Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Nov 2002 : Column 259W—continued


Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 25 September from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms J. Hamnett. [79446]

Mr. Milburn: A reply was sent to my right hon. Friend on 4 November.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to fund research into finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. [77617]

Mr. Hutton: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend, the Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan) on 30 October.

District Nurses

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many initial contacts per district nurse there were in each of the past five years. [78056]

Mr. Hutton: District nurses are registered nurses who have undertaken further training as specialist community practitioners (district nursing). Most district nurses lead teams of staff nurses and health care assistants who will not have been included in the figures requested.

The number of initial contacts per whole time equivalent district nurse in the past five years is shown in the following table.

YearNumber of initial contacts per district nurse (w.t.e.)


Department of Health, Statistics Division Form KC56 and non-medical workforce census

Domiciliary Oxygen Service

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the review of the domiciliary oxygen service to be concluded. [78094]

Ms Blears: The review is at an advanced stage, but I cannot say at present when it will be completed.

Finnish Nurses

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many Finnish nurses are employed by the NHS. [77623]

Mr. Hutton: Information on the numbers of Finnish nurses employed in the National Health Service is not collected centrally.

There is currently no government to government arrangement with Finland regarding the recruitment of Finnish nurses.

5 Nov 2002 : Column 260W

Focus Group Research

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what use he and his Department has made of focus group research since June 2001; if he will identify for each research project the topics covered, the person or organisation carrying out the research, and the total cost; and if he will publish the research on his Department's website. [74993]

Ms Blears: A table listing focus groups and their purpose carried out by my Department since June 2001 has been placed in the Library. The Department's expenditure on these can only be provided at disproportionate costs.

Health Allocation (Review)

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) guidelines and (b) criteria are for the review of health allocation to local health trusts. [78616]

Mr. Hutton: The existing formula used to allocate National Health Service resources has been reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA). ACRA's terms of reference are to advise the Secretary of State for Health on the distribution of resources across primary and secondary care. Guidelines for the review are to put in place new mechanisms to distribute NHS cash more fairly and that the healthcare needs of populations, including the impact of deprivation, will be the driving force in determining where the cash goes. The main criterion of the review has been to contribute to the reduction in avoidable health inequalities.

Health Inequalities

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of inequalities in access to health care services in England and their relationship with income inequality; and if he will make a statement. [77797]

Ms Blears [holding answer 29 October 2002]: The NHS Plan emphasised the importance of reducing inequalities in access to national health service service as part of an overall effort to improve health and reduce inequality.

Following the assessment of the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health, it recognised that the worst health problems will not be tackled without dealing with their fundamental causes, including poverty and economic and social disadvantage.

That is why we introduced national health inequalities targets in 2001:

and gave priority to improving access of care to all services and reducing health inequalities in XImprovement, Expansion and Reform: The Next Three Years", the priorities and planning framework for 2003–06 published on 2 October.

5 Nov 2002 : Column 261W

Health Service Finance

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account he will take of rurality in his revised allocation formula for funding primary care trusts. [78460]

Mr. Hutton: The existing formula used to allocate national health service resources has been reviewed by the advisory committee on resource allocation (ACRA). We are currently considering ACRA's recommendations. Later this autumn when we announce the revenue allocations for the next three years we will explain changes to the formula.

Imported Poultry

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average time taken to test a consignment of imported poultry meat for the presence of nitrofurans has been in the last year for which figures are available. [77825]

Ms Blears: Information provided by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland (DARDNI), who carry out the testing of poultrymeat from Thailand for nitrofurans, shows the average turnaround time, from 22 May when the first results were reported to 25 October 2002, to be eight days from receipt of sample. 90 per cent. of samples within this time period were analysed within the agreed 10 day turnaround time.

There are no figures available for the turnaround time for the testing for nitrofurans in Brazilian poultrymeat as testing has only recently commenced.

Infected Blood Transfusion

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's estimate is of the number of hepatitis C sufferers who contracted the virus from NHS blood transfusions. [75497]

Ms Blears [holding answer 21 October 2002]: A lookback programme conducted by the national blood service from 1995 identified 669 people who contracted the hepatitis C virus from blood transfusions before screening for thevirus was introduced in September 1991. However, it has been impossible to trace the majority of those likely to have been infected. Work has been undertaken to estimate the numbers involved and we expect the results to be published later this year.

Jams Regulations

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the maximum penalties are for breaches of the Jams Regulations; and what the maximum penalties he intends for breaches of the EC Jams Directive (2001/113/EC). [77824]

Ms Blears: The maximum penalties for an offence under the Jams and Similar Products Regulations 1981 are: on summary conviction, a fine not exceeding 5,000; on conviction or indictment, a unlimited fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

5 Nov 2002 : Column 262W

New domestic regulations are being prepared to implement Directive 2001/113. It is intended, subject to the outcome of a full public consultation, that the maximum penalty for an offence under the forthcoming Regulations will be a fine not exceeding #5,000. This is in line with the penalties provided by comparable compositional legislation for other foodstuffs.

Latex-free Equipment

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the guidelines to the NHS regarding the provision of, and access to, latex-free material and equipment. [77019]

Mr. Hutton: Guidance issued to the national health service relating to latex and latex-free equipment is based on the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and is intended to remind NHS managers of their duty to comply with that legislation in assessing risks to their staff.

A wide range of latex-free equipment is now being manufactured and many companies are now moving away from using latex in their products altogether. There are no cost implications associated with using latex-free equipment, and the latest data from NHS Logistics suggest that NHS employers are increasingly moving to latex-free equipment.

Next Section Index Home Page