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Biological Agents

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has taken to prepare hospitals to deal with civilian casualties from an attack with biological agents. [12858]

Mr. Hutton: 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.

Plans to deal with civilian casualties from a deliberate release of a biological agent have built upon guidance issued to the national health service and regional directors of public health, in 1998, entitled "Planning for major incidents". Specific guidance to help plan the NHS response "Deliberate release of Biological and Chemical agents" was sent out to regional directors of public Health in March 2000. Since 11 September, additional guidance has been sent to regional directors of public health and all health authorities to plan for mass casualty incidents and responses to chemical/biological incidents.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has sufficient stockpiles of vaccines, anti-toxin and antibiotics to protect the civilian population in the event of attack by susceptible biological agents; and if he would make a statement. [12859]

Mr. Hutton: 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.

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The Department of Health has extensive contingency planning in place. This includes arrangements to mitigate the effects of a terrorist act and to ensure response and recovery in conjunction with other Government Departments, the NHS and key public health agencies. Strategic stocks of vaccine and antibiotics are in place. We are securing stockpiles of anti-toxin, subject to limited availability worldwide. For security reasons, details of stocks will not be revealed.

Infectious Diseases

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make funds available to the High Security Infectious Diseases Unit in addition to those specified under the Centrally Funded Initiatives and Special Allocations allocations. [12715]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 6 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.

We already provide funding, based on past and current usage, to enable the high security Infectious Disease Units in London and Newcastle to remain in a state of readiness to receive and care for patients who may be suffering from highly infectious diseases.

MS Treatment (Cannabis Derivatives)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish the results of the trials of cannabis derivatives in the treatment of MS sufferers. [14800]

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

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Kidney) on 18 October 2001, Official Report, columns 1345–6W.

NHS Magazine

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which officials in his Department are responsible for approving the content of NHS Magazine. [15323]

Ms Blears: 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.

A wide range of officials approve the content of the NHS magazine depending on the particular areas the articles cover. Ministers do not see the content of the magazine prior to publication.

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Pneumococcal Vaccinations

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the number of older people (a) in England and (b) in Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East who have benefited from (i) subsidised and (ii) free pneumococcal and flu vaccinations. [16211]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 19 November 2001]: 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.

Final monitoring figures received from flu co-ordinators nationally report that, at 31 December 2001, 5,113,556—68 per cent. of those aged 65 years and over—received their flu immunisation. For the same period, Tees health authority report that 58,202 (67.8 per cent.) received their flu immunisation.

Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended to those based on underlying ill health rather than age. The Department does not therefore hold data on the number of immunisations given by age group. Figures obtained from the Prescribing Analysis and Cost (PACT) system for the period December 2000 to November 2001 show that 486,000 prescriptions for pneumococcal vaccine were dispensed nationally and 4,800 for Tees health authority.

CT Scanners

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many CT scanners there are per million of the population for (a) Merseyside and Cheshire, (b) Greater Manchester, (c) Lancashire and south Cumbria and (d) the north-west region. [19908]

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 information requested can be found in the following table:

AreaNumber of CT scannersResident population(31) (Million)Number of CT scanners per million population(31)
Greater Manchester and Cheshire212.77.7
Lancashire and south Cumbria81.65.0
Merseyside and Cheshire162.37.0
North west region456.66.8
England285505.7

(31) Approximate


Correspondence

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter of 17 October from the hon. Member for Aylesbury (reference POH(4)5009/19). [23276]

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

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

A reply was sent on 20 December 2001.

National Clinical Directors

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the identity and sphere of competence of each tsar working on behalf of (a) his Department and (b) the NHS. [24600]

Ms Blears: I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer the hon. Member 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 seven national clinical directors and their spheres of competence are:


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