Alex Norris Portrait

Alex Norris

Labour (Co-op) - Nottingham North

Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

(since April 2020)

Department Event
Tuesday 8th June 2021
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
8 Jun 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
National Security and Investment Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 194 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 269
Speeches
Monday 26th April 2021
Air Ambulance Funding

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mr Stringer, and to respond to the debate on behalf of …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Coronavirus: Contact Tracing
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long the contract with Serco for NHS test …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Monday 16th March 2020
Assaults on Retail Workers (Offences) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make certain offences, including malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault, aggravated when perpetrated …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 6th July 2020
1. Employment and earnings
28 January 2020, received £80. Hours: 20 mins. (Registered 12 June 2020)
EDM signed
Monday 18th January 2021
Godfrey Colin Cameron
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Alex Norris has voted in 234 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Alex Norris Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Jo Churchill (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
(45 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(9 debate interactions)
Gavin Williamson (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Education
(8 debate interactions)
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View all Alex Norris's debates

Nottingham North Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Nottingham North signature proportion
Petitions with most Nottingham North signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

I want the Government to prevent any restrictions being placed on those who refuse to have any potential Covid-19 vaccine. This includes restrictions on travel, social events, such as concerts or sports. No restrictions whatsoever.

12 kids in the UK are diagnosed with cancer daily. 1 in 5 will die within 5 years, often of the deadliest types like DIPG (brainstem cancer) - fatal on diagnosis & other cancers on relapse. Yet there has been little, or no, funding for research into these cancers and little, or no, progress.


Latest EDMs signed by Alex Norris

14th January 2021
Alex Norris signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
19th October 2020
Alex Norris signed this EDM on Monday 23rd November 2020

Unionlearn

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House recognises the exemplary and invaluable role played by Unionlearn in helping people acquire skills and qualifications to boost their job prospects and make a valuable contribution to the economy; applauds Unionlearn for aiding hundreds of thousands of learners at all levels, from basic numeracy and literacy to …
94 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 59
Scottish National Party: 15
Liberal Democrat: 8
Democratic Unionist Party: 6
Independent: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Alex Norris's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alex Norris, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Alex Norris has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Alex Norris has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Alex Norris


A Bill to make certain offences, including malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault, aggravated when perpetrated against a retail worker in the course of their employment; to make provision about the sentencing of persons convicted of such aggravated offences; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 16th March 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision about offences when perpetrated against retail workers; to make certain offences aggravated when perpetrated against such workers in the course of their employment; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 9th October 2018
(Read Debate)

Alex Norris has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


445 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Government Department is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the policies set out in the Government's Covid-19 Response: Spring 2021 document, published in February 2021, CP 398.

The COVID-19 Task Force in the Cabinet Office is responsible for coordinating the Government’s response to the pandemic. The Task Force has oversight of the implementation of the policies set out in the Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021, however accountability for individual COVID-19 related programmes rests with Senior Responsible Owners within Government departments.

The COVID-19 Task Force works with departments across Government to perform this role including: supporting decision-making through Cabinet committees; developing overarching strategy; and providing data and analysis.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what (a) correspondence and (b) representations he has received on proposals to engage citizens in the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has received assorted correspondence on the proposals for a Commission. The Government will publish more details on this work programme in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral Answer of 15 January 2020, Official Report column 1019 on Constitutional Reform, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including citizen engagement in plans for the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has received assorted correspondence on the proposals for a Commission. The Government will publish more details on this work programme in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government's Covid-19 Response: Spring 2021 document, published in February 2021, CP 398, whether office workers and corporate building occupiers are permitted to return to covid-secure physical workspaces under the terms of Step 3 of the roadmap set out in that document.

People should currently continue to only travel to work if it is not reasonable for them to work from home. On 29 March, the Stay at Home message will be removed. However, people should continue to work from home where they can. We have published COVID-Secure guidance which sets out the steps that businesses should take to keep their staff and customers safe, if they are permitted to open. The Government will update COVID-Secure guidance to provide further advice on how businesses can improve fresh air flow in indoor workplaces and introduce regular testing.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance he plans to publish to raise awareness that essential businesses affected by covid-19 restrictions are eligible for the lockdown discretionary grant fund announced on 5 January 2021.

Guidance for the January Business Support Package was published on 13th January. The discretionary funding announced on 5th January provides further resource to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). The ARG is a discretionary fund which is managed by local authorities. As such, schemes vary between areas and are managed and advertised locally.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is prioritising households using legacy prepayment meters for smart meter upgrades; and what steps he is taking to deliver those upgrades.

Smart meters bring significant benefits to prepayment consumers and have been invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart prepayment services enable consumers to top-up remotely without leaving home and without needing to reach inaccessible meters. They also allow consumers to track their balance easily so they do not unknowingly run out of credit.


Energy suppliers are installing second generation smart (SMETS2) meters in prepayment mode across Great Britain. The Government has taken a number of steps to ensure that consumers with low incomes or with prepayment meters can benefit from smart meters. For example, the Government put in place an explicit objective for Smart Energy GB (the industry body responsible for leading coordinated consumer engagement) to assist consumers with low incomes or prepayment meters. Establishing partnerships with trusted organisations, including local community groups, to provide training and tailored information on smart metering has helped to raise awareness of smart metering, ensuring that all consumers are able to realise the benefits as soon as practicable.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ensure that the 90 million doses of potential covid-19 vaccines which the UK has purchased are allocated according to the WHO Equitable Allocation Framework.

We are actively working with vaccine alliance GAVI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organisation to meet our ambition of access to vaccine for all countries – this includes working alongside other countries to support the development of the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) facility. The priority of the entire world is securing a vaccine as quickly as possible, and our investment is supporting that effort.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK deal to purchase 90 million potential covid-19 vaccine doses complements global efforts to co-ordinate vaccine supplies and ensure priority groups in every country are vaccinated first.

The UK is working closely with international partners to ensure that when a vaccine is available, it will be accessible to everyone who needs it as soon as possible.

The UK has committed alongside other countries to support equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for example, committing up to £250 million of UK aid to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for the development of coronavirus vaccines. The UK has already committed £48 million to the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) which supports low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to access a successful vaccine.

The UK is also working closely with CEPI, GAVI (Vaccine Alliance) and the WHO to shape the emerging proposal for the self-financing arm of COVAX, which can support both domestic access and equitable access to LMICs.

We continue to work with our international partners to ensure that where countries have bilateral deals – including whether we be in the fortunate position where we have excess doses, these could be contributed to the COVAX facility.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to promote awareness by employers of the potential for prolonged covid-19 symptoms.

Someone’s ability to do their job can be affected by health conditions such as covid-19 symptoms. Several laws are relevant when managing sick leave and return to work. These include the Equality Act, the Employment Rights Act and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

During the Covid-19 crisis, the Government has worked with a wide range of businesses, trade unions and representative organisations to issue guidance on safe return to work. This guidance has been regularly updated in line with scientific advice.

In line with employment and health and safety law, guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive sets out that employers should have policies and procedures on managing sick leave. They should develop these in consultation with workers and their representatives. The guidance states that employers should:

- record and monitor sick leave to help them identify trends and manage risk

- train their managers on how to manage sick leave and return to work

- keep in contact with workers who are off sick, ensuring the conversation remains focused on their health, safety and wellbeing and their return to work

- consider making workplace adjustments to help workers return to work. This could include shorter hours, flexible or part-time working, or adapting work equipment

- review their health and safety risk assessment where a worker’s health condition makes them or others more vulnerable to workplace risks

- get professional advice on issues such as fitness to work or workplace adjustments, for example from an occupational health provider.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the preparation undertaken by businesses to support people that are vulnerable to covid-19.

Employers have a duty under UK law to protect the health and safety of their workers and other people who might be affected by their business. This includes considering the risks that COVID-19 represents.

Our guidance outlines steps employers should consider, and employers should use the guidance to create specific plans for their business in consultation with those who are affected by their operations, including workers and contractors.

We know that every organisation is different. Each business’s plan will depend on the nature of the business, such as the sector, and the details of the workforce and operations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to ensure the safety of (a) residents and (b) technicians during smart meter installation as the covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Government is working closely with industry to support the adoption of guidance published on 11 May 2020 on working safely in people’s homes during COVID-19.

Energy UK and the Association of Meter Operators have also been working with their member organisations to support compliance with the Government guidance and share good practice related to all aspects of remobilisation, including undertaking smart meter installations in consumer’s homes. Energy suppliers, meter operators and energy networks will need to continue to have the health and wellbeing of their customers and staff as their central priority.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making it compulsory for all homes to have a smart meter at (a) the point of sale where the property is owner-occupied and (b) the change of tenancy where the property is privately rented.

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020. This consultation sought views from stakeholders about what policy measures the Government should consider in order to complement the proposed market-wide rollout obligation.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

In the meantime, the Government has updated the ‘How to Let’ and ‘How to Rent’ guides for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to make clear the rights and responsibilities for accepting and installing a smart meter.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in circumstances in which a SMETS2 smart meter cannot be installed for a customer, whether it is Government policy to install a SMETS1 meter until a SMETS2 solution is found.

Energy suppliers are required by licence conditions to take all reasonable steps to provide second generation smart (SMETS2) meters to their customers.

SMETS1 meters will only normally be installed where energy suppliers are unable to provide a SMETS2 service, despite having taken all reasonable steps to provide one and the energy consumer prefers to have a SMETS1 service rather than wait for a SMETS2 service to become available .

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the level of debt that has accumulated in the energy sector since the covid-19 outbreak; and what plans he has to support (a) suppliers and (b) consumers in tackling that debt in the short term.

On 19 March the Government established an industry-wide voluntary agreement to a set of principles for assisting energy consumers, through difficulties caused by Covid-19. The support offered is based on the individual circumstances of the customer and the systems, processes and capability of the supply company, but includes measures such as extending discretionary or friendly credit, adjusting payments and the recovery of debts and sending out a pre-loaded top up card for traditional prepay customers who are unable to top up.

Government has also introduced wider schemes to assist both consumers and businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak, including schemes to provide affordable government backed loans. Government has supported household incomes through the Job Retention Scheme to enable employers to furlough staff and the Self Employment Income Support scheme. Government has also introduced a number of temporary changes to Universal Credit to better support consumers on low incomes through the outbreak, including significant increases to payments.

Government and Ofgem have supported energy suppliers in their ability to manage costs and support their customers by providing a loan to the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) to ease the additional pressures on supplier Contracts for Difference (CfD) payments and the ability for suppliers to defer part of the network charges, in order to free-up short term working capital and enable the support of customers in need.

It is too early to say what level of debt has accumulated since the Covid-19 outbreak. Government continues to regularly engage with Ofgem energy suppliers and consumer advocates to understand the evolving picture.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential effect on levels of employment of making energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority; and if he will make a statement.

Upgrading energy efficiency supports jobs and economic activity right across the country, from rural areas to large cities. In 2018, the domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency sector employed 153,600 people, with turnover of £21 billion and exports of almost £900 million. It also delivers a wide range of other economic benefits, for example: lower energy bills, reduced carbon emissions, fewer households in fuel poverty, lower costs of decarbonisation, and improved health and air quality.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent estimate of the proportion of Energy Company Obligation funding spent on identifying suitable homes for energy efficiency measures.

The costs for identifying suitable homes has been estimated at around £257m for the three and a half year duration of ECO3 (2018 – 2022). That would be around 11% of the total estimated cost of the scheme.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to paragraph 2.15 of the Budget 2020 Red Book, what his timetable is for bringing forward amendments to the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme Regulations 2018.

On 28th April 2020 BEIS published a Stakeholder Notice on changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive Schemes (RHI). The proposals were to extend the Domestic RHI for a further year, introduce a new allocation of Tariff Guarantees on the Non-Domestic RHI and extend current Tariff Guarantee commissioning deadlines. These proposed changes are designed to provide for a smooth transition into the future support schemes for low carbon heat and afford large scale projects impacted by delays to construction due to Covid-19 additional time to commission and receive RHI funding. This Notice closed to responses on 19th May 2020.

BEIS understands the importance of delivering as much certainty to industry as possible at this time. As such, having now analysed the responses received to the Notice, officials are working to publish the Government Response and make the necessary regulatory changes in the coming weeks.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of low carbon heating technologies on new build homes; and what steps the Government is taking to provide financial support for those technologies.

In the Government’s Future Homes Standards consultation, which closed 7 February, we proposed that new homes built to this standard should have 75-80% fewer CO2 emissions than those built to current building regulation standards. An impact assessment on the Future Homes Standard will be published when we consult on the details of the policy proposals. We will carefully consider any impacts on costs and housing supply as part of the consultation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether local authorities are legally empowered to enforce compliance with energy efficiency standards for homes.

Since 1 April 2020, The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (“the Regulations”) require that, subject to certain exemptions, all domestic private rented sector landlords improve their properties to a minimum energy efficiency standard of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band E. Local authorities have a range of powers under the Regulations to enforce compliance with the minimum energy efficiency standard, including the ability to serve a compliance notice, a financial penalty and/or a publication penalty that makes details of the breach available to the public.

The Department has launched a landlord exemptions register (“the PRS Exemptions Register”) which is used by local authorities to help target their enforcement activity, and is conducting enforcement pilots with local authorities to develop best practice around enforcement of the Regulations.

In addition, local authorities use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (“HHSRS”), a health-based, risk assessment framework, to evaluate 29 specific hazards, including excess cold, in homes. For private rented sector properties, if a HHSRS assessment identifies a hazard at 'category 1' level, then local authorities have a duty to take formal enforcement action, ranging from a Hazard Awareness Notice to an Emergency Remedial Action (where remedial works are carried out immediately by the local authority and the landlord billed). The HHSRS also forms part of the Decent Homes Standard, the minimum standard that social housing should meet.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to support energy suppliers in meeting smart meter installation targets during the covid-19 outbreak.

Ofgem wrote to energy suppliers on 8 April 2020 to provide them with flexibility to temporarily deprioritise non-essential meter installations. This enabled energy suppliers to focus on: ensuring that customer needs were met, particularly the most vulnerable; maintaining secure, reliable and safe supplies of energy to consumers in the short to medium term; and ensuring the safety and protection of consumers and their workforces.

The Government is working with energy suppliers to re-mobilise the roll-out of smart meters, further to guidance published on 11 May 2020 on working safely in people’s homes during COVID-19.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make installation of smart meters in residential homes mandatory to help ensure targets for installation of that technology are met.

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making it compulsory for new build homes to be fitted with smart meters.

The New and Replacement Obligation (NRO) in requires energy suppliers to take all reasonable steps to install a compliant smart meter where a meter is fitted for the first time including in new build properties.

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020. This consultation sought views from stakeholders about what policy measures the Government should consider in order to complement the proposed market-wide rollout obligation.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether brewery businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for payments from the Discretionary Fund for local authorities announced on 2 May 2020.

The Government has announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants as part of the suite of Business Support grants to support businesses and local economies across England.

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria. Businesses seeking information should refer to their Local Authority for further information on their discretionary scheme. Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) or Self-employed Income Support Scheme are not eligible.

Guidance, intended to support Local Authorities in administering the Discretionary Grants Fund, was published 13th May.

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

This will not replace existing guidance for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an exemption for pubs with a rateable value of £51,000 or above to enable them to be eligible for local authority business support grant funding.

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March 2020, with a rateable value of less than £51,000, will be eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.

Businesses which are not eligible for the grants schemes should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.
Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of British Beer and Pub Association statement that at the end of April 2020 only 40 per cent of pubs had received local authority business support grants for which they were eligible.

As of 3 May, over 697,000 business premises have received grants across the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund, totalling over £8.6 billion. We do not receive management information from local authorities broken down by sector. We have, however, published, a full breakdown of grant funding allocated to and distributed by each local authority here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Government has made £12.3 billion available to businesses under the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund. On 1 May, the Government announced a further £617 million available to help those small businesses with high fixed property-related costs that are not eligible for the current grant schemes. We will be issuing Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund guidance for local authorities in due course. Local authorities are responsible for delivering these grants to businesses and government is working closely with all local authorities to help deliver grants as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the level of additional business support grants required by businesses in sectors that will remain closed for an extended period after the lockdown is eased.

The Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) are just a part of the Government’s unprecedented package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19.

On 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF).

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria. Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant, a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant or Self-employed Income Support Scheme payment are not eligible.

Businesses which are not eligible for the grants schemes should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

o An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;

o The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;

o The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;

o The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;

o The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits on an application to the European Commission for a derogation of State Aid rules in relation to local authority business support grant payments.

Although the UK has left the EU, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU State aid rules continue to apply in the UK until the end of the Transition Period.

Whilst the European Commission has declined to suspend the State aid rules because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Commission has introduced some welcome flexibilities into the rules to deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus, in the form of a Temporary Framework. This facilitates aid going to the companies who need it most, quickly and efficiently.

Following work by BEIS officials, the COVID-19 Temporary Framework was approved by the Commission under the Temporary Framework on 6 April. This allows public authorities to introduce their own aid measures without the necessity of obtaining an individual Commission approval. This provides cover for measures such as the Retail Hospitality and Leisure grants from local authorities.

I would also add that other local authority support, such as Small Business grants, can be given under the normal de minimis rules. These allow up to EUR 200,000 to be given to a business in a three-year period. De minimis aid can be received in addition to Temporary Framework aid.

The combination of these and other measures constitute an unprecedented programme of Government support for business to address the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether pub businesses with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for payments from the discretionary fund for local authorities announced on 2 May 2020.

On 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF).

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Pub businesses with less than 50 employees, not directly liable for business rates and thus not eligible for either Small Business or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants, could be in-scope subject to them being in business on 11th March, not having received any other Government grant funding, having ongoing relatively high fixed building-related costs (e.g. rent and service charges) and experiencing a significant loss of income due Covid-19 impacts. Local authorities will run these schemes locally.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th May 2020
Whether the Government has made an estimate of the number of businesses that do not qualify for the Government’s covid-19 grant schemes.

Local Authorities are responsible for identifying and contacting eligible businesses for either the Small Business Grants or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants. No assessment has been made of the number of businesses not qualifying for the schemes; rather we estimate about 1 million businesses will benefit.

I am personally calling local authorities that have reported slow progress to offer any support they need to get grants out to businesses as soon as possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criteria the Government will use to determine the outcome of the Events Research Programme.

The Events Research Programme will run around a dozen pilot events using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.The evidence will then be shared across the event economy so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.

Settings will include small indoor venues that have a capacity of circa 200 people, where a gig or comedy night would take place, to large outdoor venues such as Wembley stadium. Decisions on the number of spectators allowed into the pilot events are yet to be taken and will be subject to discussions with event organisers and local authorities.

The programme will include looking at risk factors in indoor and outdoor settings; small and large venues; seated and standing events and different forms of audience participation. The pilots will also test a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions during non-socially distanced events such as layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many people will take part in each test event as part of the Government's Events Research Programme.

The Events Research Programme will run around a dozen pilot events using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.The evidence will then be shared across the event economy so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.

Settings will include small indoor venues that have a capacity of circa 200 people, where a gig or comedy night would take place, to large outdoor venues such as Wembley stadium. Decisions on the number of spectators allowed into the pilot events are yet to be taken and will be subject to discussions with event organisers and local authorities.

The programme will include looking at risk factors in indoor and outdoor settings; small and large venues; seated and standing events and different forms of audience participation. The pilots will also test a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions during non-socially distanced events such as layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many test events will take place as part of the Government's Events Research Programme.

The Events Research Programme will run around a dozen pilot events using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.The evidence will then be shared across the event economy so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.

Settings will include small indoor venues that have a capacity of circa 200 people, where a gig or comedy night would take place, to large outdoor venues such as Wembley stadium. Decisions on the number of spectators allowed into the pilot events are yet to be taken and will be subject to discussions with event organisers and local authorities.

The programme will include looking at risk factors in indoor and outdoor settings; small and large venues; seated and standing events and different forms of audience participation. The pilots will also test a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions during non-socially distanced events such as layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of potential merits of extending eligibility to bingo clubs for access to the Culture Recovery Fund.

The Culture Recovery Fund is being delivered by DCMS Arm’s Length Bodies - Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, and the British Film Institute. These bodies can spend Government money on individuals or organisations within the sector they are responsible for.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the Bingo sector. Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ringfencing funding from the Government's charity support package for charities and organisations working with communities that are disproportionately affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has pledged £750 million to meet the needs of vulnerable groups disproportionately affected by Covid-19 through targeted support for voluntary and community sector organisations.

A diverse advisory panel has been set up to assist in the distribution process for the fund. DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund for organisations disproportionately affected.

The government has unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work for groups in need to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that funding from the charity relief package announced in April 2020 is reaching those that most need it.

The government has pledged £750 million to meet the needs of vulnerable groups through targeted support for voluntary and community sector organisations on the frontline of the Covid response. This includes £360m distributed through government departments and £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to assist in the distribution process for the fund.

The government has also unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work for groups in need to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million, plus other sources of support, at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

The VCSE Support Package builds on the significant package of support available across sectors, including the Job Retention Scheme.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to provide Arts Council England with the final funding information relating to Music Education Hubs in England; and if he will ensure that Music Hubs urgently receive confirmation of funding levels in order to avert the termination of agreements.

Music Education Hubs have a vital role to play not only in core school music but also in ensuring children have access to all the benefits of a wider musical education through instrumental lessons and ensembles. They have acted swiftly and innovatively to support schools through the COVID-19 outbreak, including the continuation of continuing professional development to classroom teachers.

Following the one-year Spending Review settlement, the Department will continue to fund Music Education Hubs for the financial year 2021-22. Funding has been confirmed with Arts Council England and all Music Education Hubs organisations were updated on this matter. Further details on specific funding allocations for each hub will follow shortly, alongside an announcement on Department funding for music education nationally.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Department has made of the effect of the UK failing to agree a deal on the future relationship with the EU on food pricing on the provision of school meals.

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, centred on free trade and inspired by our shared history and values.

The UK has a high level of food security built upon a diverse range of sources, including strong domestic production and imports from other countries. This continues to be the case.

The government is working in partnership with food suppliers to ensure that there continues to be a flow of food into the country. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. We are confident that schools will continue to be able to provide pupils with nutritious school meals from the 1 January onward.

The government has published advice for the food and drink sector on working with the EU following the agreement of a free trade deal, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-food-and-drink-sector-and-preparing-for-eu-exit.

A range of guidance for schools, including advice on food supplies, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-schools-during-the-transition-period-and-after-1-january-2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the school catering workforce.

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, centred on free trade and inspired by our shared history and values.

The UK has a high level of food security built upon a diverse range of sources, including strong domestic production and imports from other countries. This continues to be the case.

The government is working in partnership with food suppliers to ensure that there continues to be a flow of food into the country. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. We are confident that schools will continue to be able to provide pupils with nutritious school meals from the 1 January onward.

The government has published advice for the food and drink sector on working with the EU following the agreement of a free trade deal, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-food-and-drink-sector-and-preparing-for-eu-exit.

A range of guidance for schools, including advice on food supplies, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-schools-during-the-transition-period-and-after-1-january-2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the school catering industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Until the end of the summer term, schools could continue to make payments to suppliers under the provisions of the Cabinet Office guidance for public bodies in ‘Procurement Policy Note 02/20’ and ‘Procurement Policy Note 04/20’ if they considered it appropriate in order to maintain delivery of critical services. These are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0220-supplier-relief-due-to-covid-19 and: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0420-recovery-and-transition-from-covid-19. Payments covered the cost of free school meals and universal infant free school meals, but not the costs of meals usually purchased by parents for pupils who are not eligible for free school meals.

More recently, the government has updated its wide package of measures to help support businesses. Further details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Companies within the catering industry may also be able to claim support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended to 30 April 2021. Further details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on the teaching of menstrual wellbeing in schools.

The Department wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe, and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. That is why we have made Relationships Education compulsory for all primary school age pupils, Relationships and Sex Education compulsory for all secondary school age pupils, and Health Education compulsory for pupils in all state funded schools.

Schools are expected to start teaching the new subjects by at least the start of the summer term in 2021. Considering the circumstances faced by our schools, the Department is reassuring schools that they have flexibility over when they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching.

