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Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he 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; and if he will ask the National Screening Committee to commission a review of the area this year before its autumn workshop. [58394]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 3 April 2002, Official Report, column 1042W.

The United Kingdom national screening committee will review its advice and the evidence available at its meeting on 26 June 2002 and make recommendations.

10 Jun 2002 : Column 1100W

Bounty Pack

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place a copy of the bounty pack issued to new mothers in the Library. [58768]

Ms Blears: The bounty pack is not issued by the Department. The bounty pack is provided by the commercial organisation Bounty UK Ltd. and consists of sample products. Full information on Bounty UK is available at

Patient Data

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in relation to the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002, what steps he will take to inform patients about (a) the disclosure of personal data to cancer registries and other bodies and (b) their right to object to such processing of personal data; and if he will make a statement. [59220]

Ms Blears: All national health service bodies are already required by data protection legislation to provide patients with information about all likely processing and disclosures of personal data. The Information Commissioner has recently published guidance on the "Use and Disclosure of Health Data" which clarifies these requirements. The right to object to processing of personal data where the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 are in effect is provided by the Data Protection Act 1998 and awareness of these rights is promoted by the Information Commissioner.

10 Jun 2002 : Column 1101W

However, the Department will be issuing guidance to health service bodies that will both complement the Information Commissioner's and make it clear that where patients object to a disclosure under the permissive provisions of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002, their objections should normally be respected. A sample leaflet for informing patients about the regulations and what they should do if they are unhappy about possible disclosures will be included within this guidance.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he proposes to take if health professionals refuse to provide personal data to cancer registries and the like without the consent of the patient as required under the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002. [59219]

Ms Blears: I have no plans to introduce a requirement for health professionals to provide personal data to cancer registries. While the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002, when they come into force, would permit me to introduce such a requirement in the public interest I will only do so if so advised by the independent patient information advisory group. In the absence of such a requirement, the regulations are permissive rather than prescriptive, allowing but not requiring information to be disclosed. However, if such a requirement were to be introduced the action to be taken in cases of non-compliance will need to be determined on a case by case basis.

Still-born Babies

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the certification and registration of still-born babies of between 18 and 24 weeks gestation. [59162]

Ms Blears: The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, as amended, provides for the registration of babies born dead after 24 weeks gestation. When a baby is born dead before 24 weeks gestation (the legal age of viability), the law does not require the birth to be certified or registered.

If a baby is born dead before 24 weeks gestation, parents can obtain a certificate from the doctor or midwife who attended the delivery, stating that their baby was born before the legal age of viability and showed no signs of life. This will enable the parents to have their baby buried or cremated. The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society's Guidelines "Pregnancy loss and the death of a baby. Guidelines for professionals (1995)" recognise that forms and certificates are often greatly valued by parents who otherwise may have little or no evidence or mementoes of their baby's existence. It states that it is good practice to offer all parents a copy to keep, whether or not they need it for practical reasons and that the documents should, where possible, be sensitively and sympathetically worded.

Care Home Beds

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the change in the number of care home beds in Somerset since 1997. [59354]

10 Jun 2002 : Column 1102W

Jacqui Smith: The table shows the number of places in residential care homes and registered beds in nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics in Somerset area in 1997 and 2001. The total number of beds has increased by just over 11 per cent. between 1997 and 2001.

Residential places(91) and registered nursing beds(92) in Somerset area in 1997 and 2001

At 31 MarchPlaces in residential care homesRegistered nursing beds in nursing homes(93),(94)Total care beds

(91) Places registered within Somerset local authority, exclude children beds.

(92) Beds registered within Somerset health authority, all client groups.

(93) Registered beds in general and mental nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics.

(94) Figures for registered nursing beds relates to registered beds during the period 1 October 1996 to 31 March 1997.


Department of Health's annual returns.

Personality Disordered Offenders

Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how ongoing support and supervision will be arranged for personality disordered offenders discharged into the community and managed primarily by health services. [59015]

Jacqui Smith: The care programme approach will be the key method for providing support for personality disordered offenders discharged into the community. The care plan is managed by multi-disciplinary teams lead by health professionals.

There will still be a requirement for probation officers to follow up offenders. No one will be discharged without full support and unless assessed to be at low risk of causing harm to others.

Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what requirement there will be on those in the health service providing supervision and treatment to personality disordered offenders in the community to collaborate with other statutory and voluntary agencies in the provision of services and sharing of information. [59016]

Jacqui Smith: The White Paper "Reforming the Mental Health Act" says that in new mental health legislation "there will be a new duty covering the disclosure of information about patients suffering from mental disorder between health and social services agencies and other agencies, for example housing agencies or criminal justice agencies."

The personality disorder strategy forensic group commissioned by the Department is collating examples of effective multi agency protocols for information sharing, in order to produce guidance on minimum standards for all multi agency public protection panels (MAPPPs). The draft strategy is likely to include guidance to mental health trusts for a requirement that senior clinicians sit on MAPPPs. A draft strategy will be available for consultation in October 2002.

10 Jun 2002 : Column 1103W

Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that chartered psychologists are able to make a leading contribution to (a) the development of services for personality disordered offenders and (b) future revisions of mental health legislation. [59014]

Jacqui Smith: The Department conducts regular meetings with key stakeholders like the British Psychological Society who will continue to be involved at key stages of the development of policy in this area.

Included in the expert group commissioned by the Department to produce a strategy on services for people with personality disorder (PD), are four chartered psychologists. This will ensure that psychologists can take a leading role in development of the strategy.

Oral Tobacco Products

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government have to introduce legislation to ban the import of oral tobacco products. [58901]

Ms Blears: The sale of oral tobacco products with the exception of chewing tobacco and tobacco intended to be smoked is already banned in the UK. Because of this there has not been a need to ban imports of these products.

Since 1992 it has been illegal to place tobacco for oral use on the market in this country. A Community-wide ban was put in place in the 1992 Council Directive 92/41/EEC, and became part of UK law under the Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations 1992 (SI 3134). The Europe-wide ban was renewed in 2001 in European Union Directive 2001/37/EC.

The Government are committed to reducing all forms of tobacco use, and have introduced a comprehensive programme of action to address both the supply and the demand of tobacco products.

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