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15 Oct 2002 : Column 807W—continued

Food Poisoning

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of food poisoning were contracted during a hospital stay in each of the last five years, broken down by trust. [74202]

Mr. Lammy: Data on food poisoning cases contracted during a hospital stay are not available. The table shows reported outbreaks of food borne infectious intestinal disease in England from 1997 to 2001 by strategic health authority.

YearNumber of outbreaksStrategic Health AuthorityNumber of people ill*
1997 (total)490
19981Thames Valley10
1998 (total)3137
19991North Yorkshire35
1999 (total)392
20001South West Peninsula106
2000 (total)3120
2001 (total)00
1997 to 2001 (total)13537


* includes patients and staff

Data source:

PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre—GSURV Gastrointestinal Diseases Division

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Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of whether percutaneous coronary interventions with bare stents increased after the National Institute for Clinical Excellence completed its appraisal of stents in May 2000; [74216]

Ms Blears: The Department does not collect cost or activity data that relates solely to hospital readmission and has not made any assessment about the cost of readmitting patients who have restenosis after revascularisation.

The Department does not collect information on the number of percutaneous coronary interventions that involve the use of stents.

The Department has not set any targets for reduction in restenosis following stenting in revascularisation.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps are being taken to ensure that health economic data used by NICE is accurate, reliable and up-to-date; and if he will make a statement; [74209]

Mr. Lammy: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence's (NICE) appeals committee obtains health economics data from two main sources—a technology assessment report (TAR) prepared for each appraisal and submissions from manufacturers.

The academic teams which prepare TARs were selected through a competitive tendering process which provides assurance of their competence to carry out this

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work. Before presenting the TAR to NICE, the team seeks the comments of expert reviewers and technical staff at NICE. The TAR is subsequently scrutinised by the NICE appraisal committee and by consultees to the appraisal.

Submissions from sponsors of technologies (including manufacturing) are critically examined by the academic teams which produce TARs, by the technical staff at NICE and by the appraisal committee.

There is therefore a comprehensive process in place for quality assuring the evidence used in NICE appraisals.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received on the credibility and clarity of NICE guidance; and if he will make a statement. [74211]

Mr. Lammy: We have received correspondence about many appraisals in which the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended restricted use of a technology.

The Health Select Committee, on which the hon. Member serves, has published its conclusions on the credibility and clarity of NICE guidance. The Government response was published in September 2002 as Command Paper 5611.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has given NICE in respect of his policy of enhancing patient choice in the context of NICE appraisals of modes of dialysis. [74240]

Mr. Lammy: None. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence carries out its appraisals independently of Ministers.

Blood Products

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make the reporting of adverse incidents associated with transfusions in the NHS mandatory. [74058]

Ms Blears: The serious hazards of transfusion (SHOT) reports provide a comprehensive picture of serious transfusion complications in the UK. The fifth annual SHOT report (published April 2002) showed an increase in participation to 92 per cent. of eligible hospitals. Participation in the scheme has been encouraged by guidance to the National Health Service, most recently in HSC 2002/009—(''Better Blood Transfusion—Appropriate use of blood'') This asks Chief Executives of National Health Service trusts to ensure participation in the SHOT scheme by December 2002.

SHOT is currently collaborating with the new National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) whose core function is to improve the safety of NHS patient care by promoting a culture of reporting and learning from adverse incidents and professional errors without fear of personal reprimand. The NPSA reporting system will be implemented across the NHS from 2003 and will cover of all types adverse incidents and ''near misses'' affecting NHS patients, including those associated with transfusions.

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The draft European Commission Directive on standards of quality and safety of human blood and blood components requires Member States to report ''any serious adverse events (accidents and errors) related to the collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution of blood and blood components which may have an influence on their quality and safety, as well as any serious adverse reactions observed during or after transfusion which may be attributed to the quality and the safety of blood and blood components''.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to reduce the mortality and morbidity levels associated with fresh frozen plasma. [74059]

Ms Blears: The Government's advisory committee on the microbiological safety of blood and tissue for transplantation is continuing to consider the relative efficacy and risks of the different types of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) available.

United Kingdom FFP is already a very safe product. To minimise the risk from viruses, it is made only from previously tested blood donors. Since the year 2000, an additional test for hepatitis C has been added. As a result the risk from a unit of FFP is estimated to be one in five million for HIV and lower than one in one million for hepatitis C. Over 300,000 units of FFP are issued annually and it is only given in life-threatening situations to prevent or stop haemorrhage associated with abnormal blood clotting.

The National Blood Service is conducting an option appraisal of means to minimise the risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury from FFP.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what representations he has received in favour of the use of solvent detergent-treated transfusion plasma produced from United States of America plasma; and if he will make a statement. [74057]

Ms Blears: The Government has received correspondence from Octapharma Ltd supporting the increased use of their product ''Octaplas''. Department officials have also met Octapharma and further discussions are planned.

''Octaplas'' is licensed in the United Kingdom and can be purchased by National Health Service trusts. It is made by pooling plasma from donors but is treated with solvent detergent to reduce the increased risk of viruses caused by pooling. There would also appear to be a reduced risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) with this product. We understand that it is not yet made exclusively from United States plasma but soon will be.

United Kingdom sourced fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is also available from the National Blood Service and is more commonly used by the NHS than Octaplas. It is made from single donations from donors who have been previously tested for viruses to minimise the risk of infection. Like all blood for transfusion, FFP is also leucodepleted to reduce the theoretical risk from vCJD.

As an added precaution against the theoretical risk of vCJD, the Government announced on 15 August that FFP for young children and babies will be imported from the United States. This FFP will be treated with methylene blue to reduce the risk of viral transmission

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still further for this most vulnerable group. This decision was made following advice from the advisory committee on microbiological safety of blood and tissues for transplantation (MSBT) who are continuing to review the safety of FFP.

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