The statutory guidance sets out that as part of Health Education, primary and secondary school pupils should be taught about menstrual wellbeing, including key facts about the menstrual cycle. The statutory guidance can be accessed at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Schools also have the flexibility to design the content of their curriculum in an age appropriate and developmentally sensitive way, to support their cohort of pupils. To help schools design their curriculum, the Department has signposted them to expert advice from Public Health England on reproductive health.

The Department’s guidance for teaching about relationships, sex and health covers all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and includes online modules on teaching about menstrual wellbeing. The Department’s full guidance is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of ending the Construction Industry Training Board levy.

There is no assessment planned with regards to the merits of ending the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) levy. The most recent assessment completed as a tailored review, was undertaken, and published in November 2017. As well as providing several recommendations to CITB, it concluded that the current levy process was the most appropriate way to specifically support and incentivise the sector.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce a deadline for the use of free school meal vouchers during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave on 23 June 2020 to Question 54195.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools put in place plans to recommence serving students lunches provided by their school food suppliers.

The government is continuing to provide schools with their expected funding, including funding to cover benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals, throughout this period. We are asking schools to support children at home who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach.

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or provider about the best arrangements for school meals. Schools should ensure that catering teams and food suppliers are supported to return to school to provide meals both for those children attending school and for those remaining at home who are eligible for free school meals. If a school catering service cannot provide meals or food parcels for children who are at home, the school can continue to offer vouchers to families of eligible pupils if needed.

Our guidance on free school meals during this period is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that schools do not use Edenred and other suppliers' vouchers when their usual school meal provider is able to provide meals to children in receipt of free school meals.

The government is continuing to provide schools with their expected funding, including funding to cover benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals, throughout this period. We are asking schools to support children at home who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach.

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or provider about the best arrangements for school meals. Schools should ensure that catering teams and food suppliers are supported to return to school to provide meals both for those children attending school and for those remaining at home who are eligible for free school meals. If a school catering service cannot provide meals or food parcels for children who are at home, the school can continue to offer vouchers to families of eligible pupils if needed.

Our guidance on free school meals during this period is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is the Government's policy that the school meal voucher scheme provided by Edenred and other providers is a temporary measure during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

The purpose of the voucher scheme is to ensure children eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not in school will continue to have access while schools are closed to most pupils due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not intended to replace long term contractual arrangements.

Guidance on providing free school meals has been updated to reflect that, as schools open more widely and their kitchens reopen, they should provide meal options for all children who are in school, free of charge for those eligible for free schools meals, and should make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home. If schools are unable to provide food parcels, they can continue using the national voucher scheme to provide vouchers for children at home.

Schools can also apply to be reimbursed for any additional costs associated with providing free school meals at this time, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

The latest advice on free school meals is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schools should be serving their pupils with meals provided by their usual suppliers when schools reopen for (a) some year groups on 1 June 2020 and (b) all year groups when lockdown restrictions are eased during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

The purpose of the voucher scheme is to ensure children eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not in school will continue to have access while schools are closed to most pupils due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not intended to replace long term contractual arrangements.

Guidance on providing free school meals has been updated to reflect that, as schools open more widely and their kitchens reopen, they should provide meal options for all children who are in school, free of charge for those eligible for free schools meals, and should make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home. If schools are unable to provide food parcels, they can continue using the national voucher scheme to provide vouchers for children at home.

Schools can also apply to be reimbursed for any additional costs associated with providing free school meals at this time, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

The latest advice on free school meals is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to encourage schools to use their school meal providers to provide school meals when schools reopen on 1 June 2020 during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

The purpose of the voucher scheme is to ensure children eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not in school will continue to have access while schools are closed to most pupils due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not intended to replace long term contractual arrangements.

Guidance on providing free school meals has been updated to reflect that, as schools open more widely and their kitchens reopen, they should provide meal options for all children who are in school, free of charge for those eligible for free schools meals, and should make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home. If schools are unable to provide food parcels, they can continue using the national voucher scheme to provide vouchers for children at home.

Schools can also apply to be reimbursed for any additional costs associated with providing free school meals at this time, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

The latest advice on free school meals is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will provide further guidance to schools on using their usual school meal providers when schools reopen during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

The purpose of the voucher scheme is to ensure children eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not in school will continue to have access while schools are closed to most pupils due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not intended to replace long term contractual arrangements.

Guidance on providing free school meals has been updated to reflect that, as schools open more widely and their kitchens reopen, they should provide meal options for all children who are in school, free of charge for those eligible for free schools meals, and should make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home. If schools are unable to provide food parcels, they can continue using the national voucher scheme to provide vouchers for children at home.

Schools can also apply to be reimbursed for any additional costs associated with providing free school meals at this time, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

The latest advice on free school meals is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the educational attainment of white working class boys of encouraging those boys to develop their (a) reading skills and (b) vocabulary at an early age.

The Department is committed to raising literacy standards – ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects. Improving vocabulary and reading skills are fundamental parts of this.

Our proposed reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage, including revisions to the curriculum activities and assessment goals under the seven areas of learning, are intended to improve early language and literacy outcomes for all children – particularly those from a disadvantaged background. We have also launched Hungry Little Minds – a three-year campaign to encourage parents to engage in activities that support their child’s language and literacy.

To continue improving early reading, in 2018 we launched the £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. We have appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. The English Hubs programme is supporting nearly 3000 schools across England to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The English Hubs are focused on improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils in Reception and Year 1.

Evidence has shown that phonics is a highly effective component in the development of early reading skills, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The disadvantage gap in the phonics screening check has decreased from 17% in 2012, to 14% in 2019.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a change from a competence-based curriculum to a knowledge-rich curriculum on the education attainment of white working class boys.

In 2014, the Department introduced a more knowledge-rich curriculum with associated reforms to GCSEs to make them more rigorous. These changes were in part driven by a desire to ensure all children, whatever their background, receive a high-quality education.

We have made no specific assessment of the impact of curriculum change alone on attainment of white working-class boys. However, against a background of rising standards, disadvantaged pupils are catching up with their peers. The attainment gap index shows the gap at the end of primary school has narrowed by 13% since 2011, and by 9% at the end of secondary school. This means better prospects for a secure adult life for disadvantaged pupils. Our reforms, and the focus provided by the pupil premium, have supported this improvement.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen the powers of teachers to deal with unruly pupils.

Good behaviour in school is crucial if children are to learn and reach their full potential. As well as delivering excellent teaching, schools should be calm, safe and disciplined environments free from the low-level disruption that prevents pupils from learning.

The Government is committed to backing heads and teachers to enforce discipline, and we have given teachers a range of powers to promote good behaviour and discipline misbehaviour, including how they deal with unruly pupils.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour, and the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents. To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

The Government is also committed to ensuring all teachers are equipped with the skills to tackle both the serious behaviour issues that compromise the safety and wellbeing of pupils and school staff, as well as the low-level disruption that too often gets in the way of effective learning. To help support staff, we are reforming training through the Early Career Framework so that all new teachers will be shown how to effectively manage behaviour in their first two years in the profession.

In February 2020, the Department announced its next steps for implementing the £10 million behaviour hubs programme, which aims to equip senior leaders in schools with the tools to improve their approach to behaviour management through facilitated peer-training, matching them up to exemplary lead schools and multi-academy trusts for bespoke support. Further information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/behaviour-hubs.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department takes account of attainment outcomes at (a) secondary and (b) further education level the development of the curriculum for key stages 1 and 2.

The Department introduced a more ambitious, knowledge-rich national curriculum in England in 2014, as well as more rigorous GCSEs from 2015, putting us in line with the highest-performing education systems in the world.

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study. In developing the curriculum for each key stage, the knowledge and skills to be taught for each subject were carefully sequenced, to ensure a coherent approach that takes account of prior knowledge. This allows teachers to plan the school curriculum for each subject so their pupils are equipped for successful transition to the next phase of education, whether this is in the move from primary to secondary, or the move from secondary to further education.

In the case of primary English, mathematics and science, the programmes of study were sequenced in more detail on a year-by-year or two-year basis. The GCSE content requirements for each national curriculum subject were also carefully sequenced to build on key stage 3 and align with key stage 4 programmes of study. The independent regulator, Ofqual, has put processes in place to ensure that it is no harder for a student to obtain a grade 7, 4 or 1 in the new GCSEs than it was to achieve a grade A, C or G in the unreformed versions.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help schools improve the cultural literacy of pupils aged four and five.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework sets out the learning and development requirements which all early years settings and schools are required to follow. This ensures all children from birth to five are supported throughout the EYFS and attain a good level of development - at the end of reception- ready to begin Year 1. This provides a firm basis for cultural literacy through the seven areas of learning: communication and language; physical development; personal, social and emotional development; literacy; mathematics; understanding the world; and expressive arts and design.

The Department’s proposed reforms to the EYFS, including revisions to the curriculum activities and assessment goals under the seven areas of learning, are intended to improve early language and literacy outcomes for all children - particularly those from a disadvantaged background. The reforms provide opportunities for teachers to support children’s cultural literacy through reading from a range of fiction and non-fiction books, singing rhymes and poems and visits to parks, museums and libraries. Strengthening teaching practice in these areas can enable all children to flourish as they move through school and beyond.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of synthetic phonics lessons on children's reading outcomes since the introduction of the Phonics Partnership Grant programme in 2015.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding.

Evidence has shown that phonics is a highly effective component in the development of early reading skills, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our phonics performance is improving. In 2019, 82% of pupils in Year 1 met the expected standard in the phonics screening check, compared to just 58% when the check was introduced in 2012. The disadvantage gap in the phonics screening check has decreased from 17% in 2012, to 14% in 2019. The gender gap in the phonics screening check has fallen from 8% in 2012 to 7% in 2019.

England achieved its highest ever score in reading in 2016, moving from joint 10th to joint 8th in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Stud (PIRLS) rankings. This follows a greater focus on reading in the primary curriculum, and a particular focus on phonics. The average improvement of England’s pupils in 2016 is largely attributable to two changes:

  • In 2016, boys have significantly improved in their average performance compared to previous cycles; and
  • England’s lowest performing pupils have substantially improved compared to previous PIRLS cycles, which has narrowed the gap between the higher and lower-performing pupils.

Building on the success of our phonics partnerships and phonics roadshows programmes, in 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. We have appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. The English Hubs programme is supporting nearly 3000 schools across England to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The English Hubs are focused on improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils in Reception and Year 1.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of teaching synthetic phonics on the attainment gap between (a) advantaged and disadvantaged students and (b) boys and girls.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding.

Evidence has shown that phonics is a highly effective component in the development of early reading skills, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our phonics performance is improving. In 2019, 82% of pupils in Year 1 met the expected standard in the phonics screening check, compared to just 58% when the check was introduced in 2012. The disadvantage gap in the phonics screening check has decreased from 17% in 2012, to 14% in 2019. The gender gap in the phonics screening check has fallen from 8% in 2012 to 7% in 2019.

England achieved its highest ever score in reading in 2016, moving from joint 10th to joint 8th in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Stud (PIRLS) rankings. This follows a greater focus on reading in the primary curriculum, and a particular focus on phonics. The average improvement of England’s pupils in 2016 is largely attributable to two changes:

  • In 2016, boys have significantly improved in their average performance compared to previous cycles; and
  • England’s lowest performing pupils have substantially improved compared to previous PIRLS cycles, which has narrowed the gap between the higher and lower-performing pupils.

Building on the success of our phonics partnerships and phonics roadshows programmes, in 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. We have appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. The English Hubs programme is supporting nearly 3000 schools across England to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The English Hubs are focused on improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils in Reception and Year 1.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans the Government has to improve workplace support for women experiencing the menopause.

The Government is committed to supporting working women at all stages of their lives and enabling them to reach their potential.

We have worked with businesses and academics to highlight the role employers can play in supporting women going through menopause transition. This includes setting out practical actions employers can take. This also sits alongside other policies and programmes, such as flexible working, which can help everyone remain economically active as long as they choose to.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to Answer of 21 July 2020 to Question 75425, what steps she has taken to progress work with the industry to ensure that the supply of chemicals and materials that are essential for water and wastewater treatment processes is not adversely affected following the end of the transition period.

Prior to the end of the transition period, the department worked with water companies, the regulators and the wider sector to prepare for a range of potential outcomes. Water companies undertook extensive preparations to ensure continuity of supply and these have ensured that thus far, there has not been an impact on water supply. Water companies are continuing to monitor their supply chains and have increased their on-site stocks of chemicals. The sector has well-rehearsed contingency plans to respond to incidents that might arise.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to ensure that the supply of (a) chemicals and (b) materials for the treatment of (i) drinking water and (ii) sewage will not be (A) interrupted and (B) adversely affected in the event that a UK/EU relationship has not been reached by the end of the transition period.

As part of the Government’s preparations for leaving the EU, Defra worked closely with water companies and with the industry trade association to deliver comprehensive sectoral contingency plans with arrangements that would protect supply chains in the event that a UK/EU relationship was not reached prior to the UK leaving the EU. This work has significantly bolstered the resilience of the sector and its supply chains. Defra will continue to work with the industry to ensure that the supply of chemicals and materials that are essential for water and wastewater treatment processes is not adversely affected following the end of the transition period.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40742, on Dogs: Animal Breeding, whether a puppy bred by a person that is licensed to sell a puppy in England can be sold in the UK if it was bred by that person outside the UK.

A person who is licensed in England as a seller of pet animals may sell a puppy in England as long as they can satisfy the local authority that they bred the puppy concerned. The ban on commercial third party sales in England is about ensuring the person selling the puppy has actually bred the pet animal. The law on the breeding and selling of dogs is a devolved matter and therefore differs in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34397, whether puppies bred outside the UK can be sold by a person who is licensed to sell a puppy in England.

The ban on the commercial third party sales of puppies and kittens came into force on 6 April 2020 through the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England)(Amendment) Regulations 2019. From this date, licensed pet sellers in England are only able to sell puppies that they have bred. Licensed pet sellers in England will not be able to sell puppies that they have not bred, regardless of what country they were bred in.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the proposed ban on third party sales of puppies will prohibit breeders that breed dogs outside England from selling those dogs in England.

It will be for the local authority responsible for licensing a business to be satisfied that a licence holder has bred the animals they are selling. Defra has updated the statutory guidance on pet selling, and this also covers how to be assured that someone offering a puppy for sale has bred it themselves. The law does not explicitly prohibit sales by someone who is licensed to sell a puppy in England having bred that puppy outside of England. However Defra’s recently launched Petfished campaign provides further guidance for the public on how to source puppies responsibly and this includes signposting to reputable suppliers (like Kennel Club Assured Breeders or licensed breeders) and advising that prospective buyers should always ask to see the puppy interacting with its mother and siblings where it was bred prior to making any purchasing decisions.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to provide financial support to (a) workers and (b) farmers in the Global South that supply goods to the UK and other countries affected by covid-19.

We are engaging with businesses in the UK and in developing countries to understand the challenges they face with respect to protecting incomes and livelihoods in their supply chains. As a leading shareholder and donor to the Multilateral Development Banks, we have been working them to ensure that they are providing much needed working capital to the small businesses and supply chains that workers and farmers depend on in developing countries. We are exploring how DFID’s private sector development finance programmes can respond and complement this support. For example, CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, continues to invest in businesses across Africa and South Asia to support jobs. The UK also currently supports social protection programmes to assist the most vulnerable in more than 25 countries. In response to COVID-19 we are providing expert advice to governments and international partners to assess how and where social protection could be best used to support an efficient, coordinated response.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the capacity of the healthcare system in Yemen to (a) help prevent and (b) respond to the spread of covid-19 in that country.

Following the confirmation that Covid-19 is now present in Yemen, we are extremely concerned by the capacity of the healthcare system in Yemen to prevent and respond to a severe outbreak of COVID-19. Only half of Yemen’s health facilities are currently functioning and almost 20 million people lack access to basic healthcare.

In response to concerns about the healthcare system’s capacity, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are providing vital equipment across the country, including testing supplies, personal protective equipment and ventilators. Last year, the UK provided £240 million in response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, with over £42 million supporting the UNICEF. We also recently announced an extra £10 million to the WHO globally, to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in developing countries and we will consider providing additional COVID-19 support to Yemen should further funding be required.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with the IMF on supporting developing countries experiencing the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is working closely with HM Treasury to ensure that the IMF continues to play its critical role at the centre of the global financial safety net, including supporting the poorest and most vulnerable countries to respond to the economic costs of the COVID19 pandemic.

The UK has been pressing for improvements to the IMF’s existing toolkit, such as increasing the access limits on the IMF’s emergency financing instruments, which was agreed by the IMF Board on 7 April. The details of this can be found here: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/Policy-Papers/Issues/2020/04/09/Enhancing-the-Emergency-Financing-Toolkit-Responding-To-The-COVID-19-Pandemic-49320?cid=em-COM-123-41385

DFID is providing up to £150 million as the UK contribution to the IMF Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, to support the poorest developing countries with debt relief to support public finances during this crisis. The IMF recently announced the first tranche of support through this Trust will be disbursed to 25 countries. We will continue to engage with the IMF to ensure that it can effectively support vulnerable countries during this unprecedented global health and economic crisis, and has adequate resources to meet the needs of developing countries. The Chancellor has announced an additional GBP 2.2 billion of UK loan resources for the IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, which provides concessional lending to developing countries.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) employment, (b) wages, and (c) farmer income in the global south.

DFID is working together with international organisations and other partners to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economies of developing countries, including on the most vulnerable workers, including farmers. We are drawing on modelling by the International Labour Organisation and our knowledge of prior crises.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) availability and (b) adequacy of (i) medical and (ii) sanitation supplies required in response to an outbreak of covid-19 in Gaza.

The UK is providing vital support to help respond to COVID-19 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Our $1 million funding contribution will enable the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an expected increase in COVID-19 cases is poor. The situation is particularly severe in Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment. We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the UN and the international community to ensure a co-ordinated response.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the covid-19 pandemic, what discussions he is having with his G20 counterparts on agreeing a global deal for (a) affordable health care for people affected by covid-19, (b) collaborating on a vaccination for that disease and (c) ensuring that jobs are protected.

The UK is engaging with the World Health Organisation and other international partners, including G20 counterparts, to contain COVID-19 and mitigate secondary health and socio-economic impacts.

We have committed up to £744 million of UK aid to combat COVID-19 and to reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. This includes helping developing countries manage the crisis by supporting the operations of the UN, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as well as the provision of expert advice; supporting the International Monetary Fund to relieve debt servicing pressures on countries struggling with the virus; and supporting international scientific efforts to develop diagnosis tests and vaccines.

G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors recently collectively committed to do whatever is needed to restore confidence and economic growth and to protect jobs, businesses, and the resilience of the financial system.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help strengthen the capacity of the health care system in Yemen to respond to the spread of covid-19 in that country.

The UK has been supporting the health system in Yemen during the five-year conflict and has funded over 4.7 million medical consultations and 2.6 million vaccines since 2017. Last year, the UK provided £240 million in response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, with over £42 million supporting United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

We continue to engage closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF who are providing vital equipment across the country, including testing supplies, personal protective equipment and ventilators. The UK also recently announced an extra £10 million to the WHO globally, to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in developing countries and we will consider additional COVID-19 support to Yemen should further funding be required.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 pandemic on levels of health in Palestinian refugee camps (a) in Lebanon and (b) throughout the Middle East.

The UK recognises the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) unique mandate to provide protection and core services to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon Jordan and Syria. In 2019/20 the UK has committed £65.5 million to UNRWA, matching our 2018 contribution. Overcrowded living conditions, physical and mental stress and years of protracted conflict make the population of over 5.6 million Palestine refugees across the Middle East particularly vulnerable. UNRWA is supporting the delivery of national pandemic response plans and has put in place a range of measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to treat patients with symptoms, working in cooperation with WHO and other partners.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the capacity of the Palestinian health sector to respond to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is providing vital support to help respond to COVID-19 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Our $1 million funding contribution will enable the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an expected increase in COVID-19 cases is poor. The situation is particularly severe in Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment. We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the UN and the international community to ensure a co-ordinated response

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to respond to the UN Relief and Works Agency’s flash appeal for an emergency response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), committing £65.5 million in 2019/20. Our funding contributes to UNRWA’s provision of health services for more than 3 million Palestinian refugees across the region. These services will play a key role in helping contain and address the spread of COVID-19. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are working closely with UNRWA and the international community to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2020 to Question 6789 on Developing Countries: Nutrition, what the timescale is for his Department's adoption of the OECD policy marker for nutrition into its reporting systems.

DFID is already taking steps to report using the nutrition policy marker. This includes ensuring there is guidance on how it should be used and to ensure it is applied consistently. DFID will start to report on the nutrition policy marker through the OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System for 2020 aid spending onwards.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2020 to Question 6788 on Developing Countries: Nutrition, what steps his Department is taking to maximise the impact of its investments in (a) agriculture, (b) social protection and (c) climate adaptation on people’s health and nutrition.

DFID invests in regular reviews and evaluations of its programmes and we use this information – as well as evidence generated by others – to inform the design and evolution of our investments.

This approach is being used to ensure new programmes in areas such as agriculture, social protection and climate adaptation have a positive impact on nutrition and health.

We are also continuing to invest in research – particularly in relation to agriculture and food production – to build evidence on the most effective approaches.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to incorporate the OECD policy marker for nutrition into his Department’s reporting systems.

The UK worked with other Governments to support the adoption of the nutrition policy marker by the OECD. We also led efforts to develop guidance on how it should be applied. The new policy marker will significantly improve our ability to track aid spending on nutrition. We are taking steps to ensure we use this policy marker to best effect in our reporting systems.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether it is his Department's policy to make a financial commitment at the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth 2020 summit.

DFID officials are working closely with the Government of Japan to prepare for the 2020 Nutrition for Growth Summit. This will be an important opportunity to secure new commitments to nutrition, to set the world on a better track to achieve the Global Goals and to help achieve our ambition of ending preventable deaths by 2030.

We are in the process of identifying the most appropriate and impactful commitment the UK Government can make as part of the 2020 Summit.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people at risk of (a) malnutrition and (b) food scarcity as a result of climate change.

Climate change is expected to increase the risk of malnutrition and hunger by increasing the frequency of extreme weather events and disease outbreaks. It will also reduce the quality, quantity and affordability of nutritious diets.

Countries that do not plan effectively for climate adaption are likely to see a reversal of previous improvements in nutrition and food security. Climate modelling has estimated that 2°C warming will result in there being an additional 540 to 590 million undernourished people by 2050. By 2050 there will also be an estimated 10 million more children who will be undernourished as a result of climate change.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking with his international counterparts to help enforce of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

DFID supports implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes in the countries where we work. Evidence shows that inappropriate marketing of breast milk substitutes undermines breastfeeding and that infants in developing countries who are not breastfed are more likely to get sick and to die.

We are concerned that manufacturers of breast milk substitutes continue to contravene the Code. Our position is not to partner with those companies that are uncompliant with the Code.

We provide technical assistance to partner governments to develop and strengthen their own national nutrition policies. Breastfeeding support and promotion are also components of our health and nutrition programmes in countries such as Bangladesh and Nigeria.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to include nutrition objectives in his Department’s investments in (a) health, (b) social protection, (c) agriculture and (d) climate change adaptation.

The UK is committed to addressing malnutrition as part of our pledge to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030.

High-impact nutrition services are an essential part of health services and coverage. We are integrating nutrition into our health programmes in countries such as the DRC and Somalia and will continue with this approach.

People also need to have access nutritious and sustainable diets. We are supporting the roll out of climate-resilient crops and helping to ensure nutritious foods – including fruits and vegetables – are more affordable. We will continue to look for ways to maximise the impact of our investments in areas such as agriculture, social protection and climate adaptation on people’s health and nutrition.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether rail operators plan to extend railcards due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department recognises that Railcard holders have been unable to use their cards while travel restrictions were in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are considering a range of options for all Railcard holders, and continue to work closely with the Rail Delivery Group and the wider industry to consider how best to support passengers in light of the COVID-19 related travel restrictions and returning to the railway

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to extend driving licence validity for people who need to submit paper applications due to not holding a UK passport, during the covid-19 pandemic while the DVLA are unable to process paper applications for people who are not essential workers.

