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7 Nov 2002 : Column 523W—continued

Over-30-Months Scheme

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to review the Over-30-Months Scheme; and if he will make a statement. [79239]

Ms Blears [holding answer 4 November 2002]: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that it is currently undertaking a review of the over thirty months rule, under which the sale for human consumption of meat from cattle aged over thirty months at slaughter is prohibited. The Agency is being assisted in the review by a joint Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee/FSA risk assessment group and a stakeholder group, and will issue regular information

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about the review as it proceeds. The Agency is expecting to report its findings from the review in the first half of next year.

Health Care Assistants

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will estimate how many health care assistants work in the NHS and list the titles they work under; and if he will make a statement. [79732]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 6 November 2002]: Healthcare assistants and other health care support workers work across the range of clinical National Health Service services. The Department and the NHS have developed titles used to identify them over a period of time. Groups identified in the table comprise the total group of clinical health care support staff working in the NHS.

NHS Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): ''Healthcare Assistants'' by area of work in England as at 30 September 2001

whole-time equivalentsheadcount
All staff152,893204,925
Healthcare assistants(11)25,17029,764
Nursing assistant/auxiliary89,063123,617
STT Helper/assistant19,30025,298
Support staff(11)19,36026,246

Note:

Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number Due to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts

(11) Includes staff in Acute, elderly & general, paediatrics, maternity, psychiatry, learning difficulties, community services, chiropody, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, radiography, speech and language therapy, pathology and other STT.

Source:

Department of Health non-medical workforce census


Imported Meats

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the Food Standards Agency in terms of assessing the safety of imported meat. [79279]

Ms Blears [holding answer 4 November 2002]: Department of Health Ministers have regular discussions with the Food Standards Agency (FSA). I am satisfied that the FSA is making use of the best available science in assessing the safety of imported meat, and is applying proportionate controls on declared meat imports. The Meat Hygiene Service, which is an executive agency of the FSA, has been particularly effective in checking consignments of imported carcass beef for the presence of specified risk material. The FSA is also playing a full part in the Government's programme of action against illegally smuggled meat.

Professional Qualifications

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the proposal for a Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications, with reference to its impact on (a) the regulation of health professionals and (b) patient safety. [79731]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 6 November 2002]: The draft Directive has been the subject of consultation and continuing negotiation. A number of specific concerns have been expressed about the need to ensure patient safety and service quality, which we will take into account as discussions progress.

Birthweight

Mr. Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will list the incidence of low birthweight by county in descending order, for the most recent year for which available figures exist. [76155]

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Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply.

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

Letter from Mr. Len Cook to Chris Ruane, dated 7 November 2001




Area of usual residenceNumberPercentage(14)
West Midlands (Metropolitan County)3,1379.5
West Yorkshire (Metropolitan County)2,2548.8
Lancashire, former county of1,3498.6
Tees Valley less Darlington5138.5
Greater Manchester (Metropolitan County)2,4918.3
Bedfordshire, former county of6088.3
Staffordshire, former county of8848.2
Greater London (Metropolitan County)8,4258.1
South Yorkshire (Metropolitan County)1,1048.0
Nottinghamshire, former county of8498.0
Leicestershire, former county of8358.0
Merseyside (Metropolitan County)1,1317.8
The Humber6947.8
Berkshire, former county of7557.5
Wales2,2887.5
Herefordshire and Worcestershire, former county of5297.4
Tyne and Wear (Metropolitan County)8207.4
Buckinghamshire, former county of6097.3
Derbyshire, former county of7337.3
Warwickshire3827.3
Durham, former county of4227.2
Wiltshire, former county of4937.2
Northamptonshire5287.2
Shropshire, former county of3227.2
Cambridgeshire, former county of5637.1
Hampshire, former county of1,2247.0
Kent, former county of1,2226.9
West Sussex5326.9
Lincolnshire4136.9
Cumbria3176.8
Oxfordshire4796.8
Gloucestershire3946.8
Norfolk4996.7
Dorset, former county of4146.7
Bristol/Bath area7276.7
East Sussex, former county of4826.5
Somerset3076.5
Cheshire, former county of6786.5
Cornwall (and Isle of Scilly)2896.5
Suffolk4496.5
Hertfordshire7976.3
Devon, former county of6186.3
Isle of Wight, former county of696.2
Surrey7296.2
Essex, former county of1,1016.2
Northumberland1766.1
North Yorkshire, former county of4255.9

Notes:

1. Low birthweight babies are defined as those weighing under 2,500 grams

2. Data are presented for English counties, and former counties, based on boundaries as at 1 April 2002.

3. Low birthweight babies as a percentage of all livebirths with a stated birthweight.

Source:

Office for National Statistics


7 Nov 2002 : Column 527W

Mr. Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the percentage incidence was of low birth weight babies, by local authority; for each of the last 20 years. [75881]

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 Mr. Len Cook to Chris Ruane, dated 7 November 2001



Epilepsy

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many neurologists and paediatric neurologists with a specialism in epilepsy there are in the UK. [74051]

Mr. Hutton: The Department's workforce censuses do not collect information on the number of neurologists or paediatric neurologists with a specialism in the treatment of epilepsy.

As at 31 March 2002, the numbers of consultants working in neurology was 372 and the number of paediatric neurologists was 30. This represents increases in consultant numbers of 34 per cent. and 30 per cent. respectively since 1997.

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) neurologists, (b) paediatric neurologists and (c) nurses with a specialism in epilepsy there are in the UK. [72659]

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many neurologists and paediatric neurologists with a specialism in epilepsy there are in the UK; [72764]

Mr. Hutton: pursuant to his reply, 24 July 2002, column 1415W and 1408W: I regret my previous answers were incorrect.

The second paragraph should read,



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