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|Suicides in contact with mental health services in the year prior to death (England only)|
|Suicides in contact with MH services N=8,565||In-patients N=1,153 (%)|
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects on the health of elderly people of the termination of the reciprocal health agreement with the Isle of Man; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Department has not yet given formal notice on the bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man but it has informed the Isle of Man of the intention to do so. As the termination of the agreement has not yet been formalised, neither the UK nor the Isle of Man have confirmed which treatments will be chargeable to tourists after the termination of the agreement. However, the Department will recommend private travel insurance for tourists, as it does for all travel outside the UK. Given the wide availability of travel insurance, termination of the agreement is not expected to have a significant adverse effect on any group of the population, including the elderly.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent estimate he has made of the percentage of 11 to 17 year olds who use sun beds in (a) urban and (b) rural areas in England and Wales; 
(2) with reference to his Departments report on the Cancer Reform Strategy, Maintaining Momentum, published on 1 December 2008, when he expects to publish further information on sun bed use by young people; 
Gillian Merron: The recent report of the committee on medical aspects of radiation in the environment (COMARE) summarises evidence on sunbed use amongst young people and also refers to estimates of the number of deaths accounted for by sunbed use. The report can be accessed at:
The Department has commissioned further research from Cancer Research UK which is expected to cover what factors motivate young people to use sunbeds in a particular setting. We will consider making these data available in due course.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the statement of 12 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1052-63, on swine flu update, what plans are in place to ensure that critical care capacity is in place where it is needed; and what recent assessment he has made of the level of critical care capacity required to meet those needs; 
Gillian Merron: It is not possible to estimate the number of critical care beds required in a flu pandemic because this will depend upon a range of factors such as the clinical attack rate, the most at risk population and the number of flu victims requiring intensive care. The percentage of those diagnosed with swine flu that have required intensive care treatment is less than 1 per cent.
In the Managing Demand and Capacity in Health Care Organisations (Surge) guidance, it is advised that, within their local flu contingency plans, acute hospitals will aim to double the number of critical care beds available. A copy of the guidance has already been placed in the Library. Managing demand will also be achieved by cancelling elective work and redeploying clinical staff from services such as theatres to help provide a level of critical care across this increased demand. The guidance also includes measures to relieve pressure such as increased use of agency and retired staff.
In June 2009, the Chief Medical Officer issued advice to national health service staff about the measures they should take to ensure adequate surveillance and testing of hospital patients for swine flu. A copy of that advice has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the statement of 12 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1052-63, on swine flu update, from which locations in each primary care trust area patients who require antiviral medication are being asked to collect that medication; what the reasons are for the time taken to designate such collection points; and when he expects all arrangements for such collection points to be in place. 
Primary care trusts (PCTs) already have arrangements in place for antiviral collection points as part of pandemic flu planning. Strategic health authorities (SHAs) have been reviewing this earlier this year to ensure that plans are robust, that a good spread is available across each PCT geographically and that sufficient collection points can be up and running to meet the needs of the population. All PCTs are able to establish an initial antiviral collection point (ACP) within 48 hours, to provide at least one ACP which can be operational on a 24/7 basis with the remainder offering a range of opening hours dependent upon demand. Within seven days of the request to mobilise PCTs are able to have sufficient ACPs up and running to meet the needs of the population as necessary. Timing of mobilisation
of collection points and locations will depend upon the level of demand from swine flu in each local area. PCTs in each area are providing local communications in each area to tell the population where collection points are located. The detail of where all collection points are operating is not held centrally.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the statement of 12 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1052-63, on swine flu update, for what reasons the National Pandemic Flu Line service will not be operational until the autumn; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the change to the timetable for the establishment of the full service. 
Gillian Merron: The full National Pandemic Flu Service continues to be planned for operation during the autumn, if required. As a result of the swine flu outbreak the build of the original flu line system was put on hold so that an interim solution, including additional antiviral collection point functionality, could be developed and tested to be available more quickly if needed. The additional costs related to building the interim solution amount to approximately £2.5 million and are the only additional system build costs incurred to date in respect of the interim solution.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the statement of 12 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1052-63, on swine flu update, who the members of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts are; on which dates the group has met; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each such meeting. 
Gillian Merron: On 12 June 2009, the Secretary of State for Health mentioned SAGE but in error referred to the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts, which advises the World Health Organisation on immunisation. He intended to refer to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which has been established to provide cross government scientific advice regarding the outbreak of swine flu.
