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7 Nov 2002 : Column 523Wcontinued
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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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. 
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.
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.
Department of Health non-medical workforce census
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. 
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.
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. 
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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.
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. 
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|Area of usual residence||Number||Percentage(14)|
|West Midlands (Metropolitan County)||3,137||9.5|
|West Yorkshire (Metropolitan County)||2,254||8.8|
|Lancashire, former county of||1,349||8.6|
|Tees Valley less Darlington||513||8.5|
|Greater Manchester (Metropolitan County)||2,491||8.3|
|Bedfordshire, former county of||608||8.3|
|Staffordshire, former county of||884||8.2|
|Greater London (Metropolitan County)||8,425||8.1|
|South Yorkshire (Metropolitan County)||1,104||8.0|
|Nottinghamshire, former county of||849||8.0|
|Leicestershire, former county of||835||8.0|
|Merseyside (Metropolitan County)||1,131||7.8|
|Berkshire, former county of||755||7.5|
|Herefordshire and Worcestershire, former county of||529||7.4|
|Tyne and Wear (Metropolitan County)||820||7.4|
|Buckinghamshire, former county of||609||7.3|
|Derbyshire, former county of||733||7.3|
|Durham, former county of||422||7.2|
|Wiltshire, former county of||493||7.2|
|Shropshire, former county of||322||7.2|
|Cambridgeshire, former county of||563||7.1|
|Hampshire, former county of||1,224||7.0|
|Kent, former county of||1,222||6.9|
|Dorset, former county of||414||6.7|
|East Sussex, former county of||482||6.5|
|Cheshire, former county of||678||6.5|
|Cornwall (and Isle of Scilly)||289||6.5|
|Devon, former county of||618||6.3|
|Isle of Wight, former county of||69||6.2|
|Essex, former county of||1,101||6.2|
|North Yorkshire, former county of||425||5.9|
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.
Office for National Statistics
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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.
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