Translation Services

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions police officers in (a) the Metropolitan police, (b) Nottinghamshire police and (c) all police forces in England and Wales required the services of a translator in each year since 1997; and how many languages were involved in each force in each such year. [43769]

Nick Herbert: Information is not collected centrally on the number of occasions interpretation and translation services have been required by individual police forces nor on the languages for which such services were required. A project, led by the Ministry of Justice, is under way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the arrangements across the whole of the justice system, including interpretation and translation services provided to the police.

Young People: Protection

Stella Creasy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were barred from working with children and vulnerable adults by the Independent Safeguarding Authority on the grounds of (a) harm to and (b) risk of harm to 16 and 17-year- olds in (i) 2009 and (ii) 2010. [44038]

Lynne Featherstone: The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) does not collect data in the form requested.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 883W

The ISA operates under powers established in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which defines a child as anyone who has not attained the age of 18. The ISA can bar individuals who demonstrate harm or a risk of harm to children in general rather than those defined by any specific age category.

Education

Adoption

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he plans to take to increase the number of successful adoption applications. [38927]

Tim Loughton: The Government expects the adoption system to work effectively for all looked-after children who would benefit from this permanence option. I want to see more children adopted where this is in their best interests, less delay, timely matching (particularly for black and minority ethnic children) and better collaboration between local authorities and the voluntary sector.

I want more people to consider being adopters. That is why, for instance, the Department provides funding to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering's National Adoption Week, which raises awareness of and dispels myths about adoption. I also want local authorities and other adoption agencies to think hard about how they respond to people who enquire about adopting a child. Those who are not needed by the agency in question should be directed to another adoption agency so that the interest of potentially suitable people is not lost. The revised statutory adoption guidance which I will be issuing shortly makes this clear.

Children in Care: Adoption

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will take steps to ensure that the care system only seeks adoption in cases where children cannot return to their parents. [35976]

Tim Loughton: The law is very clear that children should live with their parents wherever possible. Where a child is suffering, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm, the local authority has a duty to safeguard and promote the child's welfare. Local authorities cannot remove children from their parents (without the parents' consent) without first referring the matter to a court, and they cannot place a child for adoption (without the parents' consent) without a placement order made by a court.

Local authorities must demonstrate that they have explored options for supporting the family before they apply for care proceedings. But I do want to see more children who really are unable return to their birth family safely find a stable and happy home with adoptive parents. That is why I have written to local authorities to ask them to do everything possible to increase the number of children appropriately placed for adoption, and why I have set up a Ministerial Advisory Group on Adoption to provide expert advice on a range of practical proposals to improve practice and issued revised guidance.

The review by Professor Munro is looking at the whole issue of safeguarding, frontline practice and

7 Mar 2011 : Column 884W

transparency, while the Family Justice Review is considering what changes are needed to the system so that it best benefits all children and families involved in proceedings.

Children: Carers

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the number of carers working with children in each region. [40195]

Tim Loughton: The requested information is not collected centrally.

Children: Parental Access

Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he is taking to ensure equality of access of parents to their children in divorce cases. [44396]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 4 March 2011]: At present, a statement of arrangements for children is filed with the petition in any divorce proceedings where there is a child of the family under the age of 18. It allows the petitioner to inform the court of the proposed arrangements for the children. The respondent can sign the statement to show their agreement if they wish. If the parties need a court order to decide the contact or residence arrangements after a divorce, this is applied for in separate proceedings under section 8 of the Children Act 1989.

One of the principles within which the current Family Justice Review is operating is that the positive involvement of both parents should be promoted post-separation. The review is looking in particular at how to promote contact for non-resident parents. The Review Panel, which is independently chaired, is due to issue its interim report for consultation on 31 March, followed by a final report in the autumn. We shall be considering carefully its recommendations.

College of Social Work

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent discussions he has had on the establishment of the College of Social Work. [35710]

Tim Loughton: In 2009 the Social Work Task Force recommended the establishment of an independent College of Social Work to articulate and promote the interests of good social work. It will give the profession itself strong, independent leadership; a clear voice in public debate, policy development and policy delivery; and strong ownership of professional social work standards.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education has oversight of this work and in the past month has had several conversations relating to the College with the chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, has met Moira Gibb, the chair of the Social Work Reform Board, and met the interim co-chairs of the College of Social Work last month.

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he has sought legal advice on the use of the title of College of Social Work by his Department's College of Social Work. [41231]

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Tim Loughton: Legal advice has been provided to Ministers on related matters. This advice is, in the Department's view, subject to legal professional privilege.

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what role he envisages for the Social Care Institute for Excellence in the operation of the College of Social Work. [41234]

Tim Loughton: The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has been asked to facilitate the establishment of the College of Social Work, providing administrative support and expertise in a developmental phase of two years. Neither Government nor SCIE seek to influence the form or function of the emerging college. SCIE will have no role in the governance of the College that emerges.

Departmental Correspondence

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many letters from hon. Members his Department received between 11 May 2010 and 28 February 2011; and how many such letters have received a substantive reply to date within the internal performance management targets set by his Department. [44724]

Tim Loughton: The Department's correspondence target is to answer correspondence from hon. Members within 15 working days of receipt. Between 11 May 2010 and 28 February 2011, 5,678 letters were received, of which 1,160 had a substantive reply within the Department's target.

Departmental Domestic Visits

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what specialist sports schools and colleges each Minister in his Department has visited since their appointment. [32078]

Tim Loughton: [holding answer 21 December 201 0 ]: Since May 2010, the Secretary of State for Education has visited three schools with a specialism in sport: Harefield Academy in Hillingdon, City of London Academy in Southwark, and Consett Community Sports College. The Minister of State for Schools, the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Mr Gibb) has visited Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate. The Minister of State for Children and Families, the hon. Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather) has visited Lyng Hall Specialist Sports College and Community School in Coventry

The Secretary of State was impressed with the way the academies were making maximum use of the freedoms afforded to them by their academy status to improve provision for their pupils, both within their sport specialism and across the whole curriculum.

