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Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures his Department has taken to combat stigma in HIV (a) transmission and (b) illness. [20788]

Yvette Cooper: The Department funds HIV and sexual health promotion for gay men, African communities and the general population. This includes information on how HIV is and is not transmitted and how to access national health service services. In addition, on 26 November last year, the National AIDS Trust, funded by the Department, launched a new pilot campaign, "Are You HIV Prejudiced?", aimed at raising awareness of HIV and AIDS and the negative effect of stigma and discrimination which can act as a barrier to people accessing testing and treatment and care services. The first ever national sexual health and HIV strategy highlighted the importance of reducing stigma associated with HIV. We are currently considering responses to the extensive consultation on the strategy, including replies specifically on addressing stigma.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the reduction in dispensing fees paid to community pharmacists. [20787R]

Ms Blears: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) on 8 January 2002, Official Report, columns 611W-12W.

NHS Direct

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have used the service provided by NHS Direct in each year since its introduction. [21606]

Ms Blears: Since NHS Direct was launched in March 1998 it has handled around 9,000,000 calls. This calendar year alone it has handled over 4,500,000 calls, NHS Direct currently handles 120,000 calls a week.


Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to reply to the letter of 24 July from the hon. Member for New Forest, West regarding placements for young people with learning difficulties. [22737]

Jacqui Smith: A reply was sent on 23 January 2002.

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Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Broxbourne will receive a reply to her letters of 10 October 2001, 22 November 2001, 18 December 2001 and 16 January 2001 relating to her constituent, Mrs. Barbara Handley of Cheshunt. [29323]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 22 January 2002]: A reply was sent on 28 January.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Suffolk of 10 October 2001, concerning Mr. Dominique Porche, of Haverhill, a constituent. [29763]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 24 January 2002]: A reply was sent on 25 January.

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he intends to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton dated 29 November 2001 with regard to Mr. Alan Robinson; [27322]

Ms Blears: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State replied to my right hon. Friend's letter with regard to his constituent, Mrs. J. Sharpe, on 28 January.

A reply was sent with regard to Mr. A. Robinson on 23 January.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Under-Secretary for Health intends to reply to the letter dated 20 November 2001 from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan regarding his constituent Mrs. B. Kennedy of Peterhead. [28754]

Yvette Cooper: A reply was sent on 24 January.

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to reply to the letter of the hon. Member for Torbay of 10 September 2001 on behalf of the Haemophilia Society of Devon. [29272]

Yvette Cooper: A reply was sent on 28 January.

Meat Industry

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many abattoirs and meat processing plants have failed to pay inspection charges in the last 12 months for completed inspections in the last two years. [22668]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 December 2001]: Approximately 1,100 of 1,400 licensed fresh meat plants are currently operating in Great Britain. Of these, 11 companies operating licensed fresh meat plants have failed to make any payments to the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) in the period November 2000 to date for their inspection charges. These premises comprise five red meat full throughput slaughterhouses, one poultry meat full throughput slaughterhouse, one red meat low throughput slaughterhouse, three red meat full throughput cutting plants, and one poultry meat low throughput cutting plant. The total debt owed by these 11 companies is £468,652.21.

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Two of the 11 companies are still operating, but the other nine have ceased trading. The MHS has taken legal action against both of the companies that are still operating and has received Judgment against one, which will potentially lead to the withdrawal of service by the MHS. In the other case, proceedings are currently stayed pending receipt of fresh information from the defendant, as directed by the judge.

In respect of the nine companies which have ceased trading:

Staff Numbers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were employed in his Department in each of the last four years. [23793]

Ms Blears: The numbers of staff in all Departments are shown in table C of "Civil Service Statistics 2000" published on 31 August 2001, copies of which are available in the Library.

Registered Practitioners (Buckingham)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many registered practitioners there have been in the constituency of Buckingham in each year since 1997; [23716]

Ms Blears: The information on general practitioner vacancies requested is not available centrally. Information may be obtained from the chairmen of Buckinghamshire health authority and the primary care groups and trusts in the Buckinghamshire health authority area.

The information on the number of practitioners is as follows:

All practitioners (excluding GP retainers)(28) and unrestricted principals and equivalents (UPEs)(29) in England, South-east region, Buckinghamshire health authority and Aylesbury Vale primary care group, 1997–2000

All Practitioners (excluding GP retainers)1997199819992000
South-east region5,0345,1345,1755,177
Buckinghamshire health authority397408423424
Aylesbury Vale primary care group6567
of which:
South-east region4,6914,7404,7794,803
Buckinghamshire health authority372382396403
Aylesbury Vale primary care group6165


GP Retainers were collected for the first time in the 1999 census. In 1999 there were 972 GP retainers in England, 222 in South-east region, 12 in Buckinghamshire HA and one in Aylesbury Vale PCG. In 2000 there were 1,117 in England, 230 in South-east region, 0 in Buckinghamshire HA and 0 in Aylesbury Vale PCG.

Data as at 1 October each year between 1997 and 1999 and at 30 September 2000.

(28) Practitioners (excluding GP retainers) including GMS unrestricted principals, PMS contracted GPs, PMS salaried GPs, restricted principals, assistants, GP registrars, salaried doctors (para 52 SFA) and PMS other.

(29) UPEs include unrestricted principals, PMS contracted GPs and PMS salaried GPs.


Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics

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