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Children's Diet

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what measures his Department has taken to combat obesity in children; [45002]

Yvette Cooper: We are committed to tackling the rising trend in childhood obesity and action to encourage children to eat a balanced diet. We have put in place major cross-Government programmes of work to improve healthy eating and increase physical activity. This includes:

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Anaesthetic Services

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultant anaesthetists are in post; and what was the figure in 1997. [45111]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is shown in the table.

Hospital medical consultants within the anaesthetics specialty (headcount)—England

At 30 SeptemberConsultants


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census

The number of consultant anaesthetists has increased by 29 per cent. since 1997.

Human Rights Act

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases have been brought against his Department under the Human Rights Act 1998; and what has been the cost in (a) legal fees to defend cases and (b) compensation payments. [45069]

Ms Blears: We do not collect central records of all cases in which the Human Rights Act 1998 is relied upon. Human rights are now integrated in the general law and are rarely the sole basis for a challenge. We do monitor centrally those cases which we consider may be of particular significance to this Department. We have recorded 22 cases to date.

We do not collect information centrally about the costs to public funds, legal fees or compensation payments in cases which include a human rights issue. In most cases it will be difficult to single out associated costs relating to the human rights element.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the target time will be in 2002–03 for (a) Ministers to reply to letters from hon. Members and (b) officials in his Department to reply to letters received directly from members of the public. [44951]

Ms Blears: The Department's target times for replying to correspondence from hon. Members and members of the public is 20 days, this is the Service First Target set by the Cabinet Office.

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UVB Machines

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many UVB machines there are in NHS hospitals in England and Wales; and how many are immobilised because of lack of trained staff. [45703]

Ms Blears: The information requested is not available centrally.

It is for health authorities in partnership with primary care groups/trusts and other local stakeholders to decide what services to provide for their populations including those who require treatment with UVB machines.

The Action On Dermatology (AOD) programme aims to identify, develop and share best practice in the organisation and delivery of services, with particular emphasis on improving access and reducing waiting times. Local services are helped to identify their constraints and to find effective solutions by developing new methods of organisation and clinical practice. A key element is the involvement of the clinical professions in identifying good practice and in encouraging its widespread adoption. Change in clinical practice is most effective when it is owned by clinicians themselves.

Brain Disorders

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are being taken (a) to improve the treatment of brain disorders and (b) increase the number of neurologists in the UK. [45278]

Jacqui Smith: The National Service Framework for Long-term Conditions (NSF) will have a particular focus on the needs of people with neurological disease, brain and spinal injury, as well as some of the common issues faced by people with a long-term condition.

We are investing in extra training places in neurology. We have announced an increase of up to 15 specialist registrars in neurology for 2002–04. This will mean that by 2009 there will be an additional 140 trained specialists available to take up consultant posts in neurology.


Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recruitment targets exist for therapy radiographers; how he intends they should be achieved; and by when. [45950]

Mr. Hutton: The Department does not have a target specifically for therapy radiographers. They are included within the NHS Plan target for 6,500 more therapists and other health professionals by 2004, which will be met by improving recruitment and retention, encouraging return to practice, increasing number of students completing training and international recruitment.

Between 1997 and 2001 the number of therapeutic radiographers employed in the NHS has increased by 130 (9 per cent.) and the number of training places available for students has increased by 29 (21 per cent.).

Respiratory Specialists

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the recommended number of hospital respiratory specialist physicians is (a) per head of population and (b) per NHS trust; [45742]

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Mr. Hutton: The Department does not set quotas for the numbers of hospital respiratory specialist physicians per head of population or by individual NHS Trust. We continually review future requirements for trained specialists as part of the NHS's new multi-disciplinary workforce planning processes. These look at the national requirements for doctors alongside other staff focusing on the potential for new ways of working and developing new roles.

As at September 2001 (latest figures available), there were 1.9 respiratory specialist physicians, consultants and doctors in training, per 100,000 of the population (England). Numbers of respiratory specialist physicians by NHS Trust are shown in the table, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Respiratory Medicine is not one of the specific specialties included in the NHS Vacancy Survey 2001 and information about the number of unfilled respiratory specialist physicians posts is not available centrally.

NHS Efficiency Gains

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what efficiency and other value for money gains were achieved in the NHS as a percentage of health authority unified allocations, in each year since April 1999, and for the latest year for which figures are available. [45720]

Mr. Hutton: Allocations to Health Authorities are based on an overall assessment of the resources required to cover inflationary pressures and deliver national targets. Allocations to Health authorities in 1999–2000 and 2000–01 were made net of 3 per cent. efficiency savings, and in 2001–02 allocations were made net of 2 per cent. efficiency savings. This means that health authorities needed to achieve the efficiency target to fully fund delivery of national targets and inflation.

Emergency Re-admissions

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library the emergency re-admission figures for Q2 2001–02 broken down by (a) region and (b) health authority. [45772]

Mr. Hutton: The figures for Quarter 2 2001–02 emergency re-admissions of patients aged 75 and over have been placed in the Library.

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