local authority)399.2
South Hams (local authority)78.8

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the population figures produced for (a) the South west and (b) the United Kingdom as a whole, produced as part of the last census. [6587]

Mr. Horam: Research into the accuracy of the population figures from the 1991 census in Great Britain were carried out as the results became available. Details are given in the 1991 census validation survey coverage

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report, copies of which are available in the Library. The published population estimates for 1991 and later years for local and health authorities are based on the 1991 census but include adjustments for estimated coverage error in the census. The 1991 census in Northern Ireland and the population estimates based on it are the responsibility of my hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the population is (a) male and (b) female. [6808]

Mr. Horam: The latest available population estimates relate to mid-1994. The estimated percentage are: male 49 per cent. female 51 per cent.

Census Questions

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which areas he has chosen for the proposed new census forms pilot study; when the pilot study will take place; and if there is to be an Irish category in the ethnic origin question. [4705]

Mr. Horam: A thorough operational trial of various options being considered, for the conduct and content of the census being planned for 2001, will be held in 1997. The areas to be included have not yet been decided.

Prior to that, some small-scale tests of particular aspects are being held in various areas according to the questions being tested.

Questions to be asked in 2001 will not be decided until 1998. The feasibility of a number of suggestions is being considered, including that of an Irish category in an ethnic origin question.

Children's Refuges

Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many refuges exist across the country for children who have run away from home or care; and if he will make a statement. [5332]

Mr. Bowis: There are three refuges certified by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health under section 51 of the Children Act 1989 for young people who have run away from home or care.

Departmental Staff (Members' Letters)

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many officials he employed (a) full time and (b) part time in his Department in each of the last three years to answer letters sent to him from hon. Members; and what was the estimated overall cost of replying to them in each of the last three years. [5611]

Mr. Horam: Ministers receive a large number of letters from hon. Members each year on a range of health issues. Officials are responsible for contributing to replies relating to areas of their responsibility. Due to the large volume of letters received, and the wide variety of subjects raised, it is not possible to quantify the involvement of officials or the overall cost of replying to letters from hon. Members.

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Residential Property

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the annual cost of maintaining the Queen Mary's nurses home, Page street, Westminster. [5878]

Mr. Horam: This information is not available centrally. The hon. Member may wish to contact Sir William Staveley, chairman of North Thames regional health authority, for details.

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many residential properties are owned by (a) the national health service and (b) national health service trusts; and how many are currently vacant; [5881]

Mr. Horam: The national health service residential estate has in its ownership approximately 12,000 houses and flats.

A survey undertaken in December 1992 identified that approximately 1,800 NHS houses and flats were vacant. The survey did not separately identify those properties in ownership of NHS trusts and other NHS authorities.

A further survey is now being undertaken. It is expected that the results will be available early in 1996.

Mixed-sex Wards

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints about mixed-sex wards his Department has received in each of the last five years. [6584]

Mr. Horam: We have no accurate records of the number of complaints received.

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recommendations have been made by his Department and the NHS executive to local health authorities and trust hospitals about the temporary use at a time of bed shortage of single-sex wards as mixed-sex wards in NHS hospital, and what information is gathered from health authorities about such temporary arrangements; [6583]

Mr. Horam: Under the patients charter hospitals are expected to treat patients with dignity and respect for their cultural and religious beliefs. In addition a new standard in the revised patients charter issued in January states:


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Guidance on the revised patients charter was given in HSG(95)13 issued on 3 March 1995. The Department does not collect information centrally on mixed-sex wards.

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from medical professionals and patients' representatives regarding mixed-sex wards in NHS hospital. [6581]

Mr. Horam: We have received a small number of representations from patients' representatives but are not aware of any from health professionals.

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if mixed-sex wards are being installed as part of new hospital facilities in the process of design and installation. [6585]

Mr. Horam: No. Modern wards are not designated as mixed-sex wards during design stage.

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many new mixed-sex wards have been created in NHS hospitals in the last 10 years also expressing the data as a percentage of the total number of (i) new hospital wards and (ii) all hospitals wards. [6586]

Mr. Horam: This information is not available centrally.


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