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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the number of persons who have contracted viral infections in the last 12 months which could have been avoided if they had been prescribed recombinant factor VIII; [16625]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 22 November 2001]: We are not aware of any viral transmissions from the use of plasma-derived clotting factors for haemophiliacs in the United Kingdom in the last 12 months.

Heat treatment was introduced for UK-plasma products in the mid 1980s, and they have since had an excellent safety record. In addition, throughout this period, there have been increasingly sophisticated screening tests on the plasma, to improve the safety margin.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) level of supply from manufacturers of recombinant factor VIII; [16628]

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Yvette Cooper [holding answer 22 November 2002]: Patients with haemophilia up to age 20 (approximately 43 per cent. of all haemophilia patients) are eligible to receive recombinant clotting factors. There are no plans to allow haemophiliacs over age 16 to be exempt from prescription charges

These patients may not currently be receiving recombinant clotting factors due to the recent worldwide shortage. However, supplies are returning to normal and patients up to age 20 will receive recombinant clotting factors as soon as possible. We are giving active consideration to the case for providing recombinant clotting factors for all haemophilia patients in England.

Hyperbaric Disorders

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on treatment of hyperbaric disorders. [24606]

Yvette Cooper: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) is a medical treatment by which oxygen is administered at greater than normal pressure to a patient in order to treat specific medical indications. Arrangements for the provision of HBO are made by NHS trusts locally.

Trolley Waits

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes have been made to the (a) designations of trolleys and (b) methods of counting trolley waits since May 1997. [15321]

Ms Blears: The Department collects information on all waits for emergency admission to a bed via accident and emergency department (A&E) following a decision to admit. This information is collected as part of "Your Guide to the NHS" (formerly "Patients Charter"). It has been collected since 1997 and is published quarterly.

The Department does not collect information on whether patients, recorded as waiting for admission, are on trolleys.

Since August 2001, data on total time in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge have been collected by the Department. This is in line with the NHS Plan which states that by 2004, the maximum wait in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge will be four hours.

Medical Costs (European Economic Area)

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the detailed expenditure costs of EEA medical costs (a) in total and (b) broken down by country of origin of the patient. [12778]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is as follows

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Estimated costs of EEA medical benefits for 2000–01

EEA country UK payments to EEA statesEEA states payments to the UK

(92) Waiver. The UK has cost waiver agreements with Finland and Norway, except for referred patients. No claims were made in this financial year.


1. Figures are based on latest available information and used for resource accounting and budgeting (RAB) purposes in 2000–01.

2. Claims against the UK are made in national currency and converted into sterling by using the quarterly mean exchange rates published by the EU commission.

3. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.

Beta Interferon

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what dates his Department held (a) negotiations and (b) discussions with pharmaceutical companies in relation to the trial prescribing of beta interferon; and which pharmaceutical companies were involved. [15320]

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his discussions with the pharmaceutical industry over the provision of beta interferon. [22177]

Ms Blears: I refer the hon. Members to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) on 8 February 2002, Official Report, column 1241W.

Accident and Emergency Services

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many accident and emergency cases were dealt with by (a) the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and (b) the Princess Royal Hospital Telford in 2000–01. [34805]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is shown in the table.

Total Accident and Emergency Attendances at Selected NHS Trusts 2000–01

NHS trustTotal attendance
Princess Royal hospital43,037
Royal Shrewsbury hospital41,735

Source: KH09—Outpatient and ward attenders

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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the expected cost to public funds is of ending long waits in accident and emergency departments. [16251]

Ms Blears: We have made no estimate of the cost of long waiting times in accident and emergency departments. Currently 77 per cent. of visitors to accident and emergency are admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

Cloned Embryos

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to appeal against the judgment in the case of R v. Quintavalle and the Secretary of State for Health. [16267]

Yvette Cooper: We did appeal and on 18 January 2002, the Court of Appeal unanimously overturned the original judgment. This means that the creation and use of embryos created by cell nuclear replacement (so called "cloned embryos") is governed by the 1990 Act and regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Latex Allergy

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent studies he has undertaken into the (a) cause, (b) prevalence and (c) treatment and management of latex allergy (i) among national health service workers and (ii) in the wider population. [23774]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 18 December 2001]: The Medical Devices Agency regularly investigates the risks posed to patients and healthcare workers and along with the Department of Health, issues relevant guidance. Latex is recognised as a sensitiser or substance hazardous to health as defined by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH 1994) and Health Service Circular 1999/186 instructed that individuals who are sensitised to latex should stop using latex medical gloves and be provided with gloves made from an alternative material.


Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list the waiting times for cataract operations in each of the last 10 years for each NHS trust from (a) referral from GP to first consultation and (b) referral from GP to surgery; and if he will make a statement; [20853]

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Ms Blears: Data are not collected on waiting times from GP referral to a first outpatient appointment specifically for cataract patients, and data are not collected on the total wait from GP referral to a first outpatient appointment through to completion of surgery.

Instead, data have been provided from 1991–92 to 2000–01 on the length of time patients waited on the inpatient waiting list before being treated for cataract removal.

This Government are aware that some patients wait long periods of time for cataract removal. Cataract removal is one of the most commonly performed operations, particularly among the elderly. That is why we have set up the Action On Cataracts programme, led by the NHS Modernisation Agency. The programme aims to improve access to care and to reduce variations in waiting times for cataract removal patients. As part of the programme, local services are helped to identify their constraints and to find effective solutions.

Good practice guidance on treating cataract patients was issued to NHS Trusts, Health Authorities and Primary Care Groups in February 2000. In 2000–01 the sum of £22 million was allocated for "Action on" Cataracts to provide dedicated facilities to improve the patient pathway and to reduce waiting times.

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