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NHS Appointments Commission

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he will give to the NHS Appointments Commission to ensure that suitable nominations are received from the voluntary sector. [13]

Jacqui Smith: Experience in the voluntary sector is valued on National Health Service boards and we remain keen to encourage people with such expertise to apply.

I understand that the NHS Appointments Commission will be routinely writing to appropriate councils for voluntary service with copies of its recruitment advertisements and asking them to draw these to the attention of their member organisations.

NHS (Surrey)

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current financial deficit of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust; and if he will make a statement. [145]

Ms Blears [holding answer 25 June 2001]: Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust reported a provisional income and expenditure deficit of £1.5 million at the end of March 2001 (this figure is subject to confirmation in the trust's final accounts). In order to secure financial balance the trust has to address this deficit and meet a

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savings target. This means that the trust is reporting a provisional income and expenditure deficit at the beginning of this financial year of £4.0 million.

The South East Regional Office, East Surrey health authority and local primary care groups are working with the trust to agree a plan which will deliver long-term financial stability and ensure access targets are met.

Pithing Ban

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the pithing ban. [211]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 25 June 2001]: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that the ban on pithing came into force on 1 April 2001 in Great Britain and on 11 June 2001 in Northern Ireland, where pithing has not been practiced for some years.

The ban is enforced in Great Britain by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS). The FSA has asked the MHS to monitor compliance with the ban and to report any potential closure of abattoirs arising from it. The MHS reports that, as at 11 June 2001, only 13 abattoirs were still pithing. Of these, 10 are expected to cease pithing by 1 July. Officials of the MHS and the Meat and Livestock Commission have met operators who believe they are unable to comply with the ban and have provided advice on how premises and working practices may be adapted to enable them to do so. The MHS has not received any reports of increased incidence of worker injury since the ban came into effect.

Cervical Cancer Screening

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of total funds available to the cancer screening programme are available to the cervical cancer screening programme; and what that proportion is in cash terms. [302]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 26 June 2001]: In 1998, the National Audit Office (NAO) estimated that the National Health Service cervical screening programme in England costs around £132 million per year, around £34 per woman screened 1 .

It is estimated by the Department of Health that the NHS breast cancer screening programme costs £52 million per year.

There are currently no other national NHS programmes for cancer screening. The NHS plan stated that we will introduce new screening programmes for other cancers, as evidence about their effectiveness and benefit is confirmed.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish the ninth annual report of the National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit. [1710]

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Mr. Milburn: The National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit's ninth annual report will be published tomorrow. The report documents the Unit's findings in relation to sporadic, familial and iatrogenic Creutzfeldt- Jakob Disease (CJD), and also variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), up to 31 December 2000. Copies will be placed in the Library, and made available on the Unit's website at

General Social Care Council

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the General Social Care Council will publish the time-scales for registering each category of social care worker; [1177]

Jacqui Smith: The General Social Care Council will begin its work in October 2001. It is our intention to ask the Council to register qualified social workers first, beginning in 2002-03, followed by residential childcare workers and managers of care homes.

The council will specify any levels of training expected of registrants other than social workers. It will need to consider the priorities for registration and the likely overall timetable.

Registration of the work force is only one strand in our plans to raise standards in social care and improving public protection. The GSCC will be publishing codes of practice for social care workers and their employers. Compliance with the code is required of all staff and employers whether registered with the council or not. Compliance with the codes will be a first step towards achieving registration.

There are an estimated one million people working in social care and 80 per cent. of them are thought not to have any qualifications. 60 per cent. of the work force are in the independent sector working for around 25,000 employers, many of whom are very small. We do not hold information about the numbers in any particular group.

Food Labelling

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in improving food labelling. [594]

Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has adopted a wide-ranging action plan to tackle the issues consumers have identified as priorities for improving food labelling. The FSA is pressing for changes to European law and international standards and has established a number of working groups to explore the potential for voluntary improvements.

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Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve the regulations covering the clarity of food labelling. [595]

Yvette Cooper: We are committed to giving consumers more choice by improving food labelling. The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 require key labelling information to be easily visible, easy to understand, legible and indelible.

The Food Standards Agency has established a working group to advise on ways of making labels clearer and easier to use. The working group is currently analysing

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information about consumer needs and discussing options for improvements with a view to drawing up advice on best practice.

NHS Staff

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the countries of origin of staff first employed by the NHS in the past year. [1152]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not held centrally. Information on the countries of origin of staff registered to work as healthcare professionals is held by the relevant regulatory body. A list of regulatory bodies is in the table.

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Regulatory Bodies contact details

Regulatory BodyAddressContactContact
UKCC--United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing23 Portland Place, London W1N 4JTCE/Registrar: Sue Norman President: Alison Norman
GMC--General Medical Council 178 Great Portland Street, London W1N 6JEPresident: Sir Donald IrvineRegistrar: Finlay Scott
RPSGB--Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain 1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7JNSecretary/Registrar: Anne LewisPresident: Mr. P. L. Marshall Davies
CPSM--Council for the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BUChair Professor: Brian EdwardsRegistrar: Mike Hall
GDC--General Dental Council 37 Wimpole Street, London W1M 8DQPresident: Professor Nairn WilsonCE/Registrar: Antony Townsend
GOC--General Optical Council 41 Harley Street, London W1G 8DJChair: Rosie VarleyRegistrar (from 2 January 2000): Peter Coe
ROstC--Royal Osteopathic Council Osteopathy House, 176 Tower Bridge, London SE1 3LUChair: Nigel ClarkeCE/Registrar: Madeleine Craggs
GChC--General Chiropractic Council 3rd Floor North, 344-354 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8BPChair: Norma MorrisRegistrar: Margaret Coats

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