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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what tracking of hospital bed use is conducted by the Department to monitor appropriate use according to criteria on whether a hospital stay is required. 
Mr. Hutton: The Department does not centrally collect information on the appropriate use of hospital beds. It does, however collect data on the number of delayed discharges from national health service acute care.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Department has contacted all suppliers of influenza vaccine to ensure that there are adequate stocks available this winter. There are currently over 500,000 doses of vaccine still available to order.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms his Department uses to ensure that there are enough influenza vaccines available each winter before the influenza vaccination campaign begins. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the availability to practice nurses of influenza vaccines in time for the winter influenza vaccination campaign; and what plans his Department has to improve that availability. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: General practitioners order influenza vaccine direct from the supplier of their choice. The Department has contacted all suppliers of influenza vaccine to ensure that there are adequate stocks available this winter. We have issued advice and details to the profession, via influenza immunisation coordinators, of where supplies of influenza vaccine can be obtained as well as making our contingency stock available to those practices affected by any delays.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Department has contacted all suppliers of influenza vaccine to ensure that there are adequate stocks available this winter. Those recommended to receive influenza vaccination will still get protected within the recommended timescale.
Miss Melanie Johnson: We launched a campaign on 4 October incorporating a number of strategies aimed at encouraging people over the age of 65 to receive their influenza immunisation. The campaign incorporated:
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he estimates all general practitioners and health centres in the Castle Point and Rochford Primary Care Trust will have sufficient supplies of influenza vaccine to meet demand; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been carried out by his Department into the risks of additional (a) cases and (b) deaths from influenza because of delays in the influenza vaccination programme due to the problems with the safety of the Chiron vaccines. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: Influenza vaccinations are carried out by general practitioners in October and November before flu usually starts to circulate. Those recommended to receive influenza vaccination will still get protected within the recommended timescale.
Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that sufficient supplies of vaccine are available for the different types of influenza that may reach the British Isles in the coming winter; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: We contacted all suppliers of influenza vaccine to ensure that adequate stocks of vaccine would be available this winter as well as making the Department's contingency stock available to those surgeries who needed it. The vaccine available meets the strain of flu virus recommended by the World Health Organisation.
In 2002, an almost identical increased risk was identified by the International Agency on Research into Cancer (IARC). The latest report by SCOTH, which is a review of studies since 1998, has been published with the White Paper on public health.
Miss Melanie Johnson:
The 1998 report from the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) estimated that there are "several hundred deaths a year" due to lung cancer caused by second-hand smoke. The Committee did not estimate the number of deaths due to other causes linked to second-hand smoke, such as heart disease or sudden infant death syndrome, or the number of deaths in the workplace. An updated SCOTH report
17 Nov 2004 : Column 1687W
on second-hand smoke has been published with the White Paper on public health. Copies are available in the Library.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The full range of operations of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have been reviewed regularly, including an assessment of its independence. For example, a value-for-money audit was conducted by the National Audit Office (NAO). Its findings were presented in January 2003. Among other things, the NAO examined the measures in place to manage potential conflicts of members of the advisory committees.
The Government have been considering how to increase transparency in their approach to handling interests of experts who sit on the MHRA's advisory bodies and increase the involvement of patients and the public in their work. On 11 November, the Government announced a new structure for the advisory bodies that advise Ministers on matters relating to the Medicines Act 1968, the exercise of powers under the Act or otherwise relating to human and veterinary medicines. In the future, each advisory body will include two patient or lay representatives on each committee.
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