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Children Act

Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Government will report on the operation of the Children Act 1989. [67829]

Jacqui Smith: We have today published a report on the operation of the Children Act 1989, pursuant to our duties under section 83 of the Act. Copies are available in the Library and Vote Office. A copy of the document can also be found at the following website address: and www.


Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many crisis pregnancy centres are funded (a) directly and (b) indirectly by his Department; and which organisations they are operated by. [66712]

Jacqui Smith: There are a number of places within the National Health Service and independent and voluntary sectors that offer advice and counselling for pregnant women. The Department does not directly fund any pregnancy advice bureaux or centres but some will have contracts with primary care trusts to provide services. The Department does not centrally collect data on these services.

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Outside of the NHS, only pregnancy advice bureaux registered by the Department can refer women to an approved independent sector place for a termination of pregnancy. These bureaux are operated by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Marie Stopes International, Fraterdrive Limited and two individuals.

Paediatric Rheumatoid Care

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision is made for paediatric rheumatoid care by hospital trusts; and how many full time consultants work in this area. [62314]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 25 June 2002]: The children's national service framework, which is currently being developed, will set standards to improve the healthcare of children and young people. As with other specialities of paediatrics, access to the necessary care and arrangements for improved local delivery will be addressed by NSF hospital module. The Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health reports that there are currently 10 full time consultants who work in paediatric rheumatoid care.

Blind People

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures the Government have taken since 1997 to increase facilities and services for blind people; and if he will make a statement. [61147]

Jacqui Smith: A number of initiatives have begun and legislative changes taken place since 1997 that benefit people with visual impairments as well as other disabled people. Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, deals with discrimination in the provision of goods, services and facilities. Since 1999, for example, service providers have had to take reasonable steps to change practices, policies or procedures, which make it impossible, or unreasonably difficult for disabled people including those with visual impairments to use a service.

The community equipment services strategy, which was published in March 2001, calls for increases in the number of people benefiting from equipment. It highlights the importance of equipment and adaptations for visually impaired people. XDoubly Disabled", published in 1999, provided essential background and guidance for senior National Health Service managers with specific responsibility for advising on access for blind and other disabled persons to services and employment. Last month the Department issued fair access to care services, which provides guidance to councils with social services responsibilities on how they may achieve fair access to care services through reviewing and revising their eligibility criteria for all adult service users. Additionally, we have recently awarded the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA) jointly a project grant to develop visual care standards.

Continence Products

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received regarding (a) the NHS and (b) social services unnecessarily charging people for continence products. [64520]

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Jacqui Smith: No representations have been received on these issues.

Mental Health Services

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the expenditure per head of population on adult mental health services for each NHS health care trust in north-west England, together with the average per capita spent in (a) the north-west region and (b) England in each of the last three years. [62776]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 26 June 2002]: Expenditure per head of population is not collected at regional or trust level, however the table below contains the expenditure per head of population for all mental health services for England:


YearExpenditure per head of population (cash terms)


Figures for 1990–2000 are not directly comparable with earlier years due to changes in collection methods.

Podiatry and Chiropody Services

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he proposes to take to remove regional variations in the availability of podiatry and chiropody services; and if he will make a statement. [66341]

Jacqui Smith: We acknowledge there are regional variations in National Health Service chiropody/podiatry services. NHS organisations such as primary care trusts (PCTs) have to prioritise services they provide to meet local demand including chiropody/podiatry services. The criteria used to clinically prioritise will be determined locally by PCTs.

To assist PCTs in meeting this demand, we are committed to recruiting more allied health professionals (AHPs), which include chiropodists/podiatrists, through the NHS Plan target of over 6,500 extra AHPs, and as extended and stated in the XDelivery Plan", there will be 30,000 extra therapists and scientists over the September 2001 baseline by 2008.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will resume the collation of statistics for chiropody and podiatry care. [66339]

Jacqui Smith: We continue to collect and publish information annually on initial contacts and first contacts by region with the chiropody services. The only change in the statistics collection was the discontinuation of all face to face contact data from 2000–01.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the extent to which chiropody and podiatry services are cost effective in preventing the need for more serious intervention. [66695]

Jacqui Smith: The national service framework programmes are wherever possible based on research evidence. Where this is not possible it is based on expert

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consensus of best practice. Research gaps brought to our notice from the NSF programmes are priority areas for research in the future.

Chiropody and podiatry services are known to be cost effective in preventing the need for more serious intervention. In diabetes, podiatrists have an essential role in the prevention and management of foot conditions especially in helping to prevent and treat foot ulcerations which may result in amputation. Foot care can reduce complications in people with diabetes by two thirds.1

The role of the podiatrist in falls prevention is acknowledged in the NSF for older people, and chiropodists and podiatrists have been involved in developing both NSFs for older people and diabetes.

Care Home Beds

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many care home beds have been closed in Surrey in each of the last five years. [67466]

Jacqui Smith: Information on care home bed closure is not centrally collected. Information provided in the table shows the number of registered residential and nursing care beds in Surrey from 1997 to 2001 at 31 March each year.

Table: Residential and nursing care beds from 1997 to 2001 in Surrey
At 31 March   Numbers

YearTotal number of care bedsResidential care places 1Nursing care beds 2

1 Includes residential care beds in small homes (less than four places)

2 Includes nursing beds in private hospitals and clinics

3 Information on nursing beds relates to registered beds during the period 1 October 1996 to 31 March 1997


Department of Health's annual returns


Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the provision of subsidised break time milk for (a) nursery school children and (b) primary school children in (i) Lincolnshire and (ii) England; [65032]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

It is not possible to provide a breakdown of uptake between primary and nursery school children, or details of the number of schools participating in the scheme, as this information is known only to the local education authorities which make claims for subsidy to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). On the basis of the amount of milk on which subsidy is claimed, the RPA estimate that

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around one in 10 eligible pupils in Lincolnshire is a beneficiary of the scheme. This compares with around one in five for England as a whole. Given the basis on which claims are made, comparable county-by-county figures could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

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