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Royal United Hospital (Waiting Times)

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the trends in waiting times for MRI scans at the Royal United hospital, Bath in the last 12 months. [12855]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not collect information on waiting times for MRI scans, however, information from the Royal United hospital, Bath national health service trust shows that between June 2001 and October 2001 the maximum waiting time had reduced by 1.3 months.

The trust has been running additional sessions to reduce the waiting times. It has also appointed two additional consultant radiologists and two new senior radiographers which will enable the trust to increase MRI capacity.

The RUH is looking to make a business case for a second MRI scanner.

19 Nov 2001 : Column: 114W

National Service Frameworks

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria the Government uses to decide the order in which national service frameworks are commissioned and released. [12705]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 6 November 2001]: In the selection of a topic for the national service framework programme, the main criteria are the importance of a health issue in terms of morbidity and mortality; the need for service improvement; and the capacity of the national health service and its partner agencies to implement the framework.

Beta Interferon

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the annual cost of prescribing beta interferon to all patients who need it under the pilot scheme. [13267]

Ms Blears: We are currently holding discussions with the manufacturers to consider a range of options under which drugs for multiple sclerosis might be made available under the national health service. One option is a "risk sharing" scheme which will evaluate their clinical and cost-effectiveness, and until these discussions are concluded we cannot provide detailed information on potential numbers of patients and likely costs.

Anti-TNF Treatment

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the refusal of Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth NHS to fund anti-tumour necrosis factor treatment for a patient living in Battersea with rheumatoid arthritis. [13172]

Ms Blears: Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth health authority recognise the potential benefit of anti-TNF treatments and are funding 24 patients who are part of an already established clinical trial. The health authority is not currently funding new patients. However, its health modernisation group is due to meet shortly to review the funding for these treatments. Funding for anti-TNF drugs will be considered along with other priorities as part of the HA process for financial planning for 2002–03.


Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of (a) midwives and (b) health visitor training is dedicated to breastfeeding support; and how many hours training this involves. [13519]

Jacqui Smith: The United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) requires that all midwifery pre-registration students should be able to provide

The UKCC does not set any specific requirement for health visitor training on breastfeeding support. The statutory bodies do not define the hours required for specific topics within the total hours of the curriculum.

19 Nov 2001 : Column: 115W

Cranial Osteopathy

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the provision of cranial osteopathy in the NHS. [13658]

Jacqui Smith: Decisions on national health service provision of complementary or alternative medicine treatments are made by those responsible for commissioning health services for patients locally.

Osteopathy—of which cranial osteopathy is one form—is already available on the NHS, and is included in the information pack on complementary and alternative medicine for primary care groups which the Department published in July 2000.

Post-natal Care

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the post-natal care of mothers of multiple births. [13657]

Jacqui Smith: Post-natal care for women is provided on the basis of assessed health and parenting needs of the mother and baby rather than on the basis of the number of babies born. A range of family support services is available through health (doctors, midwives and health visitors) and social services.

We are currently developing the National Service Framework for Children, which will include the setting of new standards of quality for maternity services and post-natal care for all women.

Red Card Scheme

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospitals are taking part in the red card scheme; how many (a) red and (b) yellow cards have been issued; and what changes have been observed in the levels of violence to staff in the hospitals involved. [13722]

Ms Blears: The Department issued national guidelines to national health service trusts to help develop policies on withholding NHS treatment from violent and abusive patients on 2 November 2001. All trusts must consider the need to develop a local policy on withholding treatment from violent and abusive patients. Such policies and procedures should form part of local policies addressing safer working conditions and should be in place by April 2002.

St. Bartholomews and the London NHS Trust introduced a policy on the withdrawal of treatment from violent patients, also known as the yellow and red card scheme, in September 2000. The policy has had a significant deterrent effect, and although the trust has issued eight yellow cards (formal written warnings), it has not proved necessary to issue red cards (withdrawal of treatment).

Impotence Treatments

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many responses to the public consultation on eligibility for impotence treatments were (a) against and (b) in favour of the current restrictions in prescribing treatments. [13489]

19 Nov 2001 : Column: 116W

Ms Blears: We received 220 responses from manufacturers, health professionals and patients. 202 expressed opposition to the current arrangements.

The current system was introduced in 1999 to get a balance between treating men with impotence and protecting national health service resources to deal with other priorities including those with cancer, heart disease and mental health problems. Expenditure on impotence treatment drugs, at £25 million a year, is above what we expected and continues to increase. We have concluded that the extra cost of allowing unrestricted prescribing might be substantially higher leading to diversion of funds from other NHS priorities.

Repair and Maintenance

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the outstanding repair and maintenance backlog figures in each health authority in England are for each of the last two years. [13620]

Mr. Hutton: Figures collected which generally reflect the cost of outstanding repair and maintenance of hospitals are known as the "cost to achieve Estatecode condition B". In relation to a building's physical condition this is the condition whereby the property is considered to be physically sound, operationally safe and exhibits only minor deterioration.

Costs to achieve Estatecode condition B (physical condition) for the year 1999–2000, grouped into each health authority in England, are shown in the table. Similar costs for the year 2000–01 are still in the process of collection and validation and are unlikely to be available until early next year.

Figures for special health authorities (SHA), figures are only collected in connection with special hospitals and therefore exclude costs relating to all other SHA organisations (for example, Family Health Services Appeal Authority, Commission for Health Improvement, NHS Information Authority).


Health authorityCost to achieve estatecode Condition 1999–2000
Barking and Havering28,934,000
Barnet, Enfield and Haringey46,206,000
Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich70,395,000
Brent and Harrow29,783,000
Bury and Rochdale7,539,000
Calderdale and Kirklees52,980,000
Camden and Islington79,819,000
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly13,279,000
County Durham13,538,000
Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow96,230,000
East Kent11,517,000
East Lancashire29,117,000
East London and The City113,466,000
East Riding59,189,000
East Surrey4,802,000
East Sussex, Brighton and Hove18,970,000
Gateshead and South Tyneside 7,228,000
Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire9,422,000
Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster63,276,000
Kingston and Richmond8,667,000
Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham126,844,000
Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth35,151,000
Morecambe Bay11,700,000
Newcastle and North Tyneside44,542,000
North and East Devon8,103,000
North and Mid Hampshire17,216,000
North Cheshire3,201,000
North Cumbria20,268,000
North Derbyshire5,748,000
North Essex38,632,000
North Nottinghamshire13,211,000
North Staffordshire40,824,000
North West Lancashire33,003,000
North Yorkshire23,115,000
Redbridge and Waltham Forest63,457,000
Salford and Trafford17,681,000
South and West Deveon13,210,000
South Cheshire5,266,000
South Essex17,333,000
South Humber5,073,000
South Lancashire4,855,000
South Staffordshire10,283,000
Southampton and South West Hampshire24,627,000
Southern Derbyshire4,565,000
Special Trusts9,022,000
St. Helen's and Knowsley8,095,000
West Kent78,524,000
West Pennine10,207,000
West Surrey21,332,000
West Sussex50,027,000
Wigan and Bolton12,343,000
Grand total3,074,431,000


Special health authorities include special hospitals only (e.g. Ashworth, Rampton and Broadmoor)

19 Nov 2001 : Column: 118W

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