The administrative validity period of all photocard driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August 2020 has been extended by seven months from the date of expiry. Drivers do not need to take any action as this extension is granted automatically.

Drivers who need to renew their entitlement to drive and cannot use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s online service should submit a paper application in the normal way. However, these will take longer to process in the current circumstances.

The Department is urgently exploring further ways of mitigating difficulties people are facing if they cannot transact online.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government has taken to encourage employers to support women in the workplace that are experiencing menopause by (a) training staff to provide support, (b) raising awareness and (c) providing transition-related advice.

The Government is committed to supporting working women at all stages of their lives and enabling them to reach their potential.

We have worked with businesses and academics to highlight the role employers can play in supporting women going through menopause transition, including setting out practical actions employers can take. This work also sits alongside other policies and programmes, such as flexible working, which can help everyone remain economically active as long as they choose to.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of Storm Ciara on public transport in (a) Nottingham and (b) the UK.

Storm Ciara impacted all modes of transport, both in Nottingham and across the UK, and I extend my sympathies to all those affected. Operators and highway authorities implemented contingency arrangements and resumed services as quickly and safely as possible, whilst keeping the travelling public informed.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2020 to Question 9106, on Transport: Midlands, what comparative assessment he has made of the level of funding allocated from the public purse to transport programmes in the (a) East Midlands and (b) West Midlands.

All transport schemes are assessed on the merits of their case. We are taking steps to improve transport infrastructure where needed, to level-up the country, including across the Midlands, such as developing the Midlands Rail Hub. Our most recent public analysis shows that over the period 18/19 to 20/21 we will have spent an average of £264 per head in the East Midlands each year and £255 in the West Midlands.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of mandating a specific workplace risk assessment for clinically extremely vulnerable employees.

Employers’ health and safety responsibilities include taking reasonable steps to protect all workers and others from the risk of transmission of coronavirus in connection with their work activities. The Covid-19 Risk Assessment identifies the control measures employers have identified that they need to take to manage the risk of transmission of coronavirus in the workplace.

As these control measures are comprehensive and apply to all workers, additional control measures for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) workers are not required.

However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises employers to have individual discussions with their CEV employees in order to understand and resolve any workplace concerns. There is specific guidance on the HSE website to help employers protect people who are at higher risk: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm Anyone who does not feel that adequate protections are in place can contact HSE either online using their working safely enquiry form or by telephone: 0300 790 6787 lines are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who are clinically extremely vulnerable have registered for statutory sick pay since July 2020 because their workplace was not covid-secure.

Employees do not need to register for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Employers are legally required to pay SSP to eligible employees who are sick or incapable of work, where their employee meets the eligibility criteria. The government does not collect, or require the reporting of, any data on sickness absences from employers and so does not hold data on the number of clinically extremely vulnerable individuals receiving SSP.

In England, shielding was paused nationally from 1 August 2020 to 5 November 2020. During this period, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals were not eligible for SSP on the basis of being clinically extremely vulnerable as they were not advised to shield and were able to go to work if they could not work from home. Clinically extremely vulnerable employees can be furloughed if their employer is eligible to do so.

All employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. If an individual has concerns about their health and safety at work, they can raise them with any union safety representatives, or ultimately with the organisation responsible for enforcement in their workplace, either the Health and Safety Executive or their local authority.

SSP is available to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who have been advised to stay at home (known as shielding) and are unable to work as a result. Individuals will receive a notification, advising them on the shielding advice to follow and how long for. This notification may be in the form of a letter from their doctor or from the government.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has received on workplaces not being covid-secure since August 2020; and how long it took HSE to respond to each of those complaints.

Between 1 August 2020 and 26 November 2020 HSE received a total of 7487 COVID concerns. As of 26 November, 5139 had been completed. 3998 of those resolved were dealt with by our Concerns and Advice Team, taking on average 3.35 days. The remaining 1141 completed cases were investigated by regulatory inspectors and visiting officers, taking an average of 21.8 days to be closed out, meaning that all actions relating to the intervention had been completed. It is standard practice for the notifier to be contacted by HSE during the early stages of the investigation and again at its conclusion. HSE isn’t able to provide details of the average period of time before initial contact is made because this data is not collected.

Notes:

(i) Investigations by inspectors and visiting officers are ‘closed out’ once all actions relating to the intervention are complete. This happens when HSE has evaluated the dutyholder’s covid-secure control measures, taken any necessary enforcement action or provided advice, confirmed that sufficient action has been taken by the dutyholder to address any shortfalls and associated records completed on HSE’s live operational database.

(ii) Figures were extracted from HSE’s live operational database and provide the picture on the date of extraction (26 November 2020) and are subject to change.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional funding to support to patients experiencing prolonged covid-19 symptoms.

The Government has been clear with its commitment to support those affected in these difficult times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. Those applying for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who may have coronavirus, are self-isolating, or caring for a child (or qualifying young person) who falls into either of those categories, or individuals who have been advised to ’shield’ because they are at high risk of severe illness, will be entitled from day 1 of their claim – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessments. Both Universal Credit (UC) and ESA can now be claimed online or by phone;
  • increasing the standard allowance of UC by up to £1,040 this year;
  • temporarily relaxing the application of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate;
  • making Statutory Sick Pay available from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 - where an eligible individual is sick or self-isolating; and
  • increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the lowest 30% of local market rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

These steps form part of a wider package of measures which represent an investment of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system following the outbreak of COVID-19. These measures, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support by an advanced economy.

We know that circumstances can change rapidly, and that was particularly true at the beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19, which is why the Government will continue to keep the adequacy of its welfare response under review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of an additional fuel payment to pensioners following Government advice for them to stay at home.

There are no plans to extend the winter fuel allowance scheme.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has, however, published a series of measures designed to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak with the cost of their energy bills.

Further information on the measures is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment, whether her Department plans to make exempt people with long-term health problems from assessments to include people assessed before 2017.

Since 29 September 2017, those placed in ESA’s Support Group and the UC equivalent who have the most severe and lifelong health conditions or disabilities, whose level of function would always mean that they would have Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity, and be unlikely ever to be able to move into work, will no longer be routinely reassessed.

These criteria are applied at either the initial Work Capability Assessment or for existing claimants at their next assessment. We need to ensure that we have the right and most up to date information to apply the criteria fairly and make sure we identify everyone who should benefit from it. The people who best understand how their health problem or disability affects them are the individuals themselves, and so it is only right that we ask them for their information. However, we will do this in the least intrusive way possible – the vast majority of people who will fall into this category, will be assessed on paper and will not need to attend a face-to-face assessment.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to further extend the contract with Serco for NHS test and trace; and whether a further extension will breach the maximum value as stated in the original contract.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to the public purse is of the contract with Serco for NHS test and trade for the (a) initial 14-week period and (b) all subsequent extensions of that contract.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long the contract with Serco for NHS test and trace has been extended beyond the initial 14-week period.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.
Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish data on the roll-out of the covid-19 vaccine to adult household members of immunocompromised clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

We do not yet have a specific timeline for publishing this data. Information on the vaccination programme is regularly reviewed and new datasets are added as available.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's timeframe is for introducing digital cards to replace paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

The NHS Business Services Authority are leading the work to digitise the Healthy Start scheme on behalf of the Department, to facilitate families to apply for, receive and use Healthy Start benefits. The NHS Business Services Authority will provide all new users applying to the digital scheme and all existing users every opportunity to transition to pre-paid cards by 31 October 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in the Scottish Government on the use of digital cards to replace paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

Departmental officials and colleagues in the NHS Business Services Authority, who are leading the work to digitise the Healthy Start scheme on behalf of the Department, continue to engage with the devolved administrations as the current scheme becomes digitised.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total value of claimed Healthy Start Vouchers was in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of how much the Government has paid to consultants at firms in connection with the development of a digital card scheme to replace paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

The Department spent £1,909,149 (excluding VAT) on external consultants in developing a digital card scheme to replace paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 are used to remove any products found to contain menthol immediately from the market following the results of the Public Health England investigation into the illegal sale of these products.

We await the outcome of Public Health England’s testing of tobacco products as part of the Department’s investigation of possible breaches of the prohibition of menthol at a level that gives the product a characterising flavour. If any products are tested and found to be in breach of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, action will be taken to remove these products from the market.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 16 December 2020 to Question 127034 on Pharmacy: Rother Valley, on what basis the Government has determined that £370 million has been made in advance payments to support pharmacies; what assessment he has made of how those advanced payments have been spent; when he estimates those advanced payments will be repaid; what assessment he has made of the effect on community pharmacies of repaying those advanced payments; and if he will make a statement.

The latest data available from the NHS Business Services Authority show that there were 74 net pharmacy closures, reflecting openings and closures, from June 2017-18; 82 net closures in 2018-19; and 126 net closures in 2019-20. The data for the year 2020-21 is not yet available. We have not estimated the number of community pharmacies that might close in 2021-22 but we continue to monitor the market.

Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its assessment of COVID-19 costs incurred by the sector the Government will take account of the £370 million increased advance payments paid to community pharmacies. The COVID-19 support package for community pharmacy also included general COVID-19 business financial support, funding for Bank Holiday openings, social distancing measures and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients and free personal protective equipment, as well as non-monetary support including the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the cashflows of community pharmacies; what estimate he has made if the number of community pharmacies that (a) have closed in each of the last three financial years and (b) will close in the financial year 2021-22; and if he will make a statement.

The latest data available from the NHS Business Services Authority show that there were 74 net pharmacy closures, reflecting openings and closures, from June 2017-18; 82 net closures in 2018-19; and 126 net closures in 2019-20. The data for the year 2020-21 is not yet available. We have not estimated the number of community pharmacies that might close in 2021-22 but we continue to monitor the market.

Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its assessment of COVID-19 costs incurred by the sector the Government will take account of the £370 million increased advance payments paid to community pharmacies. The COVID-19 support package for community pharmacy also included general COVID-19 business financial support, funding for Bank Holiday openings, social distancing measures and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients and free personal protective equipment, as well as non-monetary support including the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the study published on 11 March 2021 by Kings College London and the Crick Institute on vaccine efficacy among people with cancer.

Early findings from the King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute study, which seeks to measure the immune response generated by the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at three and five weeks post vaccination, indicated a lower antibody response in people with certain types of cancer.

The findings of the study, which has not yet been published or peer-reviewed, should be used cautiously. They are indicative and do not provide suitable data to infer directly the level of clinical protection.

The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government on vaccine use and prioritisation, regularly reviews data and evidence on vaccine efficacy and effectiveness.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress the Government has made on funding (a) research and (b) trials on long-term vaccine efficacy for the immunocompromised after (a) first and (b) second dose.

As part of the National Core Studies Immunity Programme, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has provided initial funding of £1.8 million towards the OCTAVE study looking at COVID-19 vaccine responses in groups of immune suppressed individuals. UKRI is also supporting the Data and Connectivity National Core Studies programme with an investment of up to £8.2 million to date to enable the evaluation of vaccine uptake and efficacy across all populations.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the NHS spend was on occupational health services and occupational health and wellbeing support to NHS staff (a) from 2015 to 2019 and (b) in 2020.

Information on the amount of money invested in occupational health across the National Health Service is not collected centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which obesity patient and professional organisations his Department consulted with on the proposals on obesity in the Health and Care White Paper.

We have consulted extensively on the policies across our healthy weight strategy and received thousands of responses from a range of stakeholders including individuals, professional bodies and experts including organisations with a particular interest in obesity. These include the Obesity Health Alliance and its members, such as the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, British Heart Foundation, British Dietetic Association and Cancer Research UK. We also meet these organisations regularly and will continue this dialogue going forwards.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 116622 on Health: Coronavirus, whether his Department plans to assess the effect of long covid on patients with obesity; and if he will make a statement.

COVID-19 is a new disease and therefore it is not yet clear what the physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus. There is some evidence to suggest that ‘long’ COVID-19 may be more prevalent as body mass index increases but further research is needed.

The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study and have awarded an additional £18.5 million funding across four new research studies to help better understand the causes, symptoms and treatment options for ‘long’ COVID-19 in non-hospitalised patients.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's policy paper Tackling obesity: government strategy, published in July 2020, what meetings with relevant stakeholders has Public Health England held to help develop the healthy weight coaches training programme.

Public Health England has established a steering group that meets regularly, which includes relevant stakeholders. Additional stakeholders and representatives from key organisations will be involved in reviewing the training programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the 2020 Obesity Strategy, when Public Health England plans to launch the healthy weight coaches training programme.

This training programme is currently under development and more information will be launched later in the year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on access to Tier 3 and Tier 4 NHS weight management services; and what progress he is making to resume those services.

We are aware of the impact of COVID-19 on tier 3 and tier 4 weight management services and are working closely with NHS England on our approach. As part of delivering the commitments set out in ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, the Government announced £100 million extra funding for healthy weight programmes including specialist clinical support.

Decisions about the provision of tier 3 and 4 weight management services, along with other elective activity, will be made at a local level reflecting varying pressures on local health systems and availability of capacity, including use of the independent sector, and taking into account of the rate of recovery of elective services following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that hospital boards do not hold back from apologising to patients out of fear of consequences relating to their liability, as recommended by the Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, HC 31, published in February 2020.

We will be providing the Government’s initial response to the Paterson Inquiry shortly, which will update on progress in our consideration of the Report’s recommendations.

We have been in regular communication with Spire Healthcare to monitor the progress of its recall. By December 2020 Spire Healthcare had contacted approximately 5,500 known living patients of Ian Paterson for whom they have addresses. Spire Healthcare is currently ensuring that the care of those patients has been fully reviewed, that the outcome of the reviews has been fully communicated to them and that, if required, they are getting the support and care that they need. Additionally, several hundred people have contacted Spire as a result of the letters sent out last year. A proportion of these are having their care reviewed by an independent consultant surgeon and some have been referred for counselling, follow up support or, where clinically appropriate, treatment. Spire Healthcare will continue their review of patients’ care during 2021.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 introduced a statutory duty of candour. Providers must ensure that they have processes in place to ensure staff are supported to deliver the duty of candour and have a system in place to identify and deal with possible breaches by registered staff. The Care Quality Commission published updated guidance on the duty of candour on 11 March 2021 which has been informed by the recommendation of the Paterson Inquiry about apologising to patients when things go wrong. The updated guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/updated-guidance-meeting-duty-candour

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that patients treated by Ian Paterson at the hospitals operated by Spire Healthcare have been given ongoing treatment plans appropriate to their health needs, as recommended by the Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, HC 31, published in February 2020.

We will be providing the Government’s initial response to the Paterson Inquiry shortly, which will update on progress in our consideration of the Report’s recommendations.

We have been in regular communication with Spire Healthcare to monitor the progress of its recall. By December 2020 Spire Healthcare had contacted approximately 5,500 known living patients of Ian Paterson for whom they have addresses. Spire Healthcare is currently ensuring that the care of those patients has been fully reviewed, that the outcome of the reviews has been fully communicated to them and that, if required, they are getting the support and care that they need. Additionally, several hundred people have contacted Spire as a result of the letters sent out last year. A proportion of these are having their care reviewed by an independent consultant surgeon and some have been referred for counselling, follow up support or, where clinically appropriate, treatment. Spire Healthcare will continue their review of patients’ care during 2021.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 introduced a statutory duty of candour. Providers must ensure that they have processes in place to ensure staff are supported to deliver the duty of candour and have a system in place to identify and deal with possible breaches by registered staff. The Care Quality Commission published updated guidance on the duty of candour on 11 March 2021 which has been informed by the recommendation of the Paterson Inquiry about apologising to patients when things go wrong. The updated guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/updated-guidance-meeting-duty-candour

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 September 2020 to Question 93695 on the Paterson Inquiry, when his Department plans to publish the formal Government response to the Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, HC 31, published in February 2020.

We will be providing the Government’s initial response to the Paterson Inquiry shortly, which will update on progress in our consideration of the Report’s recommendations.

We have been in regular communication with Spire Healthcare to monitor the progress of its recall. By December 2020 Spire Healthcare had contacted approximately 5,500 known living patients of Ian Paterson for whom they have addresses. Spire Healthcare is currently ensuring that the care of those patients has been fully reviewed, that the outcome of the reviews has been fully communicated to them and that, if required, they are getting the support and care that they need. Additionally, several hundred people have contacted Spire as a result of the letters sent out last year. A proportion of these are having their care reviewed by an independent consultant surgeon and some have been referred for counselling, follow up support or, where clinically appropriate, treatment. Spire Healthcare will continue their review of patients’ care during 2021.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 introduced a statutory duty of candour. Providers must ensure that they have processes in place to ensure staff are supported to deliver the duty of candour and have a system in place to identify and deal with possible breaches by registered staff. The Care Quality Commission published updated guidance on the duty of candour on 11 March 2021 which has been informed by the recommendation of the Paterson Inquiry about apologising to patients when things go wrong. The updated guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/updated-guidance-meeting-duty-candour

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of establishing fluoroquinolone toxicity as a diagnosis in response to the negative side effects attributed to fluoroquinolone usage by some patients.

Serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics can be varied, potentially affecting several different parts of the body. The review of the safety of fluoroquinolone antibiotics by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) focussed on the potential for serious side effects and did not specifically assess the potential advantages or disadvantages of using a specific definition for fluoroquinolone toxicity. Regulatory actions taken as a result of this review have focussed on giving healthcare professionals and patients the information they need to identify any potential side effects for appropriate action and on encouraging the reporting of any suspected side effects to the Yellow Card Scheme. A specific diagnosis is not required.

On 21 March 2019 the MHRA published a Drug Safety Update (DSU) bulletin on the potential serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, which may be potentially long-lasting or irreversible. The DSU also emphasised the restrictions and precautions for use of these medicines that were introduced after the review of their safety by the EMA and the MHRA. The DSU bulletin includes a link to a patient sheet designed to help healthcare professionals and patients discuss potential side effects, patients’ questions about these medicines and what patients should do if they experience a suspected side effect. The DSU also includes a link to guidance for managing common infections from Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that healthcare professionals are fully aware of (a) the potentially serious side effects experienced by some patients as a result of fluoroquinolone usage and (b) the recommended restriction of fluoroquinolone usage in response to the reviews of that usage by the European Medicines Agency and Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics can be varied, potentially affecting several different parts of the body. The review of the safety of fluoroquinolone antibiotics by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) focussed on the potential for serious side effects and did not specifically assess the potential advantages or disadvantages of using a specific definition for fluoroquinolone toxicity. Regulatory actions taken as a result of this review have focussed on giving healthcare professionals and patients the information they need to identify any potential side effects for appropriate action and on encouraging the reporting of any suspected side effects to the Yellow Card Scheme. A specific diagnosis is not required.

On 21 March 2019 the MHRA published a Drug Safety Update (DSU) bulletin on the potential serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, which may be potentially long-lasting or irreversible. The DSU also emphasised the restrictions and precautions for use of these medicines that were introduced after the review of their safety by the EMA and the MHRA. The DSU bulletin includes a link to a patient sheet designed to help healthcare professionals and patients discuss potential side effects, patients’ questions about these medicines and what patients should do if they experience a suspected side effect. The DSU also includes a link to guidance for managing common infections from Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when an assessment will have concluded on the effectiveness of the covid-19 vaccine for immunocompromised clinically extremely vulnerable people; and what steps he will take to ensure that those people are not expected to return to work after 31 March 2021 in the event that there is no data on efficacy by that date.

Exact efficacy data for those who are immunocompromised is currently emerging and many unknowns remain. The Government is exploring all avenues available to ensure immunocompromised clinically extremely vulnerable people can be successfully protected against COVID-19.

The Government is currently advising everyone considered clinically extremely vulnerable to shield until 31 March. Any decision to extend or end shielding measures will be decided upon by the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officers and will be based on the latest scientific evidence. Further information will be provided in the coming weeks to all clinically extremely vulnerable people outlining the guidance that they should follow beyond 31 March.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether any dental contract which misses NHS England’s activity targets of 45 per cent as a result of shielding, self isolation or other covid-19 related exceptional circumstances will still receive 100 per cent of their payment for the fourth quarter of the 2020-21 financial year and that they will not be required to make up that activity in the 2021-22 financial year.

Contractual arrangements for quarter four have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement requiring dental practices to deliver 45% of contracted units of dental activity from 1 January to 31 March 2021 to be deemed to have delivered the full contractual volume.

National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate and the reinstatement of shielding during the national lockdown. Cases will be considered on an individual basis and could include a decision by the commissioner to waive its rights to recover any portion of the financial clawback. The ability for contractors to make up the shortfall of activity preceding or following the exceptional circumstances would have been considered and ruled out prior to approving the exceptional circumstances. Commissioners will follow the Policy Book for Primary Dental Services when making these decisions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the risk that patients with latex allergies face from the administration of the covid-19 vaccine.

Anyone who has ever had a serious allergic reaction should tell their healthcare professional before they are vaccinated. Serious allergic reactions are rare. If people do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and all locations providing vaccinations are required to have anaphylaxis packs on-site, allowed staff to treat them immediately.

As with other vaccination programmes and advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), gloves are not recommended when administering a vaccine unless persons administering vaccinations have open lesions on their hands or are likely to encounter a patient’s body fluids. Plastic syringes do not contain latex and nor do needles.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a dental contract which misses NHS England’s activity targets of 45 per cent due to exceptional circumstances, such as shielding or self-isolation, as a result of the covid-19 outbreak will (a) receive 100 per cent of their payment for the fourth quarter of 2021 and (b) not be required to make up that activity in the financial year 2021-22.

Contractual arrangements for quarter four have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement requiring dental practices to deliver 45% of contracted units of dental activity from 1 January to 31 March 2021 to be deemed to have delivered the full contractual volume.

National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate and the reinstatement of shielding during the national lockdown. Cases will be considered on an individual basis and could include a decision by the commissioner to waive its rights to recover any portion of the financial clawback. The ability for contractors to make up the shortfall of activity preceding or following the exceptional circumstances would have been considered and ruled out prior to approving the exceptional circumstances. Commissioners will follow the Policy Book for Primary Dental Services when making these decisions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has made on the creation of guidelines for the diagnosis and maintenance of pernicious anaemia.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is in the early stages of developing a guideline on pernicious anaemia and expects to publish its final guidance in March 2023.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) latex-free syringes and (b) anaphylaxis packs are available in covid-19 vaccine rollout locations.

Anaphylaxis packs are a requirement in all locations providing vaccination. Neither plastic syringes or needles contain latex.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that clinicians are not subject to (a) legal and (b) regulatory action for work outside their usual area of expertise during the covid-19 outbreak.

In April 2020, the Department wrote to National Health Service staff to reassure them that state indemnity for clinical negligence is in place to cover their work on the COVID-19 response. The Department has also worked with the NHS, healthcare regulatory bodies and the Ministry of Justice to ensure that complaints processes, investigations and legal claims do not place an undue burden on staff or detract from responding to the pandemic.

In March 2020, the healthcare regulatory bodies issued a joint statement recognising that professionals may need to depart from established procedures in order to care for patients and people using health and social care services. This made clear that they would take into account COVID-19 factors when assessing concerns about professionals. These principles were re-affirmed in a further joint statement issued in January 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2021 to Question 147020, what discussions he has had with (a) medical defence organisations and (b) other professional bodies on the long-term impact the fear of litigation has had on doctors during the covid-19 outbreak.

In April 2020, the Department wrote to National Health Service staff to reassure them that state indemnity for clinical negligence is in place to cover their work on the COVID-19 response even where services are reorganised. To enable this, in March 2020 the Government secured new indemnity powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020, to cover any parts of the response not in scope of the existing state indemnity schemes administered by NHS Resolution.

Also in March 2020, the regulators of health and care professionals, including the General Medical Council, issued a joint statement. This made clear that any concerns about registered professionals will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the environment in which the professional is working, including the challenging circumstances brought about by COVID-19.

There have been no specific discussions between the Department and medical defence organisations and other professional bodies on this issue.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2021 to Question 147020, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that doctors do not face excessive litigation as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

In April 2020, the Department wrote to National Health Service staff to reassure them that state indemnity for clinical negligence is in place to cover their work on the COVID-19 response even where services are reorganised. To enable this, in March 2020 the Government secured new indemnity powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020, to cover any parts of the response not in scope of the existing state indemnity schemes administered by NHS Resolution.