Departmental Freedom of Information

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 his Department received between 11 May 2010 and 28 February 2011; and how many such requests received a substantive reply within

7 Mar 2011 : Column 886W

(a)

the statutory deadlines laid down by the Act and

(b)

the internal performance management targets set by his Department. [44723]

Tim Loughton: The Ministry of Justice publishes quarterly and annual statistics on the performance of about 40 central Government monitored bodies in dealing with requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Statistics for the second and third quarters of 2010 covering the period April to September can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/freedomofinformation quarterly.htm

and copies are available in the House Libraries.

The statistics for the fourth quarter of 2010 will be published on 28 April 2011 in the ‘Annual Report on Freedom of Information in Central Government 2010’. Statistics for the first quarter of 2011 will be published at the end of June 2011.

Monitoring of compliance of requests under the Freedom of Information Act is in accordance with the statutory deadlines set out in that Act and takes no account of any internal correspondence deadlines.

Departmental Communications Officers

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many (a) press officers, (b) internal communications officers, (c) external communications officers, (d) communications strategy officers and (e) other positions with a communications remit were employed by (i) his Department, (ii) its agencies and (iii) each other non-departmental public body sponsored by his Department on the most recent date for which figures are available. [38956]

Tim Loughton: [h olding answer 9 February 2011] The annual Cabinet Office ‘Back Office Benchmarking' survey publishes the number of staff employed in communications roles by government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies.

The survey also includes staff numbers employed in key back office functions including Human Resources, Finance, Procurement, ICT, Property, Legal and Knowledge and Information Management.

The most recent survey, for the financial year 2009/10, was published in December 2010 at

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/back-office-benchmark-information-200910

Departmental Travel

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much his Department has spent on Ministerial travel since May 2010. [35204]

Tim Loughton: Since May 2010, this Department has been committed to publishing quarterly online information on all ministerial overseas travel, including cost. The published information can be viewed at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/departmental information/transparency/a0065263/ministers-quarterly-returns

7 Mar 2011 : Column 887W

The information for October to December 2010 will be published in due course. Information regarding the cost of ministerial rail and taxi travel is not recorded separately and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on the 2 February 2011, Official Report, column 839W, on the Department’s expenditure on services provided by the Government Car Service.

All travel by Ministers is undertaken in accordance with the ministerial code.

Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent discussions his Department has had with the organisers of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme on the promotion of that scheme in schools. [38499]

Tim Loughton: The Department has had no recent discussions with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme about the promotion of their programme in schools and have not been approached to do this. I support the valuable work of the scheme and I know the positive influence it can have on young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Family Intervention Projects

Andy Burnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many families have received assistance from family intervention projects in 2010-11 to date; and what estimate he has made of the number to receive such assistance in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14. [43368]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 2 March 2011]: The latest official statistics show that 4,870 families received a family intervention up to 31 March 2010. Figures for families supported up to 31 March 2011 will be published in September. We are not able to provide estimates for the number of families to receive support in future years. Decisions on this are determined locally, reflecting local needs.

Fee Schools: Public Expenditure

Emma Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much he has allocated to capital expenditure on free schools over the Comprehensive Spending Review period. [39719]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 10 February 2011]:] £50 million has been set aside in 2010-11 to meet the capital needs of free schools. Beyond that, provision forms part of the overall spending review settlement for schools. Allocations for free schools have yet to be decided and will be dependent in part on the conclusion of the capital review which we intend to publish in the spring.

Human Rights

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he made of the cost to his Department and its non-departmental public bodies of

7 Mar 2011 : Column 888W

compliance with

(a)

domestic,

(b)

European and

(c)

other international human rights requirements in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [18748]

Tim Loughton: The Department for Education does not collate information on the costs of compliance with human rights requirements. The Department takes account of the domestic and international human rights framework in developing all its policies and practices, as it does other relevant legal obligations; an accurate estimate of the total cost of compliance with human rights obligations could not be made without incurring disproportionate cost.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay of 17 December 2010, concerning Mr Larrett. [43568]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 2 March 2011]: My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Schools (Mr Gibb) replied to the letter on 1 March.

Progress Project

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the performance of the Progress project against its objectives in (a) England and (b) each region. [41010]

Tim Loughton: [h olding answer 15 February 2011] The Progress project, which aims to build the capacity of those working with young people in the voluntary and community sector, has been run by the Children's Workforce Development Council since October 2010. Data on the performance of the project are not currently available. However, the project is being independently evaluated and the report is expected in the Spring.

Pupils: Disadvantaged

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect of levels of social capital on levels of educational attainment. [38315]

Tim Loughton: The Department has not commissioned research to examine the effect of levels of social capital on levels of educational attainment. The Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning (a research centre previously sponsored by the Department) has however published a report on this topic in 2007, “The development and impact of Young people's social capital in secondary schools”. This reports on three types of social capital and how they impact on education and wider outcomes.

The Department has evaluated the evidence in the related area of deprivation and education. This looks at culture and social capital and the experience of schooling. The research evidence was published in a topic note “Deprivation and Education – The Evidence on Pupils in England: Foundation Stage to Key Stage 4” in March 2009.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 889W

Schools: Food

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for regulations pertaining to the quality and provision of food in schools. [41277]

Sarah Teather: The current school food standards were put in place because there was evidence that the quality of food in schools was not good. The standards have been fully implemented only since September 2009 after a phased introduction and they are still relatively new. We want to allow a period of ‘settling in’ before reviewing them. We will do this after the School Food Trust’s study of the provision and consumption of food at lunch time in secondary schools has reported.