Professor John Beddington (Co-Chair)
Professor Sir Gordon Duff (Co-Chair)
Professor David Harper (Lead Government Department)
Professor Sir Roy Anderson
Professor Dame Sally Davies (Departmental Chief Scientific Adviser)
Dr. Meirion Evans
Professor Neil Ferguson
Professor George Griffin
Dr. Peter Grove
Professor Andrew Hall
Dr. Stephen Inglis
Dr. Steve Leach
Professor Susan Michie
Professor Angus Nicoll
Professor Karl Nicholson
Professor Peter Openshaw
Professor Deenan Pillay
Sir John Skehel
Professor Jonathan Van Tam
Professor Maria Zambon
5, 8, 12, 18, 20, 26 May
2, 9, 15, 22, 29 June
We will not be placing copies of the minutes of each SAGE meeting in the Library at the present time. The majority of SAGE work is directly commenting on or providing input to the formulation of Government policy. In addition, in order for SAGE to work effectively, members need to be free to discuss issues openly, including confidential evidence in their deliberations. The publication of the minutes may therefore prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. However, we will keep the publication of minutes under review.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the statement of 12 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1052-62, on swine flu update, what decisions the Health Minister took regarding pandemic influenza in 2007. 
Gillian Merron: Departmental Ministers have been fully engaged in preparations for pandemic influenza for many years. Final decisions on pandemic preparedness have been the responsibility of the Secretary of State.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to enable people to purchase anti-pyretics in greater quantities over the counter for preparation in the event of them contracting swine influenza. 
Gillian Merron: There are no current plans to do this. Antipyretics such as paracetamol and aspirin are available in packs of 16 tablets or capsules from general sale outlets such as supermarkets and up to two packs can be purchased at any one time. Larger packs of 32 tablets or capsules are designated as pharmacy medicines and are sold by or under the supervision of a pharmacist. Pharmacists have the professional discretion to sell up to 100 tablets or capsules without a prescription if they consider this is in the best interests of the patient. The need for professional advice and supervision when supplying these medicines does not reduce during a pandemic.
Gillian Merron: In each primary care trust (PCT) or where demand from swine flu has been very modest across a number of PCTs they have been asked to mobilise at least one Antiviral Collection Point locally. More have been opened to respond to the level of demand from patients and the public for rapid access to antivirals.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of intensive care beds occupied by people diagnosed with swine influenza at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Gillian Merron: In the 24 hours up to 8 am on 8 July 2009, 43 in-patients with swine influenza (swabbed or clinically presumed) were receiving critical care in national health service trusts in England.
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 29 June 2009]: The Department has not evaluated any research on the teratogenic properties of thalidomide. Toxicity trials for pharmaceutical products, including tests for their teratogenic properties, are the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies.
John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 October 2008, Official Report, columns 524-25W, how much of the funding of £4 million from the community hospitals and services programme for the re-development of Thame Hospital, Oxfordshire had been spent as at 1 July 2009, and what the timetable is for the completion of the re-development. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Thame Community Hospital programme is one of 28 schemes that has secured funding from the community hospital programme. The latest project programme from the primary care trust (PCT) indicates that work on the new unit is planned to start on site in August 2010 and completion in September 2011. The PCT schedule indicates a requirement for funding of £2.28 million in 2010-11 and £1.72 million in 2011-12. Additional refurbishment of older buildings takes place from October 2011 to March 2012, and the PCT tells us that it will be operational in March or April 2012.
Gillian Merron: The addiction to prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, is a very important issue and a number of steps have been taken to tackle this problem with the main focus on advice to prevent such dependence occurring in the first place, by warning general practitioners of the potential side-effects of prescribed medicines and the dangers of involuntary addiction to benzodiazepines.
Over the coming months the Department will be reviewing its policy on addiction to prescription and over the (OTC) drugs, including tranquillisers. This review will identity where and how policy should advanced, so that those addicted to prescription or OTC drugs receive high quality, effective services.
John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the investigation commissioned by the Healthcare Commission in April 2008 into the West London Mental Health Trust will be (a) completed and (b) published. 
Phil Hope: The Healthcare Commission's successor organisation, the Care Quality Commission, has informed us that it has completed its investigation into West London Mental Health NHS Trust. It will publish its report on its website on 21 July 2009.
Gillian Merron: The Minister who lead on Public Health had responsibility for the Young Peoples Development Programme. This pilot programme ran from 2004 to 2007 at a total cost of £6 million. The programme finished in spring 2007.
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