Also in March 2020, the regulators of health and care professionals, including the General Medical Council, issued a joint statement. This made clear that any concerns about registered professionals will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the environment in which the professional is working, including the challenging circumstances brought about by COVID-19.

There have been no specific discussions between the Department and medical defence organisations and other professional bodies on this issue.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 9 February 2021 to Question 147019, how many wellbeing guardians have been appointed by health boards in England; where those wellbeing guardians are employed; and what steps he is taking to measure the effect of those appointments on the wellbeing of frontline healthcare workers.

The Wellbeing Guardian (WBG) is a new board level or equivalent senior leadership role designed to champion the wellbeing of their National Health Service organisational workforce. NHS England and NHS Improvement held an event on 28 February 2021 to formally launch the role with all NHS organisations. Initial data indicating prevalence of WBG role uptake in large acute, community, provider organisations and clinical commissioning groups, based on attendees at the launch event shows 208 NHS organisations across the country were represented, 37 or 18% had a wellbeing guardian in place, 29 or 14% had a wellbeing guardian starting in the role soon and 142 or 68% were seeking advice on how to implement the role.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2021 to Question 147020, what discussions he has had with (a) medical defence organisations and (b) other professional bodies to make an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on GPs’ mental health as a result of increased workload; and what steps he plans to take to improve GP retention rates after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department regularly meets with stakeholders to discuss issues relating to the general practice workforce. To support wellbeing during the pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement, in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners, has launched the Looking After You Too and Looking After Your Team coaching support services. These services provide access to mental health services to all National Health Service primary care workers and aim to encourage psychological wellbeing and resilience in teams.

In addition, the NHS Practitioner Health service is available for doctors and dentists across England who have mental health concerns, in particular where these might affect their work. In early March 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement held a listening and collaboration event on Supporting Staff Wellbeing in Primary Care with staff from a wide range of roles across primary care, representatives of Local Medical Committees and the National Association of Primary Care.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2021 to Question 147019, if he will publish the analysis of how many NHS staff have accessed the government-funded mental health and wellbeing package; how many staff have accessed that service through the (a) dedicated app, (b) website and (c) telephone and text helplines; and if he will publish the total number of staff who have accessed those services.

A comprehensive national offer of support has been in place since the pandemic began. This has been accessed on over 750,000 occasions.

There have been almost 185,000 downloads of self-help apps and over 570,000 views of the website which signposts further resources to support staff wellbeing. In addition to this, there have been over 9,000 contacts with the National Helpline that is provided in partnership with the Samaritans and over 4,000 conversations with the 24 hour text support line run in partnership with SHOUT.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 131418 on Obesity: Health Services, what discussions his Department has had on timelines for the announcement and implementation of further measures to expand weight management services as part of the Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives strategy, and if he will make a statement.

Further details about the expansion of weight management services announced as part of ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 130818 on Obesity: Health Services, whether future expansions to weight management services will include expansions to (a) tier 3 and (b) tier 4 weight management services; and if he will make a statement.

Further details about the expansion of weight management services announced as part of ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of industry compliance with the Public Health England investigation into the sale of potentially illegal menthol cigarettes; and when he plans to publish the results of that investigation.

The Department has asked Public Health England to conduct testing analysis of cigarettes as part of its investigation into possible breaches of the prohibition of characterising flavours in tobacco products. This work should conclude in the summer. There are currently no plans to publish the results of the investigation. We understand that industry is complying with the investigation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the tobacco products that are under investigation for possibly breaching the prohibition on characterising menthol flavours will be taken off the market until that investigation has concluded.

The Department has asked Public Health England to conduct testing analysis of cigarettes as part of its investigation into possible breaches of the prohibition of characterising flavours in tobacco products. This work should conclude in the summer. There are currently no plans to publish the results of the investigation. We understand that industry is complying with the investigation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland’s survey finding that more than half of healthcare professionals are contemplating leaving the NHS or retiring early due to pressures faced during the covid-19 pandemic; and what steps he is taking to ensure the adequate provision of expertise in the NHS.

The Government is committed to supporting the National Health Service workforce and has committed to deliver 50,000 more nurses, to increase the general practice workforce by 6,000 doctors and to enrol 26,000 other primary care professionals. Through increased education funding we are now seeing a record high intake for medical students and historically high numbers of people entering nursing degrees. Our new healthcare visa means we are cutting application decision times, removing the immigration surcharge and in turn ensuring the supply of international healthcare workers remains strong. Finally, the NHS People Plan is helping us retain staff through an enhanced wellbeing offer to help mitigate stress and a diversity and inclusion programme to ensure all staff feel valued.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his provision of mental health support for frontline healthcare workers of findings of the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland that more than four in 10 people working in all health professions are more stressed and anxious in the second wave of covid-19 wave compared with the first.

The Department is aware of and takes seriously the high levels of stress and anxiety amongst frontline healthcare workers during the current crisis. The NHS People Plan published last July is helping us support National Health Service staff wellbeing through the winter. It included appointing a new wellbeing guardian role to boards of individual trusts and a combined £30 million in enhanced mental and occupational health support. Our analysis shows staff are accessing the package on offer in large numbers, whether through our dedicated app, website, or telephone and text helplines. Feedback has also been positive with satisfaction scores consistently over 90%.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland’s recent survey of its doctor and dentist members.

The Department is aware of and takes seriously the high levels of stress and anxiety amongst frontline healthcare workers during the current crisis. The NHS People Plan published last July is helping us support National Health Service staff wellbeing through the winter. It included appointing a new wellbeing guardian role to boards of individual trusts and a combined £30 million in enhanced mental and occupational health support. Our analysis shows staff are accessing the package on offer in large numbers, whether through our dedicated app, website, or telephone and text helplines. Feedback has also been positive with satisfaction scores consistently over 90%.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the support available for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; and what plans his Department has to (a) prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and (b) increase support for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

No such assessment has been made.

The prevention of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and support for patients with this condition to reduce their risk falls under the Government’s strategy to reduce obesity, which is a risk factor for liver disease. To help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the Government is working to expand weight management services available through the National Health Service, so more people get the support they need to lose weight.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of (a) premature deaths due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in each of the past five years, by local authority, and (b) covid-19 deaths of patients with diagnosed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Public Health England does not hold data on premature deaths due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the format requested. PHE publishes data on the number of hospitals admissions and deaths from liver disease, alcohol-related liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease for local authorities in England.

PHE does not hold data on COVID-19 deaths of patients with diagnosed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. PHE has published an assessment of excess mortality from liver disease during the COVID-19 pandemic in England from 21 March 2020 to 8 January 2021 and estimated that there were 692 excess deaths from liver disease.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to review the costs to the NHS associated with (a) liver disease, (b) alcohol-related liver disease, and (c) non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Due to the way budgeting data is collected, it is not possible to disaggregate expenditure to show solely liver disease.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the early diagnosis of liver disease.

The NHS Health Check and NHS Standard Contract support early diagnosis of liver disease by assessing the alcohol consumption of service users using a validated tool such as the alcohol use disorders identification test and where appropriate, offering brief advice or interventions.

Alcohol care teams in the areas with the highest rates of alcohol dependence-related admissions have been set up to improve the care pathway, including the use of appropriate diagnostics, for patients and their families who have issues with alcohol dependence. NHS England is supporting a programme to identify people with hepatitis C infection at an early stage to avoid subsequent liver disease.

In 2019 to 2020, Public Health England awarded £6 million capital funding to 23 local authorities to support nine areas to purchase Fibroscan machines to increase early detection of fibrosis/cirrhosis and access to treatment for those with alcohol-related liver disease.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the support available to liver disease patients (a) prior to and (b) during the covid-19 outbreak; and what support his Department plans to provide those patients after the covid-19 outbreak.

No comparative assessment has been made.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, specialty guidance for patient management was published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to support National Health Service trusts to maintain an Alcohol Care Team (ACT) service. Guidance will be updated as necessary and is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/Media/Default/About/COVID-19/Specialty-guides/Specialty-guide-Alcohol-Dependence-and-coronavirus.pdf

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the commitment to optimise ACTs in the hospitals with the highest rates of alcohol dependence related harm. To support patients with all types of liver disease, the NHS RightCare Where to Look packs include a liver disease pathway to help commissioners explore potential opportunities for improvement.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of patients diagnosed with (a) liver disease, (b) alcohol-related liver disease and (c) non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in each local authority area in each of the last five years.

Public Health England (PHE) does not hold data on liver disease in the format requested. PHE publishes data on the number of hospitals admissions and deaths from liver disease, alcohol-related liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, rather than diagnoses.

In 2020, PHE published a comparison of liver disease to other causes of death, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/liver-disease-applying-all-our-health/liver-disease-applying-all-our-health

PHE has not made an estimate of the number of people with undiagnosed liver disease.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the number of deaths due to liver disease and other major diseases; and if he will make a statement.

Public Health England (PHE) does not hold data on liver disease in the format requested. PHE publishes data on the number of hospitals admissions and deaths from liver disease, alcohol-related liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, rather than diagnoses.

In 2020, PHE published a comparison of liver disease to other causes of death, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/liver-disease-applying-all-our-health/liver-disease-applying-all-our-health

PHE has not made an estimate of the number of people with undiagnosed liver disease.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people with undiagnosed liver disease.

Public Health England (PHE) does not hold data on liver disease in the format requested. PHE publishes data on the number of hospitals admissions and deaths from liver disease, alcohol-related liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, rather than diagnoses.

In 2020, PHE published a comparison of liver disease to other causes of death, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/liver-disease-applying-all-our-health/liver-disease-applying-all-our-health

PHE has not made an estimate of the number of people with undiagnosed liver disease.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that covid-19 vaccines are accessible for people with mental health issues.

The National Health Service, alongside local health and social care partners have been working to ensure that the entire population has fair and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, including those with mental health issues.

To enable this, three delivery models are currently in operation across the United Kingdom to allow people to visit a site most appropriate to their needs. They include hospital hubs, local vaccination services and vaccination centres. This flexibility ensures an accessible model for all. Local Vaccination Services for example are well placed to support the specific needs of our highest risk patients in the community and can tailor support to an individual’s needs.

This links closely with a key element set out in the COVID-19 Vaccination Uptake plan - to build trust. To help build trust NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England have been working with Rethink Mental Illness to understand barriers, and common causes of concern faced by people living with severe mental illnesses. They are using these insights to develop and promote targeted communications materials to help respond to and reassure these communities. Top tips for vaccinators have also been developed to support people living with learning disabilities and autism to access COVID-19 vaccinations when it is their turn.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that all (a) homecare workers working for (i) registered and (ii) unregistered organisations, (b) live-in carers and (c) personal assistant care workers receive an invitation for a covid-19 vaccination at the correct time according to the Government's priorities for the administration of those vaccines.

All frontline healthcare staff who are eligible for seasonal influenza vaccination should be offered COVID-19 vaccination. This includes those working in independent, voluntary and non-standard healthcare settings such as hospices and community-based mental health or addiction services. Care home staff, personal assistants to personal budget holders, domiciliary support workers and day centre workers are included in the definition of social care workers. Also included are those non-clinical ancillary staff at care homes who may have social contact with patients but are not directly involved in patient care.

In order of priority, most people already resident in the United Kingdom will be contacted by their general practitioner to book their vaccine via an online or telephone system. Those in the initial priority groups can also arrange their vaccination appointment by calling 119 or through the national booking system at the following link:

www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination

General practitioners are also able to add any additional patients who they feel should have been included in cohorts one to nine to the register for vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to extend regular covid-19 testing to all (a) homecare workers working for (i) registered and (ii) unregistered organisations, (b) live-in carers and (c) personal assistant care workers working in adult social care settings.

On 23 November 2020, we began offering Care Quality Commission registered domiciliary care organisations access to regular, weekly COVID-19 testing for their carers looking after people in their own homes.

We will be expanding testing further to all other homecare workers, including live-in carers and personal assistants in a phased roll-out. We will provide further details in due course about how these groups access testing. We will continue to review our social care testing strategy for adult social care in light of the latest evidence and available capacity.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the viability of allowing changes to childcare bubbles at shorter notice than the expiry of the minimum period in emergency situations.

If a household decides to change their childcare bubble, they should treat their previous bubble as a separate household for at least 10 days before forming a new bubble. This means following the general rules on meeting people from other households. The households should not provide childcare as if they are in a bubble during this period.

The 10 day minimum period is based on corresponding self-isolation guidance and the underlying scientific evidence and must be adhered to in order to mitigate the transmission risks associated with changing a childcare bubble.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to adapt the roll-out of the covid-19 vaccine programme to allow more local communities to receive the vaccine from their community pharmacy.

Community pharmacies play an important role in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Since 11 January 2021, some community pharmacies have started to offer the COVID-19 vaccination service, with more pharmacies joining the service over the coming weeks.

Some pharmacists and members of their team have been working with general practitioners to deliver the vaccine in many areas of the country as part of the Primary Care Network service.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the community pharmacy representative bodies will be working together to establish how community pharmacies’ role could be expanded further in the vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department's modelling of the covid-19 vaccination program is based on uptake of 75 per cent outside of (a) care homes, (b) prisons and (c) other settings.

Based on our previous vaccination programmes, specifically seasonal flu, we expected the uptake for the COVID-19 vaccine to be 75% across all cohorts in England. These estimates vary by priority groups, with greater estimated take up rates in higher priority groups. Seasonal flu estimates take into account different settings including prisons and care homes, to determine overall uptake. This fed into our initial estimate of 75% uptake across all cohorts. According to the recent evidence gathered by the Office for National Statistics, the current rate of COVID-19 take-up is 85% of adults across all cohorts.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on the risk of covid-19 transmission for patients with in-centre haemodialysis of those patients being in priority group four for the covid-19 vaccine.

Of the factors associated with COVID-19 mortality, age is the most strongly associated factor and applies across all other risk factors, including underlying health conditions. There is currently no conclusive evidence to indicate whether COVID-19 vaccines will have an impact on transmission.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed data on the risk of mortality from COVID-19 in-patients receiving in-centre haemodialysis (ICHD). In the ICHD cohort, 30% of all COVID-19 deaths up to 30 June 2020 occurred in persons aged over 80 years old. Those aged over 80 had a mortality risk of about 4.2 times more than those aged 18 to 59 years. Further information is available here: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0241263

The JCVI has recognised that persons on ICHD attend healthcare facilities regularly, and that this is an opportunity for vaccination. The JCVI therefore agreed that implementation teams should take advantage of this setting to vaccinate eligible individuals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of moving patients with in-centre haemodialysis higher up the priority list for the covid-19 vaccine.

Of the factors associated with COVID-19 mortality, age is the most strongly associated factor and applies across all other risk factors, including underlying health conditions. There is currently no conclusive evidence to indicate whether COVID-19 vaccines will have an impact on transmission.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed data on the risk of mortality from COVID-19 in-patients receiving in-centre haemodialysis (ICHD). In the ICHD cohort, 30% of all COVID-19 deaths up to 30 June 2020 occurred in persons aged over 80 years old. Those aged over 80 had a mortality risk of about 4.2 times more than those aged 18 to 59 years. Further information is available here: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0241263

The JCVI has recognised that persons on ICHD attend healthcare facilities regularly, and that this is an opportunity for vaccination. The JCVI therefore agreed that implementation teams should take advantage of this setting to vaccinate eligible individuals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2020 to Question 95733 on Dietetics, which recognised nutrition experts and expert bodies his Department has consulted to inform (a) the obesity strategy and (b) wider nutrition policy.

Our policies on obesity and nutrition are informed by the latest research and emerging evidence, including from debates in Parliament and various reports from key stakeholders. For example, Public Health England’s 2015 review ‘Sugar reduction: the evidence for action’ identified areas for action to reduce sugar intakes, a number of which have been taken forward by Government. Further research and evidence are referenced in the obesity strategy, three chapters of the childhood obesity plan, public consultations and supporting documents.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons Public Health England has not acted on reports of sales of cigarettes containing menthol.

The investigation into the selling of cigarette products that have a characterising menthol flavour is currently going through the process in accordance with the European Union (EU) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/779.

The Government committed to comply with the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive until the United Kingdom and the EU’s transition period ended.

Public Health England (PHE) has been preparing to begin testing products of interest now the transition period is complete.

In the meantime, PHE has communicated with manufacturers to alert them of its concerns that certain tobacco products that may have a characterising menthol flavour are still being sold.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to progress the Government’s commitment to expanding NHS weight management services in England in the July 2020 obesity strategy; and if he will make a statement.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to resume (a) tier 3 obesity services and (b) tier 4 obesity services that have been disrupted by the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Decisions regarding current provision of tier 3 and 4 weight management services, along with other elective activity, are made at a local level, reflecting varying pressures on local health systems and availability of capacity, including use of the independent sector. Additional waiting list data has been made available to systems and hospitals to support restoration of services, including weight loss surgery. NHS England and NHS Improvement have facilitated access for the National Health Service to independent sector provision to maximise capacity for displaced elective cases.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with obesity are given timely access to the covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use, including prioritisation at a population level. For the first phase, the JVCI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

Included are those with underlying health conditions, which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. Individuals who are morbidly obese are included in the clinical risk groups aged 16 years old and over, identified by the JCVI.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ask the Food Standards Agency to conduct a detailed examination of the safety of aspartame, following research done by Professor Millstone and Dr Dawson.

As an independent Government department, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) keeps under review the evolving body of credible scientific evidence on the safety of all food additives including aspartame and advises the Government if any action is needed.

The FSA is aware of both the paper written by Professor Millstone and Dr Dawson criticising the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) assessment of the safety of aspartame, and the response issued by EFSA. The FSA does not consider that any action in relation to the safety of aspartame is needed at the present time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Spending Review 2020 and OBR Forecast statement on 25 November 2020, what plans the Government has to provide funding to expand access to weight management services; and if he will make a statement.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when weight management services will be delivered in more locations; and if he will make a statement.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allocate funding to the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency in reviewing applications.

The Department allocates funding in line with the Government’s overall priorities to ensure that the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances can carry out its business effectively and efficiently.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of patient involvement in the NICE process for evaluating and approving new medicines and treatment; and whether there are plans under the ongoing Methods Review to adjust that level of involvement.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is therefore responsible for its own methods and processes for evaluations and approving new medicines and treatments. Consultee organisations for NICE’s technology appraisals include national groups representing patients and carers.

NICE has had patient involvement throughout its methods and process review, including a specific workstream led by patient representatives and senior NICE staff. Patient groups are also represented on its Methods Review Working Group.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the take-up of winter flu vaccinations was in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020 to date.

The following tables show the vaccine uptake data for 2018/19 and 2019/20 flu seasons in eligible groups and in children by school year.

Patient group

2018-2019

2019-2020

Patients aged 65 years or older

72.0

72.4

Patients aged six months to under 65 years in risk groups

48.0

44.9

Pregnant women

45.2

43.7

Patients aged two years old

43.8

43.4

Patients aged three years old

45.9

44.2

Healthcare workers

70.3

74.3

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/895233/Surveillance_Influenza_and_other_respiratory_viruses_in_the_UK_2019_to_2020_FINAL.pdf

School year

2018 - 2019

2019 - 2020

Influenza vaccine uptake (%)

Influenza vaccine uptake (%)

Reception

64.3

64.3

1

63.6

63.6

2

61.5

62.6

3

60.4

60.6

4

58.3

59.6

5

56.5

57.2

6

-

55.0

Total

60.8

60.4

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/894772/Childhood_flu_annual_report_2019_20.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many flu vaccinations are (a) required and (b) have been ordered in the 2020-21 flu season.

Overall, there is sufficient vaccine for more than 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

General practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults. In addition, the Department has procured over eight million additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine for the United Kingdom to ensure more flu vaccines are available this winter. GPs, trusts and community pharmacies who have exhausted their own supply are now able to order more flu vaccines from the central stock procured by the Government and these stocks have already begun arriving across the country.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the general population is required to take up a covid-19 vaccination to ensure the effectiveness of that vaccination programme.

It has not yet been determined what proportion of the general population is required to take up a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. The JCVI recently published advice to facilitate the development of policy on COVID-19 vaccination in the United Kingdom with the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination. It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.

As the first phase of the programme is rolled out in the UK, additional data will become available on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and whether they can prevent infection and onward transmission in the population.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using (a) bingo halls and (b) other currently unoccupied venues for the administration of the covid-19 vaccine.

The National Health Service is grateful for the support that businesses have offered and is in the process of establishing vaccination centres across the country that can manage the logistical challenge of needing to store the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at an appropriate temperature. Our approach, with three delivery models – community teams, vaccination sites, and hospital hubs – has been devised to be flexible and reach all parts of the country. The phased vaccination programme - which began on 8 December 2020 with hospital hubs - will be expanded over the coming weeks and months to include local vaccination services and largescale vaccination centres across the country. More than 730 vaccination sites have already been established across the UK and hundreds more are opening this week to take the running total to over 1,000.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure the hierarchy of medicines is enforced in relation to cannabis-based medicinal products.

NHS England has disseminated resources to support clinicians and guidance on the prescribing process for cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs).

The vast majority of CBPMs are unlicensed medicines, which have not been assessed by the medicines regulator. As such these are not first line treatments and specialist doctors must take into consideration the clinical evidence base, and the guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC) on licensed, off label and unlicensed medicines and local National Health Service governance systems when making a decision to prescribe.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average time taken is for the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances to respond to applications for review.

This data is not routinely collected.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the transparency of decision making by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances to ensure fairness and equity in their approvals process.

A review began in 2019 to improve the processes of the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances. To date, three meetings have been held with industry representatives to take this forward and we are seeking further meetings with them to complete the work.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the pricing policy of the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances in relation to nutritional borderline substances.

The pricing policy of the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances is published on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidelines-on-the-pricing-of-acbs-products/information-on-the-pricing-of-acbs-products

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Food Standards Agency on the steps it is taking to educate consumers on the safety of unauthorised products containing CBD.

CBD products currently on the market is contrary to the requirements of the Novel Foods Regulations. A proportionate approach to enforcement has been taken in the short term but manufacturers must apply to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) by the end of March 2021 to begin the authorisation process. From that time, only products with validated applications in the pipeline will be allowed on the market.

In the meantime, on the basis of advice from the independent United Kingdom Committee on Toxicity, the FSA has publicly advised that an average adult should not consume more than 70 milligrams per day and vulnerable groups should not consume these products.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to maintain the regulatory system for pharmaceutical medicines at the end of the transition period.

At the end of the transition period, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will be the United Kingdom’s medicines regulator while acknowledging the special provisions that will apply in Northern Ireland for as long as the Northern Ireland Protocol is in force.

On 27 October 2020 the MHRA published guidance on the licensing regulatory system for pharmaceutical medicines that will apply after the transition period. A statutory instrument, setting out the regulatory environment for medicines from 1 January 2020, is currently before Parliament.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on the pharmaceutical industry of a mutual recognition agreement on (a) good manufacturing practice and (b) batch certification not being agreed by EU and the UK.

Both the European Union and the United Kingdom are committed to agreeing a future partnership by the end of 2020 and are working to achieve this.

In the event of an agreement not being reached with the EU, the UK will continue to recognise certification issued from European Economic Area (EEA) countries confirming compliance with the standards of good manufacturing practice and also accept batch testing done from EEA countries for a period of two years after the end of the transition period, until 1 January 2023. This will provide time for industry to adapt supply chains to future UK regulatory requirements.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 November 2020 to Question 97688, how many times enforcement action for non-compliance with the requirements of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 has taken place.

Enforcement of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR) 2016 is carried out by local trading standards. The Department will be undertaking a post implementation review of TRPR shortly.

The Department has funded the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) to provide annual tobacco control surveys on trading standards activities relating to tobacco control legislation enforcement. The latest CTSI survey for 2019-20 is available at the following link:

https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/news--policy/tobacco-control/ctsi-tobacco-report-2019-20.pdf

It is too early to assess the level of compliance with the ban on menthol cigarettes which was introduced in May this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's updated interim advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, published on 25 September 2020, for what reason all people, regardless of age, considered clinically extremely vulnerable are not categorised as a stand-alone group; what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of people who share a home with people who are clinically extremely vulnerable being considered a higher priority group than the general population; and what plans the Government has to decide which health and social care staff should take priority.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the JCVI, the vaccine will be initially rolled out to the priority groups including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and individuals aged 16 to 64 years old with certain underlying health conditions. Those conditions are set out in the advice of the JCVI published on 30 December at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation-advice-on-priority-groups-for-covid-19-vaccination-30-december-2020

Consideration has been given to vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. However, at this time there is no data on the size of the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on transmission. Evidence is expected to accrue during the course of the vaccine programme, and until that time the committee is not in a position to advise vaccination solely on the basis of indirect protection.

