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Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Department has to investigate the use of (a) ultrasound and (b) biochemical tests in combination with Dexa scanning for identifying osteoporosis in (i) the population and (ii) a sub-set of the population. [42972]

Jacqui Smith: We maintain an interest in the development of all technologies for the investigation or monitoring of patients suspected of being at risk of osteoporosis. We work closely with the National Osteoporosis Society. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry is currently the preferred method for the assessment of bone mineral density in individuals selected to be at high risk of fracture based on clinical risk factor assessment.

Social Services

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the circumstances in which responsibility for social services would be removed from a local authority; and if he will make a statement.[43235]

Jacqui Smith: It is for local councils with social services responsibilities to meet their statutory obligations and achieve best value for the people they serve. We have agreed a protocol on the use of intervention powers with the Local Government Association. This forms Annex D of the (former) Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Circular 10/99, which has been placed in the Library. The protocol sets out the framework to discuss policy for the use of the intervention powers set out in the Local Government Act 1999. It states

Boarding Schools

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to alter the charges proposed for the welfare inspections of boarding schools. [43817]

Jacqui Smith: The fees in respect of boarding schools are set out in the National Care Standards Commission (Fees and Frequency of Inspection) Regulation 2001 (SI 2001 No. 3980). In response to representations made during consultation, the fee levels are now set as a flat rate #250, #15 for the fourth to twenty-ninth pupil, and #7.50 for each subsequent pupil. These fees will not come into force until 1 September 2002. There are no plans to alter these fee levels at present.

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Psychiatric Patients

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the influence of outdoor open space on the health of psychiatric patients; and if he will make a statement. [43562]

Jacqui Smith: No assessment has been made on the influence of outdoor open space on the health of psychiatric patients.

Medicinal Control

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 4 March 2002, on Medicinal Control, Official Report, columns 130–32W, whether the (a) MCA and (b) CSM have plans to publish articles relating to the inappropriate or overuse of anti-psychotic medication in care settings. [42629]

Ms Blears [holding answer 12 March 2002]: The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) in conjunction with its independent scientific advisory committee, the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) is responsible for monitoring the safety of all marketed medicines to ensure that medicines meet acceptable standards of safety and efficacy. The nature of the clinical setting is not within the scope of CSM advice. However, if the balance of risks and benefits for a medicine when used in a particular indication or population is considered to be unfavourable MCA/CSM will not hesitate to take action to modify its use and to inform prescribers of this action.

For example the balance of risks and benefits for thioridazine in the following indications was considered unfavourable: anxiety, agitation and restlessness in the elderly, moderate to severe psychomotor agitation, violent and dangerously impulsive behaviour, mania/hypomania, and behavioural disorders and epilepsy in children. Upon advice from the CSM, in December 2000

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the use of thioridazine was restricted to the second line treatment of schizophrenia in adults. Health professionals were notified of this via a Dear Doctor letter and an article in the drug safety bulletin Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance. A copy of this article has been sent to the Library.

Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the longest time is that a hospital consultant at Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust has been waiting for determination of an appeal against dismissal. [40017]

Ms Blears [holding answer 12 March 2002]: There is currently one consultant appealing against dismissal from Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust. He was dismissed on 22 March 2001.

Road Accidents

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what duties the medical services have to carry out before an accident site can be cleared from (a) an A-road and (b) a motorway. [42786]

Ms Blears: The main duties of the emergency medical services would be to assess, treat and remove those patients who were injured in any accident on an A-road or motorway. A decision on when the site may be cleared is usually made by the police.


Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS patients have been treated for (a) alcoholism and (b) alcohol-related disease in each region in the last five years. [42613]

Ms Blears: The information available is shown in the table.

NHS hospital admissions where there was a primary diagnosis of selected alcohol related disease, by NHS Regional Office area of treatment
England, 1996–97 to 2000–01   Number of admissions

Primary diagnosis (ICD10)EnglandNorthern & YorkshireTrentAnglia & OxfordNorth ThamesSouth ThamesSouth WestWest MidlandsNorth West
F10Mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol32,5005,6002,9001,9003,2004,2003,6004,3006,800
K70Alcoholic liver disease7,9001,2007006001,1001,0008001,0001,500
T51Toxic effect of alcohol2,300500200200200300200200500
F10Mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol34,4005,4003,7002,1004,1004,9003,5004,3006,500
K70Alcoholic liver disease9,0001,3008007001,2001,1001,0001,2001,600
T51Toxic effect of alcohol2,400500200200200300200300400
F10Mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol32,1005,1003,3002,0004,1004,5003,5003,7005,900
K70Alcoholic liver disease9,2001,4008008001,1001,1001,1001,3001,600
T51Toxic effect of alcohol2,000500200200200200300200300
F10Mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol32,3005,0003,1003,7006,0002,1005,9003,8002,700
K70Alcoholic liver disease10,1001,4001,0001,3001,9008001,6001,200900
T51Toxic effect of alcohol2,000500100200300200200400200
F10Mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol27,3004,5002,7003,3005,6001,8003,8003,5002,100
K70Alcoholic liver disease10,1001,5001,1001,2001,9009001,4001,1001,000
T51Toxic effect of alcohol1,700400100100300200100300200


1. The data include private patients in NHS hospitals.

2. The data do not include patients admitted with a primary diagnosis not related to alcohol (eg an injury).

3. Data in the table have been rounded to the nearest one hundred admissions. Data for 1996–97 to 1999–2000 have been grossed for both coverage and unknown/invalid clinical data.

4. ICD10 = International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision.


Department of Health, Hospital Episode Statistics.

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St. George's Hospital, Tooting

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the level of service provided to cancer and non-cancer lymphoedema patients at St. George's Hospital, Tooting. [42755]

Mr. Hutton: A clinic was established at St. George's Healthcare NHS Trust in 1997 to treat non-cancer lymphoedema patients (primary lymphoedema) and cancer patients. While there are other clinics in South West London where cancer patients and lymphoedema are treated, the St. George's service also meets the needs of patients with non-cancer lymphoedema. The St. George's service is a specialist service and receives referrals nationally. The Trust is also one of the few places where academic and epidemiological work is progressing related to lymphoedema. This work includes a recent local study run by the Lymphoedema Epidemiology Project Group.

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