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14 Oct 2002 : Column 518Wcontinued
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average time is a patient travelled to reach (a) a NHS dentist and (b) a general practitioner in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of recent research into Inflammatory Bowel Disease; what plans he has to act on the findings; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Lammy: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidance on infliximab for Crohn's Disease in May 2002. The Department has not made a separate assessment of recent research into Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
It is anticipated that the NICE guidance will help the estimated 5 per cent of patients who have severe Crohn's Disease. Infliximab has not been recommended by NICE as a possible treatment for sufferers of ulcerative colitis.
The Medical Research Council funds several projects on basic mechanisms regulating the function of the gastrointestinal tract in normal and disease function, dietary regulation of intestinal function, cellular and molecular mechanisms of gastrointestinal diseases and neuroendocrine control of the gut. Increasing our understanding of how the intestine functions will facilitate the development of therapeutic agents to treat acute intestinal inflammation and chronic diseases such as Crohn's and IBD.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 17 July 2002, ref. 69433, who meets the cost of treatment by general practitioners of persons who are not entitled to NHS treatment; how many people who are not entitled to NHS treatment have been treated at NHS expense in the last year for which information is available; and what steps he takes to ensure recovery of the costs. 
Ms Blears: General practitioners may not provide National Health Service treatment other than emergency or immediately necessary treatment to persons who are not eligible for inclusion on their patient lists. They may however treat such patients privately. No data are held on the incidence or costs of such treatment.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust has not received funding for the Salisbury Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 22 July 2002]: Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership National Health Service Trust has received funding, both mainstream and ring fenced monies, however, decisions on the funding of individual alcohol and drug treatment services are made at local level.
I understand that an accounting error has led to a shortfall in relation to the service in Salisbury and that this is being addressed by the South Wiltshire Primary Care Trust and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.
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Ms Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent reports into the causes of asthma his Department has commissioned; what assessment his Department has made of these reports; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 23 July 2002]: We have commissioned no recent reports into the causes of asthma. We have, however, sponsored extensive research on asthma and respiratory disease-related issues.
Our current research programme concentrates on practice improvement. The National Asthma Campaign (NAC), the leading voluntary organisation with an interest in asthma, manages the National Health Service research and development programme on asthma management. This has supported 33 projects throughout the United Kingdom at a total cost of #4.9 million since 1996. The strategy aims to create a research based health service in which reliable and relevant information is used to make decisions on health policy, clinical practice and management of services.
The overall spend on asthma research for the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Department was almost #4 million in 19992000 and #12.2 million including other respiratory disorders. The Departmental spend on directly commissioned research projects on asthma since 1997 is an estimated #7.24 million.
The Department's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants has produced an interim statement on the effects of air pollution on asthma. This was in response to a series of articles published by the Independent on Sunday that claimed that air pollution caused asthma. The interim statement is available on the Committee's website at www.doh.gov.uk/comeap
A subgroup of the Committee has also now been set up to review the subject in more detail, and will report in 2003. The Department will consider this report carefully when it is published. The overall spend on asthma research for the MRC and the Department was almost #4 million in 19992000, and #12.2 million including other respiratory disorders. The Department's spend on directly commissioned research projects on asthma since 1997 is an estimated #7.24 million.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many MRSA incidents have been (a) voluntarily and (b) mandatorily reported in each NHS region since 1996 (i) in total and (ii) as a ratio to the population in that region. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 23 July 2002]: We are unable to supply these data as information on incidents which are defined as three or more patients with the same strain in the same hospital in one calendar month is no longer compiled. The following table shows the number of bacteraemia reports per 100,000 head of population for each region. Data for the voluntary reporting system are available from 1996 but are known to be incomplete. Mandatory reporting was introduced in April 2001 and the first year's data are provided.
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|Yorkshire & Humberside||50||0.73||130||1.89||197||2.86||181||2.63||314||4.55||378||5.48|
|ONS Population 2000|
|Yorkshire and Humberside||6,893,932|
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Twenty-three sites are currently providing newborn hearing screening. We expect to bring on a further 16 sites by the end of March 2003, with approximately 30 additional sites during the financial year 200304. The remainder of sites are expected to come on stream by the end of the financial year 200405.
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