By 15 February we aim to have offered a first vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the JCVI:

- all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers;

- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers;

- all those 75 years of age and over; and

- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's strategy entitled, Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, published on 27 July 2020, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on plans to reduce obesity amongst adolescents, as a distinct group compared to adults or children.

My Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on improving the health and wellbeing of all age groups including adolescents.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to assess the effect of covid-19 on patients living with (a) obesity and (b) other long term health conditions; and if he will make a statement.

There is consistent evidence that people who are overweight or living with obesity who contract COVID-19 are more likely to be admitted to hospital, admitted to an intensive care unit and to die from COVID-19 compared to those of a healthy body weight status. We published ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ in July. Our strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets out measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

There has been no specific assessment of COVID-19 and long-term conditions. Many organisations have produced advice for people to manage their condition during the pandemic, and NHS England and NHS Improvement have supported efforts in this area.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether funding will be provided to expand programmes to tackle obesity and support weight management services in the forthcoming spending review.

Funding decisions for the next financial year, including obesity programmes, are being considered as part of the ongoing Spending Review. The conclusion of the Spending Review will be announced on 25 November.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) private general dental practitioners, (b) general dental practitioners offering a mix of NHS and private treatment, (c) NHS general dental practitioners and (d) community dentists employed by non-NHS organisations are considered essential workers during the November 2020 covid-19 restrictions for the purposes of (i) attending work and (ii) accessing covid-19 testing.

All health and social care front line staff, including dentists and their staff, are considered essential workers for the purpose of attending work and accessing testing. This has applied since the first COVID-19 restrictions and continues to apply to date. This includes those providing private dental treatment as well as those providing National Health Service care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government will announce further details of its water fluoridation plans.

Improving oral health is a priority for the Government. The scientific evidence suggests that water fluoridation is effective in reducing levels of tooth decay. Water fluoridation as a key initiative is set out in the prevention Green Paper: ‘Advancing our health: Prevention in the 2020s’, published in July 2019. Further details of proposed next steps will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on implementing the obesity strategy published in July 2020; what support will be made available through that strategy to help people with obesity maintain weight loss; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 October 2020 to Question 94726.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Department has to improve healthcare services dedicated to adolescents with obesity.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 October 2020 to Question 94726.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support long-term weight loss; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 October 2020 to Question 94726.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to help ensure resumption of (a) Tier 3 and (b) Tier 4 weight management services continue during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 October 2020 to Question 94726.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 22 October to Questions 100521 and 100519, whether (a) private General Dental Practitioners, (b) General Dental Practitioners offering NHS and private treatment, (c) NHS General Dental Practitioners, and (d) Community dentists employed by non-NHS organisations are defined as healthcare workers for the purposes of priority access to a covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published interim advice on prioritisation for COVID-19 vaccination. This advice includes vaccination of all health and social care workers, which would include all dental practitioners. The JCVI’s interim advice is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-25-september-2020

The advice provided is to support the Government in development of a vaccine strategy for the delivery of a vaccination programme to the population. The JCVI’s advice will be updated as more information on developmental vaccines become available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to ensure that UK regulations for tobacco and related products are not weaker than the EU Tobacco Products Directive.

Our commitment to tough tobacco control will continue post 1 January 2021, and we laid the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 on the 28 September 2020 to reaffirm that commitment.

Post-transition period, Great Britain will no longer have to comply with the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive and there will be opportunity to consider, in the future, regulatory changes that help people quit smoking and address the harms from tobacco. Any changes to do so will be based on robust evidence and in the interests of public health.

The Department will be carrying out a post implementation review of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products by 20 May 2021 to see if the regulations have both met their objectives. Part of this review process will involve a public consultation to start before the end of the year for people to submit their views and evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for his Department to undertake a review of the tobacco and related product regulations after the transition period; and whether (a) tobacco free nicotine pouches and (b) other novel nicotine products are planned to be covered by that review.

Our commitment to tough tobacco control will continue post 1 January 2021, and we laid the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 on the 28 September 2020 to reaffirm that commitment.

Post-transition period, Great Britain will no longer have to comply with the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive and there will be opportunity to consider, in the future, regulatory changes that help people quit smoking and address the harms from tobacco. Any changes to do so will be based on robust evidence and in the interests of public health.

The Department will be carrying out a post implementation review of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products by 20 May 2021 to see if the regulations have both met their objectives. Part of this review process will involve a public consultation to start before the end of the year for people to submit their views and evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 October 2020 to Questions 91703 and 91704 on Influenza: Vaccination, when new models of delivery and blueprints which have been shared with regional commissioning teams will be published; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement shared the information regarding possible models of implementation with all regional commissioning teams earlier in the flu season. In addition, best practice evidence from provider models is being shared to allow others to learn from successful projects. There are no plans to publish this.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 October 2020 to Questions 91703 and 91704 on Influenza: Vaccination, by what date will new mass vaccination delivery models be conceived and implemented.

It is the role of regional NHS England and NHS Improvement public health commissioning teams to decide how best to implement new delivery models for flu, following consideration of the local provider landscape, the situation locally and intelligence on uptake. NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that in some areas, large scale vaccination models, such as drive in models, are already in place and vaccinating individuals at scale.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 9 October 2020 to Questions 91703 and 91704 on Influenza: Vaccination, how many additional trained workforce personnel are being made available to local providers (a) across England and (b) by provider.

36,390 additional trained workforce personnel are being made available to local providers across England, through regional commissioners. The additional workforce is available through the National Health Service ‘bring back scheme’ with around 34,000 health professionals available nationally; general practitioner returners with 1,490 available nationally; and foundation dentists, with 900 available nationally. These individuals are not made available on a provider by provider basis so data by provider is not available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on including UK health priorities in future trade negotiations.

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for International Trade have worked together at all levels to ensure that United Kingdom health priorities are represented in the UK’s trade policy.

The Government has been consistently clear that protecting the National Health Service is a fundamental principle of our trade policy. The NHS, the price it pays for drugs and its services are not for sale. Indeed, our published objectives for negotiations with the United States and other new trade partners make it clear that we will not agree measures which undermine the Government’s ability to deliver on these commitments.

The Government has been clear that it will uphold the UK’s high levels of public, animal, and plant health. As such, public health issues are being actively considered as part of the Government’s trade policy development.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government’s strategy, Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, published on 27 July 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of future trade deals on the implementation of that strategy.

Public health issues such as obesity are being actively considered by the Department as part of trade policy development. It is our ambition that trade deals will help to improve the accessibility and affordability of healthier foods.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NICE on the removal of Priadel.

Essential Pharma informed the Department in April 2020 of their intention to discontinue Priadel (lithium carbonate) 200mg and 400mg tablets from the United Kingdom.

The Department engaged with Essential Pharma to reconsider its decision and encourage them to continue supply within the UK. While they did extend the discontinuation date, they were unwilling to continue to supply the UK beyond April 2021.

Following the opening of the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation, Essential Pharma have taken the decision to reverse their discontinuation of Priadel tablets and continue to supply Priadel to patients across the UK, whilst we work to agree a fair and appropriate price for this medicine.

Officials continue to work closely with the supplier and wholesalers to maintain the availability of Priadel and alternative lithium carbonate brands to ensure supplies remain available for patients.

No discussions have taken place with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Essential Pharma on the removal of Priadel.

Essential Pharma informed the Department in April 2020 of their intention to discontinue Priadel (lithium carbonate) 200mg and 400mg tablets from the United Kingdom.

The Department engaged with Essential Pharma to reconsider its decision and encourage them to continue supply within the UK. While they did extend the discontinuation date, they were unwilling to continue to supply the UK beyond April 2021.

Following the opening of the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation, Essential Pharma have taken the decision to reverse their discontinuation of Priadel tablets and continue to supply Priadel to patients across the UK, whilst we work to agree a fair and appropriate price for this medicine.

Officials continue to work closely with the supplier and wholesalers to maintain the availability of Priadel and alternative lithium carbonate brands to ensure supplies remain available for patients.

No discussions have taken place with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the level of access to Priadel in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021 and beyond.

Supplies of Priadel (lithium carbonate) are available.

Ensuring patients have access to the medicines they need is vital. We have established procedures to deal with medicine shortages if and when they arise.

The Department brought the discontinuation of Priadel to the attention of the Competition and Markets Authority, who have now opened an investigation.

Essential Pharma have taken the decision to reverse their discontinuation of Priadel tablets and continue to supply Priadel to patients across the United Kingdom, whilst we work to agree a fair and appropriate price for this medicine.

Officials continue to work closely with the supplier and wholesalers to maintain the availability of Priadel and alternative lithium carbonate brands to ensure supplies remain available for patients. We are aware that Essential Pharma have quotas in place with wholesalers to reduce the risk of stockpiling, but we have confirmed that ordering mechanisms are in place to ensure all prescriptions for Priadel can obtain supplies. We continue to communicate this information with the National Health Service.

We have also added lithium carbonate to the parallel export restriction list of 8 September 2020 to ensure supplies remain available for the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he made of the level of access to lithium carbonate in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021 and beyond.

Supplies of Priadel (lithium carbonate) are available.

Ensuring patients have access to the medicines they need is vital. We have established procedures to deal with medicine shortages if and when they arise.

The Department brought the discontinuation of Priadel to the attention of the Competition and Markets Authority, who have now opened an investigation.

Essential Pharma have taken the decision to reverse their discontinuation of Priadel tablets and continue to supply Priadel to patients across the United Kingdom, whilst we work to agree a fair and appropriate price for this medicine.

Officials continue to work closely with the supplier and wholesalers to maintain the availability of Priadel and alternative lithium carbonate brands to ensure supplies remain available for patients. We are aware that Essential Pharma have quotas in place with wholesalers to reduce the risk of stockpiling, but we have confirmed that ordering mechanisms are in place to ensure all prescriptions for Priadel can obtain supplies. We continue to communicate this information with the National Health Service.

We have also added lithium carbonate to the parallel export restriction list of 8 September 2020 to ensure supplies remain available for the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of clinically extremely vulnerable people who will be unable to return to work on 1 November 2020 because their workplace is not covid-secure.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to implement the Government’s commitment to double dementia research funding to over £160 million a year.

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 Government’s 2020 Challenge contained the commitment to spend £300 million on dementia research over the five years to March 2020. This commitment was delivered a year early with £341 million spent on dementia research over the four years to 31 March 2019. We are currently working on ways to boost significantly further research on dementia at all stages on the translation pathway including medical and care interventions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that NHS (a) dentists and (b) dental staff are able to access free NHS flu vaccines for winter 2020-21.

Responsibility for offering a free flu vaccination to frontline health care workers rests with their employers, as part of their occupational health responsibility. It is recommended that National Health Service independent contractors, which include dentists, offer vaccination to their employed staff, and responsibility for this lies with employers.

Dentists, and dental staff who are in a ‘at-risk’ group will be eligible for a free flu vaccine under the flu programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy that private dentists will have priority access to receive a covid-19 vaccination alongside other health and social care professionals.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI published interim advice on 25 September 2020 stating the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk. The JCVI has prioritised healthcare workers and care workers, which would include dentists, in the initial recommendations. The final recommendations will be based on a detailed analysis of benefit-risk and may further refine these recommendations taking into account the different levels of exposure and other factors such as age and clinical risk.

We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as we continue to plan for a vaccination campaign.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy that NHS (a) dentists and (b) other dental staff will have priority access to receive a covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI published interim advice on 25 September 2020 stating the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk. The JCVI has prioritised healthcare workers and care workers, which would include dentists, in the initial recommendations. The final recommendations will be based on a detailed analysis of benefit-risk and may further refine these recommendations taking into account the different levels of exposure and other factors such as age and clinical risk.

We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as we continue to plan for a vaccination campaign.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS (a) dentists and (b) other dental staff will be eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI published interim advice on 25 September 2020 stating the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk. The JCVI has prioritised healthcare workers and care workers, which would include dentists, in the initial recommendations. The final recommendations will be based on a detailed analysis of benefit-risk and may further refine these recommendations taking into account the different levels of exposure and other factors such as age and clinical risk.

We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as we continue to plan for a vaccination campaign.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of levels of compliance with the ban on menthol cigarettes; and what steps the Government is taking to remove illegal products from the market.

No assessment has been made regarding levels of compliance with the ban on menthol cigarettes since its introduction in May earlier this year. We expect the tobacco industry to comply with the requirements of The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. A breach of the regulations could result in enforcement action being taken.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with registered dieticians to inform (a) the obesity strategy and (b) wider nutrition policy.

My Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has not had any discussions with dietitians to inform the obesity strategy and wider nutrition policy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of cross-departmental collaboration on the obesity strategy.

Government departments work very closely on reducing obesity and share responsibility for delivering the measures set out in ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’.

Areas of collaboration include the Department working with:

- HM Treasury on fiscal measures including the soft drink industry levy;

- the Department for Education on early years, school food and sports in schools;

- the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on advertising restrictions, the Nutrient Profiling Model, and broader sport and physical activity policy;

- the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government on planning;

- the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on food labelling including the marketing and labelling of infant foods, the National Food Strategy and the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services;

- the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on regulatory measures impacting businesses;

- the Department for Transport on promoting active travel and the living streets project;

- the Department for Work and Pensions on food poverty; and

- the Department for International Trade on front-of-pack nutrition labelling.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the obesity strategy provides (a) appropriate services and (b) support for at-risk children who are overweight or obese.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups are responsible for commissioning weight management services. Public Health England (PHE) has a responsibility to support the local delivery of evidence-based, effective and sustainable weight management services as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence which adults, children and families can access if they are living above a healthy weight.

PHE has published a collection of evidence-based guides and resources to support the commissioning and delivery of tier two weight management services for adults and children and their families. The collection includes a guide to support healthcare professionals to start the conversation with families, research to some of the barriers and facilitators that some families may face.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that every child in England requiring a tier two or three weight management service has access to it.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups are responsible for commissioning weight management services. Public Health England (PHE) has a responsibility to support the local delivery of evidence-based, effective and sustainable weight management services as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence which adults, children and families can access if they are living above a healthy weight.

PHE has published a collection of evidence-based guides and resources to support the commissioning and delivery of tier two weight management services for adults and children and their families. The collection includes a guide to support healthcare professionals to start the conversation with families, research to some of the barriers and facilitators that some families may face.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support the aims of the obesity strategy and (b) ensure that local authorities have sufficient (i) funding and (ii) resources to deliver obesity prevention initiatives.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets out measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

We have invested £3.279 billion in local authority public health services through the Public Health Grant in 2020/21, in addition to what the NHS spent on preventative interventions such as our world-class immunisation and screening programmes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date his Department plans to publish a high-level options paper on future system and arrangements for prevention, health improvement and public health care services and Public Health England’s health improvement functions.

We plan to publish and engage on options later in the autumn.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to reduce the diagnosis time for endometriosis; and if he will make a statement.

Endometriosis manifests itself in a variety of ways and shares symptoms with other conditions. As a consequence, diagnosis can be difficult and is sometimes delayed.

There are currently no plans to reduce the diagnosis time for an endometriosis.

Given the highly invasive nature of the diagnostic procedure and the varying degree to which women experience symptoms, it can be more appropriate to treat mild symptoms on clinical grounds and reserve a laparoscopy with its inherent risks for women with more significant symptoms.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date his Department plans to conduct stakeholder engagement on initial options for strengthening national and local health improvement and prevention arrangements.

We plan to undertake this engagement later in the autumn.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of improvement in diagnosis and management of endometriosis in women since the publication of the 2018 NICE quality standards.

There has been no assessment of improvement in the diagnosis and management of endometriosis since the publication of the 2018 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence quality standards.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the capacity of NHS endometriosis specialist centres.

There has been no assessment of the adequacy of the capacity of National Health Service endometriosis specialist centres.

NHS England leads on commissioning specialised services and has developed a service specification for severe endometriosis, but it does not record the number of specialist centres currently available. NHS England expects all NHS centres treating women with severe endometriosis to provide care that meets the standards laid out in the specification.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of flu vaccine doses for winter 2020-21.

We have sufficient vaccine for up to 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

General practitioners and pharmacists are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available this winter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the effect of covid-19 on flu vaccination programmes ahead of winter 2020-21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local areas to ensure that regional teams have plans in place to deliver the flu vaccination programme this winter. Additional trained workforce is being made available to local providers to help them vaccinate more eligible people.

New models of delivery have been developed and blueprints shared with regional commissioning teams to encourage innovative thinking such as mobile, and mass vaccination models to allow for increases in uptake safely whilst observing social distancing and personal protective equipment requirements.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the administering capacity of flu vaccine doses for winter 2020-21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local areas to ensure that regional teams have plans in place to deliver the flu vaccination programme this winter. Additional trained workforce is being made available to local providers to help them vaccinate more eligible people.

New models of delivery have been developed and blueprints shared with regional commissioning teams to encourage innovative thinking such as mobile, and mass vaccination models to allow for increases in uptake safely whilst observing social distancing and personal protective equipment requirements.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's report, Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, published on 27 July 2020, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of that strategy on the number of people with (a) non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and (b) liver cirrhosis.

The NHS Long Term Plan recognised that alcohol and obesity are risk factors of liver disease. ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published on 27 July, demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets out measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

The obesity strategy also includes a commitment to consult on our intention to make companies provide calorie labelling on alcohol. An impact assessment will be published alongside the consultation later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of people with severe and complex obesity who used (a) Tier 3 weight management services and (b) Tier 4 weight management services by local authority in each of the last five years.

NHS Digital holds data on severe obesity in children in Reception and Year 6 by local authority for school years 2017-18 and 2018-19 through the National Child Measurement Programme. This information is attached. The programme did not collect data on severe obesity prior to 2017-18.

The latest report from the National Child Measurement Programme can be viewed at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/national-child-measurement-programme/2018-19-school-year

NHS Digital has advised that it does not hold any further information on the number of people with severe and complex obesity by local authority or information on the number of people who used Tier 3 or Tier 4 weight management services by local authority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of people with severe and complex obesity by local authority in each of the last five years.

NHS Digital holds data on severe obesity in children in Reception and Year 6 by local authority for school years 2017-18 and 2018-19 through the National Child Measurement Programme. This information is attached. The programme did not collect data on severe obesity prior to 2017-18.

The latest report from the National Child Measurement Programme can be viewed at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/national-child-measurement-programme/2018-19-school-year

NHS Digital has advised that it does not hold any further information on the number of people with severe and complex obesity by local authority or information on the number of people who used Tier 3 or Tier 4 weight management services by local authority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's report, Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, published on 27 July 2020, what assessment his Department has made of the potential cost savings to the public purse of (a) specialist weight management clinicals provided by multidisciplinary teams and (b) bariatric surgery for patients with severe and complex obesity being routinely introduced; and if he will make a statement.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets our measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

Through the strategy we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services, to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available later in the year and we will engage stakeholders throughout this process.

It is for clinical commissioning groups to commission complex obesity services for adults based on the needs of their local population, which includes all bariatric surgical procedures and the associated care.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's report, Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, published on 27 July 2020, what plans his Department has to support general practitioners to refer patients with severe and complex obesity to (a) Tier 3 weight management services and (b) Tier 4 weight management services.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets our measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

Through the strategy we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services, to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available later in the year and we will engage stakeholders throughout this process.

It is for clinical commissioning groups to commission complex obesity services for adults based on the needs of their local population, which includes all bariatric surgical procedures and the associated care.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish a response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Review report published in July 2020.

The recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully.

We do not consider it appropriate to commit to a specific timeframe for a response while these recommendations are being considered. While this report was published on 8 July, it took over two years to compile and we therefore consider it vitally important that it is given full consideration.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's policy paper, Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, published on 27 July 2020, what plans his Department has to introduce (a) specialist weight management clinics provided by multidisciplinary teams and (b) greater access to bariatric surgery for patients with severe and complex obesity.

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for commissioning complex obesity services for adults, which include all bariatric surgical procedures and the associated care. To help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has produced a suite of guidance on reducing obesity including ‘Obesity: identification, assessment and management’. This includes recommendations on when to consider bariatric surgery for people who are obese.

Through the new obesity strategy we are delivering a range of measures on weight management including a National Health Service 12-week weight loss plan app, expanding weight management services to help more people get the support they need, accelerating the expansion of the NHS diabetes prevention programme and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available later in the year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many FP17 forms detailing dental activity were submitted in each of the last six months.

The data is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and social Care, pursuant to the answer of 1 September 2020 to Question 78839, what his timetable is for the resumption of patient transport services for patients with ophthalmology appointments.

On 27 March the National Health Service released guidance to reflect changes in patient transport services during the COVID-19 response. As the NHS returns to a business as usual position further amendments to the guidance have been made and are due to be published shortly. NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups will implement this guidance locally to provide appropriate levels of service going forward.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the £750 million package of support for charities has been allocated to ophthalmology charities.

We recognise that many charities are facing difficult decisions at the exact time their services are needed most and, on 8 April 2020 the Chancellor announced £750 million to support for the charity sector in response to COVID-19. This includes up to £200 million for hospices and £22 million for health and social care charities. The £22 million includes:

- £4.2 million to support mental health charities and charities within the National Bereavement Alliance;

- Up to £6.8 million to support St John Ambulance;

- £6 million to support Air Ambulances;

- £6 million to support various charities, including those working with people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, those working to support people with cancer and stroke and dementia charities, and those that support the adult social care system; and

- This funding will also go to charities supporting pregnant women, babies in neonatal intensive care and those affected by stillbirth and neonatal deaths and support for specialist addiction and recovery charities.

To this date there has been no funding agreed for ophthalmology charities.

There is still an opportunity for charities to apply directly for funding from the National Lottery’s £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund. This fund is supporting charities working with vulnerable people. The criteria for this fund are set out at the following link:

https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to allocate funding to ensure that ophthalmology charities can continue to run their services.

We recognise that many charities are facing difficult decisions at the exact time their services are needed most and, on 8 April 2020 the Chancellor announced £750 million to support for the charity sector in response to COVID-19. This includes up to £200 million for hospices and £22 million for health and social care charities. The £22 million includes:

- £4.2 million to support mental health charities and charities within the National Bereavement Alliance;

- Up to £6.8 million to support St John Ambulance;

- £6 million to support Air Ambulances;

- £6 million to support various charities, including those working with people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, those working to support people with cancer and stroke and dementia charities, and those that support the adult social care system; and

- This funding will also go to charities supporting pregnant women, babies in neonatal intensive care and those affected by stillbirth and neonatal deaths and support for specialist addiction and recovery charities.

To this date there has been no funding agreed for ophthalmology charities.

There is still an opportunity for charities to apply directly for funding from the National Lottery’s £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund. This fund is supporting charities working with vulnerable people. The criteria for this fund are set out at the following link:

https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to allow patient transport services that enable people to attend ophthalmology appointments to resume.

On 27 March the National Health Service released guidance to reflect changes in patient transport services (PTS) during the COVID-19 response. As a result, PTS was redeployed to support critical services and ensure transport was available for those who needed it most.

As hospital services are reintroduced, PTS should be available to support patients to attend their appointments, including ophthalmology patients. We are in the process of replacing the earlier guidance to reflect that the eligibility criteria that was temporarily withdrawn can now be reinstated.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) advice he has received on and (b) assessment he has made of the effect of restrictions resulting from the covid-19 outbreak on clinical outcomes for people in need of regular hospital treatment for eye conditions; and what steps he is taking to restart regular hospital ophthalmology treatment.

Whilst routine hospital treatments were suspended to provide capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, we are now working closely with the National Health Service and other partners to restart these in a safe way. Guidance has been issued to local NHS providers and commissioning trusts on the restart of non-COVID-19 services, starting with the most clinically urgent cases and ensuring this is done safely with appropriate infection control.

