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Cystic Fibrosis

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much funding the Government plans to make available for research into a cure for cystic fibrosis; [47641] (2) how much funding was made available for research into cystic fibrosis in each year from (a) 1992 to 2001. [47640]

Jacqui Smith: The Medical Research Council (MRC) is the main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments for disease and receives its funding via the Department of Trade and Industry. The expenditure figures from 1992 to 1997 are not available. The MRC spend in each year from 1997 to 2001 is shown below:

The Department funds research to support policy and the delivery of effective practice in health and social care. The Department's expenditure since 1995 on directly commissioned research projects relating to cystic fibrosis is as follows:

In addition to specific projects, the Department also provides support funding for research commissioned by charities and the research councils that takes place in the NHS. Management of much of the research supported by National Health Service research and development funding is devolved and expenditure at project level is not held centrally by the Department but the total investment is considerably greater than just the spend on directly commissioned projects.

The MRC current support for cystic fibrosis includes work on gene therapy for cystic fibrosis.

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It is not possible to predict what the future total level of Government expenditure will for cystic fibrosis research as new research proposals are regularly being considered and commissioned.

The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for research into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands in funding. Awards are made according to their scientific quality and importance to human health.

Blood Safety

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on blood safety in the NHS. [48577]

Yvette Cooper: About three million blood components are transfused to over a million National Health Service patients in the United Kingdom each year. This blood meets standards of safety that are among the best in the world. However, almost every medical treatment or intervention, including blood transfusion, is associated with some risk.

The recent annual study from SHOT (Serious Hazards of Transfusion) published on 10 April 2002 is extremely valuable in assessing the safety of blood transfusion and demonstrates that blood transfusion in the UK is very safe and becoming even safer with improving technology and clinical audit. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library.

The SHOT report demonstrates that serious adverse events associated with blood transfusion are rare. However many of them are avoidable. Improving patient safety, including reducing unintended harm to patients, is a major Government priority. The Department will be working with SHOT, the National Blood Service and the new National Patient Safety Agency on strategies to reduce the level of avoidable incidents associated with blood transfusion.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has conducted into

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transfusion-related acute lung injury with particular regard to blood donated by women who have had multiple births. [48578]

Yvette Cooper: The Department has not conducted specific research in this area. However, the National Blood Authority is investigating cases of transfusion related acute lung injury to inform research in this area. The National Blood Authority is also currently evaluating options for reducing the risk to patients from this syndrome.

NHS Managerial Staff

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many managerial staff are working in the NHS. [47652]

Mr. Hutton: The number of managers working within the Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) of the NHS is shown in the table.

The annual Department of Health census of General and Personal Medical Services staff does not provide a breakdown of managerial staff.

NHS Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): Managerial staff within the specific areas of work in England as at 30 September 2001

Whole-time Equivalentsheadcount
All managers34,06035,740
Of which
Administration & estates26,28027,420
Of which
Senior managers9,3709,740
Nurse managers5,2305,590
Scientific, therapeutic & technical managers2,0102,180
Ambulance managers540540

Notes:Figures are rounded to the nearest ten.

Due to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts.


Department of Health non-medical workforce census.

Mental Health

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has taken to manage diversity within care services for (a) the elderly, (b) children and (c) people with mental health problems. [47626]

Jacqui Smith: Through the National Service Framework for Older People (published in 2001), "Quality Protects" (launched in 1998), and the National Service Framework for Mental Health (published in 1999), and related initiatives, the Government is ensuring that services for older people, children and adults with mental health problems respectively are developed so that all people who need support, no matter their background and personal characteristics, can be provided with appropriate and effective help. In addition, the Government has announced that a National Service Framework for Children is being developed.

Counselling Services

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of GP practices have a counselling service attached. [47733]

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Mr. Hutton: Information about the number of counsellors employed in Primary Care is not collected centrally.

Information is available from independent research to show that approximately half of all GPs have access to counselling and psychological therapies.

Social Services

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what strategies his Department has in place to reduce the number of temporary staff working in the social services sector. [47624]

Jacqui Smith: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State launched a £1.5 million social work recruitment campaign on 19 October 2001. The campaign consists of national advertising, information leaflets, posters, local and national public relations activity, a help line which those interested in learning more about social work can contact for further information, and a dedicated website. It has three aims, to:

As the aim of the campaign is to attract more people to work in social care, this should in the long term reduce vacancy rates and therefore the use of agency staff to cover vacancies.