Sixth Form Education

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he undertook an assessment of the likely effect on the (a) curriculum, (b) enrolment advice, (c) on-programme support, (d) mentoring, (e) counselling, (f) health advice, (g) progression guidance, (h) careers guidance and (i) provision of non-certificated enrichment activities of post-16 students in his decision to reduce the funding for entitlement to 30 funded learning hours. [34897]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 24 January 2011]: We have had to make some difficult choices in order to tackle the budget deficit. Our first priority has been to protect the core education programmes offered by schools and colleges. This covers the whole range of courses including A levels, vocational qualifications, foundation learning and apprenticeships that equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need to progress.

In addition, the savings we have made have enabled us to increase funding for the more disadvantaged and those needing additional support. £150 million of the funding that has been released from reducing the entitlement has been used to increase by almost a third the proportion of funding in the national funding formula which addresses deprivation. Schools and colleges will have the freedom to use this additional investment in the way they see fit in order to provide the activities that contribute to improved retention, attainment and successful progression. In addition we will also be re-investing over £200 million in increasing the size of programmes for students working below level 2 to give them the opportunity to gain level 1 and 2 qualifications.

Teachers: Misconduct

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans his Department has to introduce a mechanism to provide anonymity for any teacher who is subject to an allegation of misconduct by a pupil.[38091]

Tim Loughton: The Government has included provisions in the Education Bill intended to provide teachers in schools with protection from false allegations by giving them a legal right to anonymity when accused by or on behalf of pupils at their school that they have committed a criminal offence until the point they are charged, minimising the destruction that false accusations can wreak.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 890W

These provisions impose reporting restrictions on the media preventing the publication or broadcast of any information likely to identify the teacher concerned. Publication includes social networking sites. This follows the commitment in the Schools White Paper "The Importance of Teaching" to protect teachers from malicious allegations by legislating to grant teachers anonymity when they are the subject of an allegation that they have committed a criminal offence by or on behalf of a pupil at the school.

Teaching Methods: Reading

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent progress has been made in expanding the Every Child a Reader scheme. [42228]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 28 February 2011]: The Government committed £89 million of central funding to continue all three Every Child Programmes for 2010-2011. In the future, funding for these programmes will form part of the overall schools budget, and it will be for local authorities (LAs), in consultation with their Schools Forum, to decide on 2011-12 allocations to schools, taking account of previous levels of funding.

There are 138 LAs involved in the Every Child a Reader (ECaR) programme this year, with 14 LAs choosing not to participate. Latest figures held by the Department (from autumn 2010) show that 21,979 children are involved in the ECaR programme.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what reviews relating to children and young people he has established since the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued its concluding observations on the UK on 3 October 2008; and how many of those reviews included an explicit reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in their terms of reference. [19586]

Sarah Teather: This Government are committed to the UNCRC and to the implementation of the Convention in the UK. The Department routinely invites the Children’s Commissioner and non-governmental organisations, whose thinking is informed by the UNCRC, to feed into all significant consultations and reviews. It also involves children and young people in the development and review of policy.

All reviews led by the Department for Education and its predecessor Department since the UN Committee published its Concluding Observations in October 2008 relate to children and young people and touch their lives in some way. A list and terms of reference are not provided on the grounds of disproportionate cost, but there have been significant reviews on matters that affect children and young people, such as the impact of the commercial world, sex and relationships, mental health, safeguarding and major policy statements on key areas such as education and child poverty. In particular, the review of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner asked how the role can be configured to better demonstrate Government’s commitment to UNCRC.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 891W

Voluntary Work and Charitable Donations

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department has a policy to encourage its employees to (a) volunteer and (b) donate via payroll giving. [43235]

Tim Loughton: The Department for Education has a policy to encourage its employees to volunteer, offering up to two days of paid special leave per year for non-statutory volunteering (such as being a trustee of a charity, or being a reading mentor at a local school). This is agreed with an individual employee's line manager. The Department also offers up to six days of paid special leave per year for school governors and up to 18 days of paid special leave per year for being a Justice of the Peace.

The Department is currently looking to encourage more employee volunteering, in line with the principles of the Big Society.

The Department has a Charitable Giving Scheme which enables employees to give tax-free donations regularly to a charity or charities of their choice through the payroll. Information on the scheme is available to all employees through the Department's intranet.

Written Questions: Government Responses

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate his Department made as to the number of columns and lines required in Hansard for a published reply to written parliamentary question 20371. [36364]

Tim Loughton: The Department does not estimate the number of columns and lines required to publish a reply in Hansard. If a response to a PQ is longer than Hansard would normally publish (over 4 pages of tables), notification will be printed that the response is available in the Library of the House. The response will be available to Members in the Library and on application to the House of Commons Information Office.

Young People: Crime Prevention

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what measures he is considering to prevent the involvement of young people in criminal activity. [34112]

Tim Loughton: The Government are committed to intervening early to prevent young people’s involvement in criminal activity.

Using funding from the early intervention grant, local areas now have greater flexibility and freedom to invest locally in a wide range of universal and specialist services that support vulnerable young people to achieve

7 Mar 2011 : Column 892W

positive results, including avoiding criminal activity. While it is for local areas to determine where to target investment most effectively, the Government continue to support and promote a range of evidence-based targeted services for young people at risk of involvement in criminal activity.

In addition, the Government are also reviewing the current set of antisocial behaviour powers to ensure that all local agencies have a toolkit that provides a strong deterrent and is quick, practical and easy to use.

