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Devolved Administrations

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is with regard to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department giving evidence to (i) Scottish Parliament, (ii) Welsh Assembly and (iii) Northern Ireland Assembly Committees; and to what categories of document he gives (A) full access, (B) restricted access and (C) no access to (1) Scottish Parliament, (2) Welsh Assembly, (3) Northern Ireland Assembly and (4) House of Commons Select committees. [7048]

Yvette Cooper: I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

Devolution Guidance Note (DGN) 12—"Attendance of United Kingdom Ministers and Officials at Committees of the Devolved Legislatures" sets out general advice on attendance of UK Ministers and officials at committees of the devolved legislatures. The guidance applies equally to invitations from committees of the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Department would respond promptly and courteously to each request for information as it is received. The important principle is that each legislature exercises authority over its Ministers. Subject to criteria as set out in DGN12 it would be exceptional for Ministers from the Department to attend to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly of Wales and Northern Ireland committees.

Copies of DGN 12 are available at: www.cabinet- office.gov.uk/constitution/devolution/guidance/dgn12.htm.

Ambulance Services

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what extra funding he will provide to extend the fast response paramedics service in the Lancashire Ambulance Service. [8417]

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Jacqui Smith: I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

The Lancashire Ambulance Service was among the first to achieve the 75 per cent. target for reaching category A calls within eight minutes. It did so by investing in fast response paramedic services. The Government provided funding towards this scheme as well as towards the purchase of defibrillators. The money was used to extend the fast response service.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will make an assessment of the re-organisation of ambulance services in Hampshire. [11975]

Ms Blears [holding answer Friday 2 November 2001]: I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

On 15 January 2002 I announced that proposals to merge ambulance trusts in the south-east would not go ahead.

This decision was made in light of two policy initiatives "Reforming Emergency Care" and "Shifting the Balance of Power" that will help to make ambulance services more responsive to local needs. Health authorities together with their primary care trusts will review the position of their local ambulance services by September 2002. They will make recommendations to the director of health and social care in the south about how ambulance services should be organised in the future.

Mental Health

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what work has been undertaken and how much money has been spent to address the issues raised in the NCI report into suicide and homicide by people with mental illness; and if he will make a statement. [9513]

Jacqui Smith: I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

The recommendations of the National Confidential Inquiry report are in line with the targets in the Mental Health National Service Framework and NHS Plan and implementation is taking place at local level.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many episodes of community psychiatric nursing care took place in (a) 1996–97 and (b) 1999–2000. [14110]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 12 November 2001]: I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave

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my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

In 1996–97 there were 566,000 first contacts and 381,000 initial contacts and in 1999–2000 there were 586,000 first contacts and 348,000 initial contacts.

First contacts refer to the numbers of different individuals receiving care—these figures indicate an increase in the overall numbers of individuals seen by community psychiatric nurses (CPNs) over this period.

Initial contacts refer to the new episodes of care in any one year, and these figures indicate a reduction, suggesting the CPNs were seeing people for longer periods which would be compatible with the emphasis on providing services for the most vulnerable and those with enduring mental health problems.

Cash for Change Initiative

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what formula was used to determine the councils targeted for extra help under the Government's cash for change initiative. [9060]

Jacqui Smith: I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

All councils received additional funding through the Building Care Capacity Grant. Of the £90 million distributed to councils in 2001–02, £43.5 million was distributed to 95 councils on the basis of Standard Spending Assessment, and £47 million was targeted on the 55 councils with the most severe problems associated with delayed discharge. The extra funding to these councils reflected the rate of delayed discharge in each council's area in summer 2001.

The same criteria were used to distribute the £190 million available for councils through this grant in 2002–03. £91 million was allocated to the 95 councils, and the balance (£99 million) to the remaining 55 councils targeted for extra help.

Residential Care

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many beds are available in residential care in south Tyneside. [9985]

Jacqui Smith: I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

There are currently 1,256 beds available in residential care in south Tyneside.

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many elderly people are waiting for beds in residential care in south Tyneside. [9984]

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Jacqui Smith: I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

There are currently five people waiting for beds in residential care in south Tyneside. Funding is available for them all; however, there are no vacancies in the residential care home of their choice.

Heart Disease

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what further steps the Government plan to take to reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease in men. [11178]

Yvette Cooper: I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

The Government recognise that the death rate from coronary heart disease is significantly higher among men than women and have made it clear that tackling this disease is one of our top priorities. We are taking action through the NHS Plan, and the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease to tackle the main modifiable risk factors that are more prevalent among men, such as smoking and poor diet.

A comprehensive smoking cessation service on the NHS is now available across England to support smokers who want to quit. We are also developing a five-a-day programme to increase availability and awareness of fruit and vegetables among groups with the lowest intakes, including men. In addition, we are developing work on exercise and working across Government to improve facilities to support active lifestyles, and the development of communities where it is easier for people to be active.

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will conduct a review into waiting times for heart bypass operations in the Morecambe Bay Health Authority area; and if he will make a statement. [7515]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 October 2001]: I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.

At present, most cardiac patients are referred to the Blackpool Victoria hospital where the maximum waiting time is between 15 and 18 months for routine surgery and up to nine months for urgent treatment. The Blackpool Victoria hospital NHS trust is on target to achieve a 15-month maximum waiting time by 31 March 2002.


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