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Care for the Elderly

24. Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about improving the standards of care for the elderly. [156307]

Mr. Hutton: We are determined that older people should receive higher standards of care from the NHS and social services. The National Service Framework for

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Older People, published on 27 March will deliver high quality health and social care, based on clinical and assessed need, not age. National minimum standards for care homes for older people, published on 2 March, will promote better quality care and help prevent abuse by grounding practice in the principles of dignity, choice, privacy and respect.

27. Mr. Heppell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in making intermediate care available to ensure that elderly people remain independent for as long as possible. [156310]

Mr. Hutton: The Government are committed to promoting older people's independence. Additional money this winter was focused primarily on intermediate and transitional care. Recent intermediate care guidance and the National Service Framework for Older People emphasise the importance of establishing intermediate care as a mainstream service and a development priority. Targets have been set to ensure continued progress, backed by significant extra funding announced in the NHS Plan.


25. Mr. Ernie Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made in preventing young people from taking up smoking. [156308]

Yvette Cooper: The most recent survey results indicate that smoking prevalence among children aged 11-15 is now at 9 per cent., down from 13 per cent. in 1996. This is very encouraging, but we are determined to ensure that this downward trend continues, for example by banning tobacco advertising, which particularly appeals to young people.

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made in preventing young people from taking up smoking. [156293]

Yvette Cooper: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire (Mr. Taylor) on 10 April 2001, Official Report, column 842.

36. Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made towards tackling smoking. [156321]

Yvette Cooper: We announced on 29 January 2001 a £3 million initiative to help co-ordinate locally all services for pregnant women who wish to give up smoking and on 14 March that we intend to amend the relevant regulations so as to allow doctors to prescribe any available nicotine replacement therapy as part of National Health Service treatment.

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill published on 14 December 2000 will ensure that tobacco is no longer promoted through advertising, sponsorship or other promotional schemes.

On 13 September 2000 we launched an enforcement protocol with local authorities to strengthen the enforcement of the existing legislation on under-age sales of cigarettes.

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Respite Care

28. Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his policy towards the provision of respite care. [156312]

Mr. Hutton: Respite care is important because it helps older people and disabled people to live in the community, and it allows informal or family carers to have a break from caring. The extra resources which the Government have provided for the National Health Service and for social services mean that more people can benefit from respite care, in a domiciliary setting, in a residential care home or nursing home, or in hospital.

Waiting Lists (Southend Hospital)

29. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in reducing waiting lists in Southend Hospital. [156313]

Mr. Denham: Significant progress has been made in reducing the waiting lists at Southend Hospital NHS Trust and it is working with primary care organisations to examine options for modifying referral patterns to help with this. The latest figures show that total number of patients waiting are about 4 per cent. below the end-March 1997 level.

Southend Hospital NHS Trust has made good progress with patients waiting over 12 months for treatment particularly in ophthalmology which contributed to over half of the waiting list last year.

Private Residential Nursing Homes

30. Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase the use of private residential nursing homes by the NHS. [156314]

Mr. Hutton: We see an important role for the independent sector, working in partnership with the NHS and councils, in providing services and making best use of resources and facilities. A framework for closer partnership was set out in the Concordat between the National Health Service and the independent sector, "For the Benefit of Patients", signed on 31 October 2000. Intermediate care was one of three areas highlighted as a particular area for co-operation. Guidance issued earlier this year asked the NHS and councils to take into account the potential contribution of the voluntary and private sectors in providing intermediate care and, where appropriate, to develop services in partnership with independent providers. In order to help local health and social care partners to engage more effectively with the independent sector in the short term the Department has developed model contracts, available on the Department's website, as a basis for local contracts with independent providers.

Nursing homes can also be an appropriate setting in which people receive continuing health care fully funded by the NHS. Currently 10 per cent. of residents are fully funded by the NHS. It is, however, for local agencies to decide on the best way of providing services to meet the needs of local people.

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Beta Interferon

31. Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the costs of beta interferon to the NHS relative to those borne in other countries. [156316]

Mr. Denham: The Department has made no detailed assessment of the costs of beta interferon treatment in other countries. Direct comparisons of prices of products of this type can be misleading because they are often supplied direct to hospitals, making published list prices less significant. Furthermore some countries include distribution costs and some aspects of care within the list price while others account for them separately.


32. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress he has made in improving the use of pharmacists within the NHS. [156317]

Mr. Denham: On 12 September 2000 we published "Pharmacy in the Future--Implementing the National Plan" (a copy of which is available in the Library). This set out our programme for pharmacy in the National Health Service, to make better use of the skills and expertise of pharmacists.

We have since made good progress in implementing that programme. For example: on 18 October, we launched the first NHS Direct information points. 16 are located in community pharmacies; on 12 December, we launched the hospital medicines management performance framework, to make the best clinical and cost effective use of medicines and pharmacists' skills in hospitals; on 21 December we published the Health and Social Care Bill, which includes measures relating to the establishment of local pharmaceutical services and the extension of prescribing rights to new groups of health professionals, including pharmacists; and on 12 March we invited bids for the sites to take part in a national medicines management collaborative programme, a key step towards our target that by 2004 all primary care groups and trusts will have schemes so that people get more help from pharmacists in using their medicines.

Paddington Regeneration Partnership

33. Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which members of Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster health authority attended meetings of the Paddington Regeneration Partnership from its inception to 13 July 2000. [156318]

Mr. Denham: The Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster health authority representative on the Paddington Regeneration Partnership from June 1998 to the present time has been Mr. Paul Mason. Mr. Mason is an assistant director and therefore not a board member of Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster health authority. He did, however, act up to the post of board level director for six months of the period in question.

Barnsley Health Authority

37. Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the end of year 2000-01 financial status of Barnsley health authority. [156322]

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Yvette Cooper: For the financial year-end 2000-01, Barnsley health authority is expected to show an operational financial balance (OFB) underspend of £500,000 against its revenue resource limit of £173,646,000. This has been agreed and accepted by the Trent regional office of the National Health Service Executive and will be carried forward to be used in the financial year 2001-02.

Within the OFB surplus, there are a number of overspending budgets (including cost per case contracts, out of area placements for learning disability and continuing care), which are offset by underspending budgets, including community prescribing.

In terms of cash control, the health authority has exactly met its revenue and capital cash limits for the year.

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