Health

Cancer: Health Services

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions his Department has had on late diagnosis of rarer cancers; with whom; on what dates; with what outcomes; and if he will make a statement. [44109]

Paul Burstow: We received responses from a range of groups representing rarer cancers during the development of “Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer” which was published in January 2011. Information regarding the engagement with stakeholders is published at annex A of the strategy. A copy of the strategy has already been placed in the Library and is available on the Department's website at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_123371

As set out in the strategy, through the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative, we are planning to work with charities which represent patients with rarer forms of cancer to assess what more can be done to raise awareness of rarer cancers and promote earlier diagnosis.

Departmental Expenditure

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what expenditure (a) his Department and (b) each public body sponsored by his Department incurred on engaging external audit services in each of the last three years; and to which service providers such payments were made in each year. [43748]

Mr Simon Burns: The expenditure for the Department and each public body sponsored by the Department incurred on engaging external audit services in each of the last three years is shown in the following table:

Table of external auditor fees f or the Department and its ALBs, 2007-08 to 2009-10
£000
Organisation 2009-10 2008-09 2007-08

Department of Health(1)

567

565

542

       

Special Health Authorities (SpHAs)

     

Information Centre for health and social care

68

70

70

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

54

57

45

7 Mar 2011 : Column 893W

7 Mar 2011 : Column 894W

National Patient Safety Agency

46

52

45

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse

37

32

32

Appointments Commission

23

28

22

NHS Blood and Transplant

130

138

124

NHS Business Services Authority

148

250

250

NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

77

60

43

NHS Litigation Authority

80

85

85

SpHAs Subtotal

663

772

716

       

Non- departmental public bodies (NDPBs)

     

Alcohol Education and Research Council

7

3

3

Care Quality Commission(2)

150

30

n/a

Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence

24

22

19

General Social Care Council

81

60

53

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (until April 2008)

48

39

43

Monitor - Independent Regulator of Foundation Trusts(3)

26

27

25

Human Tissue Authority

35

35

23

Health Protection Agency(4)

148

207

192

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

104

104

98

NDPBs Subtotal

623

527

456

       

Total All

1,853

1,864

1,714

(l) The audit fee represents the cost for the audit of the Department's Consolidated Accounts and the Summarised Accounts of the NHS carried out by the Comptroller and Auditor General. This amount does not include fees in respect of non-audit work. In 2008-09 of the total audit fee of £565,000, £65,000 relates to work undertaken in preparation for International Financial Reporting Standard implementation in 2009-10. It should be noted that the Department of Health audit fee is a non-cash charge and therefore notional. NAO are funded directly by Parliament. In addition the NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency, which is not included in the table, and NHS Business Services Authority had audit fees for 2009-10 and 2008-09 that were non-cash. (2) 2008-09 was first year and only from 1 October 2008 to 31 March 2009. (3) Monitor also paid for audit of consolidated accounts of £86,000, £52,000 and £53,000 in 2009-10, 2008-09 and 2007-08 respectively. (4) The 2007-08 and 2008-09 fees combine the fees incurred by the Health Protection Agency and National Institute for Biological Standards and Control before their merger on 1 April 2009. Notes: 1. The source of figures is the audited accounts for the relevant year. 2. All bodies were audited by the National Audit Office (NAO).

Departmental Procurement

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to the public purse was of the (a) procurement and (b) outsourcing function of (i) his Department and (ii) the (A) agency, (B) non-departmental public bodies and (C) non-Ministerial Department for which he is responsible in the last financial year for which figures are available. [43955]

Mr Simon Burns: The cost of running the procurement directorate within the Department for the financial year 2009-10 (the last year for which audited figures are available) was £1,553,145.

A figure for running outsourcing functions within the Department is not available. There are a number of branches and directorates within the Department which undertake outsourcing activity. In addition, policy teams throughout the Department have roles identifying, specifying and managing outsourcing contracts. Accordingly it is not possible to accurately set out the costs and time allocations of all of these functions across the Department.

The cost for the procurement and outsourcing function of the Department’s Agency and non-departmental public bodies is shown in the following table:

£
Procurement and outsourcing function Cost of procurement 2009-10 Cost of outsourcing function 2009-10

Alcohol Education and Research Council

0

0

Appointments Commission

0

0

Care Quality Commission

401,000

303,400

Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence

18,975

5,841

General Social Care Council

44,009

n/a

Health Protection Agency

1,100

0

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

0

0

Human Tissue Authority

0

0

7 Mar 2011 : Column 895W

7 Mar 2011 : Column 896W

Monitor

0

0

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency(1)

0

50,000

(1) Denotes Executive Agency, estimate of staff cost spread across the Agency.

Doctors: Training

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that all graduates of medical schools in the UK are able to gain a place on the 2012 Foundation Programme; and if he will make a statement; [41646]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the UK Foundation Programme Office on plans for responding to any oversubscription to the 2012 Foundation Programme; and if he will make a statement. [41647]

Anne Milton: Each year the devolved Administration and Medical Education England Medical Programme Board agree a contingency plan for management of over or under-subscription to the Foundation Programme.

The contingency plan for managing over or under- subscription to the Foundation Programme 2012 is being reviewed by the UK Foundation Programme Office in March 2011.

The number of graduates of United Kingdom medical schools who choose to apply to the Foundation Programme 2012 will not be known until October 2011.

Drugs: Finance

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS spent on medicines for (a) primary care, (b) secondary care and (c) in total for each of the last five years for which figures are available. [43707]

Mr Simon Burns: National health service medicines expenditure in primary care reflects amounts paid to pharmacy and appliance contractors and amounts authorised for dispensing doctors and personal administration in England. Secondary care medicines expenditure includes medical gases. Drugs prescribed in hospitals but dispensed in the community are also included in the secondary care figures.

