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NHS Structural Reform

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the impact on Portsmouth and South East Hampshire health authority of the structural reforms proposed for the NHS; and if he will make a statement. [30277]

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Ms Blears: With effect from 1 April 2002, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire health authority (the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth and South East Hampshire health authorities were merged in April 2001) will become part of the larger Hampshire and Isle of Wight health authority. Subject to the decision of Parliament, this will become one of 28 new strategic health authorities in October 2002.

These changes are part of our drive to shift the balance of power to the front line in the national health service. Under them, the responsibilities of the current regional offices of the Department will be devolved to the new health authorities, and those of the current health authorities to primary care trusts.

Organ Donors

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase public awareness of donor cards and the Donor Registry. [30956]

Yvette Cooper: There have been numerous wide-ranging initiatives in England to raise the public's awareness of the shortage of organs for transplantation. The Department runs a public information campaign with a current annual budget of £900,000. A public information leaflet, incorporating the organ donor card is widely distributed, and is also available through the organ donor literature line. The campaign is further enhanced by securing free TV airtime for short public information films, a campaign website and partnerships and arrangements with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, The Passport Agency, rotarian clubs, Boots the Chemist and some banks who have chosen organ donation as a cause to support.

The Department runs a special campaign to raise awareness among members of the Asian community. This includes short TV films featuring well-known Asian personalities and leaflets in various languages. Awareness is also raised by maintaining a presence at cultural and religious events, and by facilitation of debate on this issue at forums set up within Asian communities. Phase three of this campaign was launched in September 2001.

A similar campaign targeting the African and African- Caribbean communities is planned for launch in spring 2002. The campaign will feature a public information leaflet, targeted advertising and public relations.

Matthew Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to encourage councils to include organ donor registration forms in their electoral registration form. [31349]

Jacqui Smith: We fully support the initiative by local councils to encourage their local populations to join the national health service organ donor register by including a letter and form with the annual council mailing for the electoral register. The scheme has already proved successful in many areas and we believe that it owes its success to the fact that it is locally inspired and embraces the local community spirit.

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Last year, my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of States for Health and for the Home Department wrote jointly to the chairmen of the Association of Electoral Administrators and SOLACE's Electoral Matters Panel inviting them to encourage their members to distribute organ donor leaflets via the electoral canvass. While the Home Secretary has no powers to direct electoral registration officers to send out non-electoral material, the aim is to encourage councils to join this initiative which demonstrates how effective a truly local appeal can be.

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Matthew Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to introduce an opt-out scheme for organ donorship. [31348]

Jacqui Smith: We have no plans to introduce an opt-out scheme for organ donation. We are in the process of undertaking a comprehensive review of the law governing the taking, removal and use of human tissue, and will be issuing a consultation paper shortly.