Written Question
Musculoskeletal Disorders: Surgery
28 Oct 2020, 12:38 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Willis of Knaresborough

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is interventional procedure guidance available on CE marked vertebral body tethering systems from (1) the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, or (2) the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency; and for what kinds of patients, if any, vertebral body tethering will be made available.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

There is no current interventional procedure guidance available on CE marked vertebral body tethering systems from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) or the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. NICE will be producing interventional procedures guidance on vertebral body tethering for scoliosis. The guidance will involve the evaluation of the procedure, rather than looking at any specific device or product, and will focus on the safety and efficacy of the procedure. The expected date for the publication of the guidance is still to be confirmed.


Written Question
Self-harm: Somerset
28 Oct 2020, 12:32 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Patten

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of current levels of emergency hospital admissions related to self-harm in Somerset; and whether such levels are higher or lower than those for (1) South West England, and (2) England as a whole.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The information is not held in the format requested.


Written Question
Pregnancy: Screening
28 Oct 2020, 12:32 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Stroud

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential impact of the national rollout of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing on the prevalence of sex-selective abortion; and what plans they have to suspend the rollout of that scheme until they have carried out a review of that potential impact.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) recommendation on the use of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), is as a contingent test in the National Health Service Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme for Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome and Patau’s syndrome only.

NIPT has not been recommended for the use of any other genetic marker, including sex.

There are no plans to suspend the rollout of the NIPT screening programme. NIPT will be introduced as an ‘evaluative roll out’. This means the programme will be able to monitor how the introduction of NIPT is working at each stage of the roll out and make any changes to the pathway and screening processes quickly and effectively. The UK NSC will be kept informed about progress with the evaluation.


Written Question
Scoliosis: Children
28 Oct 2020, 12:07 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Willis of Knaresborough

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the National Institute for Health Research is funding any research into the use of vertebral body tethering for adolescents with advancing scoliosis.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including scoliosis. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. The NIHR is not currently funding or supporting research into the use of vertebral body tethering for adolescents with advancing scoliosis.


Written Question
Rare diseases: Medical Treatments
28 Oct 2020, 12:07 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Sharkey

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 1 May 2019 (HL Deb, col 1020) that they intend to "ensure that the review takes into account the benefits offered by new treatments for severe life-threatening and rare diseases", what plans they have to provide assurances that NICE will not end the use of rarity as a decision modifier in its highly specialised technology appraisal process.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

It is too soon to comment on the potential outcomes of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) methods review and any changes to that may be proposed, but issues around the use of modifiers are being explored.

NICE expects to consult on the case for change later this year, and there will be a second consultation in 2021 on the updated methods manual.


Written Question
Health Services: Counter-terrorism
28 Oct 2020, 12:06 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Medact False Positives: the Prevent counter-extremism policy in healthcare, published on 2 July, particularly its finding that there is evidence that Prevent undermines key duties of health professionals, including (1) confidentiality, (2) duty of care to the patient, and (3) consent.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The Department has noted the concerns raised in the report by Medact False Positives: the Prevent counter-extremism policy in healthcare. Healthcare professionals have a duty of care to safeguard patients who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. Prevent is a statutory duty for National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts, whose staff may need to share personal information to ensure that a person at risk of radicalisation is given appropriate support. Information sharing is governed by legislation and assessed on a case-by-case basis, which considers whether the informed consent of the individual can be obtained and that the proposed sharing is necessary, proportionate and lawful.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Intensive Care
28 Oct 2020, 12:05 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Newby

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their planning assumptions for the maximum number of critical care beds that will be required for COVID-19 patients in Nightingale Hospitals in (1) Manchester, (2) Sunderland, and (3) Harrogate.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The maximum number of Nightingale beds in Manchester is 633, in Sunderland it is 460 and in Harrogate it is 495 beds.

These numbers will augment existing critical care beds in each region to provide surge capacity.