The following table provides details of the NHS medicines expenditure for the last five years.

NHS medicines expenditure
£ million

Primary care Secondary care Total

2005-06

7,235

2,764

9,999

2006-07

7,593

2,969

10,562

2007-08

7,663

3,274

10,937

2008-09

7,749

3,647

11,397

2009-10

7,946

3,974

11,920

Source: Prescription Pricing Division of the NHS Business Services Authority, England, Department of Health Finance Division, Foundation Trust year-end accounts.

GP Consortia

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the likely effect of (a) UK and (b) EU competition rules on the operation of GP consortia. [44028]

Mr Simon Burns: The Health and Social Care Bill itself does not extend the applicability of current United Kingdom or European Union competition law to the health sector of England.

However, as national health service providers develop and begin to compete actively with other NHS providers and private and voluntary providers, UK and EU competition laws will increasingly become applicable.

Health Services: Reciprocal Arrangements

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the monetary value of payments made to other European countries for healthcare provided to British citizens under the European health insurance Card was in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the monetary value of payments received from other European countries under the same scheme was in the same period. [42236]

Anne Milton: For 2009-10, under European Union (EU) Regulations 1408/71 and 574/72, the United Kingdom received £27,714,514.77 from member states of the European economic area (EEA). Over the same period, the UK paid £131,643,287.52 to other member states.

The amounts paid relate to combined claims for temporary visitors (via European health insurance cards) workers temporarily posted abroad by their employer and referrals for treatment in other EEA countries. Due to the nature of the claims system between member states, it is not currently possible to disaggregate the data consistently for all member states by either type of claim or type of treatment.

Under EU regulations, claims are made on a calendar year basis, and payments made in any one financial year may relate to one or more prior calendar years.

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many disputes arising from the receipt of healthcare in the European Economic Area by UK nationals for which a charge was subsequently made have been brought to the attention of his Department in the last five years; whether there are proposals at EU level to reform the European health insurance card system; and if he will make a statement. [44419]

Anne Milton: The following table shows the number of claims for reimbursement for incurred costs for state-provided necessary health care in another member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland over the last five years.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 897W

Calendar year Number of claims for reimbursement for necessary care

2006

10,093

2007

10,299

2008

13,328

2009

18,090

2010

17,755

Where a citizen has been charged for states provided necessary treatment provided during a visit to another EEA member state or Switzerland, they can submit a claim to the Department for Work and Pensions, and a reimbursement is made.

The Department of Health is not aware of any European Union level plans to reform the European health insurance Card (EHIC). The Department has, however, raised the issue of non-acceptance of the EHIC, with the European Commission, in a recent evaluation of how the scheme is implemented and administered in member states.

Health: Tendring

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will assess the likely effects of implementation of his proposed changes to the NHS on health inequalities in Tendring. [44448]

Anne Milton: The Government have made it clear that tackling health inequalities is a priority, with a focus on equity and fairness. The Government have made a set of proposals to reduce health inequalities in all areas of England.

The White Paper, “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS”, published on 12 July 2010, set out proposals for the establishment of an independent National Health Service Commissioning Board and a new NHS Outcomes Framework to help tackle inequalities, promote equality, and act as a catalyst for driving up quality across all NHS services.

The Health and Social Care Bill 2011 proposes introducing new legal duties for the Secretary of State, the NHS Commissioning Board and general practice commissioning consortia to have regard to addressing health inequalities.

Herbal Medicine: Regulation

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria he plans to apply to the regulation of unlicensed herbal medicines; and if he will make a statement. [43816]

Mr Simon Burns: We recently announced proposals that practitioners wishing to supply unlicensed herbal medicines should be required to be registered with the Health Professions Council. This will enable us to use a derogation in European medicines legislation which permits national arrangements allowing those designated as authorised healthcare professionals to commission an unlicensed medicine on their professional responsibility to meet the special needs of their individual patient. Under these arrangements we would envisage similar criteria applying to practitioners of herbal medicine as is the case with a range of other healthcare practitioners

7 Mar 2011 : Column 898W

in the United Kingdom who can already commission unlicensed medicines, known as “specials”, under such a scheme. Safeguards for the patients are provided primarily by professional regulation of the practitioner and by the role of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in regulating the manufacturers and distributors of the products.

We also propose that in future practitioners of herbal medicine wishing to use the provisions of section 12(1) of the Medicines Act 1968 to prepare unlicensed herbal remedies on their own premises to meet the needs of individual patient identified in consultation should be required to register with the Health Professions Council. The introduction of this requirement should strengthen safeguards for patients while ensuring consumers continue to have access to herbal medicines. There will be public consultation on all these proposals.

At 30 April 2011, following the end of the period of transitional protection allowed under Directive 2004/24/EC, section 12(2) of the Medicines Act 1968 will no longer be available. This provision permitted the marketing of unlicensed herbal remedies in the UK without a requirement for patient consultation and incorporated few safeguards for patients as to the safety and quality of the product or the provision of information about the safe use of the medicine. In future such products will require either a marketing authorisation or a traditional herbal registration.

Homeopathy

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Government response to the petition to the Prime Minister which closed on 6 June 2010 on the recommendations of the Science and Technology Committee’s evidence check on homeopathy, what evidence his Department has evaluated on the clinical effectiveness of any homeopathic product. [44230]

Anne Milton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) agreed to consider complementary and alternative medicine treatments, including homeopathy, as part of its clinical guidelines programme where appropriate and where suitable evidence exists. NICE has not recommended a homeopathic treatment as yet.