The treatment of patients, including ophthalmology, will be based on clinical judgement, with patient and staff safety as the highest priority.

The Government is also providing an additional £3 billion to the NHS, which includes funding for continued access to the independent sector to carry out routine treatments and procedures as well as provide additional capacity for COVID-19 patients if needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote musculoskeletal health during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England (PHE) is working with key partners including NHS England and NHS Improvement, the British Society of Rheumatology, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and other professional bodies and third sector parties such as Versus Arthritis and Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance to promote musculoskeletal (MSK) health during COVID-19. This has included the ‘We are Undefeatable campaign’ for people with long term health conditions and a partnership with the BBC to promote Couch to 5K. Further information can be accessed at the following links:

https://weareundefeatable.co.uk/

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week

In May 2020, PHE hosted a webinar on the Impact of COVID-19 on Musculoskeletal Health and Mental Wellbeing, with participants attending from a range of organisations including local authorities, private businesses and academia.

In April 2020, PHE re-issued advice on vitamin D supplementation as recommended by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition; whilst stay at home measures were in place it was recommended that everyone take a daily vitamin D supplement to keep bones and muscles healthy. This advice was not about preventing COVID-19 or mitigating its effects.

The Every Mind Matters online resource provides some simple advice and support on physical and mental wellbeing for people who are working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/7-simple-tips-to-tackle-working-from-home/

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2020 to Question 8394 on Ophthalmic Services and with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what the timelines are for the development and publication of the National Ophthalmology Plan.

Further to the answer given on 30 January, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s national outpatient transformation programme has already begun, although there will not be a formally published National Ophthalmology Plan.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently developing guidance and support to improve ophthalmology outpatient services and avoid the need for physical attendances where possible. This includes already appointed dedicated clinical leadership, pathway design and practical resources to be shared with local health systems to both support restoration of ophthalmology outpatient services post-COVID-19 and enable future transformation.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the College of Optometrists and other key stakeholders.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2020 to Question for 67749 on Pain: Health Services, what steps his Department is taking to increase access to the online version of the Escape-pain programme.

In the NHS Long Term Plan, published 7 January 2019, NHS England set out the expansion of online access to support for people with musculoskeletal problems. This included programmes such as a digital version of the well-established face-to-face ESCAPE-pain group programme, which enables self-management and coping with arthritic pain through exercise.

The online version of the ESCAPE-pain programme is currently freely available in both a web-based form, which can be accessed by a computer or a variety of mobile devices, and an application available on Android smartphones. The ESCAPE-pain website is available at the following link:

www.escape-pain.org/

Outcome data on user engagement the ESCAPE-Pain programme is expected in August, which will enable an assessment of usage.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the proposed deductions to be applied to NHSE payments to dental providers for (a) April, (b) May and (c) until 8 June 2020.

NHS England published a letter on 13 July, setting out that a deduction of 16.75% will be applied to National Health Service dental practices (those that were not operating as urgent dental centre sites) for the period 1 April to 7 June, to take account of lower consumables (laboratory and material) and other variable practice costs during the period. Local urgent dental care centres will not have any deductions applied for the period they have been operational. A copy of the letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0603-Dental-preparedness-letter_July-2020.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason NHS England made the decision to impose retrospective deductions to payments for Local Urgent Dental Care sites.

NHS England published a letter on 13 July, setting out that a deduction of 16.75% will be applied to National Health Service dental practices (those that were not operating as urgent dental centre sites) for the period 1 April to 7 June, to take account of lower consumables (laboratory and material) and other variable practice costs during the period. Local urgent dental care centres will not have any deductions applied for the period they have been operational. A copy of the letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0603-Dental-preparedness-letter_July-2020.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of school closures as a result of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of dental decay among children.

No assessment has been made of the effect of school closures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak on levels of dental decay among children. School and nursery based oral health improvement programmes stopped with school closures. Public Health England is working with the Department for Education and partners, on restarting these programmes safely in the autumn term.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of children whose planned dental GA admission to hospital was (a) suspended and (b) cancelled during the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

No such estimate has been made. Guidance was issued on 17 March to National Health Service trusts asking them to postpone non-urgent related elective operations in order to prepare the system to respond to COVID-19 pressures.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information he holds on the number of people employed by (a) the NHS, (b) police forces, (c) fire brigades and (d) (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools who have been required to shield from covid-19.

This information requested is not collected centrally as part of the shielding patients list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the ability of health insurance providers to reimburse the costs of dialysis treatment for people with kidney disease who need to travel in the EU in the event that there is no agreement on reciprocal provision of temporary healthcare cover for (a) tourists, (b) short-term business visitors and (c) service providers after the end of the transition period.

The Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the European Union ensures that there will be no changes to reciprocal healthcare access for state pensioners, workers, students, tourists and other visitors, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, or planned treatment during the Transition Period (until 31 December 2020).

This includes the EHIC which can support UK residents with long-term health conditions travelling to the EU who may require needs arising treatment.

The future of reciprocal healthcare arrangements between the UK and EU are subject to negotiations, which are currently ongoing. As part of its published approach to the negotiations with the EU, the UK has indicated that it is open to working with the EU to establish arrangements that provide healthcare cover for tourists, short-term business visitors and service providers. The UK’s published approach to negotiations, ‘The Future Relationship with the EU’ and the draft legal text of an agreement covering social security coordination (including reciprocal healthcare) can be found online at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-approach-to-the-future-relationship-with-the-eu

The UK Government is advising people with pre-existing or long-term medical conditions to also check the Money and Pensions Advice Service which has information on their website for people about their options for purchasing travel insurance. Further information is available at the following link:

www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/travel-insurance-for-over-65s-and-medical-conditions

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the availability of (a) radioligand therapy and (b) short shelf-life medicines after the end of the transition period.

The United Kingdom’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products, including radioligand therapy and short shelf-life medicines, to support high levels of patient safety.

We will continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and that precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to work with (a) the life sciences industry and (b) experts in radioligand therapy in relation to the development of secondary legislation to enact the provisions of the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill.

The Department has held a number of engagement events with over 150 representatives from the life sciences industry on the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill and we will continue to work collaboratively with the sector when making secondary legislation. The powers in the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill are subject to a duty to consult and therefore before making any regulations, the Department will consult with those considered appropriate. This will include the life sciences industry and expert stakeholders if they were to be affected by the proposed change.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of effectiveness of the Health Infrastructure Plan to update and improve the capability of the NHS to deliver nuclear medicine; and if he will make it his policy to increase the number of centres that are equipped to offer nuclear medicine.

No assessment has been made.

Not all nuclear medicine services are commissioned at a national level; some are commissioned by clinical commissioning groups.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Your Covid Recovery service is accessible to all those who need it.

The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, forms part of National Health Service plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications.

Phase one is already live at the following link:

https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/

Phase two, where people who need it will be able to access personalised support packages, is expected to launch later this summer.

The online portal will help ensure that people get the support they need to recover from the effects of the virus. Where patients do not already have access to a suitable device to use the online platform, printed materials will be made depending upon demand to ensure the service is accessible to all.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when each stage of the Your Covid Recovery service will be made accessible; and if he will make statement.

The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, forms part of National Health Service plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications.

Phase one is already live at the following link:

https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/

Phase two, where people who need it will be able to access personalised support packages, is expected to launch later this summer.

The online portal will help ensure that people get the support they need to recover from the effects of the virus. Where patients do not already have access to a suitable device to use the online platform, printed materials will be made depending upon demand to ensure the service is accessible to all.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps Public Health England is taking to enforce the ban on menthol cigarettes.

The ban on characterising flavours such as menthol in cigarettes came into force on 20 May 2020. In advance of the ban, several tobacco companies launched new brands marketed at menthol smokers.

Public Health England is the Competent Authority under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 responsible for testing and receiving notifications of tobacco products.

If any products are tested and found to be in breach of the United Kingdom regulations, then they will be removed from the list of notified products for sale.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2020 to Question 58066 on Contraceptives, what data his Department holds on prescribing rates for long-acting reversible contraception for each year since 2013-14.

NHS Digital hold the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services data. The data primarily covers contraceptive activity taking place at dedicated SRH services in England, as recorded in the sexual and reproductive activity dataset (SHRAD). The primary focus of the SHRAD collection is contraception.

The data on prescribing rates for long-acting reversible contraception for each year since 2013-14 are published in ‘NHS Digital’s sexual and reproductive health services (contraception) – England: data tables’. Information on women using sexual and reproductive health services for contraception, by main method of contraception and age and contraceptive prescriptions dispensed in the community is attached.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2020 to Question 58066 on Contraceptives, with which organisations his Department plans to consult on the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy; and what format he plans to use for that consultation.

Work on developing the national sexual health and reproductive health strategy was paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we are moving forward with the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, work on the national sexual health and reproductive health strategy will be restarting shortly. Information on plans and the timeframe for engaging with stakeholders, as well as plans for publication, will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 01 July 2020 to Question 58066 on Contraceptives, what the timeframe is for (a) consulting on and (b) publishing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy.

Work on developing the national sexual health and reproductive health strategy was paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we are moving forward with the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, work on the national sexual health and reproductive health strategy will be restarting shortly. Information on plans and the timeframe for engaging with stakeholders, as well as plans for publication, will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to consult on guidance for commissioning community rehabilitation services in England.

Cross-sector work has already commenced to inform a refresh of the Rehabilitation Commissioning Guidance published 2016. This included engagement with professional bodies’ clinicians, alongside many other stakeholders, societies and third sector organisations who represent the patient voice.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many times he has met with representatives Vertex Pharmaceuticals to discuss (a) cystic fibrosis treatment and (b) other treatments in the last 12 months.

Ministers meet a range of stakeholders, details of which are published quarterly. Details for October – December 2019, the most recently published information, is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876059/Q3_Ministers_MEETINGS.csv/preview

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care met with representatives of Vertex Pharmaceuticals on 8 October 2019 to discuss the availability of cystic fibrosis treatments in England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish a response to the consultation, Health is Everyone’s Business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss, which closed on 7 October 2019.

We plan to publish the response to the consultation ‘Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss’ later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote musculoskeletal health during the covid-19 outbreak.

Improving musculoskeletal health is a key priority for this Government and we made specific commitments to tackle musculoskeletal (MSK) ill-health last year in ‘Advancing our health: Prevention in the 2020s’. Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with professional bodies and third sector stakeholders to promote MSK health. They are providing evidence-based interventions and resources to support people with MSK conditions and preventative strategies to those at risk of developing MSK conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to the online version of the Escape-pain programme.

In the NHS Long Term plan, published on 7 January 2019, NHS England set out the expansion of online access to support for people with musculoskeletal problems. This included programmes such as a digital version of the well-established face-to-face ESCAPE-pain group programme, which enables self-management and coping with arthritic pain through exercise.

The online version of the ESCAPE-pain programme is currently freely available in both a web-based form, which can be accessed by a computer or a variety of mobile devices, and an application available on Android smartphones. The ESCAPE-pain website is at the following link:

www.escape-pain.org/

Outcome data on user engagement the ESCAPE-Pain programme is expected in August.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support dental laboratories during the covid-19 outbreak.

Dentists holding contracts with NHS England and NHS Improvement have continued to receive their full contract value, paid as usual in monthly equal instalments, throughout the pandemic period. The contract value includes expenses. Dentists contract separately with dental suppliers, including laboratories, for the materials and other supplies they need. Paying for supplies provided is a matter for the individual practice, and if there is failure to pay, the same legal recourse as with any other unpaid debt.

The National Health Service has no standing contractual relationship with laboratories or other dental suppliers and support for the industry throughout the pandemic has come, as with other businesses, through the wide range of financial schemes and help offered by the HM Treasury. Dental laboratories have the same access to this support as other businesses do.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will issue guidance to dental practices to settle dental laboratory accounts on receipt of NHS contract payments.

Dentists holding contracts with NHS England and NHS Improvement have continued to receive their full contract value, paid as usual in monthly equal instalments, throughout the pandemic period. The contract value includes expenses. Dentists contract separately with dental suppliers, including laboratories, for the materials and other supplies they need. Paying for supplies provided is a matter for the individual practice, and if there is failure to pay, the same legal recourse as with any other unpaid debt.

The National Health Service has no standing contractual relationship with laboratories or other dental suppliers and support for the industry throughout the pandemic has come, as with other businesses, through the wide range of financial schemes and help offered by the HM Treasury. Dental laboratories have the same access to this support as other businesses do.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's press release of 5 June 2020 stating that all staff in hospitals in England will be provided with surgical masks which they will be expected to wear from 15 June 2020, whether his Department has (a) made an assessment of the potential merits of applying that policy to the pharmacy sector (b) plans to extend that policy to include community pharmacy teams.

The Government has detailed clear policy on the kind of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used in the pharmacy sector, including community pharmacy teams. The latest PPE guidance from Public Health England recommends sessional use of fluid resistant surgical masks (FRSM) in a pharmacy setting only where social distancing of two metres from patients cannot be maintained. If required, further supplies of FRSM can be ordered through their usual wholesalers and distributor networks that supply to community pharmacies. If these wholesaler routes are unable to provide enough PPE, community pharmacies should turn to their Local Resilience Forums (LRFs), who can provide supplies to respond to local spikes in need. LRFs will continue to receive enough PPE stock to support other sectors, including community pharmacies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has held with representatives of the pharmacy sector on that sector's role in the next phase of the response to covid-19; and what recent assessment he has made of how pharmacies can support medicines safety and reduce avoidable hospital admissions.

Health Ministers, the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been in continued dialogue with representatives of the pharmacy sector throughout the pandemic. Discussions are now focused on what we can learn from the changes made, especially in primary care and the wider system, during the pandemic and which of those changes we might want to embed.

The Government’s ambition on using community pharmacy to support urgent care and medicine safety was set out in the five-year deal. We will continue to prioritise and negotiate the services outlined in that agreement with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee in the light of the additional demands placed on the health service by COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the financial sustainability of pharmacies.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has a duty to ensure access, in England, to National Health Service pharmaceutical services. These are commissioned from community pharmacies who are private businesses. £2.592 billion a year was committed to the sector in the five-year deal from 2019/20 to 2023/24 for the NHS pharmaceutical services they provide, a total of nearly £13 billion. To maintain access in areas where there are fewer pharmacies or higher health needs, additional payments, from within that funding, are made under the Pharmacy Access Scheme to eligible pharmacies.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, £350 million in extra advance payments have been made to address cash flow, and support pharmacies in maintaining medicine supplies and providing health advice. Additional payments above the £2.592 billion for 2020/21 have been made to support additional opening hours on Bank Holidays and for a medicine delivery service to shielded patients. We continue to work with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to assess any additional COVID-19 related costs that it may be necessary to cover.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the effectiveness of the community pharmacy sector to help reduce the demand on (a) primary and (b) secondary care.

The funding for National Health Service pharmaceutical services provided by community pharmacies in England was set at £2.592 million a year until 2023/24 through the five-year deal; a total of nearly £13 billion. The deal contains an annual review to ensure that the services commissioned under the community pharmacy contractual framework (CPCF) remain within that financial envelope.

The five-year deal, published by the Department in July 2019, sets out an expanded role for community pharmacy across prevention, urgent care and medicine safety. It will provide accessible and convenient healthcare, allowing people to quickly access a much wider range of services and health advice, in the heart of their community, relieving pressure on general practitioner (GP) practices and other parts of the health service, including secondary care.

In October 2019, we launched the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, which refers people with minor illness and urgent medicine needs direct from NHS 111 to community pharmacy as the first port of call. Pilots are currently running on expanding this successful service to include referrals from GP practices. We will evaluate these pilots and, if positive, negotiate new service specifications into both the CPCF and the GP contract.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to increase the level of long-term funding allocated to community pharmacies in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The funding for National Health Service pharmaceutical services provided by community pharmacies in England was set at £2.592 million a year until 2023/24 through the five-year deal; a total of nearly £13 billion. The deal contains an annual review to ensure that the services commissioned under the community pharmacy contractual framework (CPCF) remain within that financial envelope.

The five-year deal, published by the Department in July 2019, sets out an expanded role for community pharmacy across prevention, urgent care and medicine safety. It will provide accessible and convenient healthcare, allowing people to quickly access a much wider range of services and health advice, in the heart of their community, relieving pressure on general practitioner (GP) practices and other parts of the health service, including secondary care.

In October 2019, we launched the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, which refers people with minor illness and urgent medicine needs direct from NHS 111 to community pharmacy as the first port of call. Pilots are currently running on expanding this successful service to include referrals from GP practices. We will evaluate these pilots and, if positive, negotiate new service specifications into both the CPCF and the GP contract.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of patients experiencing prolonged covid-19 symptoms on decisions to ease the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Each amendment to lockdown regulations has represented a cautious step in easing restrictions, whilst continuing to limit the risk of transmission.

At each review point of the Regulations, we have considered the necessity and proportionality of existing measures based on the most up to date evidence available at the time, including on rate of transmission, infection and death rate, and current intensive care unit capacity. Where restrictions are no longer considered proportionate or necessary at that point in time they have been eased or removed, however we remain ready to put the brakes on and increase lockdown measures either at a national or local level if necessary.

The UK Research and Innovation-National Institute for Health Research Rapid Response Rolling Call has funded a large post-hospitalisation study. The study, announced in July, will establish a national consortium and a research platform embedded within clinical care to better understand and improve long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19. It will also help to ensure future treatment can be tailored as much as possible to the person.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he has made an assessment of the prevalence of patients experiencing covid-19 symptoms for longer than three weeks.

Public Health England has made no assessment of the prevalence of patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms for longer than three weeks.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 free cancer hubs have been established; what (a) procedures and (b) services those hubs provide; and how many of those hubs provide (i) chemotherapy and (ii) systemic therapies.

Covid-19 protected cancer hubs have been set up in 21 Cancer Alliances across England to provide cancer surgery and to keep patients safe. Cancer Alliances lead delivery and improvement of cancer care across England, working with and on behalf of local hospitals and services.

The hubs have been established primarily to ensure that urgent and essential cancer surgery can continue and to support the recovery of cancer services. Certain Cancer Alliances may also choose to use the hub model to support the delivery of other types of treatment, which may include chemotherapy and systemic therapies. Information on how many is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NICE will make an assessment of the potential merits of changing the cost-effectiveness thresholds for new combination therapies as part of the NICE methods review; and if he can provide an update on the progress of that review.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will not make an assessment of their cost-effectiveness thresholds for new combination therapies as part of its methods review. As per paragraph 3.20 of the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access, the standard cost effectiveness threshold used by NICE will be retained at the current range (£20,000 - £30,000 per quality adjusted life year), and will remain unchanged for the duration of the Voluntary Scheme which will come to an end on 31 December 2023.

NICE is aiming for a six-week public consultation on the case for change to methods and processes in autumn this year, a second consultation presenting the draft programme manual in spring 2021 and implementation of the changes as quickly as possible afterwards.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many oncology combination therapies have been assessed by NICE via the Single Technology Appraisal process; how many of those received a positive recommendation for routine NHS commissioning; and how many have been made available through the cancer drugs fund, over the last five years.

Since April 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has appraised 53 different cancer combinations. 21 are recommended; eight are optimised. 4 are recommended for use in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF); six are optimised for use in the CDF. 6 are not recommended. 12 appraisals were terminated as NICE did not receive a submission from the company.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure blood cancer patients can access chemotherapy and systemic anti-cancer therapies (a) safely and (b) in a timely manner during the covid-19 outbreak.

A range of guidance has been published during the COVID-19 outbreak to support the safe delivery of cancer treatments. This includes chemotherapy and other systemic anti-cancer therapies which is the subject of a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Rapid Guideline. NHS England has funded 13 additional treatment options in lymphoma and leukaemia for clinicians and patients to consider in the management of haematological malignancy in order to reduce the risk of infection with COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Childhood Obesity Plan, when the calorie reduction programme will be implemented; and whether that programme will be mandatory.

Public Health England has been working to finalise the calorie reduction guidelines following extensive feedback from stakeholders. It is anticipated that the calorie reduction guidelines will be published later this year as part of the reduction and reformulation programme. The programme is voluntary as modelled by the salt reduction programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients with (a) blood cancer and (b) multiple myeloma have had their treatment switched from intravenous to oral treatment during the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment he has made of the potential long term effect on patients of switching treatment regimens.

As at 23 June 2020, 230 patients with myeloma, 32 patients with mantle cell lymphoma, and 28 patients with acute myeloid leukaemia have had applications for treatment with oral therapies approved. These applications were all supported by clinicians.

The outcomes related to these new options can only be assessed in the long term and some audits of these patients are already underway.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the vulnerability of people with diabetes to covid-19.

Those with diabetes are already on the wider clinically vulnerable list and should be strictly following social distancing measures. The guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 has been developed by expert doctors identifying specific medical conditions based on what we know about the virus so far. We will continue to keep this evidence under review.

In addition, general practitioners and hospital specialists have been asked to recommend other patients follow shielding guidance, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of each individual’s needs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, until what date the recommendations in the NICE COVID-19 rapid guideline: severe asthma will remain in place.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is unable to confirm a date on which the recommendations in the COVID-19 rapid guideline on severe asthma [NG166] will cease to be in place at this time.

COVID-19 rapid guidelines, and their individual recommendations, will be kept under review and may be considered for withdrawal:

- If the guideline or recommendations are no longer needed or become redundant/obsolete because service delivery has changed (e.g. normal services have resumed), or the recommendations are likely to have limited relevance for the service beyond the timeframe of the current crisis;

- If there are safety issues, for example, the recommendations may harm patients, service users or health and social care practitioners; and

- To remove duplication of recommendations if guideline content or certain recommendations within the COVID-19 suite are merged.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the methodology used by NICE to appraise combination therapies in the ongoing NICE Methods Review.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is responsible for the methods it uses in developing its guidance. While NICE is currently undertaking a review of its methods for health technology evaluation, the review is not considering combination treatments as a specific topic.

Commercial and policy-related challenges for combination treatments are being explored in other projects in line with the commitments in the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access. As stated in the Scheme, the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement will support the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s efforts to find solutions to these challenges.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many suppliers there are for each vaccine on the routine immunisation schedule.

Each of the routine vaccines in the United Kingdom vaccine schedule has one supplier, with the exception of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which has two suppliers.

Where there is more than one possible supplier of a vaccine for a programme, and the vaccines are clinically equivalent and interchangeable in the schedule, a decision to source the vaccine from either single or multiple suppliers is based on the risk of an interruption to supply and the resulting impact to the programme. This includes an assessment of the manufacturing and supply chain risks and how effectively the supplier has mitigated those risks. In addition, where shelf life allows, Public Health England holds stockpiles to protect the National Health Service programmes from interruptions in supply.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the training programme undertaken by NHS Test and Trace contact tracers includes information on (a) identifying child abuse and neglect and b) the steps to take in the event that they suspect a child is at risk.

All organisations that we work with are experts in undertaking call handling and have standard quality assurance processes that help drive continuous improvement from the point we go live.

A training package has been put together by experts in health protection and field epidemiology. Staff who join as call handlers’ for Tier 3 and ‘clinical staff’ for Tiers 1 and 2 are required to complete Level 2 adult and child safe-guarding training. The training undertaken addresses both adult and child safeguarding training and identify when concerns should be escalated. Policies are in place to ensure contact tracers know how to escalate concerns.

Where contact tracers identify potential child abuse and neglect, they escalate these cases straight away to a specialist team for review and onward referral to the appropriate authorities.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) people with severe asthma can access specialist centres for investigations and diagnosis and (b) severe asthma patients who are shielding during the covid-19 outbreak retain access to biologic therapies.

Specialist respiratory services for severe asthma have continued during the COVID-19 outbreak; in most cases people with severe asthma have been able to receive their biologic medication at home instead of having to attend hospital. Given the pivotal role of respiratory medicine in treating patients with COVID-19, the ability of some centres to commence patients receiving biologic therapies may have been impacted at the peak of the surge.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence COVID-19 rapid guideline on severe asthma provides guidance on starting or continuing on biological treatments, for people with severe asthma during the COVID-19 outbreak. The rapid guideline is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng166

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the need for multiple suppliers of routine vaccinations.

Each of the routine vaccines in the United Kingdom vaccine schedule has one supplier, with the exception of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which has two suppliers.

