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World Health Organisation Report

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the World Health Organisation report on macroeconomics and health, published on 20 December 2001, in respect of its implications for his Department's policies. [54803]

Yvette Cooper: The World Health Organisation's report of the commission on macroeconomics and health focuses mainly on low-income countries and on the poor in middle-income countries. Its key conclusions on the important linkage of health to poverty reduction, the importance of investment in health care systems and the impact of other sectors on health status are reflected in our own policy of investing in the National Health Service, and in our cross-sectoral work on tackling health inequalities.

Working Together Safeguards Guidance

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many case reviews following serious or fatal abuse under the Working Together Safeguards Guidance have been held in each of the last five years; how many in each year involved (a) child deaths, (b) serious physical

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assaults, (c) serious sexual abuse and (d) serious neglect; and if he will indicate in each the (i) age and (ii) sex of the children concerned. [55189]

Jacqui Smith: Complete statistical information is not currently collected centrally on the numbers or types of serious case reviews that have been carried out in accordance with Chapter 8 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999).

However, many findings from serious case reviews can serve as an important source of information to inform policy and practice at both national and local levels. In recognition of this, the Department is responsible for identifying and disseminating common themes and trends across review reports, and acting on lessons for policy and practice. We will shortly be publishing an overview report drawing out the key findings of a selection of case reviews from the last two years, and their implications for policy and practice. At the same time, we have recently launched a new comprehensive database, which will in future hold information about all serious case reviews.

Non-human Primates

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the potential health hazards posed to humans by the import and use of non-human primates in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [47999]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 10 May 2002]: There is a statutory obligation under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations placed upon employers importing and using non-human primates to assess the potential health risks of their activities to both their employees and to others who might be affected by their undertaking. The potential risks will vary according to the different purposes the primates are being used for and the origin of the primate.

Guidance was issued in 1997 from the advisory committee on dangerous pathogens (ACDP), in consultation with the Health and Safety Executive, entitled "Working safely with research animals: Management of infection risks". This summarises the infection risks to humans posed by non-human primates most commonly used in research.

Further supplementary guidance entitled "Working safely with simians: Management of infection risks" was issued by the ACDP in 1998 addressing the particular risks posed to those working with simians (apes and monkeys). This guidance revised and updated earlier guidance on infections associated with simians first issued by the Medical Research Council in 1985, revised in 1990.


Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the average cost of (a) chemotherapy, (b) radiotherapy and, (c) aggregated medical costs in relation to the treatment of patients suffering brain cancers. [49800]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 16 April 2002]: This information is not available. Calculations of the average costs of radiotherapy for brain tumours range from £386 per patient to £1,605 per patient.

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National Service Frameworks

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of health service spending in 2002–03 is covered by national service frameworks. [50799]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 April 2002]: This information is not available from routine data. We have estimated that the expenditure on heart disease, cancer, diabetes, renal disease, and mental health (for under 65s) is around 15 per cent of the total National Health Service and personal social services expenditure.

Activa Brain Stimulators

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the policy of the NHS is on providing operations to implant Activa brain stimulators; and how many such operations have been performed, and where, in the last 12 months. [53292]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Trials are underway to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of deep brain stimulation. The trials commenced in 2001 and will run for five years. In the 12 months to April 2002 there were 165 implants of Activa brain stimulators. However, approximately 10 per cent of these were replacement batteries. The hospitals where the operations were performed are as follows:

Hepatitis C

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been diagnosed with hepatitis C in the United Kingdom in the last 12 months. [53276]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 29 April 2002]: There were 4515 antibody positive hepatitis C laboratory diagnoses in England in 2001 reported to the Public Health Laboratory Service (provisional figure). Information about hepatitis C diagnoses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can be obtained from the respective devolved administrations.


Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to publish details of the criteria to be used in order to make the next allocations of CT and MRI scanners. [53891]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 2 May 2002]: Consultations regarding criteria for the allocation of 50 additional computed tomography and 50 additional

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magnetic resonance imaging scanners, as outlined in the NHS Cancer Plan, have already begun involving regions and the cancer networks and are being extended to include the new strategic health authorities.

One of the factors in establishing criteria for the allocation of additional equipment will be the relative provision of CT and MRI services to the population served. Work has already been carried out to assess this and the consultation process is now allowing these data to be verified at a local level.

Efficiency of use of existing scanners is also a factor when considering additional allocations of equipment.

It is expected that criteria will be published early in the summer as soon as discussions are completed, to be followed by the list of agreed allocations to individual hospitals later in the summer.

Food Supplements

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a further statement on the proposals in the European Food Supplements Directive relating to (a) the removals of certain minerals from free sale, (b) the removal of certain nutrient forms from free sale and (c) the setting of maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements. [54508]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 9 May 2002]: The coming into force of the directive will not immediately remove any products already on the UK market. Lists of permitted vitamin and mineral sources remain open pending safety assessments for additional substances. The Government intends, when implementing the directive, to take full advantage of the opportunity we have secured for EU Member States to allow continued sale for up to seven years of products containing vitamin and mineral sources not yet on permitted lists.

During negotiations, the Food Standards Agency argued strongly that maximum permitted levels should be established on the basis of scientific risk assessment. Maximum levels will eventually be decided on the basis of recommendations made by the independent EU Scientific Committee on Food (SCF). The agency is now making strenuous efforts to forge strong links between the SCF and the UK's Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals which is already in the process of carrying out similar assessments.


Rural Awareness

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) when his Department will establish rural

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targets and monitoring as part of overall rural proofing measures as set out in the Countryside Agency's report Rural Proofing in 2001–02; [54422] (2) when his Department will introduce measures to raise rural awareness through staff (a) training, (b) development and (c) secondments as part of overall rural proofing measures as set out in the Countryside Agency's report, Rural Proofing in 2001–02. [54414]

Mr. Leslie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Alun Michael) on the 9 May 2002, Official report, columns 273–74W.

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