There is information available regarding evidence for homeopathy on the NHS Evidence website which can be accessed at:

www.evidence.nhs.uk/search.aspx?t=homeopathy

Hospitals: Admissions

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were admitted to hospital in (a) Devon and (b) England in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [41552]

Mr Simon Burns: The data requested are shown in the following table:

7 Mar 2011 : Column 899W

Count of finished admission episodes in Devon primary care trust (PCT) and England for the latest available 12 months

Devon PCT England

November 2009 to October 2010

170,103

14,714,309

Notes: 1. A finished admission episode (FAE) is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one health care provider. FAEs are counted against the year in which the admission episode finishes. 2. Admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year. 3. The data are provisional and may be incomplete or contain errors for which no adjustments have yet been made. Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care

Hospitals: Babies

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will assess the merits of the new system for barcoded wrist and ankle bands for babies recently introduced at Kettering general hospital for the purposes of ascertaining its suitability for wider application across the NHS. [44576]

Anne Milton: The system introduced at the Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is an excellent example of the benefits achievable through use of barcode technology in the national health service. The Department encourages the adoption of this and other auto-identity and data capture technologies across the NHS, based on the use of recognised barcode information standards which have been ratified by the NHS Information Standards Board.

Medical Certificates: Offenders

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Probation Service spent on doctors’ notes for offenders in connection with non-attendance for part of community sentences in each of the last three years. [44192]

Paul Burstow: This information is not collected by the Department.

Doctors’ notes, including notes explaining absence from part of community sentences for medical reasons, are not provided by the national health service. Doctors provide notes privately and may charge a fee for signing any note or letter where a review of a patient’s medical records is required.

Mental Illness: Advertising

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made on the effects of advertising on (a) adult and (b) child mental health. [44208]

Paul Burstow: No such assessment has been made. However, Shift, the Department's programme to reduce the stigma and discrimination directed towards people with mental health problems was extended in order to

7 Mar 2011 : Column 900W

work alongside Time to Change, the £18 million charity sector-led anti-stigma and well-being social marketing campaign. Shift's work complements that of Time to Change by focusing on two key audiences, one of which is the media.

The work with the media is aimed at improving media coverage of mental health and in particular challenging the link made between severe mental illness and violence.

Guidance on best practice for reporting mental health has been distributed to more than 10,000 journalists, which focuses on covering violence and suicide.

Training on reporting mental illness and suicide is being delivered to postgraduate students at journalism training colleges and the Shift Speakers Bureau, a bank of people willing to talk about their real life experiences of mental illness, has become an essential resource for journalists and a way of ensuring that people's voices are heard.

Midwives: Training

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the requirement for (a) training and (b) employment of midwives in the next five years. [44022]

Anne Milton: The Government recognise that the vast majority of our midwives provide excellent care. However, ongoing education and training is vital to keeping standards high. That is why we are working closely with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the independent body with regulatory responsibility for midwifery educational standards, to make sure that training programmes reflect the best possible learning outcomes.

The Government are committed to training the numbers of midwives needed, and are considering ways of helping to improve midwife recruitment and retention.

The final report “Midwifery 2020: delivering expectations” (September 2010) underpins the vision of how midwives can lead and deliver care in a changing health care environment in line with the proposals in the White Paper “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS” and the supporting consultation document, “Liberating the NHS: Developing the Healthcare Workforce”.

As part of the 2011-12 Operating Planning process, the Department is collecting projections on the midwifery workforce up to March 2015 from strategic health authorities. This information will be published in due course.

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many places for student midwives there were in (a) England and (b) each region in academic year 2010-11. [44442]

Anne Milton: There were 5,644 midwifery students in training in June 2010, the latest figures we have available.

NHS midwifery training places commissioned since 2005-06

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Degree

891

983

1,307

1,944

1,977

1,967

Diploma

397

540

412

0

0

0

7 Mar 2011 : Column 901W

7 Mar 2011 : Column 902W

18 months

531

467

352

328

505

526

Total

1,819

1,990

2,071

2,272

2,482

2,493

NHS midwifery training places commissioned, 2008 and 2009 by strategic health authority
  2008 2009

Degree 18-month diploma Total Degree 18-month diploma Total

North East

66

20

86

67

25

92

North West

218

39

257

228

35

263

Yorks and Humber

176

35

211

242

27

269

East Midlands

142

15

157

146

33

179

West Midlands

226

69

295

277

53

330

East of England

228

48

276

235

54

289

London

454

0

454

335

176

511

South East Coast

144

59

203

125

53

178

South Central

142

31

173

178

25

203

South West

148

12

160

144

24

168

Source: Quarterly Monitoring Returns.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to improve outcomes for those with musculoskeletal problems. [43723]

Paul Burstow: The first “NHS Outcomes Framework 2011/12”, published 20 December 2010, sets out the national outcome goals that will be used to hold the proposed NHS Commissioning Board to account for delivering improved outcomes. Although, there is not a specific outcome indicator for musculoskeletal disorders in the NHS Outcomes Framework, we would expect progress to be captured under Domain 2: Enhancing the quality of life for people with long-term conditions and Domain 3: Helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury.

However, the Secretary of State for Health, the right hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr Lansley), will not be setting out how these outcomes should be delivered, it will be for the NHS Commissioning Board to determine how best to deliver improvements by working with general practitioner (GP) commissioning consortia.

The NHS Commissioning Board will have various tools and levers at its disposal to help deliver improved outcomes, which include the library of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Quality Standards; the Commissioning Outcomes Framework, which the NHS Commissioning Board will use to hold GP commissioning consortia to account; and other payment mechanisms between the NHS Commissioning Board, commissioners and providers.

