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BCG Vaccine

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the availability of the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis in schools in Arundel and South Downs. [18322]

Ms Blears: Our policy is that all school children should be BCG immunised between ages 10 to 14 if they have not previously been immunised. Initially, in West Sussex, this vaccine was offered to those students who were due to leave school in summer 2001. Where there has been sufficient vaccine and resources year 10 pupils were also offered testing and immunisation. Any current year 10 and 11 pupils who have not yet been offered vaccine will be offered testing and immunisation during this academic year.

Standards Reports

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the reasons for the delay in publishing the standards reports relating to (a) cleanliness and (b) decontamination announced on 14 November 2000. [19957]

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Ms Blears: There has been no delay in publishing the standards reports relating to hospital cleanliness. So far as decontamination is concerned, we took the view that improving the standard of decontamination in the national health service was more important than reporting on it. We therefore asked the assessors to help with drawing up action plans and check on their implementation. We have published the results of the preliminary and comprehensive surveys of decontamination today. Copies will be placed in the Library.

Community Equipment Services

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what systems are in place to ensure that social services and NHS trusts have agreed budgets for community equipment services by April 2002. [21794R]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 10 December 2001]: Statutory guidance issued to health and local authorities in March 2001 explained the requirement to make adequate financial provision for modernising local community equipment services. Several systems of financial and performance monitoring encourage commissioners and providers to identify and agree budgets for community equipment services for the coming financial year. These include spring and autumn monitoring exercises with senior managers of social services. Budgetary commitments agreed in local business plans by social services and national health service trusts feed into local modernisation reviews and planning for the integration of local services.

Home Helps, Buckingham

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many home helps are working in the constituency of Buckingham. [23719]

Ms Blears: Data on the number of home helps are not available by parliamentary constituency. As at 30 September 2000 there were 52 full-time and 661 part-time home helps employed by Buckinghamshire county council. This is equivalent to approximately 410 whole-time staff.

NHS Dentists

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the adult population in (a) Devon and (b) Torbay was registered with NHS dentists in (i) 1997–98, (ii) 1998–99, (iii) 1999–2000 and (iv) 2000–01. [22802]

Ms Blears: The percentage of adults registered with a general dental service (GDS) dentist per head of population is shown in the table for South and West Devon health authority and North and East Devon health authority for 30 September in each of the years 1997–98 to 2000–01.

The registration rates for September 1997 are not comparable with the later figures. The September 1997 rates reflect a 24-month registration period; the later figures reflect a 15 month registration period.

Devon is covered by the South and West Devon HA and North and East Devon HA. Information is not available by constituency area for the percentage of adult registrations per population.

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General dental services: percentage of the adult registrations(25) per population(26), 1997–98 to 2000–01

September each yearSouth and West Devon HANorth and East Devon HA

(25) Based on the number of adult registrations at September for each financial year.

(26) ONS mid-year adult population estimates used to calculate percentage of adult patients registered.

(27) Registration rates reflect a 24-month registration period rather than 15 months which is the basis of the later figures.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the correlation between inadequate coverage of NHS dentistry in a given area and a higher than average incidence of oral cancer. [25389]

Ms Blears: With an incidence of oral cancer of some 2,500 new cases per year it is not possible to make significant comparisons with provision of national health service dentistry by area especially as confounding factors like use of tobacco and alcohol would need to be eliminated. Nevertheless, we recognise that dentists have a unique opportunity both to warn patients of the risks from smoking and to identify pre-cancerous signs of oral cancer. We are committed to improving access to NHS dentistry.

Mixed Sex Wards

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many mixed sex hospital wards are in use in the United Kingdom. [14732]

Ms Blears: Guidance on maintaining privacy and dignity was first issued to the service in 1997 and since then the national health service has been working towards a clear target to eliminate mixed sex accommodation in 95 per cent. of national health service trusts by December 2002.

It is not possible to provide information at the level of the individual ward. The majority of hospital wards are usually subdivided into bays which are designated as male or female. Depending on the case mix and local need, the exact proportion of male to female bays will vary.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's progress on their plan to abolish mixed sex wards by 2002. [26717]

Ms Blears: We have set a target of December 2002 for the provision of single sex accommodation in 95 per cent. of trusts.

On-going monitoring of the progress of the project continues and indicates that progress towards the targets is being maintained and work is continuing to ensure that this remains so.

Water Fluoridation

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the Government's policy on the fluoridation of water. [23968]

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Ms Blears: Our current policy is to encourage health authorities with high levels of dental decay among their populations to consider the option of fluoridation as part of their overall oral health promotion strategy. Before asking their water suppliers to introduce fluoridation of the water supply, health authorities are required to undertake wide-ranging consultation with their local population to establish support for fluoridation.

The Medical Research Council has been commissioned to provide scientific advice regarding the health effects of water fluoridation and to suggest priorities for any further research which may be required. We will be reviewing our policy in the light of their report which is expected next year.

Health Expenditure, Isle of Wight

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the expenditure was on non-national health service nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff in the Isle of Wight health authority in the financial years (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000 and (d) 2000–01. [23660]

Ms Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Multiple Sclerosis Drugs

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of NICE's provision appraisal determination estimate for implementing a positive guidance on beta interferon and glatiramer acetate; [8710]

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 the information requested.

Breast Cancer

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in the Buckinghamshire health authority area referred urgently with suspected breast cancer waited for more than two weeks for an out-patient appointment for each reporting period since March 1999. [24849]

Ms Blears: The information requested is shown in the table.

YearQuarterPart00–14 targetBeyond 14 day target
1999–20001Referrals within 24 hours1866
1999–20001Referrals not within 24 hours136
1999–20002Referrals within 24 hours1585
1999–20002Referrals not within 24 hours138
1999–20003Referrals within 24 hours2125
1999–20003Referrals not within 24 hours1215
1999–20004Referrals within 24 hours2469
1999–20004Referrals not within 24 hours1410
2000–011Referrals within 24 hours2489
2000–011Referrals not within 24 hours2613
2000–012Referrals within 24 hours22411
2000–012Referrals not within 24 hours154
2000–013Referrals within 24 hours27411
2000–013Referrals not within 24 hours225
2000–014Referrals within 24 hours2625
2000–014Referrals not within 24 hours161
2001–021Referrals within 24 hours28516
2001–021Referrals not within 24 hours221
2001–022Referrals within 24 hours21341
2001–022Referrals not within 24 hours166


Quarterly Central Return QCW, Code QA8

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