Previous Section Index Home Page

Birth Statistics

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what targets have been set for the reduction of (a) premature births, (b) stillbirths and (c) miscarriages. [67074]

Jacqui Smith: Although specific reduction targets have not been set, we are continuing to support the work of the confidential inquiry into stillbirths and deaths in infancy to improve care during pregnancy and provide the right quality and level of support. The difficulties of premature birth and the tragedy of losing a child through stillbirth and miscarriage have some associations with, and are always compounded by, poverty and social exclusion. We are addressing this through the 'Sure Start' initiative, including pilot programmes to provide personal co-ordinated support for pregnant teenagers, and parents under the age of 18. We are also investing more in the provision of maternity care and seeking to ensure the most effective configuration of these essential services.

Kaiser Permanente

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) special advisers have held with Kaiser Permanente in the last six months. [67607]

Mr. Lammy: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met with David Laurence of Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday 19 June 2002. Both special advisers attended the meeting.


Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to ensure NHS staff are involved in deciding on the future work programme of NICE. [67686]

Mr. Lammy: The Department consulted recently on a series of proposals to make it easier for national health service staff to propose topics for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence's (NICE) future work programme, and to involve them more fully in the process of assessing and prioritising proposals. The response to the consultation is now being analysed and an announcement will be made as soon as possible. That response will also take account of recommendations made by the Health Select Committee in its recent report on NICE.

Sun Awareness

Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to fund a nationally co-ordinated sun awareness programme for the United Kingdom; [67769]

16 Jul 2002 : Column 209W

Ms Blears: The health education authority (HEA) was originally commissioned by the Department in 1996 to provide sun awareness information. The HEA then developed the "Sun Know How" campaign up until the HEA's functions were moved to the health development agency and health promotion England in March 2000. As the "Sun Know How" messages had been successful, existing HEA promotional material continued to be made available but on a smaller scale. The success of the campaign was acknowledged and it was recognised that a new approach was needed.

From 2001 work has been undertaken towards a co-ordinated programme of work to counter skin cancer. A collaboration group was formed by the departmental funded national radiological protection board (NRPB) with other key organisations such as Cancer Research (UK), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the British Association of Dermatology (BAD). Various initiatives are taking place to raise awareness of sun safety and information is available from NHS Direct. On 14 March a new website,, providing sun safety advice, was launched. We are also collaborating with other key stakeholders this year in ensuring that a range of sun safety advice is publicly available. For example, the Department funds the Meteorological Office ultra violet index for radio, television and newspaper forecasters. The NRPB is currently running a sunsense campaign and the HSE is targeting outdoor workers in their advertising campaign.

We have no current plans to launch an equivalent to the "Sun Know How" campaign as run by the then HEA.

The HEA's campaign launched in 1996–97 anticipated spending £1.5 million over three years to 1998–99. Detailed figures on the final spend by year by the HEA are not available.

In 1999–2000 spending on the "Sun Know How" campaign by the HEA was £543,000. Since then, spending on sun awareness by the Department in 2000–01 was £50,000, and in 2001–02 was £126,000.

Solihull Hospital

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what new recruitment will be needed at Solihull hospital to facilitate its proposed improved accident and emergency service; and whether the necessary resources are in place to support that recruitment. [67613]

Mr. Lammy: The Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull National Health Service Trust will recruit two additional consultants specialising in accident and emergency medicine, a new tier of four critical care/clinical fellow grades, specialist physicians and additional nurses including emergency nurse practitioners. The resources

16 Jul 2002 : Column 210W

required are still being finalised but Solihull Primary Care Trust has agreed to pre-commit revenue resources in emergency care during the forthcoming priority setting process.

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that recruitment difficulties do not stand in the way of proposed improvements to accident and emergency provision at Solihull hospital. [67612]

Mr. Lammy: Responsibility for the recruitment of staff for local services rests with local national health service trusts. The Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust is confident that recruitment difficulties will not occur and believe the new tier of critical care/clinical fellow grades, a rigorous recruitment campaign and the trust's commitment to "Improving Working Lives" will ensure the right calibre and number of staff will be recruited.

Prescription Drugs

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is his policy for payments made to pharmacists by the NHS in respect of the supply of prescription drugs to comply with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Act 1998 and the Late Payment Directive. [68372]

Mr. Lammy: We do not consider that the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 applies to payments made to pharmacists by the national health service in respect of the supply of prescription drugs. We are considering the position in relation to Directive 2000/35/EC on combating late payment in commercial transactions.

NHS Trust Reviews

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it the Government's policy that the Commission for Health Improvement should respond positively to a request by an NHS trust to conduct a review of any department identified by the trust as in need of review. [68042]

Mr. Lammy: The Health Act 1999 requires the Commission for Health Improvement to undertake local reviews (known as clinical governance reviews) to examine the quality of care provided by national health service bodies. The commission may also undertake investigations into the management, provision and quality of health care NHS bodies provide. The commission will consider all requests for investigations against its published criteria. Copies of the commission's "Policy on assessing requests for investigations and fast track clinical governance reviews" are available in the Library and on its website at

Medical Research Council

Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the (a) terms of reference and (b) timetable for the independent scientific advisory group of the Medical Research Council on CFS and ME due to be set up in spring 2002; and who the members of the group are. [68079]

16 Jul 2002 : Column 211W

Mr. Lammy: The Medical Research Council (MRC) have now agreed to set up an advisory group. Their final report should be made available early in 2003.

The proposed terms of reference are:

The group members are:

Next Section Index Home Page