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Hepatitis A

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost of hepatitis A vaccine per dose is to (a) the NHS and (b) private sector providers. [153677]

Yvette Cooper: The average net ingredient cost (NIC) per prescription item for hepatitis A vaccines dispensed in the community in England in 1999 was £22.47. The NIC is the basic cost of a drug and does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income.

Information is not collected centrally for hepatitis A vaccines dispensed in hospitals or provided by the private sector.

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of hepatitis A contracted overseas were reported in each of the last three years in the UK. [153676]

Yvette Cooper: Reports of laboratory diagnoses of hepatitis A infection from 1998 to 2000 are given in the table. Only a small proportion of these reports included information about travel abroad.

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Laboratory reports of hepatitis A infection in England and Wales

Total reports (percentage)Total reporting travel abroad (percentage)
19981,104 (100)131 (12)
19991,391 (100)96 (7)
2000(25)1,020 (100)79 (8)

(25) Provisional data


Public Health Laboratory Service

UK Transplant

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) from whom UK Transplant obtains it medical advice; [153477]

Mr. Denham: Medical advice for UK Transplant is obtained from a number of sources. The authority has a number of long-established advisory groups (one for each organ type) which bring together leading clinicians in the field of transplantation from whom advice is sought as needed.

Additionally, UK Transplant is able to access medical advice from the Department. In the future, the medical director at UK Transplant will be the chief source of advice for the authority, in discussion with colleagues in transplant and related services.

The appointment of a medical director for UK Transplant is a matter for the special health authority. Mr. Chris Rudge has been appointed and will formally take up the post on 30 April 2001.

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how he plans to organise his Department's transplant co-ordinator resource; and what role he plans for UK Transplant in this process. [153476]

Mr. Denham: Transplant co-ordinators are employed by individual national health service trusts, not by the Department. One of the key recommendations in the quinquennial review report of United Kingdom transplant support service authority (as it was) published in February 2000 was that the special health authority should be given responsibility, among other things, for co-ordination of transplant co-ordinator services on a national basis. UK Transplant has prepared a business case for taking action forward in this area. The business case is currently under consideration within the Department. In the interim, a transplant co-ordinators advisory group has been established by UK Transplant to begin to deliver the recommendations of the review.

National AIDS Strategy

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent progress has been made on the National AIDS Strategy. [153483]

Yvette Cooper: The decision to incorporate the development work on an HIV strategy within a single sexual health and HIV strategy for England was

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announced in May 2000. Work on the integrated strategy is well advanced, and should be completed over the next few months.

Health Policy

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress has been made by his Department in monitoring the health impact of the health policies of other Government Departments; [153480]

Yvette Cooper: As stated in the NHS plan, improving health is a key priority for all Government Departments. Therefore, we are committed to promoting health impact assessment at national, regional and local levels to inform development of policy, strategy, programmes and projects. Methodologies and approaches are being developed, and there is work across Government in a number of areas to support this. A screening checklist has also been developed and has been piloted by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

An inter-departmental group is spearheading these activities, which include a number of specific impact assessments. We are examining ways to extend this type of work to cover other areas of Government policy.

Waiting Lists

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in introducing national guidance for local targets on maximum waiting times for conditions according to their seriousness. [153484]

Mr. Denham: When a patient is admitted for treatment it is a decision that must be made by their hospital consultant and must be based on the patient's clinical need and their priority on the waiting list. Under the NHS plan the maximum waiting time for all elective admissions to hospital will be reduced from 18 months today to six months, by the end of 2005. Under the NHS cancer plan, by the end of 2001 there will be a maximum one month wait from diagnosis to treatment for breast cancer. This will be extended to all cancers by the end of 2005.

Public Health Units

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in promoting co-operation between health and local authorities through public health units. [153482]

Yvette Cooper: The NHS plan gave a commitment to new single integrated public health groups across national health service regional offices and Government offices for the regions by 2002. There is also co-operation through the work of regional public health observatories. The Department is currently considering future roles and structures within the health system in the light of the progressive introduction of primary care trusts. This work is being taken forward in the context of developing relationships between health and local authority partners.

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Statutory duties of partnership between health bodies and the promotion of health and wellbeing for local populations have been introduced. In the meantime the promotion of co-operation between health and local authority partners has been underpinned by the work of the health improvement programmes development group. The group has been working to develop and re-position health improvement programmes to ensure they are strategic, best placed to implement the NHS plan, aligned to community strategies and supportive of local strategic partnerships.

Neurological Staff

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations he has received about current numbers of neurological staff; and if he will make a statement; [153570]

Mr. Denham: Information and evidence about future demand for consultants in neurology has been gathered annually by the speciality workforce advisory group (SWAG) from the medical profession and national health service management. We will shortly announce our response to SWAG's recommendations for 2001-02.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had recently with representatives of higher education over (a) the impact of and (b) future implications to Project 2000 for nurse recruitment. [153794]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 16 March 2001]: Project 2000 nurse education and training is currently being phased out and replaced by a new model of nurse education--as outlined in the Government's "Making a Difference" strategy and United Kingdom Central Council Education Commission report, "Fitness for Practice" in 1999. The Department is working with all key stakeholders--and especially higher education, with which it has a long established partnership--to ensure the effective roll-out of the new model of nurse education to support nurse recruitment.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the role of nurse consultants with regard to their preceptor responsibility for newly qualified D grade nurses. [153795]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 16 March 2001]: Guidance issued to the national health service (in Health Service Circular 1999/217) makes it clear that nurse consultants have an important education, training and development role but that this is best targeted to support colleagues who need to develop advanced knowledge and skills. A period of preceptorship for newly qualified D grade nurses is good practice in the NHS and best provided by a more experienced nurse in the same team who has been trained for the role.

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