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Asylum Seekers

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with representatives of general practitioners in respect of the additional costs related to the healthcare of the families of asylum seekers; and what plans he has to recognise such costs in the allocation of funds to primary care trusts. [54270]

Jacqui Smith: I have had no recent discussions with representatives of general practitioners (GPs) in respect of costs related to the healthcare of the families of asylum seekers. Allocations made to health authorities and primary care trusts include resources for all their population including the families of asylum seekers. To support their work with asylum seekers, GPs can also bid for extra resources through personal medical service pilots, or local development schemes can be initiated to provide for the payment of fees under Section 36 of the NHS (Primary Care) Act 1997.

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NHS Appointments Commission

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 23 April 2002, Official Report, column 120W, what discussions he has had with the NHS Appointments Commission on the reason the application from Mrs. L. Irving of Culcheth, Warrington was not acknowledged; and if he will make a statement. [54733]

Ms Blears: The National Health Service appointments commission has confirmed that, because of a clerical error, candidates not called for interview for non- executive appointments to Warrington Primary Care Trust have still not been properly informed that they had been unsuccessful. One of the candidates involved was Mrs. L Irving. The chief executive of the appointments commission will shortly be writing a letter of apology to all the candidates involved.

NHS Plan (Newcastle)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reasons underlay the rejection of the bids from Newcastle Primary Care Trust and the City of Newcastle upon Tyne for support from the NHS Plan intermediate care funds. [53535]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 1 May 2002]: In November 2001, Department of Health Regional Offices were invited to submit bids against £66 million of capital funding available for intermediate care. Unfortunately, owing to the large number of bids received, it was not possible to fund all the bids from the funding available.

I announced allocation of the "first phase" of £46 million to 80 projects on 6 March 2002. The bid from Newcastle was not included among the bids that could be funded at that time. However, it may be possible to fund further bids as part of a further phase of funding yet to be allocated.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what training doctors receive in the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoedema; and if he will make a statement. [50489]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 16 April 2002]: The content and standard of postgraduate medical training for specialist medicine is the responsibility of the United Kingdom competent authority, the specialist training authority (STA). The STA takes advice from the appropriate Royal College, who appreciate the requirements presented by different conditions and develop their training curricula as appropriate. Doctors increasingly recognise that lymphoedema requires skilled management to maximise the quality of life for people with this condition.


Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many adverse incidents involving (a) electrically powered and (b) manual wheelchairs have been reported to the Medical Devices Agency in each of the past three years; and what steps he is taking to improve (i) the comprehensiveness of such reports and (ii) their utility in identifying and remedying systematic faults. [48818]

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Ms Blears [holding answer 17 April 2002]: The Medical Devices Agency (MDA) has a specific section that deals with adverse incident reports relating to all wheeled mobility equipment. The numbers of reports received by MDA held on their database relating specifically to manual and powered wheelchairs are as follows:


A specific detailed form has been compiled and is widely available to assist reporters in providing sufficient detail on each adverse incident. The format and layout is regularly reviewed to ensure that changes are made when appropriate. The form is available from the MDA web site.

MDA issue guidance at the beginning of each year on the incident reporting system to provide details on how to report an incident, what other action to take and what action MDA may take following up on the report. The content is reviewed each year to allow updates to be made where necessary. In addition, MDA meet regularly with professional, service, user groups and manufacturers and periodically use these meetings to promote the need for reporting incidents and emphasising the need to provide comprehensive information on the product, its service and usage history as well as details of the incident itself.

To assist in identifying trends of problems with specific equipment, root cause analysis is used on all reports on the MDA database. Any trends found are then investigated and corrective action initiated where necessary.

Press Subscriptions

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the magazines and periodicals subscribed to by his Department, stating for each subscription (i) the number of copies taken, and (ii) the annual cost. [52832]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The Department's library and information service is responsible for central purchasing of magazines and periodicals for library use and for retention by individual units. Suppliers, who have been chosen via competitive tendering every three to five years, are used. New supply contracts were awarded in October 2001, for the supply of newspapers and weekly magazines and for journals.

The Department's regional offices have their own libraries with separate purchasing arrangements, and there are small direct purchases by individual units. Expenditure details for the whole Department are kept on a central system held by the Department's finance division, but do not differentiate between newspapers and magazines/journals.

The approximate total annual cost is £317,000 for about 680 titles and 1,500 copies. Discounts have been included where known.

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Anti-TNFa Drugs

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has issued to strategic health authorities and primary care trusts on (a) the implementation timetable for anti-TNFa drugs and (b) the implications for budgets. [52253]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 29 April 2002]: There has been no guidance issued for the implementation of NICE appraisal of anti-TNF drugs. However, on 5 December 2001, the Government announced that it would meet its commitment to ensure that patients receive drugs and treatments recommended by NICE on the national health service if deemed appropriate by their clinicians. Directions have been issued obliging health authorities and primary care trusts to provide appropriate funding for recommended treatments. The overall expected costs of NICE guidance are taken into account when NHS budgets are set.

Non-executive NHS Trust Directors

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the requisite period of notice is for non- executive directors of acute NHS trusts in cases of trust merger. [53131]

Ms Blears [holding answer 1 May 2002]: There is no standard period of notice. Non-executive posts on national health service boards are public appointments, not jobs. They are made for a fixed period, normally no longer than four years. Where a trust is dissolved as a result of a merger, non-executive appointments are automatically terminated. Serving board members will normally be aware well in advance of mergers taking place.

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who the non-executive directors of each of the strategic health authorities are; and how many and what percentage of the total are members of ethnic minorities. [53132]

Ms Blears [holding answer 1 May 2002]: The names of those appointed have been placed in the Library. Of the 155 non-executive board members so far appointed, nine (5.8 per cent.) are from ethnic minorities.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the cost has been to date to the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS trust of the suspension of the transfer of health services between Crawley Hospital and East Surrey Hospital; [51929]

Ms Blears [holding answer 2 May 2002]: As indicated in the written answer given to the hon. Member on 3 April 2001, Official Report, volume 366, column 140W, the total cost of maintaining services at both sites was approximately £239,000 up to January 2002 and approximately £53,000 per month thereafter. This would give a total approximate cost of £292,000 up to the end of April 2002. Negotiations on the service and financial

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framework for the Surrey and Sussex health authority are still on-going therefore it is not possible, at this time, to give a final confirmation of the total cost.

Information provided to Department officials and the subsequent advice those officials provide to Ministers is confidential.

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