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Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Audit Commission will retain a role in assessing the operational efficiency at the NHS when the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection has been established. [59868]

Mr. Lammy: Responsibility for assessing operational efficiency of National Health Service bodies will transfer from the Audit Commission to the new health inspectorate once it has been established. The Audit Commission will retain its core financial function of appointing auditors and undertaking financial audit.

Capital Projects

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent speeches he has made on design quality within his Department's capital building programme. [59833]

Mr. Lammy: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State launched the Department's design programme in November 2001 at a joint conference with HRH the Prince of Wales. He recently appointed my noble Friend, the Lord Hunt of Kingsheath as the Ministerial Design Champion. My noble Friend addressed a number of conferences highlighting the Department's design programme 'Achieving Excellence in Healthcare Design', including:

'Design and Primary Care conference', on 1 May 2002 hosted by the Kings Fund and the commission for architecture and the built environment (CABE). My noble Friend announced the NHS Estates and CABE joint framework agreement to contribute to the programme of delivering design excellence and thereby producing high quality environments for patients and staff. 'Championing Design Excellence in Healthcare Buildings', breakfast meeting at the NHS Confederation on 23 May 2002. My noble Friend addressed some of the recently appointed NHS Trust Design Champions and key decision-makers. 'Health Estates Facilities Management Association (HEFMA) conference' on the afternoon of the 23 May 2002. My noble Friend addressed an audience of estates and facilities directors outlining the Departments design programme.

Future events are planned.


Mr. Cran: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when a substantive reply will be given to Mrs. D. F. Hay's letter of 26 January, concerning the state of the NHS. [59225]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The Department has no record of receiving this correspondence. The Department's Ministerial Correspondence Unit is seeking a copy of this correspondence.

Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will respond to the letter of the hon. Member for South-west Hertfordshire of 14 March, Ref 1005934. [66254]

Ms Blears: A reply was sent on 1 July.

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will respond to the letter of the hon. Member for Hexham of 20 February on diabetes and isley research. [65649]

2 Jul 2002 : Column 296W

Jacqui Smith: A reply was sent on 8 April.

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will respond to the letter of the hon. Member for Hexham of 30 April on NHS dental treatment. [65648]

Mr. Lammy: A reply was sent on 1 July.

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will respond to the hon. Member for Hexham's letter of 18 March on food security in the UK, ref. MCHANH001761. [65650]

Ms Blears: A reply was sent on 24 June.

Age Discrimination

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have a policy of not considering applications for employment by persons over a particular age. [59582]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 24 May 2002]: At present the Department and its executive agencies have a normal staff retirement age of 60 and do not consider applications for employment from those over that age. However, the Department is now involved in a centrally led initiative, winning the generation game, which will examine age-related issues such as flexible retirement beyond the normal retiring age of 60.

The Department is committed to ensuring that older people are never unfairly discriminated against and complies with the rules and requirements of the 'Minister's Rules for Selection', 'The Civil Service Order Council', Her Majesty's Treasury requirements for recruitment and equal opportunity and employment protection legislation.

Drug Side-effects

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the structures in place to ensure that adverse drug reactions in patients are picked up at the earliest possible stage in situations where there are concerns about potential side-effects of a drug. [60788]

Ms Blears: The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) is responsible for monitoring the safety of medicines on the UK market, and has well-developed procedures in place for pharmacovigilance, enabling early identification and prompt action in relation to drug safety issues.

The yellow card scheme, introduced in 1964 after the thalidomide tragedy, has a world-wide reputation for effectiveness in detecting previously unidentified drug safety hazards. All newly introduced medicines are monitored intensively for at least two years, during which time the safety profile of the medicine is frequently reviewed to ensure that it is appropriately reflected in the product information for health professionals and patients. In addition to spontaneous reports of suspected adverse reactions, the MCA evaluates data on drug safety from a range of sources. In 1999, MCA acquired the general practice research database and its post-licensing division is now evaluating its potential in contributing to effective pharmacovigilance.

2 Jul 2002 : Column 297W

The capability for early action on emerging safety issues is reflected in the MCA's high level and operational targets. These measure performance in terms of the time taken to make newly received spontaneous adverse reaction reports available for review and analysis by pharmacovigilance assessors. MCA's performance against targets is published annually and in 2001–02 all targets were met or exceeded, against a background of a 55 per cent. increase in spontaneous adverse reaction reports.

The committee on safety of medicines (CSM) has a statutory role in advising the licensing authority on promotion of the collection and investigation of adverse reactions. CSM regularly reviews the effectiveness of the yellow card scheme, and on advice of the CSM in 1999 the scheme was widened to include pharmacists. Following a successful pilot in relation to the meningitis C vaccination programme, the CSM has advised that the scheme should be extended to nurses.