All Nightingale hospitals have the ability to care for ventilated patients, however, clinical models can adapt to local need. The local clinical leaders will plan how to use the Nightingale capacity based on local conditions, considering the needs of all patients requiring National Health Service care.


Written Question
Protective Clothing: Contracts
28 Oct 2020, 11:57 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any personal protective equipment that was manufactured by Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co., Ltd has been bought by the NHS; and if so, how much (1) that equipment has cost in total, and (2) they have bought, to date.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The Department has no contract with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co. Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry show no record of items referring to this name.

NHS Supply Chain, which has its own framework contracts for the supply of PPE into the National Health Service, reports that it holds no contracts with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co Ltd and that its records show that this company is not used by its existing suppliers.


Written Question
Protective Clothing: Contracts
28 Oct 2020, 11:57 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government which companies that have been awarded contracts to supply personal protective equipment to the NHS have sourced stock from Hubei Haixin Protective Products Co., Ltd.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The Department has no contract with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co. Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry show no record of items referring to this name.

NHS Supply Chain, which has its own framework contracts for the supply of PPE into the National Health Service, reports that it holds no contracts with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co Ltd and that its records show that this company is not used by its existing suppliers.


Written Question
Protective Clothing: Contracts
28 Oct 2020, 11:57 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they awarded any contracts for the provision of personal protective equipment to Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co., Ltd; if so, what plans they have to publish the details of those contracts; what was each contract's value; and what was supplied.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The Department has no contract with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co. Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry show no record of items referring to this name.

NHS Supply Chain, which has its own framework contracts for the supply of PPE into the National Health Service, reports that it holds no contracts with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co Ltd and that its records show that this company is not used by its existing suppliers.


Written Question
Homelessness: Coronavirus
27 Oct 2020, 4:06 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Wigley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that the health needs of people with no fixed abode (1) are considered, and (2) are facilitated, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

Homeless people and people who experience rough sleeping are at increased vulnerability to severe illness from COVID-19. The Department, Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working closely since the start of the pandemic to provide leadership and support to local authority public health teams and the National Health Service around homelessness and COVID-19 related priorities. This has included advice and guidance to the system on responding to the multiple health needs (substance misuse, mental and physical health) of the population during the ‘Everyone In’ phase, advice on testing of asymptomatic homeless people as part of their accommodation move on plans and access to the right care and support including registering with a general practitioner, access to mental health and substance misuse services. The Department, PHE and NHS England and NHS Improvement are continuing to prioritise a joined-up health response for this population.


Written Question
Public Sector: Contracts
27 Oct 2020, 12:57 p.m.

Questioner: Mark Hendrick

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contract Regulations 2015, what criteria constitutes an emergency.

Answer (Edward Argar)

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. The Department has to demonstrate on a case by case basis that it is satisfied the tests set out in the guidance permitting use of the negotiated procedure without prior publication have been met. These are summarized as follows:

- you need to respond to the COVID-19 consequences immediately because of public health risks, loss of existing provision at short notice, etc;

- you are reacting to a current situation that is a genuine emergency - not planning for one;

- the COVID-19 situation is so novel that the consequences are not something you should have predicted;

- there is no time to run an accelerated procurement under the open or restricted procedures or competitive procedures with negotiation;

- there is no time to place a call off contract under an existing commercial agreement such as a framework or dynamic purchasing system; and

- you have not done anything to cause or contribute to the need for extreme urgency.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
27 Oct 2020, 12:57 p.m.

Questioner: Mark Hendrick

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September to Question 81560, what other approaches were considered in determining where procurement meets the tests for the use of Regulation 32.

Answer (Edward Argar)

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. The Department has to demonstrate on a case by case basis that it is satisfied the tests set out in the guidance permitting use of the negotiated procedure without prior publication have been met. These are summarized as follows:

- you need to respond to the COVID-19 consequences immediately because of public health risks, loss of existing provision at short notice, etc;

- you are reacting to a current situation that is a genuine emergency - not planning for one;

- the COVID-19 situation is so novel that the consequences are not something you should have predicted;

- there is no time to run an accelerated procurement under the open or restricted procedures or competitive procedures with negotiation;

- there is no time to place a call off contract under an existing commercial agreement such as a framework or dynamic purchasing system; and

- you have not done anything to cause or contribute to the need for extreme urgency.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Clinical Trials
27 Oct 2020, 12:47 p.m.

