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4 Nov 2002 : Column 136W—continued

Single Mumps Vaccine

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on the availability of the single dose mumps vaccine in the UK; [76297]

Ms Blears: Single mumps vaccine is licensed in the United Kingdom, Mumpsvax, Aventis Pasteur MSD, but the marketing authorisation holder does not manufacture this vaccine for the UK market. The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) has taken no regulatory action against the marketing authorisation for this vaccine and the production and marketing of the vaccine is a matter for the company holding the marketing authorisation.

Importation of unlicensed single mumps vaccine is permitted in accordance with medicines legislation when it is supplied in response to a doctor's prescription, issued on his personal responsibility, to meet the special needs of an individual patient. The MCA will, however, object to importation of an unlicensed mumps vaccine if it has concerns over the safety or quality of the vaccine.

The Government recommend that children are vaccinated with the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, as the safest way for parents to protect their children against these potentially very serious diseases, and has never recommended single mumps vaccine to be given routinely in the UK.


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to tackle the problem of smoking in prisons. [77997]

Jacqui Smith: Individual prisons and their local national health service partners provide various services to help prisoners stop smoking. The range of services provided is determined locally. The Department is sponsoring pilots in five prisons to evaluate the effectiveness of smoking cessation services for prisoners and the best way of providing them.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what extra funding and resources he has allocated this year to local primary care trusts which have reported high rates of TB. [78187]

Ms Blears [holding answer 29 October 2002]: An extra #400,000 will be made available this year to target primary care trusts with higher than average tuberculosis levels.

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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has offered to local primary care trusts who have high rates of TB to help them combat this disease. [78186]

Ms Blears [holding answer 29 October 2002]: Plans for a national strategic action plan for tuberculosis (TB) have been under discussion this year, and have moved forward more quickly under the auspices of the Chief Medical Officer's strategy XGetting ahead of the Curve" which identified TB as one of the key areas for public health improvement. We have held two national conferences with health care professionals, comments from which will help refine and finalise the TB action plan by the end of this year. This plan will form the framework to be tailored to meet local levels of TB.

Waiting Lists

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons patients awaiting diagnostic tests such as gastrointestinal endoscopy are excluded from national cancer waiting lists published by the NHS. [75770]

Ms Blears: Information is not collected centrally on waiting times for diagnostic tests. Currently published cancer waiting times data include patients urgently referred by their general practitioner (GP) with suspected cancer to first outpatient appointment. This data shows whether a patient was seen in secondary care within two weeks but does not contain information on whether a patient was referred direct for a diagnostic test or for assessment by a specialist. Data are also published on the target of a maximum one-month wait from urgent referral to first treatment for testicular cancer, children's cancers and acute leukaemia. This data will include time for the diagnostic phase but does not contain data on waiting times for individual diagnostic tests. Data is also published on the maximum one-month wait from diagnosis to first treatment for breast cancer. This target measures the waiting time to treatment after the diagnosis has been made. By 2005 there will be a maximum two-month wait from urgent GP referral to first treatment for all cancers.

Written Consultations

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) in what format his Department has published the results of its 2001 written consultations; [69854]

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Mr. Lammy: The Department issued 67 consultations in 2001, of which eight had periods given for response of less than 12 weeks. All consultation documents were available in printed form on request, and since March 2001, the results of all consultations have been available on the Department's website.

The Department has since reviewed its arrangements and has circulated guidance to all managers, which has been drawn to the attention of all staff. In addition, all consultations will now automatically be posted on the Cabinet Office website at UK Online.

The Department's consultation co-ordinator is Peter Allanson, Head of Corporate Development, Nursing Directorate.

Public Health Laboratory Service

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what arrangements will be made, and for how long, to ring fence public health laboratory budgets when the service is reorganised to the management of local hospital trusts; [74814]

Ms Blears: Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) laboratories transferring to the national health service will receive funding from the NHS and from the proposed Health Protection Agency for their diagnostic work. Traditionally, some of PHLS's core funding has supported the routine services provided to NHS trusts. In 2003–04, transferring PHLS laboratories will receive payments, to be known as Xresidual subsidy", to cover this support. For 2004–05 the subsidy will be passed to primary care trusts as part of general allocations, and contracts between NHS trusts will operate on a full cost recovery basis.


1901 Census Website

Ian Lucas: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the 1901 Census website. [78513]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The 1901 Census website went back online as a test site on 27 August 2002. Up to 21 October over 1.4 million people have visited the site. They have conducted 14 million searches and downloaded 600,000 images of the census pages.

Firefighters' Strike

Mr. Evans: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what preparations she has made to ensure the safety and continuity of service to the public in the event of a firefighters' strike. [77668]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Local Government (Greenwich and Woolwich) on 28 October 2002, Official Report, column 527W.

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Legal Aid

Mr. Drew: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many applications for legal aid have been refused since the new rules were introduced. [77847]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 29 October 2002]: Following the implementation of the Access to Justice Act 2000, which led to the creation of the Community Legal Service on 1 April 2000, 61,921 applications for civil legal representation have been refused up to and including March 2002. However, some of these applications may have gone on to be granted following an appeal.

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It is not possible to provide figures for the number of refused applications for legal help as the decision to grant legal help rests with the Legal Services Commission's suppliers.


Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how much has been spent in recruiting staff to his Department in (a) London and (b) the south east in each year since 1997. [78559]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The table provides the information requested, where it is available.

Recruitment (admin costs)
South Eastern17,70018,60013,80010,7000
CSHQ (London)75,90040,70020,00071,80015,000
LCD HQ (London)195,402325,767217,442148,530113,473
Recruitment (staff costs)
South Eastern373,151(23)
CSHQ (London)(24)
LCD HQ (London)24,683
Public Guardianship Office (London)(25) 121,654173,73711,376

(22) 2001–02 on accruals basis.

(23) Information not available.

(24) Included in figures for South Eastern.

(25) Admin and paybill costs combined.

Mr. Key: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what progress she has made on reorganisation of magistrates' courts in Wiltshire; and if she will make a statement. [72612]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 15 October 2002]: I am still considering the representations made to me by the Wiltshire county council and the Wiltshire Magistrates Committee at a meeting together with the hon. Member for Westbury.

I will write to the hon. Member once I have made my decision on the appeal against the closure of the Courthouses at Trowbridge and Devizes.

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