Where there is more than one possible supplier of a vaccine for a programme, and the vaccines are clinically equivalent and interchangeable in the schedule, a decision to source the vaccine from either single or multiple suppliers is based on the risk of an interruption to supply and the resulting impact to the programme. This includes an assessment of the manufacturing and supply chain risks and how effectively the supplier has mitigated those risks. In addition, where shelf life allows, Public Health England holds stockpiles to protect the National Health Service programmes from interruptions in supply.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients began biologic therapies for severe asthma in each month in 2020; and how many patients in total were prescribed biologic therapies for severe asthma in each of those months.

The following table shows the number of patients with severe asthma each month where biologic drug costs have been reimbursed to centres providing severe asthma services.

.

January 2020

February 2020

March 2020

Total patients

4,906

4,732

4,444

New Starters

152

91

63

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with severe asthma are on the shielded patients list.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the access of severe asthma patients to (a) specialist care in severe asthma centres and (b) biologic therapies.

Specialist respiratory services for severe asthma have continued during the COVID-19 outbreak; in most cases people with severe asthma have been able to receive their biologic medication at home instead of having to attend hospital. Given the pivotal role of respiratory medicine in treating patients with COVID-19, it is likely that the ability of some centres to commence patients on biologics may have been impacted at the peak of the surge.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence COVID-19 rapid guideline on severe asthma provides guidance on starting or continuing on biological treatments, for people with severe asthma during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guideline is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng166

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the number of high dose steroids a severe asthma patient would be prescribed for including that category of condition in the shielded patient list during the covid-19 outbreak is in line with the recommendation made by the Royal College of Physicians in Why asthma still kills: the National Review of Asthma Deaths.

The decision to include people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on the shielded patient list was taken by expert doctors in England who identified specific medical conditions that, based on what we knew about the virus so far, would place someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

These were signed off by the UK Senior Clinicians Group (including the four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers and clinical leadership at NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS Digital and Public Health England).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the response to the covid-19 outbreak on access to (a) contraception services and (b) abortion services; and what progress has been made on the development of (i) remote and (ii) digital access to those services.

The Department and Public Health England (PHE) are working with local commissioners, the National Health Service and professional bodies including the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, to discuss emerging issues on sexual and reproductive services, including contraception, during the COVID-19 pandemic. PHE is also seeking to establish a national framework for online sexual and reproductive health services that local areas can choose to commission for their residents.

The Department is carefully monitoring the impact of home administration of both sets of abortion medication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials have regular meetings with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Care Quality Commission and abortion service providers to discuss the impact and any issues arising. The RCOG has issued clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals on ‘Coronavirus infection and abortion care’.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase access to long-acting reversible contraception.

Sexual health services are commissioned at a local level to meet the needs of the local population. The Government has mandated local authorities in England to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services, including “advice on, and reasonable access to, a broad range of contraceptive substances and appliances”. In 2018/19, there were 1.4 million contacts with sexual and reproductive health services for contraceptive reasons and 44% of contraception supplied was for long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC). In additions there were 1.24 million prescriptions through primary care for LARC in 2018. We want to go further and ensure that all women have easy access to a choice of contraceptive methods and how we can continue to improve access will be considered through the new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of funding for contraception since 2015.

No assessment has been made of trends in the level of funding for contraception.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to ensure that women are able to access their contraception of choice during the covid-19 outbreak.

Sexual and reproductive health services are open during the pandemic though some are temporarily reducing their face-to-face appointments and may only be able to see emergency or urgent cases in person. This is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have published clinical advice to support ongoing provision of effective contraception which health professionals should work to can be found at the following linkl:

https://www.fsrh.org/documents/fsrh-ceu-clinical-advice-to-support-provision-of-effective/.

Women need to be able to continue to access contraception during the pandemic and in line with these guidelines, where services should ensure that there is clear, up to date signposting for patients and partner services as to what local contraceptive services are currently available, how these can be accessed, and where available, to national online services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) sexual health services and (b) contraceptive services are delivered to full capacity (i) during and (ii) after the covid-19 pandemic.

Sexual and reproductive health services are open. They have reduced their face-to-face appointments to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection but they will be able to see urgent, priority or vulnerable clients in person. Services are also maintaining access during this time through scaling up on online services. This can be achieved through a variety of routes, such as increasing eligibility through current provision or utilising a neighbours’ service for residents of another local authority. Public Health England is also seeking to establish a national framework for online sexual and reproductive health services that local areas can choose to commission for their residents.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether public health spending on (a) sexual health services, (b) women’s health services and (c) contraception will be protected (i) during and (ii) after the covid-19 pandemic.

In 2020/21 the total public health grant to local authorities is £3.279 billion. The grant is ring-fenced for use on public health functions, including sexual health services and contraception.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the provision of the NHS-funded flu vaccination to key workers.

The flu vaccination programme will be a critical part of preparing the United Kingdom for winter. On 14 May we published the Annual Flu letter 2020/21, available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885281/The_national_flu_immunisation_programme_2020_to_2021.pdf

This indicated the main groups who are eligible for free flu vaccination. We are planning for the flu season well in advance and further details will be published soon.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to (a) provide and (b) monitor the uptake of the free flu vaccine for social care staff during winter 2020-21; and if he will make a statement.

Responsibility for offering flu vaccination to social care workers rests with their employers as part of their occupational health responsibility to help protect both staff and those that they care for. To improve access, NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided a complementary scheme so that social care workers and hospice workers can also obtain the flu vaccination through their general practitioner or local pharmacy. This scheme will continue in 2020/21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement monitor the number of social care workers vaccinated through community pharmacies. However, national data collection on those immunised via occupational health is challenging, because there are a large number of providers, including many independent providers, with no national baseline data of the total workforce. We are in discussions with the Care Quality Commission, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England on how we can improve data collection for 2020/21, so that we can monitor vaccine uptake in the social care sector.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will hold discussions with (a) the Pharmacists' Defence Association, (b) pharmacy employers and (c) trades unions representing pharmacy workers on ensuring the safety of community pharmacy staff.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been regular contact between the Department and the Pharmacists' Defence Association on COVID-19 related issues. In addition, the Department has engaged with bodies representing community pharmacy employers on COVID-19 and the safety of community pharmacy staff and invited the Pharmacists' Defence Association to participate. For any further meetings on this issue, the Department will continue to invite the Pharmacists' Defence Association as well as other unions representing pharmacy workers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, as more employees are encouraged to return to work where it is safe to do so, what Government support and guidance he plans to make available to family members of people at the highest risk from covid-19 where those family members are employed in public facing roles.

People living with someone who has been identified as being at highest clinical risk are advised to familiarise themselves with the guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#living-with-other-people

They should also follow the national guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing) which is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

People living with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable and is shielding do not need to start shielding themselves.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate the Government has made of the proportion of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds whose deaths were attributable to covid-19 who had previously received a diagnosis of (a) kidney disease and (b) diabetes.

Public Health England led a recent rapid review to better understand how different factors can impact on how people are affected by COVID-19.

Chronic kidney disease was mentioned on 10.8% of death certificates where COVID-19 was also mentioned. This was higher in the Black ethnic group (18%) and the Asian group (16%).

Diabetes was mentioned on 21.1% of death certificates where COVID-19 was also mentioned. This was higher in all black, Asian and minority ethnic groups than the White group and was 43% in the Asian group and 45% in the Black group.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to help expand community podiatry services to tackle levels of diabetic foot ulceration and amputation as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to providers of community services on 19 March to ensure that diabetic foot clinics for high risk diabetic and vascular patients are maintained during the COVID-19 outbreak.

There is no plan to expand community podiatry services at this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the recruitment of (a) podiatrists and (b) other allied health professionals; and if he will make a statement.

It is too early to measure what impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the recruitment of podiatrists and other allied health professionals.

The Government is addressing the immediate and long-term recruitment of podiatrists and other allied health professionals. In December 2019 we announced additional maintenance grant funding, which will be available from September 2020 for new and continuing students of £5,000. There will be up to £3,000 additional funding for some students, who choose to study in regions or specialisms struggling to recruit, or to help with childcare costs. In addition, new students studying a specialist subject including podiatry will be able to access a further £1,000. These grants are on top of student loan allowances and do not need to be re-paid.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the delivery of child vaccination programmes.

Public Health England (PHE) has recently published a study on the early impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures on routine childhood vaccinations in England. General practice data indicates there has not been a significant reduction in the number of primary immunisation doses administered compared to the previous year, though there is some indication of a decrease in the first dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations, although this appears to be recovering. PHE continues to monitor the situation closely. Further information can be found at the following link:

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.19.2000848

Programmes delivered through schools are currently on hold and will be rescheduled when schools reopen.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure children receive all due vaccinations during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regional commissioners to ensure routine childhood immunisations continue to be delivered in primary care settings. Programmes delivered through schools are currently on hold and will be rescheduled as schools open.

PHE recently worked with NHS England and NHS Improvement to generate national news coverage to make people aware that National Health Service immunisations are still available, and the importance of keeping up to date with routine childhood immunisations during the pandemic. They have also produced resources for hospitals, general practices, pharmacies and other NHS settings. These have been shared across the health system, including local authorities and local NHS trusts to help them disseminate this messaging and are available at the following link:

https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/nhs-resources-facilities/resources/

PHE has also produced new immunisation social media cards to help to promote these messages which are available at the following link:

https://www.healthpublications.gov.uk/ViewArticle.html?sp=Scovid19promotingimmunisationsocialmediacards

The Government’s Coronavirus Action Plan has stated that everyone should ensure that they and their family’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan/coronavirus-action-plan-a-guide-to-what-you-can-expect-across-the-uk

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide intravenous nutrition to patients who cannot safely be admitted to hospital during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have continued to deliver the most urgent treatments, such as emergency and urgent cancer care, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

Services to patients with intestinal failure, either requiring the initiation of home parenteral nutrition, or the review and monitoring of those established on home parenteral (intravenous) nutrition, have continued to be supported throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of March 2020, NHS England published guidance for clinical leads about home parenteral nutrition services, including information to give to patients. A copy of the guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/home-parenteral-nutrition-hpn-services/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the health of chronically ill patients who are unable to safely attend hospital for care.

We have continued to deliver the most urgent treatments, such as emergency and urgent cancer care, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

With evidence suggesting that we are passing the peak of this wave of COVID-19, and with the National Health Service well-placed to provide world-leading care for those who do still have the virus, we are bringing back non-urgent services that had been temporarily suspended.

In the absence of face-to-face visits, primary and secondary care clinicians have been asked to stratify and proactively contact their high-risk patients to educate on specific symptoms and circumstances needing urgent hospital care and ensure appropriate ongoing care plans are delivered.

Doctors will always have the safety of patients at the centre of any decisions they make.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the clinically-led review of NHS Access Standards.

As part of the National Health Service response to COVID-19, recommendations following the clinically-led review of access standards have been deferred and will be made in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the range of urgent dental treatments available through NHS England.

To meet the Government social distancing measures and to contain the spread of Covid-19 all routine dentistry has currently been suspended.

We expect all NHS dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary is available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS111 into one of the 550 urgent dental care centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS. Data is not available on the number of patients who are waiting for routine dental treatment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will accept the recommendation of the Epilepsy Society to include epilepsy in the list of conditions eligible for a free flu vaccine.

Eligibility for influenza immunisation is based on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The JCVI is an independent departmental expert committee and a statutory body, which advises the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

In 2011 the JCVI considered the inclusion of epilepsy within the clinical risk categories for influenza vaccination and agreed that most individuals with epilepsy have the disease well controlled. Therefore, influenza does not disproportionately impact those with epilepsy compared with the healthy population. Individuals with severe neurological disability are at greater risk from influenza and may also have epilepsy and this group should be offered vaccination according to published guidance which is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/influenza-the-green-book-chapter-19

Medical professionals are encouraged to consider individual patient circumstances and use clinical judgement to take into account the risk of influenza exacerbating any underlying disease or condition that any patient may have, as well as the risk of serious illness from influenza itself with vaccination offered in such cases.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide dental treatment to people suffering from dental conditions for which treatment is not available during the covid-19 outbreak.

To meet the Government social distancing measures and to contain the spread of Covid-19 all routine dentistry has currently been suspended.

We expect all NHS dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary is available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS111 into one of the 550 urgent dental care centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the National Health Service. Data is not available on the number of patients who are waiting for routine dental treatment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the range of urgent dental treatments available through the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak.

To meet the Government social distancing measures and to contain the spread of Covid-19 all routine dentistry has currently been suspended.

We expect all NHS dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary is available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS111 into one of the 550 urgent dental care centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the National Health Service. Data is not available on the number of patients who are waiting for routine dental treatment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients are waiting for dental treatment that is not available through NHS England’s urgent dental treatment during the covid-19 outbreak.

To meet the Government social distancing measures and to contain the spread of Covid-19 all routine dentistry has currently been suspended.

We expect all NHS dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary is available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS111 into one of the 550 urgent dental care centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the National Health Service. Data is not available on the number of patients who are waiting for routine dental treatment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of reduced kidney dialysis frequency due to the covid-19 outbreak on those patients’ (a) survival rates, (b) transplant suitability and (c) mental well-being.

An assessment has not been made and figures are unavailable.

The ‘Covid-19 Rapid Guideline: dialysis service delivery’, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), sets out guidance for clinicians to maximise the safety of patients on dialysis during the pandemic.

It contains guidance on continuing, where safe and necessary, dialysis provision at home and in dialysis units, while making the best use of National Health Service resources and matching the capacity of dialysis services to patient needs if these become limited, or the schedule is altered, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If changes to the dialysis schedule are needed, decisions regarding the needs of individual patients should be made on a case by case basis. The guidance also highlights the importance of communicating with patients and supporting their mental wellbeing to help alleviate any anxiety and fear they may have about COVID-19.

Renal-service providers should establish a multi-professional operational team that has plans for contingency staffing, agreed pathways to ensure safe provision of dialysis, senior team oversight and clear links with provider COVID-19 planning. Providers should work in partnership with commissioning teams within the region. The NICE guidance is can be found at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng160/resources/covid19-rapid-guideline-dialysis-service-delivery-pdf-6614189403104

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to support patients' travel arrangements to access hospitals that have no confirmed cases of covid-19.

Guidance has been issued to the National Health Service on patient transport services at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0035-patient-transport-services-27-March-2020.pdf

This guidance is being updated and will reflect changes to the provision of all clinical services including those at hospitals that have no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the availability of kidney transplants from (a) living and (b) deceased donors.

While waiting lists continue to be monitored, an assessment on the effect on the kidney transplant waiting list cannot be made until transplant units reopen. Factors will include patients wishing to be relisted at this time; patients who have experienced acute kidney injury from COVID-19 and may become dialysis-dependent; and patients who have been unable to attend an assessment clinic at this time due to the risk to their health.

NHS England, NHS Improvement and NHS Blood and Transplant have been working closely together to ensure that organ donation and transplant activity could safely continue during the COVID-19 pandemic for very urgent life-saving transplants. Deceased organ donors are being referred and a few kidney transplants are taking place most days. A joint decision by NHS England and NHS Improvement and NHS Blood and Transplant was taken to cancel the living donor matching runs following an assessment of risk. Patients waiting for a kidney transplant are able to receive dialysis as a short-term alternative treatment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of the reduction of kidney transplants and associated increase in dialysis treatment as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England, NHS Improvement and NHS Blood and Transplant have been working closely together to ensure that organ donation and transplant activity could safely continue during the COVID-19 pandemic for very urgent life-saving transplants. A few kidney transplants are taking place on most days. Patients waiting for a kidney transplant are able to receive dialysis as a short-term alternative treatment.

At this time, no financial assessment has been made of the impact of the changes to transplant and dialysis numbers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that patients with suspected cancer that are referred to a consultant by a GP for a phone or virtual consultation are (a) monitored and (b) receive follow-up contact in the event that the referral is not continued.

A letter was issued to trusts on 29 April detailing the Second Phase of Response to COVID-19, setting out that:

“All NHS secondary care providers now have access to video consultation technology to deliver some clinical care without the need for in-person contact. As far as practicable, video or telephone appointments should be offered by default for all outpatient activity without a procedure, and unless there are clinical or patient choice reasons to change to replace with in-person contact. Trusts should use remote appointments - including video consultations - as a default to triage their elective backlog. They should implement a ‘patient initiated follow up’ approach for suitable appointments - providing patients the means of self-accessing services if required.”

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of kidney patients not receiving a transplant due to the covid-19 outbreak on (a) one year and (b) five year survival rates.

No assessment has yet been made. However, NHS Blood and Transplant is actively collecting data on the impact of COVID-19 for those patients on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, or for those who had received a transplant, and who had then contracted COVID-19. Similarly, the Renal Registry has been keeping the relevant data for dialysis patients. Early data show that both dialysis patients and those who are immunosuppressed for a kidney transplant are more vulnerable to the COVID-19.

NHS England, NHS Improvement and NHS Blood and Transplant do routinely monitor, and report on, the outcome data for all organ recipients and patients on the waiting list including one and five-year survival rates.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the availability of dialysis fluid.

The Department is not aware of any shortages of fluids used to care for chronic dialysis patients.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access the appropriate medicines.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS renal units have reduced the frequency of dialysis treatments for renal patients as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

An assessment has not been made and figures are unavailable.

The ‘Covid-19 Rapid Guideline: dialysis service delivery’, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), sets out guidance for clinicians to maximise the safety of patients on dialysis during the pandemic.

It contains guidance on continuing, where safe and necessary, dialysis provision at home and in dialysis units, while making the best use of National Health Service resources and matching the capacity of dialysis services to patient needs if these become limited, or the schedule is altered, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If changes to the dialysis schedule are needed, decisions regarding the needs of individual patients should be made on a case by case basis. The guidance also highlights the importance of communicating with patients and supporting their mental wellbeing to help alleviate any anxiety and fear they may have about COVID-19.

Renal-service providers should establish a multi-professional operational team that has plans for contingency staffing, agreed pathways to ensure safe provision of dialysis, senior team oversight and clear links with provider COVID-19 planning. Providers should work in partnership with commissioning teams within the region. The NICE guidance is can be found at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng160/resources/covid19-rapid-guideline-dialysis-service-delivery-pdf-6614189403104

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to NICE Guideline 12, Suspected cancer: recognition and referral, published in June 2015, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of patients with suspected cancer that have their first consultant appointment within two weeks of an urgent GP referral.

The first published data covering the period of the COVID-19 outbreak for the month of March will be available during May.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the level of demand for oncology services that are provided outside hospital settings.

Published data does not yet cover the time period of the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there may need to be some changes to how treatments are delivered. Cancer and its treatment can weaken the immune system, making a person more vulnerable to the virus.

Although urgent cancer diagnosis and treatment is continuing, in some cases, it may be safer to delay cancer treatment or give it in a different way, to reduce the risk of infection. For example, patients having chemotherapy may start to have it at home, to reduce visits to hospital while continuing with their treatment. Guidance to help support clinical decision-making at this time has been issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/cancer/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients attending cancer-related hospital appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

Data on urgent two week wait cancer referrals group is collected and published by NHS England and available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/cancer-waiting-times/

The latest available data is for April 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the kidney transplant waiting list.

While waiting lists continue to be monitored, an assessment on the effect on the kidney transplant waiting list cannot be made until transplant units reopen. Factors will include patients wishing to be relisted at this time; patients who have experienced acute kidney injury from COVID-19 and may become dialysis-dependent; and patients who have been unable to attend an assessment clinic at this time due to the risk to their health.

NHS England, NHS Improvement and NHS Blood and Transplant have been working closely together to ensure that organ donation and transplant activity could safely continue during the COVID-19 pandemic for very urgent life-saving transplants. Deceased organ donors are being referred and a few kidney transplants are taking place most days. A joint decision by NHS England and NHS Improvement and NHS Blood and Transplant was taken to cancel the living donor matching runs following an assessment of risk. Patients waiting for a kidney transplant are able to receive dialysis as a short-term alternative treatment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing NHS oncology treatment in patients' homes during the covid-19 outbreak.

Published data does not yet cover the time period of the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there may need to be some changes to how treatments are delivered. Cancer and its treatment can weaken the immune system, making a person more vulnerable to the virus.

Although urgent cancer diagnosis and treatment is continuing, in some cases, it may be safer to delay cancer treatment or give it in a different way, to reduce the risk of infection. For example, patients having chemotherapy may start to have it at home, to reduce visits to hospital while continuing with their treatment. Guidance to help support clinical decision-making at this time has been issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/cancer/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to NICE Guideline 12, Suspected cancer: recognition and referral, published in June 2015, what steps he has taken to ensure that patients with suspected cancer are (a) monitored and (b) receive follow-up contact in the event that a GP decides as a result of the covid-19 outbreak not to refer those patients for a consultant appointment within two weeks.

General practitioners will continue to refer on to cancer pathways in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance so that patients can be managed appropriately, and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Cancer Alliances to ensure diagnostic services are available to carry out the necessary investigations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department holds information on people who have tested positive for covid-19 coming into contact with hospitals that do not have confirmed cases of covid-19-in the seven days preceding their positive test result.

The Department does not record this information as part of the information collected through COVID-19 testing programmes.

Increased testing capacity means that we will now be able to extend regular testing to asymptomatic staff, guided by Public Health England and clinical advice. This approach has been piloted in a number of acute, community and mental health providers and will inform the further roll out of this policy. This pilot should help our understanding of in hospital and nosocomial transmission, with the aim of limiting it where possible.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who have already taken part in cancer screening and are required to have follow up tests are receiving those tests during the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service cancer screening services (breast, bowel, cervical) have been affected by a range of clinical and operational impacts during COVID-19, and some services at local level have rescheduled appointments and invitations as a result.

Services are now focused on restoring appointments for the highest priority patient populations first, including those already some way along the screening pathway. This will be followed by a full reinstatement of other impacted parts of each screening programme pathway, including any further diagnosis and onward referral to treatment. NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked NHS public health commissioners and their providers to provide follow up tests for people who have had positive screening tests, where they have resources and facilities do so, and where it can be done safely for the public and staff.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to support the life sciences sector in restarting clinical trials paused due to covid-19 outbreak; and on what date he plans to announce those plans.

The Department funds and supports research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) has paused the site set up of new or ongoing studies at National Health Service and social care sites that are not nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies. This is to enable the NIHR CRN research workforce to focus on delivering nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies or enabling redeployment to frontline care where necessary. The NIHR is currently considering how to re-start paused studies that are funded or supported by the NIHR CRN in a way which will protect the continued delivery of nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies, which are an essential part of the Government response to the ongoing pandemic. It is engaging with research funders, including industry, and NHS Research and Development departments in formulating these plans. The NIHR will publish plans on re-starting paused studies in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people with potential cancer symptoms seek help from a GP during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service has continued to provide urgent and emergency services throughout the outbreak and has run the ‘Open for Business’ media campaign to encourage people with potentially serious health issues, such as cancer, to continue to seek medical advice and attend essential appointments.

Referrals for cancer treatment from general practitioners (GPs) to hospitals continue and the NHS is working hard to increase these to pre-COVID-19 levels. To assist this, technological solutions are being implemented so that cancer patients can attended GP and specialist appointments without the need to leave their homes, through the use of telephone or video consultations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that GPs continue to refer patients for appropriate cancer diagnostic tests during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service has continued to provide urgent and emergency services throughout the outbreak and has run the ‘Open for Business’ media campaign to encourage people with potentially serious health issues, such as cancer, to continue to seek medical advice and attend essential appointments.

Referrals for cancer treatment from general practitioners (GPs) to hospitals continue and the NHS is working hard to increase these to pre-COVID-19 levels. To assist this, technological solutions are being implemented so that cancer patients can attended GP and specialist appointments without the need to leave their homes, through the use of telephone or video consultations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on trends in the number of cancer diagnoses in the next 12 months of suspending NHS cancer screening programmes.

The UK National Screening Committee is undertaking work to estimate the impact of temporary suspension to screening programmes, including cancer screening. This work is currently in its early stages and the results will be reported as soon they are available.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have not suspended National Health Service cancer screening programmes at the national level. However, to protect patients and staff during this pandemic, it is acknowledged that at a regional level some clinical services are rescheduling routine invitations or appointments to a later date, including routine screening appointments. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with service providers to ensure that plans are in place to reschedule and restore services as soon as is safely possible to do so, in order to minimise any risk to individual patients.

