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6 Nov 2002 : Column 446W—continued

Ministerial Visits

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when he next plans to visit a hospital in Europe. [73920]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 15 October 2002]: There are currently no plans for any Ministerial visits to any hospitals in Europe.

Lancashire Air Ambulance Service

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what support he (a) gives and (b) intends to give the Lancashire Air Ambulance Service. [77893]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 30 October 2002]: The Lancashire Air Ambulance received #239,000 in 2002–2003 and will be provided with further support in the next financial year. Discussions for further funding is still to be finalised on the extent of the support required by air ambulance services nationally.

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Care of the Elderly

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many (a) reviews are being undertaken and (b) action plans are being developed to correct shortcomings reflected in the Better Care Higher Standards Charter, as set out on page 172 of the milestones of the National Service Framework for Older People; [78423]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 31 October 2002]: We plan to carry out a review of the effectiveness of the charter by March 2003. This will include an analysis of local charters for 2002–03.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimates his Department has made of the change in the number of the elderly in England over the next 30 years; and how this will affect the requirement for residential and nursing care. [77149]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 4 November 2002]: The personal social services research unit (PSSRU) long-term care model was developed by the PSSRU at the London School of Economics as part of its research programme funded by the Department. This model projects that the total number of number of people aged 65 and over will increase by 60 per cent. between 2000 and 2031.

In the recently published Improvement, Expansion and Reform: The next 3 years, we set the target of an increase of 6,000 in the number of people in care homes supported by councils over the three years to 2006. This is in acknowledgement of the increasing population of older people.

Gosport War Memorial Hospital

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the investigation into the suspicious deaths at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital. [78426]

Ms Blears [holding answer 31 October 2002]: Following publication of the Commission for Health Improvement report into the care of elderly patients at the hospital, the Chief Medical Officer commissioned Professor Richard Baker to undertake a clinical audit. As the hon. Member is aware there is also an ongoing police investigation. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further until the results of both investigations are clear.

Health Authority Planning

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures he is putting in place to ensure StHAs have designed their planning processes before the next financial year, as set out in paragraph 6.7 of the document Improvement, Expansion & Reform: The Next Three Years [78420]

Ms Blears [holding answer 31 October 2002]: The document Improvement, Expansion and Reform sets out the vision for services over the next three years,

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describing how national commitments translate into targets for the National Health Service and social services. The process and timetable for developing plans at a local level were also contained in this document.

The new planning process involves streamlining current arrangements into a planning system based on a single three year local delivery plan. This process will be reinforced by the announcement of three year financial allocations to primary care trusts, giving the NHS locally the ability to plan for the medium term more effectively than in the past.

Child Obesity

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out his definition of obesity in children. [78429]

Ms Blears [holding answer 31 October]: The simple classification of body mass index (BMI) for obesity in adults is not applicable to children. This is because the ratio of the rate of weight gain to height gain changes during normal growth, especially around puberty. Therefore, age and sex-specific reference data—centile cut-off points—are necessary to interpret the BMI measurement.

There is on going debate as to the most appropriate cut-off point to define obesity in childhood. Two different approaches are commonly used and both demonstrate that the prevalence of obesity is increasing in children in England.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people, broken down by (a) age, (b) sex and (c) ethnicity were affected with Type II diabetes in each of the last three years. [78430]

Jacqui Smith: An estimated 1.3 million people in England have diagnosed diabetes, of whom around 85 per cent. have Type 2 diabetes. A break down in the form requested is not available. However, the frequency of diabetes is higher in men than in women. Prevalence rises steeply with age. Type 2 diabetes is up to six times more common in people of South Asian descent and up to three times more common in those of African and African-Caribbean descent, compared with the white population. It is also more common in people of Chinese descent and other non-white groups.

Overseas Nurses

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 16 October 2002, Official Report, column 869W, on ethical foreign nurse recruitment, if he will estimate the number of nursing agencies in the UK that recruit nurses from overseas. [78528]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 31 October 2002]: The Department does not collect statistics on the number of nursing agencies in the United Kingdom recruiting from overseas. The information contained in the code of practice website is monitored and updated routinely.

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NHS Staff

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress has been made in reducing the use of bank staff within the NHS. [59185]

Mr. Hutton [pursuant to his reply, 12 June 2002, c. 1315W]: I regret my previous answer contained a numerical error.

The data on the overall the NHS workforce should read that it has ''increased by 4.3 per cent. to 1,166,600.'', and not, as my original answer suggested ''1,1666,000''.

Hospital Admissions

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make a statement on the number of (a) admissions to hospital, (b) visits to a GP and (c) other interfaces with the National Health Service that were alcohol related and their combined cost in each of the last five years. [67020]

Ms Blears [pursuant to her reply 12 July 2002, c. 1267W]: I regret my previous answer was incorrect. This was a mathematical error.

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In table 1, National Health Service hospital admissions where there was a primary diagnosis of selected alcohol related disease, the total figure for 1997–98 should read, 45,800.

In table 2, Estimated cost of alcohol misuse to the NHS, England and Wales, 1999, the total cost to NHS should read, #208 million.

Asthma-related Deaths

Mrs. Annette L. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many asthma-related deaths there were in each of the last five years, broken down by age group. [78622]

Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mrs. Annette Brooke, dated 6 November 2002:

Number(8) of asthma-related(9) deaths in England and Wales by age group, 1997–2001
number of deaths

Calendar Year
Age Group19971998199920002001(10)
All ages14391366136412721268


(8) Figures are for deaths occurring in each calendar year.

(9) Defined as deaths where the underlying cause of death was coded as asthma (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD9), code 493 for the years 1997 to 2000 and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD10), codes J45–J46 for the year 2001).

(10) Details of the effect of the change in classification in 2001 are described in a report published in May 2002.i

iOffice for National Statistics. Results of the ICD-10 bridge coding study, England and Wales, 1999. Health Statistics Quarterly 14 (2002), 75–83.


Office for National Statistics.