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Cataract Care

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the new cataract unit at the Surrey and Sussex Trust. [59124]

Mr. Lammy: The development of Limpsfield Ward, which specialises in Ophthalmology, has been to create a walk in one day unit for patients requiring cataract surgery. The development has included redesigned waiting, reception and admission areas, an additional assessment clinic room, additional space for consultants and their secretaries, a separate dedicated anaesthetic room and a dedicated operating theatre. This is all under one roof resulting in the patient only being in the unit for one and a half to two hours on the day of surgery. Waiting times are reducing rapidly, and the number of patients being treated has increased.

Mobile Phones (Hospitals)

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the technical reasons why mobile phones are prohibited from hospitals. [62704]

Ms Blears: The medical devices agency published a comprehensive device bulletin in March 1997 listing the effects of mobile communications on a wide range of medical devices (MDA DB 9702 March 1997). This research identified that some critical care and life support devices were adversely affected by the radiated fields from mobile phones, particularly if used within approximately 2.5 million of medical devices.

Examples of typical adverse effects are lock up of software driven devices, spurious changes to set parameters, screen interference and interference to displayed electro-cardiographs.

As there are various levels of risk to medical devices associated with the use of different mobile phone systems there is no outright prohibition on the use of mobile phones in hospitals. Trusts have been advised to develop local policies in order to manage the risk particularly in areas where critical care and life support devices may be used.

Organ Donation

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the impact on the number of lives that would be saved each year if a system of presumed consent for organ donation were introduced. [59130]

Mr. Lammy: No such estimates have been made. Comparisons with other European countries, which operate a system of presumed consent show most have comparable levels of organ donation to the UK. The highest level of cadaveric donation is in Spain where consent to donation is always sought.

Pesticides

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library his scientific evidence on which the recommendation from the Advisory Committee in Pesticides to alter advice provided to schools and parents in reducing the exposure of children to pesticide residues was based. [48324]

18 Jun 2002 : Column 246W

Ms Blears [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The scientific evidence on which the advisory committee on pesticides (ACP) based its advice on washing and peeling fruit and vegetables is contained in the relevant ACP committee papers which have been placed in the Libraries.

Correspondence

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter dated 27 November 2001 from the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell relating to an inquiry by Mr. Moran of 130 Curtis Road, West Ewell, Surrey. [48210]

Mr. Lammy: The Department could not trace this correspondence. The Department's ministerial correspondence unit has sought a copy of the correspondence.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many letters were received by each Minister in his Department in each month since June 1997. [59467]

Mr. Lammy: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the volume of Members' correspondence received by Departments. The report for 2001 was published on 24 May 2002, Official Report, columns 674–76W. Copies of previous reports are available in the Library.

Departmental Recruitment

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many net additional staff his Department has recruited in each month since June 2001 at (a) executive officer level and (b) administrative level. [52434]

Mr. Lammy: The information requested is shown in the table. There is a total net reduction of staff during this period of:


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Joint Committee on Vaccination and

Immunisation

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (a) has a website and (b) makes its minutes available on a website. [53899]

Ms Blears [holding answer 2 May 2002]: The website for the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation was launched on 30 May. Information which will be available on the website includes a list of members, their declarations of interest, minutes, and terms of reference.

It is also intended to use the website to advertise board vacancies. The website address is www.doh.gov.uk/jcvi/ index.htm

E.coli

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of E.coli infection there were in each of the last five years. [56959]

Ms Blears: The Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) for England and Wales and the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health in Scotland (SCIEH) receives reports from microbiology laboratories for E.coli blood stream isolates (bacteraemias) and E.coli 0157 faecal isolates. E.coli is the second most common cause of bacteraemia. The results for the past five years are as set out in the table.

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E.coli blood stream isolates (bacteraemias) and E.coli 0157 faecal isolates; England, Wales and Scotland, 1997 to 2002

E.coli bacteraemias E.coli 0157 faecal isolates
YearEngland and WalesScotland(21)England and WalesScotland(21)
1997(22)10,3361,572(22)1,087423
1998(22)11,5371,672(22)890217
1999(22)11,3291,586(22)1,084294
2000(23)11,0321,545(22)896197
2001(24)(23)11,3921,499(22)768237

Data sources:

(21) Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health

(22) PHLS website

(23) PHLS CDR Weekly

(24) Provisional data


In addition, SCIEH received a further 237 reports of E.coli infection not specified as E.coli 0157 over the five-year period.

For Northern Ireland, the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre received the following confirmed laboratory reports:

E.coli total (all serotypes)E.coli 0157
199751530
199850729
199948154
200057954
200158452


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