The help line has so far received over 14,000 calls, and the website has had over 11,000 visitors. The second phase of the campaign will be launched in May.

Delayed Discharges

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital beds are occupied by elderly patients waiting to be transferred to residential care homes. [47622]

Jacqui Smith: The latest information about the numbers of hospital beds occupied by older people awaiting transfer to a residential care home has been placed in the Library.

Foster Carers

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reforms he is planning to the revenue support grant in relation to foster carers. [48696]

Jacqui Smith: The Government recognises that there are limitations to the existing Standard Spending Assessment system. That is why work is being carried out to develop a new system for 2003–4 that will be fairer and easier to understand. We have commissioned research to inform this review and we are at the early stages of discussing the findings with local government representatives. We will be consulting widely on a range of options before final decisions are taken.

Food Standards Agency

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Food Standards Agency is taking to tackle the food hygiene knowledge gap across the population. [49070]

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Yvette Cooper: A key element in the Food Standard's Agency's target to reduce UK foodborne disease by 20 per cent by 2006 is a nationwide food hygiene campaign, launched on 11 February 2002, to help improve standards of food hygiene in catering premises and in the domestic setting. The campaign, which will have a five year duration, is aimed initially at the catering industry and will subsequently broaden out to include the general public.

The Agency is also actively involved in promoting food hygiene with teachers, school children and students. The Agency and a consortium of other bodies has been involved in the development of a new web based food hygiene education package for 14–24 year olds ( which was launched on 15 April and has benefited from European Union financing (as part of a Europe-wide campaign on food safety). The Food Standards Agency also houses the website for two other food hygiene teaching resources, originally developed by the Health Education Authority: "Aliens in Our Food"—aimed at children at secondary schools, and "Safe T and the H Squad"—aimed at children in junior schools.

A stakeholder workshop will be held on 7 May to consider the current level of knowledge about foodborne disease and hygiene in the home, to review current or recent Agency work and to identify any gaps in research or surveillance. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to consider how hygiene messages can be effectively targeted towards consumers.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the new Food Standards Agency-specific conference framework, referred to on page 41 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency, was introduced by the summer of 2001. [49216]

Jacqui Smith: A competence framework specific to the Food Standards Agency was introduced in October 2001. This reflects the Agency's values and way of working.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the tailored management development programme of the Food Standards Agency referred to on page 41 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency. [49215]

Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) management scheme, which was launched in October 2001, is a major part of the Agency's general training and development programme. It has been prepared to help equip all managers in the FSA with the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours required to support the Agency's way of working and its core values.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the establishment of the baseline, referred to on page 41 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency, in the context of the first staff survey conducted by the Agency. [49231]

Yvette Cooper: The first Food Standards Agency staff attitude survey was carried out in October 2000. The results were used as a baseline for comparison with the 2001 staff attitude survey, which took place at the end of 2001.

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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Service Delivery Agreement target to develop and implement a cost-effective strategy to reduce the incidence of food-borne illness in humans has been met. [49078]

Yvette Cooper: Yes. The strategy was agreed by the Food Standards Agency's board at the public board meeting held on 9 May 2001 and has been published on the Agency's website. Six monthly updates on progress are presented to the board and these papers are also published on the Agency's website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Service Delivery Agreement target of the Food Standards Agency to contribute to the renegotiation of the European Meat Hygiene Directive so as better to protect public health and produce a more efficient enforcement system has been met. [49249]

Yvette Cooper: The European Meat Hygiene Directive is being consolidated into four new European Union Food Hygiene Regulations. The Food Standards Agency has contributed to the negotiations that have taken place to date on the proposals and also on a Commission decision, agreed last April, which requires the introduction of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) based controls in licensed meat plants. It is considered that the introduction of HACCP based controls will provide better protection for public health. The Commission, having withdrawn earlier proposals on official controls, is expected to publish new proposals shortly and the Agency will take part in the subsequent negotiations with a view to achieving a legislative base for a more efficient enforcement system.

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