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Small Bowel Transplantation

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on developing and extending the availability of small bowel transplantation. [27349]

Yvette Cooper: We recognise this is a very important national service and good progress has been made in making it available to those who might benefit from the procedure. Both adult and paediatric small bowel transplantation services have been designated by the National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group and national centres identified since April 1997.

No transplants were performed before this date. In the case of children, 14 transplants have now been performed. In the case of adults, a number of patients have been assessed but to date transplantation has not been the preferred option for their care.

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Aggregates Levy

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision he has made in his hospital building programme for additional costs resulting from the aggregates levy. [26511]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 14 January 2002]: Any additional costs arising from the levy may be factored into bidders proposals under both the private finance initiative and public capital procurement routes. Such bids will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis by individual national health service trusts on the grounds of meeting service need, affordability and value for money.

NHS Appointments

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list appointments to chairs of NHS trusts made by the NHS Appointments Commissioner for the west midlands. [27408]

Yvette Cooper: The chair appointments made by the National Health Service Appointments Commission to NHS trusts in the west midlands are as follows:

Chair appointmentNHS trust
Professor Margaret BamfordDudley Priority Health
Mr. Charles GoodyCoventry Healthcare
Mr. Bryan KnightSandwell Healthcare
Mr. Francis McCarneyGeorge Eliot Hospital
Mr. Michael O'RiordenWorcestershire Acute Hospitals
Dr. Bransby ThomasSouth Warwickshire Combined Care
Mr. Clive WilkinsonBirmingham Heartlands and Solihull (Teaching)
Sir Bernard ZissmanGood Hope Hospital

BCG Vaccination

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his future policy is for BCG vaccination; and if he will make a statement on the availability of the vaccine. [27593]

Yvette Cooper: Our recommendation for the use of BCG vaccine is based on the advice of an independent expert advisory committee, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which is regularly reviewed.

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BCG vaccine is readily available to all those recommended to receive it. These include:

This policy is set out in the booklet "Immunisation against Infectious Disease 1996".

Alternative Blood Therapies

Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the appropriate use of blood working group will publish its report on the use of alternative blood therapies in place of transfusing blood. [27502]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 15 January 2002]: The National Blood Service "appropriate use of blood" group is currently gathering evidence on alternatives to blood, bloodless surgery and autologous blood transfusion. Proposed guidance material will be considered by the Chief Medical Officer's National Blood Transfusion Committee later this year. It is anticipated that the guidance will be promulgated through regional and local hospital blood transfusion committees.

Avon/Gloucestershire and

Wiltshire Health Authority

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to make an announcement on the appointment of a chief executive for the new Avon/ Gloucestershire and Wiltshire health authority; and for what reason it has not been possible to make that appointment already. [27314]

Ms Blears [holding answer 15 January 2002]: The appointment of Mr. Mark Outhwaite as chief executive was announced on 14 January. It was not possible to complete the process of making appointments to all 28 strategic health authorities before Christmas and the intervening holiday period inevitable imposed a delay. Now that the appointment has been made, work on setting up the new health authority and preparing it for its role will go ahead at the same speed as other areas.

Sodium Consumption

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the Food Standards Agency's position is on the acceptable level of daily sodium intake for the general population; on what evidence the Food Standards Agency bases its policy on dietary salt consumption; and what recent advice the Food Standards Agency has given Ministers regarding the recommended daily sodium consumption. [27693]

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Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency's advice on salt is that individuals should reduce their intake to 6 grammes per day (equivalent to 2.3 grammes of sodium). This is based on the recommendations made by the expert committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy.

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what public awareness campaigns the Food Standards Agency is undertaking to reduce daily human consumption of salt; how the Food Standards Agency communicates its recommended daily intake of sodium to the public; and what media outlets the Food Standards Agency uses to highlight its policy on salt and its recommended daily intake of sodium. [27694]

Yvette Cooper: Advice to the general public on levels of salt intake is covered as an integral part of Food Standards Agency activity to provide information on a healthy balanced diet generally. This is done through a variety of routes which include FSA publications, the FSA website, and advice to the food industry on the nutritional labelling of foods.

Breast Cancer

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy that women who have suffered pre-menopausal breast cancer will be subject to automatic recall under the NHS breast cancer screening programme. [27756]

Yvette Cooper: National guidelines 1 state that women who have been treated for breast cancer should undergo mammography yearly during the first five years after surgery, and every two years afterwards, regardless of age. The national health service breast screening programme invites women aged 50 to 64 for mammography every three years, to be extended to the age of 70 by 2004. It is for a woman's clinical team to decide whether she enters the breast screening programme at age 50 or if she is monitored outside the programme.

NHS Complaints Procedure

Mr. Horam: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will alter the NHS complaints procedure so that independent review bodies can investigate a complaint relating to more than one NHS body. [26013]

Ms Blears [holding answer 15 January 2002]: We are currently in the process of reforming the national health service complaints procedure and as part of that we are considering how best a second, "independent review" element of the procedure might work.

Food Allergies

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been conducted into the underlying causes of food allergies to commonly available ingredients, with particular reference to (a) wheat, (b) dairy products and (c) nuts. [27852]

Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency is currently spending £800,000 a year on research into food allergy. This research focuses both on the occurrence of food allergies and the mechanisms underlying the reactions with emphasis on severe allergy, in particular

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peanut and tree-nut allergies. The FSA currently funds 12 research projects on peanut allergy (the main cause of food allergy related deaths in the United Kingdom) and one on dairy products. The FSA does not currently fund any research into wheat allergy, although the research on mechanisms may be of relevance. Further detail on the food allergy research programme can be obtained from the FSA research programmes annual report 1999–2000 which has been placed in the Library.

NHS Trusts (Worcestershire)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the chairmanship of the South Worcestershire Primary Care Trust will be announced; and if he will make a statement. [28242]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 17 January 2002]: Proposals for the establishment of the South Worcestershire Primary Care Trust are still being considered. A decision will be announced as soon as possible.

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