The tools and levers available to the NHS Commissioning Board are described more fully in both “The NHS Outcomes Framework 2011/12”, and “Liberating the NHS: legislative framework and next steps”, which is available at:

[email protected][email protected][email protected]/documents/digitalasset/dh_123138.pdf

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_122661

Copies have already been placed in the Library.

Musculoskeletal Disorders: Medical Treatments

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of expenditure on treatment of problems of the musculoskeletal system in the next three years. [44327]

Paul Burstow: The Department has made no estimate of expenditure on problems of the musculoskeletal system in the next three years. Decisions on such expenditure are made at a local level, by primary care trusts in 2011-12 and, subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill currently before Parliament, by general practitioner consortia from 2012-13.

NHS

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the external advice received by Ministers in his Department prior to 5 May 2010 on (a) the 2010-11 operating framework—maximum price tariff, published on 16 December 2009, (b) the achievement of efficiency savings and (c) the effects on quality of competition in the NHS. [44749]

Mr Simon Burns: There are no plans to publish external advice received by Ministers in the previous Administration in relation to these issues.

It is an established convention that Ministers of a current Administration may not generally see documents of a former Administration of a different political party.

NHS: Dairy Products

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the volume of milk purchased by the NHS in England in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how much the NHS spent on (a) milk and (b) other dairy products in that period. [44731]

Mr Simon Burns: Information on expenditure on these goods by the national health service is held by NHS Supply Chain (NHS SC), the national supplies and distribution organisation established by the Department

7 Mar 2011 : Column 903W

in 2006. The figures are that the NHS spent £9.5 million on purchasing milk in 2009-10 through NHS SC, and £0.5 million on purchasing other dairy products for the same period. NHS SC estimate that this forms approximately 50% of the market share for the NHS as a whole. NHS SC does not hold information on the actual volume of these products sold by their suppliers.

Purchases of these products other than through NHS SC will be done at individual NHS trust level or through local collaborative procurement hubs. Information on expenditure by these routes is not held centrally.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 904W

NHS: Expenditure

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate has been made of public expenditure on health as a proportion of (a) GDP and (b) total public expenditure in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [44266]

Mr Simon Burns: The relevant statistics are in the following table. The table has been constructed using HM Treasury statistical information sources.

United Kingdom health spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)


UK health public spending (£ billion) Public health spending as a percentage of GDP Public health spending as a percentage of total managed expenditure

Accruals

       

1998-99

outturn

46.9

5.3

14.2

1999-2000

outturn

49.4

5.2

14.4

2000-01

outturn

54.2

5.5

14.9

2001-02

outturn

59.8

5.8

15.4

2002-03

outturn

66.2

6.1

15.7

2003-04

outturn

74.9

6.5

16.4

2004-05

outturn

82.9

6.8

16.8

2005-06

outturn

89.6

7.0

17.1

2006-07

outturn

94.5

7.0

17.2

2007-08

outturn

102.2

7.2

17.5

2008-09

outturn

110.0

7.7

17.4

Source: Tables 4.1/4.2 HM Treasury PESA 2010

NHS: Finance

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the future funding of the nhs.net service from 2013. [43772]

Mr Simon Burns: The current contract for provision of the secure NHSmail email and directory service for the national health service in England and Scotland expires in 2013. Expenditure plans for the service in future years have yet to be finalised.

NHS: Redundancy

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the number of (a) compulsory and (b) voluntary redundancies in NHS non-clinical staff which will occur in (i) the London borough of Newham, (ii) West Ham constituency and (iii) London in the next 12 months. [43784]

Mr Simon Burns: This information is not collected centrally. The hon. Member may wish to contact the London strategic health authority directly for estimated figures.

Nutrition

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated average calorific intake of (a) children and (b) adults was in each of the last 10 years. [44379]

Anne Milton: Average daily calorie (energy) intakes for adults and children are available from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. To date, these data have not been collected annually. However, information is available for calorific intake for 2008-09 for adults and children, in 2000-01 for adults and in 1997 for children. This survey is currently funded as a rolling programme.

Average daily energy intake (kcal) is provided in the table.

  Energy intake (kcal/day)
Age (years) 2008-09 2000-01 1997

4-10

1,558

1,600

11-18

1,917

1,890

19-64

1,949

1,934

Patients: Foreigners

Mr Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many foreign patients treated in hospitals who were liable for the cost of their treatment did not pay for treatment in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09 and (c) 2009-10; [43773]

(2) how much his Department was owed in payments for treatment provided to foreign nationals in hospitals in England in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09 and (c) 2009-10. [43774]

Anne Milton: The following table shows the total audited losses, bad debt and claims abandoned for overseas visitors for years 2007-08 to 2009-10, for England. As well as written-off debt for foreign nationals who are not ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, these data include written-off debt for UK nationals who are not ordinarily resident here. Further, it does not include monies owed that hospitals are still in the process of recovering.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 905W


Bad debts and claims abandoned in respect of overseas patients (£)

2007-08

6,468,751

2008-09

5,204,856

2009-10

6,967,780

Note: We do not collect data from national health service foundation trusts so figures exclude these sites. Source: NHS Trust Audited Summarisation Schedules.

The Department does not hold data on the number of foreign nationals treated.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many personnel his Department has appointed to deal with combat stress; what research studies on this issue are being undertaken; and if he will make a statement. [44713]

Mr Simon Burns: A team of three people work full time on all military health and veterans' health issues within the Department. These include those which relate to the effect combat can have on the mental health of those who have served in the armed forces. Responsibility for the health and wellbeing of those currently serving lies with the Ministry of Defence. The Department is currently working closely with the 10 strategic health authorities to deliver the improvements to veterans' mental health services suggested in Dr. Andrew Murrison's report, “Fighting Fit”.