Questioner: Chi Onwurah

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on clinical trials in (a) dementia and (b) other medical conditions.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The Government remains strongly committed to supporting research into dementia and the United Kingdom research community is playing a significant role in the global effort to find a cure or a major disease-modifying treatment by 2025.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) published a framework in May to support the restarting of research paused due to COVID-19 at the following link:

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/restart-framework/24886

The NIHR is supporting the research community to amend study protocols for COVID-19 security. Last week the NIHR published guidance that NIHR-funded research staff should not be deployed to frontline duties except in exceptional circumstances.


Written Question
Prostate Cancer: Ultrasonics
27 Oct 2020, 12:41 p.m.

Questioner: Gregory Campbell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to support the development of the evidence base for high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy for prostate cancer.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The National Institute for Health Research has funded, and supported, several research studies on high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy for prostate cancer over the last five years. This includes an award of £677,000 for the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial of partial prostate ablation (via HIFU) versus radical prostatectomy in intermediate risk unilateral clinically localised prostate cancer.


Written Question
Childbirth and Perinatal Mortality: Research
27 Oct 2020, 12:31 p.m.

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for research into (a) miscarriage, (b) premature birth and (c) stillbirth.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is the largest public funder of health research in the United Kingdom.

The NIHR funds a range of research in maternal and neonatal health focussing on the safety of maternity and neonatal services, and the national maternity ambition to halve maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths and brain injury by 2025.

From 2015-2020, NIHR Programmes invested £59.8 million on 61 awards conducting research into miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. Additionally, the NIHR Policy Research Programme funds a Policy Research Unit dedicated to Maternal and Neonatal Health and Care research (PRU-MHC) (2019-2023) based at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford and led by Professor Jenny Kurinczuk.


Written Question
Childbirth and Infant Mortality: Research
27 Oct 2020, 12:31 p.m.

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding his Department provides for (a) miscarriage, (b) premature birth and (c) stillbirth research.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is the largest public funder of health research in the United Kingdom.

The NIHR funds a range of research in maternal and neonatal health focussing on the safety of maternity and neonatal services, and the national maternity ambition to halve maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths and brain injury by 2025.

From 2015-2020, NIHR Programmes invested £59.8 million on 61 awards conducting research into miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. Additionally, the NIHR Policy Research Programme funds a Policy Research Unit dedicated to Maternal and Neonatal Health and Care research (PRU-MHC) (2019-2023) based at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford and led by Professor Jenny Kurinczuk.


Written Question
Abscesses: Health Services
26 Oct 2020, 9:54 a.m.

Questioner: Emma Hardy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve care for patients with venous leg ulcer; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The National Wound Care Strategy Programme (NWCSP) has been commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the prevention and care of pressure ulcers, lower limb ulcers (including venous leg ulcers) and surgical wounds in England.

The NWCSP’s mission is to implement a consistently high standard of wound care across England by reducing unnecessary variation, improving safety and optimising patient experience and outcomes.


Written Question
Abscesses: Health Services
26 Oct 2020, 9:54 a.m.

Questioner: Emma Hardy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to improve accountability within NHS organisations with regards to care for patients with venous leg ulcers; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The National Wound Care Strategy Programme (NWCSP) has been commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the prevention and care of pressure ulcers, lower limb ulcers (including venous leg ulcers) and surgical wounds in England.

The NWCSP’s mission is to implement a consistently high standard of wound care across England by reducing unnecessary variation, improving safety and optimising patient experience and outcomes.


Written Question
Cancer: Diagnosis
26 Oct 2020, 9:49 a.m.