Advertising Campaigns

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on press and advertising campaigns in 2001–02; and what the planned expenditure is for 2002–03. [60913]

Mr. Lammy: In 2001–02 the Department spent £21.146 million on press and media advertising. The Department's current forecast for expenditure on press and media advertising in 2002–03 is £20.494 million.

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Doctors (Recruitment)

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those countries from which his Department will not recruit doctors. [61418]

Mr. Hutton: National health service employers should not target developing countries for recruitment of health care personnel unless the Government of that country has reached Government to Government agreements with the UK. In these circumstances, individuals may be appointed to a structured programme aimed at enhancing clinical practice in order for them to return home after an agreed period.

The only other exception supported under the code of practice is the long-standing tradition of providing health care professionals with formal training and education.

Children in Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the funding was for each of the last five years for children in care in England (a) broken down by health authority and (b) expressed as an average per head. [61365]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 June 2002]: Data on the funding specifically of children in care are not available centrally. Data on the funding of caring services for children are also unavailable broken down by health authority. The table shows the budgets, per head of population aged 18 and over for England, allocated by each local authority for children and family.

PSS budget allocated to children and families per head of population aged under 18

Barking and Dagenham192210234278330
Bath and North East Somerset UA140152176186216
Blackburn with Darwen UA(15)211245249305
Blackpool UA(15)218254306390
Bournemouth UA226244282339383
Bracknell Forest UA(15)181183184224
Brighton and Hove UA245303323331361
Bristol UA277299322295311
Cambridgeshire (old)189(15)(15)(15)(15)
Cambridgeshire (remaining)(15)176189179180
Cheshire (old)122(15)(15)(15)(15)
Cheshire (remaining)(15)120123133161
City of London7637267321,1301,135
Darlington UA148151192201262
Derby UA236257286280295
Devon (old)143(15)(15)(15)(15)
Devon (remaining)(15)126129180200
East Riding of Yorkshire UA105103115125141
East Sussex177181189214216
Essex (old)164(15)(15)(15)(15)
Essex (remaining)(15)169178191210
Halton UA(15)132148204223
Hammersmith and Fulham627663848837547
Hartlepool UA183183195259276
Hereford and Worcester162(15)(15)(15)(15)
Herefordshire UA(15)158165192214
Isle of Wight UA153189187212255
Isles of Scilly3322253876
Kensington and Chelsea604674699749626
Kent (old)166(15)(15)(15)(15)
Kent (remaining)(15)159179244208
Kingston Upon Hull UA280317375445480
Kingston Upon Thames182200241209237
Lancashire (old)157(15)(15)(15)(15)
Lancashire (remaining)(15)155167182210
Leicester UA250266275318347
Luton UA155198228226249
Medway Towns UA(15)180196210213
Middlesbrough UA207221243280301
Milton Keynes197254252254266
Newcastle Upon Tyne282248324363394
North East Lincolnshire UA170199226252300
North Lincolnshire UA202220229242253
North Somerset UA109160165175193
North Tyneside291303357299300
North Yorkshire110110115119127
Nottingham UA(15)355416451454
Nottinghamshire (remaining)(15)142159173195
Peterborough UA(15)277336356389
Plymouth UA(15)241273319380
Poole UA112171178210220
Portsmouth UA184225220278299
Reading UA(15)235273280315
Redcar and Cleveland UA197201216230237
Richmond Upon Thames158153159186196
Rutland UA4149596687
Shropshire (old)132(15)(15)(15)(15)
Shropshire (remaining)(15)94116131152
Slough UA(15)246203279247
South Gloucestershire UA7294110121140
South Tyneside232257285302343
Southampton UA241252268286342
Southend UA(15)213257290304
St. Helens178200229249279
Stockton on Tees UA138143159179224
Stoke-on-Trent UA193212314252266
Swindon UA137122164176183
Telford and Wrekin UA(15)230189200241
Thurrock UA(15)190204219235
Torbay UA(15)247291302410
Tower Hamlets377403413467456
Waltham Forest222257297305344
Warrington UA(15)137122145160
West Berkshire UA(15)149166196207
West Sussex154160182202217
Windsor and Maidenhead UA(15)156182177178
Wokingham UA(15)168175179188
York UA146152174181193

(15) Not available as the council did not exist in that financial year.


Budget figures are taken from form RA as recorded by the council's chief financial officer at the start of the financial year and divided by the population aged under 18 at 30 June.

The population figure used in 2001–02 is the population at 30 June 2000.

Budget figures shown in this table do not take account any subsequent revisions made during the financial year.

2 Jul 2002 : Column 301W

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children in care have been found to be illegal substance users in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [64519]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not held centrally. The Office of National Statistics is currently conducting a survey for the Department of the mental health of children looked after by local authorities in England. The survey questionnaire includes a range of questions about drug use. The Office of National Statistics plans to publish a report of the findings in spring 2003.

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