On research, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) is funding Professor Simon Wessely as a Senior Investigator. Professor Wessely is Director of the King's Centre for Military Health Research Unit at King's College London. For the last 10 years, his research has shifted towards various aspects of military health including the physical and psychological consequences of military service.

Prescription Drugs: Royal College of General Practitioners

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has consulted the Royal College of General Practitioners as part of its review of addiction to prescribed medicine. [43713]

Anne Milton: The Department has commissioned two reports to investigate addiction to medicines.

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) has been asked to collect evidence through:

an analysis of National Drug Treatment Monitoring System and pharmacy data to investigate prevalence and trends;

structured interviews with targeted primary care trusts and local drug partnerships to better understand the governance of prescribing and the commissioning and provision of services to treat addiction to prescription and over the counter medicines; and

surveys and structured interviews with dedicated and specialist providers to determine what is being provided and how local services are configured.

The National Addiction Centre (NAC) is conducting a literature review to bring together the published evidence

7 Mar 2011 : Column 906W

on the health effects of use of these drugs and the treatment and management interventions for addiction to them.

The NTA and NAC reports will be published in the next couple of months. Following publication, we will be engaging widely with interested parties, including the Royal College of General Practitioners, to determine the future direction of policy and service planning.

Social Services: Elderly

Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department is making on a voluntary scheme for payments towards the cost of social care for the elderly. [44318]

Paul Burstow: In July 2010, the Government established the independent Commission on Funding of Care and Support to make recommendations on how to achieve an affordable and sustainable funding system or systems for care and support for all adults in England, both in the home and other settings.

The Commission is due to report by July this year. More information about its work can be found online at:

www.dilnotcommission.dh.gov.uk

The Government will publish a White Paper on social care by the end of 2011.

Sodium Valproate

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will request the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to review the safety of sodium valproate. [44744]

Mr Simon Burns: The safety, efficacy and quality of all medicines is thoroughly evaluated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency at the time of licensing and their safety is monitored continuously while they are on the market.

Sodium valproate is an effective treatment for epilepsy. Important known risks of sodium valproate include effects on the pancreas, liver disorders and the risk of birth defects in babies born to women who take sodium valproate during pregnancy.

The product information for prescribers (the Summary of Product Characteristics) and the Patient Information Leaflet for sodium valproate contain detailed information about its known adverse effects. As new data emerge the product information is updated to reflect the recognised adverse effects. Warnings about the known side effects of sodium valproate are also reflected in the British National Formulary and in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on the treatment of epilepsy in adults and children.

Standing Commission on Carers

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the future of the Standing Commission on Carers; and if he will make a statement. [44720]

Paul Burstow: The Standing Commission on Carers made a significant contribution to the development of “Recognised, valued and supported: next steps for the

7 Mar 2011 : Column 907W

Carers Strategy” which we published in November 2010. A copy has already been placed in the Library. The Commission will continue to play a valuable role in advising Ministers across Government on the strategic opportunities for improving outcomes for carers, drawing upon its members’ extensive networks and experience. I plan to attend the next meeting of the Standing Commission on 16 March, to discuss its work programme for the year ahead. Once agreed the work programme will be placed on the Commission’s webpage.

Streptococcus: Screening

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the (a) clinical and (b) cost effectiveness of introducing screening for group B streptococcus for all pregnant women; and what steps he plans to take to raise awareness among (i) pregnant women and (ii) healthcare professionals of group B streptococcus. [44121]

Anne Milton: The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises Ministers and the national health service in all four countries about all aspects of screening policy. The UK NSC reviewed the policy for screening for group B streptococcus (GBS) carriage in pregnancy in 2009. The review was the subject of a broad consultation and concluded that the evidence did not support the introduction of screening.

The UK NSC had previously commissioned a clinical and cost-effectiveness study comparing different approaches to GBS. The health technology assessment took this work forward on behalf of the UK NSC and published the results in 2007. The main conclusion was that there was considerable uncertainty on the most effective approach to GBS. The study results were considered by the UK NSC during the screening policy review in 2009. The UK NSC will review its policy position again on GBS carriage in pregnancy screening in 2012 or earlier if any significant new peer reviewed evidence emerges.

Information for women on GBS is contained in “The Pregnancy Book”, a guide to a healthy pregnancy, labour and childbirth, and life with a new baby, which is given to all pregnant women. Information is also available on the NHS Choices website at:

www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2037.aspx?categoryid= 54&subcategoryid=137

7 Mar 2011 : Column 908W

Women who are concerned about GBS infection are advised to talk to their doctor or midwife.

Current guidance on the prevention of early-onset neonatal GBS disease is provided by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The guideline advises health care professionals on the management of high risk pregnancies and is currently being reviewed and updated. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence are currently developing guidance on the management of early onset infections including GBS.

Vitamin D

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to publish its advice on the appropriate levels of vitamin D to be used in supplementation. [44421]

Anne Milton: United Kingdom Government policy on nutrition issues is informed by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

SACN agreed to review the dietary reference intakes for vitamin D at its meeting on 15 October 2010. It is envisaged that the review will take approximately three years to complete.

Walking

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the contribution of walking to mental and physical health. [44377]

Paul Burstow: The benefits of physical activity are outlined in the Public Health White Paper and associated documents.

The recently published mental health strategy “No Health Without Mental Health” and associated documents also highlight the benefits of physical activity in improving outcomes for mental health and well-being.

There are other sources of information that have been produced which provide an evidence base that includes the health and wellbeing benefits of physical activity, for example the Department’s “Confident Communities, Brighter Futures—a Framework for Wellbeing” sets out the argument and evidence base for prioritising well-being.