Previous Section Index Home Page

Solvent Abuse

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths attributed to solvent abuse there have been in each year since 1995. [25448]

Ms Blears: Statistics collected by St. George's Medical School show that there were 65 deaths in 1995; 79 in deaths in 1997; 70 deaths in 1998; and 73 deaths in 1999 in the United Kingdom associated with volatile substance abuse (VSA). Deaths in 1999 were less than half the number recorded at their peak in 1990. We take any deaths associated with VSA very seriously and are committed to continuing action to address this problem.

It is particularly important that young people should know about the dangers of abusing volatile substances. We are supporting a programme that will enable general practitioners and other health care professionals to assist teachers in communicating health messages about the dangers of drugs and other solvents. Other measures to address this issue include a campaign to inform retailers about the risks of volatile substance abuse, and their responsibilities under the law. The Department is also working with voluntary organisations to develop training packages for professionals working with young people at risk of abusing volatile substances.

Waiting Lists

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS trusts have been subject to waiting list spot checks since the publication of the National Audit Office report into irregularities in waiting lists. [27254]

Mr. Hutton: We are in active discussion with the Audit Commission on the detailed implementation of spot checks on national health service trusts to ensure that waiting list data are independently verified.

Advertising Campaigns

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list the advertising campaigns which he and his predecessors have commissioned since May 1997, showing for each (a) its objectives, (b) its beginning and end dates, (c) the media used, (d) the criteria adopted to judge its effectiveness, (e) the extent to which the effectiveness criteria were met, (f) agency involvement and (g) its cost; [29665]

Ms Blears: Major advertising campaigns commissioned by the Department's communications directorate since May 1997 are shown in the table.

£ million

Blood donation0.601.70(53)0.22
Children's services0.600.17
Mind out0.13
National health service including nurse recruitment1.304.904.214.904.41
NHS Direct0.120.781.201.151.38
Organ donation0.770.470.380.20
Prescription fraud0.380.18
Sexual health0.2
Sexwise/teenage pregnancy0.391.52.0
Social worker recruitment1.0
Walk-in centres0.02
Working family tax credit0.05

(52) Planned (to be updated)

(53) The Department's spend on blood donation advertising reduced in 1999–2000 because most of this activity was funded directly by the National Blood Authority, who took over full responsibility for this expenditure on 1 April 2000.

(54) Prior to 1999–2000 advertising on smoking was undertaken by the Health Education Authority (HEA).

14 Feb 2002 : Column 669W

Information about NHS expenditure is collected centrally and published annually in the Health and Personal Social Statistics for England.

Lymington Hospital

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients are waiting for (a) hearing tests and (b) other audiology treatment at the Lymington hospital; [27746]

Ms Blears [holding answer 22 January 2002]: The data requested are not collected centrally.

Departmental Secondments (Energy Industry)

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff were seconded between (a) BP, (b) Shell, (c) Enron, (d) Exxon-Mobil, (e) Conoco, (f) Texaco and (g) TotalFinaElf and his Department in (i) 1999–2000, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) April 2001 to the latest date for which figures are available. [33211]

Ms Blears: Interchange is a key component of the reform agenda. The Modernising Government White Paper committed us to increasing interchange, in particular by bringing in more people on secondment and sending more of our people out. Secondments and attachments are part of the interchange initiative, which promotes the exchange of people and good practice between the civil service and other organisations. All sectors of the economy are involved: voluntary, education, health, public and private.

Centrally held records in the Department show that there have been no secondments between the Department and the companies asked about.

14 Feb 2002 : Column 670W

NHS Dentistry (Birkenhead)

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists in the Birkenhead constituency are taking national health service patients; and how many were taking patients five years ago. [32851]

Ms Blears: At present in Birkenhead (excluding Woodchurch and Upton wards), there are 15 practices taking national health service patients (13 general dental surgeons (GDS) and two orthodontic specialists) with a total of 30 dentists working from these practices. Five years ago, for the same area, there were 15 practices (14 GDS and one orthodontic specialist).

Hospital Television Viewing

Mr. Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the provision of pay-to-view television for patients in (a) the James Paget hospital in Gorlston, Norfolk and (b) other NHS hospitals; and whether NHS hospitals are permitted to cease provision of free-to-air television. [33595]

Ms Blears: National Health Service Estates has worked with staff in trusts, and potential suppliers to set up a national licensing system that allows suppliers, who have demonstrated that they have the capacity to install and effectively manage a bedside communication and entertainment system, to provide the service in NHS hospitals.

The suppliers are responsible for all aspects of installation, managing and running the service and for any associated costs. They make a charge to the patient for use of the services provided. The trust does not bear any of the cost of either the installation or running of the service.

Patients at the James Paget hospital will have the choice of pay-to-view television at their bedside or free television viewing in the hospital day rooms. NHS Estates specified to trusts and suppliers, at the outset, that access to the free televisions in communal rooms and payphone telephones

14 Feb 2002 : Column 671W

would not cease to exist as a result of the introduction of the bedside services. These will remain an alternative for patients who do not wish to use bedside services.

Professor James Malone-Lee

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what contact there has been between his Department and Professor James Malone-Lee since 1 January; [33496]

Mr. Hutton: Department of Health officials routinely discuss management issues with staff at national health service trusts. However, there was no contact with Professor James Malone-Lee, the medical director of the Whittington hospital, in order to discuss the Evening Standard letter. The letter that appeared in the Evening Standard, read out by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 23 January 2002, Official Report, column 880, is the property of the Whittington hospital NHS trust.

Next Section Index Home Page