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Baroness Whitaker asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The consultation paper on the Integration of Recognised Refugees in the United Kingdom was circulated to 83 organisations outside the Home Office, including 48 non-governmental organisations. There have been 51 responses so far to the paper. Key issues highlighted include housing, employment and English language provision. We are considering further the proposals for improvement in the co-ordination of refugee integration in the light of the responses received.

Bi-centenary of Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): None. The devolved administrations have been consulted along with other government departments.

Public Sector Ombudsmen Review

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Publication of the report on the review of public sector ombudsmen in England is planned for the end of March.

Electoral Reform Ballot Services

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

20 Mar 2000 : Column WA10

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Information in the form requested is not held centrally by departments and could only be obtained at significant cost. However, I have asked my officials, as far as practically possible, to collect the information for the period 1998-99 and 1 April to 31 December 1999. I will write to the noble Lord with the information as soon as possible and will place a copy of my reply in the Library of the House.

Black and Ethnic Minority Detained Patients

Baroness Whitaker asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the findings of the Mental Health Act Commission on the treatment of black and ethnic minority patients.[HL1514]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Commission published its report, The Second National Visit--Improving Care for Detained Patients from Black and Ethnic Minority Communities, on 7 March 2000. We welcome this report, which provides detailed information about the care of black and ethnic minority detained patients and which will help to inform the implementation of the Mental Health National Service Framework.

Mental Health Services: Funding Allocation

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much of this year's portion of the additional £700 million allocated for mental health services has gone to adult mental health services; and on which specific areas it has been spent; and[HL1304]

    How much of the additional £700 million allocated for mental health services has been allocated to implementing the new National Service Framework; how much has been allocated for the current year; and whether the amount allocated to the implementation of National Service Frameworks is ring-fenced.[HL1305]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: In 1999-2000, additional funding of £127.7 million has been allocated to support implementation of the mental health strategy set out in Modernising Mental Health Services, published in December 1998, and to prepare for implementation of the Mental Health National Service Framework from April 2000. The money is allocated as follows:


    £40 million to the National Health Service for adult mental health services for 24-hour staffed care; assertive outreach; 24 hour access; antipsychotic drugs; additional secure places; Beacons and region-wide development activity;


    £38 million through the mental health grant to local authorities for adult mental health services for approved social workers; rehabilitation and support services; training of front-line social care

20 Mar 2000 : Column WA11

    staff; developing of needs-based planning, mental health strategies and joint investment planning; and the appointment of a senior manager for mental health;


    £15 million Strategic Assistance Fund for mentally disordered offenders;


    £4 million Mental Health Partnership Fund to support innovative service strategies around broader mental health policy initiatives;


    £12 million support for education and training for doctors and nurses;


    £1.7 million for health promotion; and


    £17 million estimated expenditure on drug treatments;

Allocations to health authorities are through unified allocations and bidding processes. Allocations to local authorities are hypothecated through the Mental Health Grant.

Money allocated for implementation of the Mental Health National Service Framework across health and social care will be identified through joint investment plans and will be robustly scrutinised through performance management systems to ensure full utilisation.

St John's Wort

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they are advising patients who are on treatment for depression and also taking a St John's Wort preparation to stop taking St John's Wort, rather than to stop taking either St John's Wort or their prescribed medication in view of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer's advice that "St John's Wort when taken alone . . . causes no harm" and in view of the patients' freedom of choice.[HL1511]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Depression is a serious condition, which can be fatal if treatment is ineffective. Medicines licensed for the treatment of depression have been shown to be safe and effective and have met standards to ensure reproducible quality. It is not advisable for patients to stop their prescribed medication without seeing their doctor. There have been no successful licence applications for St John's Wort in the United Kingdom.

Along with a number of other European Union member states, the United Kingdom licensing authority has issued advice in the light of new evidence on interactions between prescribed medicines and St John's Wort. The objective is to ensure that prescribed medicines of proven benefit are safely used. In general when a substance or product interacts with a licensed medicine, the regulatory advice is directed at that particular product.

20 Mar 2000 : Column WA12

Smoking and Food Preparation and Consumption

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to ban smoking in areas where food for the general public is prepared and consumed commercially.[HL1451]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Current food hygiene legislation prohibits smoking in food preparation areas in commercial food businesses.

There are no plans to introduce specific legislation to impose a ban on customers smoking in the public areas of commercial food businesses on the grounds of food safety. However, in recent years there has been a strong move towards the provision of no smoking areas and smoking bans in many food businesses to reflect changes in customer attitudes and acceptance of smoking arrangements in public places. The licensed hospitality industry has developed its own Public Places Charter to improve facilities for non-smokers in pubs, bars and restaurants. The Government have strongly supported this initiative.

NHS Dentistry

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they intend to tackle the problem of access to National Health Service dentistry where there is no "phone and go" centre.[HL1476]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government are aware of problems in accessing National Health Service dentistry, which are most acute in the south and west of England. By the end of the year there will be around 40 "phone and go" dental access centres relieving the most acute problems of access to NHS dentistry. Further steps are being taken to address problems of access. Personal dental services pilots allow for flexible and innovative approaches to the provision of dental services. There are currently 38 pilots in operation. The Investing in Dentistry initiative is still bearing fruit. The initiative saw a £10 million investment in NHS dentistry and secured promises of 900,000 new NHS patient registrations. The Government intend to publish further plans to modernise NHS dentistry and improve access across the country.

Teachers: Stress-related Disorders

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many teachers have received industrial injury benefit due to anxiety or depression caused by bullying.[HL1473]

20 Mar 2000 : Column WA13

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table.

Stress-related disorders are not a prescribed disease for the purposes of industrial injuries disablement benefit. Industrial injuries disablement benefit can only be paid in relation to mental disorders where an industrial accident has been identified as the cause of the disablement.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Figures--Accident Assessments Current at April 1998 by Mental and Behavioural Disorder

Industrial Injuries
Disablement BenefitAt 4 April 1998
All accidents217,000
Mental and behavioural disorders700

Notes:

1. These figures are based on a 10 per cent sample of industrial injuries disablement benefit and include an adjustment for late statistical returns. Figures are provisional.

2. Figures have been rounded.

3. Figures for 1999 are not yet available.

Source:

DSS (Analytical Services Division).

Mental disorder is recorded in relation to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.



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