Questioner: Liz Twist

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when Professor Sir Mike Richard's report on diagnostic capacity across the NHS is planned to be published; and how that report will assess the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on NHS diagnostic capacity.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The report, ‘Diagnostics: recovery and renewal’, was discussed at the NHS England and NHS Improvement public Board meeting on 1 October 2020. The report reflects the impact of COVID-19 on diagnostic provision and was published with the Board papers at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/BM2025Pu-item-5-diagnostics-recovery-and-renewal.pdf


Written Question
Diabetes: Coronavirus
26 Oct 2020, 9:26 a.m.

Questioner: Derek Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to ensure people with (a) diabetes and (b) at risk of serious consequences from covid-19 are being actively reviewed by suitably qualified healthcare professionals.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic diabetes care has remained a priority, and general practitioners (GPs) have supported patients with long-term conditions to access care and support.

The Primary Care Diabetes Society developed the guidance ‘How to undertake a remote diabetes review’ to support healthcare professionals offering remote diabetes reviews, and NHS England and NHS Improvement and partners supported GPs with the guidance ‘Advice for healthcare professionals on COVID-19 and diabetes’, for the management of diabetes during the pandemic.


Written Question
Diabetes: Coronavirus
23 Oct 2020, 3:17 p.m.

Questioner: Derek Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that integrated care systems and sustainability and transformation partnerships have up-to-date guidance on the increased risk to people with uncontrolled diabetes of covid-19; and what steps he is taking to ensure that regional NHS teams are monitoring their plans to (a) identify and (b) protect those people most at risk.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

As part of the COVID-19 response from NHS England and NHS Improvement, weekly calls were established with regional Diabetes Clinical Network teams, the Primary Care Diabetes Society, Association of British Diabetologists and Diabetes UK, which supported the development and sharing of a range of up-to-date guidance on the increased risk of COVID-19 for people with diabetes as well as key resources to support clinical teams in the maintenance of essential diabetes services.

To support people living with diabetes during the pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement have also provided a range of tools to support people to manage their condition. This includes making available a new helpline for adults living with diabetes who are insulin dependent, as well as providing access to a variety of online self-management tools.


Written Question
Influenza: Vaccination
23 Oct 2020, 3:08 p.m.

Questioner: Rehman Chishti

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of flu vaccine doses available to the NHS in winter 2020/21 are the types generally used for adults (a) at or over and (b) under the age of 65.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Information on which vaccines are recommended for the different cohorts is included in the Annual Flu Letter Update 2020/21 which is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907149/Letter_annualflu_2020_to_2021_update.pdf

General practitioners and community pharmacies are responsible for ordering flu vaccines from suppliers, which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults. The Department does not routinely collect information on the different vaccines that have been ordered by local providers.


Written Question
Tinnitus: Research
23 Oct 2020, 3:04 p.m.

Questioner: Alex Sobel

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will allocate increased funding to tinnitus research.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including tinnitus. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. Information on individual projects funded by the NIHR can be found at the following link:

https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/


Written Question
Cystic Fibrosis: Coronavirus
23 Oct 2020, 2:49 p.m.

Questioner: Rosie Cooper

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure safe access to deliveries of food, medicines and other essential items in high-risk and other areas to prevent people with cystic fibrosis and other clinically extremely vulnerable people taking unnecessary risks.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Shielding was paused on 1 August 2020 in England; however, it is important that clinically extremely vulnerable people continue to take extra care, particularly as infection rates rise again. On 13 October, the Government published new guidance to the clinically extremely vulnerable that advises additional things they are advised to do to keep themselves safe at each local COVID alert level.

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are advised to reduce shopping trips, shop at quieter times or shop online to avoid taking unnecessary risks. They are also advised to ask friends, family, people in their household or support bubble to collect food and medicines for them where possible. If more help is needed, NHS Volunteer Responders may be able to help with collecting shopping, medicine or other essential supplies. Those in a ‘very high’ local alert level who need extra support should contact their local council.