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Pakistan

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what requests for assistance she has received from the Pakistan Government following the recent earthquake; [149622]

Mr. Mullin: According to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) the worst affected state in Pakistan is Sindh Province, where 109,000 houses are said to be damaged (of which nearly 11,000 have been destroyed) with over 180,000 families affected. Fifteen people are reported to have died in Pakistan as a result of the earthquake. The UN continues to monitor the situation. To date no appeal for assistance has been made by the Pakistan Government.

International Family Planning Aid

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the impact of President Bush's reinstatement of restrictions on US international family planning aid. [149613]

Mr. Mullin: The implications of the decision by the new US Administration to block funding to international non-governmental organisations that offer abortion and abortion counselling will become clearer over the coming weeks as guidance is issued from USAID.

The Administration's decision is a matter for the US Government; it will make no difference to the commitment of this Government to help poor people access good quality family planning and reproductive health services.

PRIME MINISTER

Hinduja Brothers

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions, and for what purpose, Lord Levy has met one or more of the Hinduja brothers since May 1997 on behalf of the Prime Minister. [148363]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 2 February 2001]: None. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames) on 5 February 2001, Official Report, column 391W.

No. 10 Website

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Prime Minister what the most recent audience figures are for the Prime Minister's broadcasts on the No. 10 website. [148654]

13 Feb 2001 : Column: 72W

The Prime Minister: There have been 20 broadcasts, all of which are available on the website.

No total viewing figures are available. This is because the broadcasts can be accessed in a number of different ways--either as a streamed file, a downloadable MP3 version or as a transcript.

The streamed versions of the broadcasts have been requested nearly 50,000 times since the first one was posted on the site on 11 February 2000. Downloads of the MP3 version and hits on the transcript page will be additional to this figure. The site statistics do not show how often these have been accessed, but the site as a whole received over 99 million hits in the nine months since it was relaunched on 11 February 2000.

HEALTH

Blood Products

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is his policy that user-patients should be informed if the Bio Products Laboratory withdraws blood products on the basis of past donation information relating to CJD protection requirements. [143857]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 21 December 2000]: The Department's current guidance, based on the advice from ethical experts, is that clinicians should not tell patients if they have received such products. This is because:




The guidance goes on to state that:


The Department is continuously reviewing this advice to ensure that it is in line with current scientific information and ethical thinking.

Levonorgestrel

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if Levonorgestrel is licensed for use by girls between the ages of 11 and 15. [147133]

Ms Stuart: Levonorgestrel is available as a prescription-only medicine, without an age limit. It may therefore be prescribed to women aged under 16 years. When given for the purposes of emergency contraception, prescribers are expected to satisfy themselves, in accordance with guidelines, that the young person understands the advice and it is in their best interests to receive the treatment. From 1 January 2001, pharmacists have been permitted to supply Levonorgestrel 0.75 mg to women aged 16 years and over for use as an emergency contraceptive.

13 Feb 2001 : Column: 73W

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what clinical trials involving girls between the ages of 11 and 15 years have been conducted with respect to Levonorgestrel. [147134]

Ms Stuart: No clinical trials specific to this age group have been undertaken in the United Kingdom. The marketing authorisation granted in 1999 for Levonorgestrel 0.75 mg tablets as a prescription-only medicine was supported by evidence from two large randomised controlled studies, one conducted by the World Health Organisation, and published data from uncontrolled studies. Most women in the clinical trials were aged between 16 and 48, but a few girls aged 14 and 15 were included. There were no data available for girls between aged 11 and 14 years. Age analysis of efficacy and safety in the randomised studies did not identify any population that responded differently to treatment.

Professions Allied to Medicine

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much extra money was allocated to the professions allied to medicine under the NHS National Plan. [147276]

Mr. Denham: Under the NHS Plan there will be an extra £140 million by 2003-04 to support a major programme of training and development for all staff, including the allied health professions (formerly known as the professions allied to medicine). This is in addition to the extra £6 million made available this year to support the strategy for the allied health professions which was published in November 2000.

Drugs Bill

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total drugs bill was, in cash terms, for the (a) Hospital and Community Health Service and (b) Family Health Service for each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [149431]

Ms Stuart: The information requested is shown in the table.

Total National Health Service spending on drugs (England only)

£ million
YearFamily health services (FHS) cash outturnHospital and community health services (HCHS) cash outturnTotal
1990-912,0804602,540
1991-922,3175912,908
1992-932,6416433,284
1993-942,9517103,661
1994-953,2307643,994
1995-963,4988744,372
1996-973,7749614,735
1997-984,0851,0885,173
1998-994,3391,2115,550
1999-20004,8331,3696,202

Note:

The figures for FHS cash outturn are net of pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) receipts.


13 Feb 2001 : Column: 74W

NHS Waiting Lists (Jarrow)

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to shorten NHS waiting lists in the Jarrow constituency. [148748]

Mr. Denham: No patients in South Tyneside currently wait over 12 months for inpatient treatment and the South Tyneside Health Care National Health Service Trust has consistently met their over-13-week target for out-patient appointments during the last year.

The South Tyneside Healthcare NHS Trust is implementing several initiatives at the Charles Palmer Community Hospital, Jarrow which will help to reduce waiting times for the local community. These include a new digital X-ray service linked to the district general hospital which will allow specialist and one-stop clinics to be provided in a local setting and a new direct access audiology service which will help to shorten waiting lists and times for ear, nose and throat appointments.

Air Ambulance Services

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many air ambulance services are provided in England; and how each of them are funded; [149781]

Ms Stuart: We recognise that air ambulance services have a role in delivering emergency care especially in rural areas and where road access is a problem. The services can be an effective way of getting better and faster access to hospital, and valuable in supporting inter-hospital transfers.

Information on the number and funding of air ambulances is not collected centrally.

During the last 12 months the Department has received letters from the general public and hon. Members asking whether the National Health Service should provide and fund air ambulance services.

Evidence supporting the introduction of air ambulances in the NHS, however is not convincing. In 1995, the Department commissioned Sheffield university to report on air ambulances. The report failed to show benefits which would justify NHS investment.

This lack of evidence to support the clinical or cost-effectiveness of these services does not support the funding of these services by the NHS. However, we will constantly review the position.


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