NHS England and NHS Improvement recommend that anyone experiencing any unusual symptoms should contact their general practitioner practice as soon as possible for advice.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the recent survey by the British Dental Association on the availability of personal protective equipment to dentists.

Dentists normally purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) through dental wholesale suppliers. We are not aware of wholesalers reporting difficulties in obtaining PPE for onward sale for dentists. However, for PPE which is needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for National Health Service dentistry, the Government has made supplies available free of charge for dental contractors. A dedicated PPE portal has been developed to deliver these items. As of 4 November, over 5,100 NHS dental and orthodontic providers in England have registered with the PPE portal and over 36 million items have been delivered.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the capacity of urgent dental care hubs to treat referred patients.

The Government is working to support and protect all our frontline National Health Services health and care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, including dentists.

NHS dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each NHS region.

As of 25 May there are currently over 550 UDCs open across England. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety. A copy of the letter that was published can be found on the NHS England website.

The latest COVID-19 guidance for dental practices can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/dental-practice

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mental health support has been provided to primary care providers in England in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

On 23 April, NHS England and NHS Improvement, in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners, launched #LookingAfterYouToo: Coaching Support for Primary Care Staff service. This service provides access to individual coaching support by video link or telephone with highly trained, experienced coaches and it is available to all clinical and non-clinical primary care workers employed or contracted to deliver work on behalf of the National Health Service.

The aim of the services is to provide staff with the opportunities to process experiences, develop coping skills, deal with difficult conversations and develop strategies for self-management in difficult circumstances. This is on top of the wider range of health and wellbeing resources available on the NHS people website at the following link:

www.people.nhs.uk

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients are on Patient Tracking Lists (a) in total and (b) by NHS trust.

A Patient Tracking List is a forward-looking management tool used to help manage waiting lists and to achieve and sustain short waiting times.

The most recent available data (February 2020), shows that the number of incomplete pathways on the national waiting list total is 4,425,306. The number of incomplete pathways by trust, also for February 2020, is attached. The published data provided indicates the number of pathways, not individual patients.

Monthly data on referral to treatment times is published routinely by NHS England each month. The published data set includes data for all providers and all commissioners and can be found at the following link:

http://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/rtt-waiting-times/

NHS England and NHS Improvement monitor and manage performance against the waiting times requirements set out in the NHS Operational and Planning Guidance 2020/21. The NHS Standard Contract (which is mandated by NHS England for use by commissioners for all contracts for healthcare services) specifies the minimum expectations for providers’ delivery of operational plans, including waiting times. Local healthcare providers are ultimately responsible for monitoring their waiting lists and ensuring patient safety and follow up.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that patients on Patient Tracking Lists are safely monitored and followed up.

A Patient Tracking List is a forward-looking management tool used to help manage waiting lists and to achieve and sustain short waiting times.

The most recent available data (February 2020), shows that the number of incomplete pathways on the national waiting list total is 4,425,306. The number of incomplete pathways by trust, also for February 2020, is attached. The published data provided indicates the number of pathways, not individual patients.

Monthly data on referral to treatment times is published routinely by NHS England each month. The published data set includes data for all providers and all commissioners and can be found at the following link:

http://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/rtt-waiting-times/

NHS England and NHS Improvement monitor and manage performance against the waiting times requirements set out in the NHS Operational and Planning Guidance 2020/21. The NHS Standard Contract (which is mandated by NHS England for use by commissioners for all contracts for healthcare services) specifies the minimum expectations for providers’ delivery of operational plans, including waiting times. Local healthcare providers are ultimately responsible for monitoring their waiting lists and ensuring patient safety and follow up.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to assist patients to travel to urgent dental care hubs.

NHS Dental Practices were able to restart face to face care from 8th June, with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is safely possible, taking into account Public Health England guidance and continued infection risks.

Urgent Dental Centres remain open to support the provision of urgent and emergency face to face care for dental patients and patients will be referred to urgent dental care centres, where needed locally. NHS England set up over 600 urgent dental care centres during the peak of the pandemic which remain open for urgent dental treatment. NHS England and NHS Improvement have looked closely at the distribution of these centres to ensure they are as accessible as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the availability of cancer treatment pathways returns to its previous level after the relaxation of covid-19 measures.

Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer will continue to be priority for this Government both during and after our response to COVID-19.

Patient safety is our top priority, NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued guidance to trusts and Cancer Alliances advising essential and urgent cancer treatments must continue in a COVID-19 free environment.

In October 2018 the Government announced a package of measures that will be rolled out across the country with the aim of seeing three quarters of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028 (currently just over half). This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan and forms part of how the Government will achieve its ambition to see 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years in England each year from 2028.

The Long Term Plan is available at the following link:

https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/nhs-long-term-plan.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to monitor levels of health inequality during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England has established surveillance systems to collect and analyse data on COVID-19 infection by demographic characteristics.

This data can be viewed on the National COVID-19 Weekly Summary Report at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has carried out increased monitoring on cancer (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment statistics during the covid-19 outbreak.

The situation is being closely monitored by the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The first published data covering the period of the COVID-19 outbreak for the month of March will be available through the Cancer Waiting Times system during May.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of provisionally registering pre-registration pharmacists in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The registration of pharmacy professionals is a matter for the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in Great Britain. Temporary re-registration has been focused on those people who had previously demonstrated the required knowledge and skills to safely practise as a registered pharmacist or pharmacy technician, and who have recent experience of pharmacy practice.

Temporary registration has been given to 3,483 pharmacists and 3,020 pharmacy technicians who are now able to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GPhC is exploring whether any further categories of people may need to be registered, with a view to ensuring pre-registration trainee pharmacists can progress safely on to the pharmacy register.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he has provided to community pharmacies on the sale of Ibuprofen during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Commission on Human Medicine’s Expert Working Group on COVID-19 has concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence to establish a link between use of ibuprofen and susceptibility to contracting COVID-19 or the worsening of its symptoms.

The Expert Working Group’s advice has been published on GOV.UK, and communicated to healthcare professionals including community pharmacists in a joint statement from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

The guidance is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/commission-on-human-medicines-advice-on-ibuprofen-and-coronavirus-covid-19

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the supply line to community pharmacies.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines.

The Department is working closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, including through community pharmacies, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19-related staff absence by (a) illness and (b) diversions on cancer treatment.

The Department is monitoring the rate of COVID-19 related staff absence.

Essential and urgent cancer treatments are continuing. The National Health Service is adapting how it runs its cancer services to ensure the safety of both patients and staff – this includes establishing dedicated cancer hubs for urgent treatment and diagnosis. Cancer specialist teams are discussing treatment and care with patients, including the potential risks to them, either through undergoing or to delay treatment at this time. Medical staff will always have the safety of patients at the centre of any decisions they make.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the long-term effect on cancer research of the suspension and cancellation of clinical trials.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is prioritising urgent research to support the COVID-19 emergency by operating a single, national process in which an expert panel reporting into the Department, and acting on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer, prioritises the COVID-19 studies which hold most potential for tackling the challenges we face. The process aims to establish national priorities for research, prevent duplication of effort, and ensure that the capacity of the health and care system to support research is not exceeded.

There has also been a need to enable the redeployment of research staff, and research support staff, to frontline care where necessary. These circumstances mean that there will be some unavoidable delays to cancer research. We are seeking to minimise such delays.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many dentists (a) have been trained and (b) are waiting for training to work at urgent dental care hubs.

No additional training is necessary for dentists undertaking work at urgent dental care centres. The necessary changes to high street dental services during COVID-19 relates to location and not to the types of care being delivered, which continue to be within the scope of dentists’ clinical expertise.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cancer treatments considered essential and urgent have been delayed across NHS England.

The National Health Service is adapting how it runs its cancer services to ensure the safety of both patients and staff – this includes establishing dedicated cancer hubs for urgent treatment and diagnosis.

Essential and urgent cancer treatments are continuing. Cancer specialists are discussing with their patients the potential risks to them, either through undergoing or to delay treatment at this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many oncologists (a) in total and (b) by NHS trust have been diverted to respond directly to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cancer-related clinical trials have been (a) cancelled and (b) suspended as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidance requires trial sponsors to notify the MHRA of a temporary halt to a clinical trial when it involves a direct participant safety issue or a medicines supply issue. Trials which end prematurely are required to be notified to the regulator within 15 days of the decision to end the study.

From 1 March 2020 to 22 April 2020 the MHRA has been notified of 10 temporary halts to cancer-related trials of investigational medicinal products which specifically state COVID-19 as the reason for halting. No cancer-related trials of investigational medicinal products were prematurely ended as a result of COVID-19 during this time. It should be noted that end of trial notifications are only required to be submitted to the regulator if the trial has ended in all the territories it was running in.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19-free hospital sites have been created for cancer care in England; and what plans there are to deliver additional such sites in the next four weeks.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published guidance and supported the development of ‘hubs’ for cancer surgery. Hubs are being developed in all 21 Alliance areas across England and are already fully or partially operational in at least 18 areas. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with all Cancer Alliances on plans for the next phases of service delivery.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have visited covid-19-free hospital sites since the establishment of those sites; and how many of those patients were cancer patients.

The data requested is not currently available. The first published data covering the period of the COVID-19 outbreak for the month of March will be available through the Cancer Waiting Times system during May.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of authorising pharmacists to supply prescription-only medicines without a prescription to patients who have previously been prescribed those medicines during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 outline provisions for emergency supply by a pharmacist, including one when a pandemic is declared or imminently anticipated. This specific provision has been utilised to allow NHS England and NHS Improvement to commission a local enhanced service - where one is needed - to enable pharmacists to supply medicines, which patients have been previously prescribed, without a prescription, and at the same time reducing administrative burden on pharmacies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that dentists at urgent dental care hubs receive adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.

The Government is doing everything to support and protect all our frontline health and care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, including dentists. The Government is working closely with industry, the National Health Service, social care providers and the army to ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) is delivered to those who need it.

Dentistry does not usually require FFP3 masks or other higher level PPE. However, the heightened risks presented by COVID-19 mean that this is required for any aerosol generating procedures. We are aware that there have been delays for a number of urgent care dental hubs in getting all the PPE now required and that this is still an issue for some hubs. The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working urgently to resolve this. As an immediate measure emergency dentistry has been placed on the list of priorities areas to receive supplies from Local Resilience Forums.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have been treated in urgent dental care hubs (a) in total and (b) by hub.

As of 14 May, there are over 500 urgent dental care centres. Data is not currently available showing the numbers of patients treated by urgent dental care centres.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) mean and (b) median wait is for a patient referred to an urgent dental care hub for initial treatment.

This data is not collected. Patients will be referred into urgent dental treatment centres via local dental practices and through NHS 111. We would expect urgent treatment centres to prioritise patients based on clinical need.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are any (a) regional or (b) local differences in ability to receive urgent medical treatment during the covid-19 outbreak based on levels of deprivation.

Thanks to the hard work of National Health Service staff, increased critical care capacity across the NHS has meant that all patients needing urgent treatment for COVID-19 have been able to receive treatment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) total and (b) routine cervical smears have been delayed (i) across NHS England and (ii) by NHS Trust as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold the data requested. Information on cervical screening uptake rates is published quarterly by NHS Digital and can be found on their website using the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/cervical-screening-programme/cervical-screening-programme-coverage-statistics-management-information

To protect patients and staff during this pandemic, some clinical services are rescheduling routine invitations or appointments to a later date, including routine screening appointments. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with service providers to ensure that plans are in place to reschedule and restore services as soon as is safely possible to do so, in order to minimise any risk to individual patients.

NHS England and NHS Improvement recommend that anyone experiencing any unusual symptoms should contact their general practitioner practice as soon as possible for advice.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made any assessment on levels of (a) tobacco and (b) alcohol use during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is too early to make an effective assessment of the levels of tobacco and alcohol use during the COVID-19 outbreak. Data on this is published annually, and the Department is investigating other external sources of data and surveys to track indicators of behaviour change.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that health inequalities are not exacerbated by the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government remains committed to levelling up and spreading opportunity around this country.

We are very mindful of the impact that COVID-19 can have in different communities and we are keeping measures under review. We aim to ensure that our guidance and information meets the needs of a wide range of communities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the ability of patients to access urgent dental care hubs.

NHS Dental Practices were able to restart face to face care from 8th June, with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is safely possible, taking into account Public Health England guidance and continued infection risks.

Urgent Dental Centres remain open to support the provision of urgent and emergency face to face care for dental patients and patients will be referred to urgent dental care centres, where needed locally. NHS England set up over 600 urgent dental care centres during the peak of the pandemic which remain open for urgent dental treatment. NHS England and NHS Improvement have looked closely at the distribution of these centres to ensure they are as accessible as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of HRT shortages on (a) work attendance and (b) productivity.

The Department has not made an assessment of the effect of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) shortages on work attendance and productivity.

We are aware of ongoing supply issues with some HRT preparations due to a range of issues including manufacturing issues, regulatory issues and problems accessing the raw pharmaceutical ingredient as well as commercial decisions made by some companies to divest these products. While some HRT products are affected by supply issues, alternative HRT products have remained available.

We have been working closely with all suppliers of HRT preparations to maintain overall supply to patients and anticipate the supply situation will start to improve from the end of February 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of Storm Ciara on the provision of home care in (a) Nottingham North constituency and (b) England.

No such assessment has been made.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to improve workplace support for women going through the menopause.

The Government is committed to supporting working women at all stages of their lives and enabling them to reach their potential.

We have worked with businesses and academics to highlight the role employers can play in supporting women going through menopause transition. This includes setting out practical actions employers can take. This also sits alongside other policies and programmes, such as flexible working, which can help everyone remain economically active as long as they choose to.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the (a) overcrowding of the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos and (b) resettlement and repatriation of refugees on (i) other islands and (ii) mainland Greece.

Our Ambassador last raised the situation of migrants on the Greek islands with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) when the UNHCR visited Greece in November 2019.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the benefits for the East Midlands of the Spending Review 2020.

We are committed to levelling up opportunities across the UK, including in the East Midlands. At the Spending Review, we announced that the East Midlands would benefit from; £90m for flood defences in Skegness, Tattershall and Boston to better protect over 17,000 properties; Over £500m investment to upgrade the A46 Newark Bypass and A38 at Derby, and over £75m in Leicester, Derby and Nottingham in 21/22 to improve public transport, boost connectivity and reduce congestion through the Transforming Cities Fund.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that employers are aware that clinically extremely vulnerable people are eligible for the extended furlough scheme if they are unable to work from home and their workplace is not covid-secure.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance, are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, if the employer making the claim and the relevant employee meet the eligibility criteria. Furloughed employees must have been employed on 30 October and HMRC must have received an RTI submission between 20 March and 30 October notifying payment in respect of that employee. An employer does not need to be facing a wider reduction in demand or be closed in order to be eligible to claim for these employees. It is for the employer to decide whether to offer to furlough an employee.

Full eligibility criteria for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is published at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme, and guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19, including at work, is published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support he plans to provide to clinically extremely vulnerable people who are unable to return to work because of the safety concerns after the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

From 1 August the Government has relaxed national advice for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), bringing it in line with the advice to those who are clinically vulnerable. The advice is still to stay at home as much as possible. However, if they are unable to work from home, they will be able to return to work, provided their workplace is COVID-safe. It is important that this group continue to take careful precautions, and employers should do all they can to enable them to work from home where this is possible, including moving them to another role or adjusting their work patterns if required.


To support this guidance, the CEV will continue to have access to an unprecedented package of financial support after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends. To keep employees attached to the workforce even if they are unable to work their usual hours, the Government will be introducing a new Job Support Scheme from 1 November, which will support firms facing reduced demand with wage costs incurred from 1 November 2020. In order to protect jobs, the Government has also expanded the JSS for businesses legally required to temporarily close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions. The Government will provide those employers with a grant for employees unable to work, covering two thirds of their usual wages and subject to a cap.


For clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who are on low incomes or who are out of work, the Government has injected a further £9.3 billion into the welfare system according to OBR estimates. Changes include a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1 billion increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question 73946 on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Travel, what businesses and representatives groups from the leisure coach industry Ministers from his Department have met with since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Treasury ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will he extend the furlough scheme to people that are clinically vulnerable to covid-19 and shielding but have not used that scheme and are unable to return to work on 1 August 2020.

On 22 June, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will relax the current public health guidance for those identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to shield at home. This means from 1 August they will be able to return to work if they are unable to work from home, provided their workplace is COVID-safe.

It is important that this group continue to take careful precautions, and employers should do all they can to enable them to work from home where this is possible, including moving them to another role if required. Where this is not possible, the CEV should be provided with the safest on-site roles that enable them to maintain social distancing from others.

If employers cannot provide a safe working environment, the CEV will continue to have access to an unprecedented package of financial support. This is not limited to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but also includes the introduction of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and an increase in the generosity of welfare payments worth a further £9.3bn according to Office for Budget Responsibility estimates.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether an employer is entitled to make a claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employees that are term time workers in relation to periods when schools are closed for reasons unrelating to Covid 19.

Term time workers are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during periods when schools are closed for reasons unrelated to COVID-19, if they are otherwise eligible for the scheme.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to include a cost-benefit analysis of a green covid-19 economic recovery plan in his review of funding for the transition to a net zero greenhouse gas economy; and what the timescale is for that review.

The Coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced in decades. We will assess the impacts of potential interventions against their contribution to our environmental goals, including our climate change and air quality targets.

The Government remains committed to tackling climate change, and meeting our Net Zero target. Information on the Net Zero Review can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/net-zero-review-terms-of-reference.
Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a reduction in business rates on the incentivisation of businesses to invest in carbon reduction measures.

Plant and machinery used to provide services within a property, such as solar power, is normally included in the business rate assessment; this is an established principle in the business rates system and ensures all buildings’ assessments include the services they need for their use.

However, the Government is continuing to support the take up of solar panels by maintaining the business rates exemption for solar power generating equipment (less than 50kW) between its installation and the next business rates revaluation.

As set out in the Terms of Reference published at Budget, the treatment of plant and machinery will also be considered through the fundamental review of business rates.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether employers will incur any (a) costs or (b) conditions as a result of accessing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is designed to help firms that have been severely affected by coronavirus to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. The scheme is open to all UK employers providing they have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 and have a UK bank account.

The Government has designed this package to be straightforward and comprehensive for businesses. Employers can claim a grant for the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on the subsidised furlough pay.

Full guidance for employers, including the requirements on businesses, can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether police officers mobilised for the G7 summit will receive their covid-19 vaccinations in advance of that mobilisation to ensure the (a) operational resilience of and (b) safety of the public at that summit.

The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines is being delivered in line with the guidance of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This prioritises those who are most likely to suffer the most serious health outcomes as a result of catching the virus, where age is assessed to be the most significant factor. Police officers will continue to be vaccinated in line with the JCVI-guided prioritisation, and many will have received at least a first dose ahead of the G7 Summit in June.

We recognise the importance of Personal Protective Equipment for all of those on the frontline and continue to work with the police to ensure officers receive the essential equipment they need in order to carry out their jobs safely.

The health and safety of all staff and attendees at the Summit, and local residents in Cornwall, is paramount. Government will take all necessary measures to ensure that the G7 Summit is fully COVID-secure.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the ban on evictions applies to people who receive leave to remain and are asked to leave NASS accommodation.

Throughout the pandemic we have taken decisive action to ensure those seeking asylum in the UK have the support they need.

This has included providing accommodation for everyone who required it and pausing the cessation of support so that appropriate public health guidance could be followed. It was made clear from the outset that this was a temporary measure which would be brought to an end as soon as it was safe to do so.

The cessation of asylum support and transition to mainstream provision for those granted refugee status is taking a careful, phased approach in conjunction with relevant partners including the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and local authorities. We have shared our approach with public health authorities and will continue to work within heath guidelines and legal advice.

Those who have been granted asylum receive a cessation notice affording a 28-day grace period and Move-on support is provided throughout by the Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service, operated by Migrant Help.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many no further action notices were issued by the police in each month in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020 in (i) the UK and (ii) each region of the UK.

The Home Offices publishes the investigative outcomes of crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales on a quarterly basis and the latest figures can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables

However, from the information held centrally, it is not possible to separately identify cases in which a person investigated with regard to a specific offence has been issued with a “No Further Action” notice.

As policing is a devolved matter, information for Scotland and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether financial support for victims of human trafficking is adjusted for inflation.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to UIN 120984 on 30th November 2020.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether financial support for victims of trafficking has been adjusted for inflation.

The Victim Care Contract (VCC) provides support to individuals who have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), have received a positive reasonable grounds decision and have consented to support. The VCC provides support through accommodation (where needed), financial support and specialist support workers.

The rates for financial support are set out in the VCC and Modern Slavery Act 2015: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales. These rates have not been adjusted for inflation, however, they are kept under review. The Home Office is currently working towards a new financial support policy that will focus on individual victims’ needs.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of people in the National Referral Mechanism from April 2019 to March 2020 (a) received and (b) did not receive weekly subsistence payments.

In reference to your first question, the rates for financial support are set out in the Victim Care Contract (VCC) and Modern Slavery Act 2015: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales. These rates have not been adjusted for inflation, however, they are kept under review. The Home Office is currently working towards a new financial support policy that will focus on individual victims’ needs.

In reference to your second question, there is no distinction made between victims of trafficking and modern slavery in relation to support provided by the VCC. The current VCC has been operational since 2015; providing support to individuals who have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), have received a positive reasonable grounds decision and have consented to support. The VCC provides support through accommodation (where needed), financial support and specialist support workers.

We are aware that some individuals may have received incorrect financial support payments during their time in VCC support until 30 November 2019. Financial support payments may have been reduced as a result of them receiving alternative sources of income, in a way that was not in line with published policy or with the wording of the VCC. We are working at pace to establish who may have been affected. We will communicate further details on how we plan to rectify this issue in the coming weeks.

In reference to your third question, the data requested on how many and what proportion of people in the NRM from April 2019 to March 2020 are receiving subsistence payments does not currently form part of the published NRM statistics. The Home Office published quarterly statistics regarding the NRM which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether people in the National Referral Mechanism in receipt of Victim Care Contract support will continue to receive that support during covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the safety and security of potential and confirmed victims of modern slavery has been our priority. We have continued to work closely with the Prime Contractor for the Victim Care Contract (VCC), The Salvation Army, to ensure individuals get the support they need and we can continue to take new referrals.

There remains flexibility in the VCC to address the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions through existing policies, such as the extension request mechanism and Recovery Needs Assessments (RNAs). A minimum of 45 calendar days of VCC ‘move-on’ support will be maintained for confirmed victims following their receipt of a positive Conclusive Grounds (CG) decision and support is then tailored based on the recovery needs of the victims. The extension request process remains in place for individuals in receipt of a negative CG decision who require longer to exit support.

Support workers will continue to consider the capacity of local services when planning move-on after a positive or negative Conclusive Grounds decision and will not facilitate move-on unless it is safe and appropriate to do so. RNA decision-making by the Single Competent Authority will also take account of these factors.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether financial support for victims of trafficking is adjusted for inflation by (a) date and (b) amount of each adjustment.

In reference to your first question, the rates for financial support are set out in the Victim Care Contract (VCC) and Modern Slavery Act 2015: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales. These rates have not been adjusted for inflation, however, they are kept under review. The Home Office is currently working towards a new financial support policy that will focus on individual victims’ needs.

In reference to your second question, there is no distinction made between victims of trafficking and modern slavery in relation to support provided by the VCC. The current VCC has been operational since 2015; providing support to individuals who have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), have received a positive reasonable grounds decision and have consented to support. The VCC provides support through accommodation (where needed), financial support and specialist support workers.

We are aware that some individuals may have received incorrect financial support payments during their time in VCC support until 30 November 2019. Financial support payments may have been reduced as a result of them receiving alternative sources of income, in a way that was not in line with published policy or with the wording of the VCC. We are working at pace to establish who may have been affected. We will communicate further details on how we plan to rectify this issue in the coming weeks.

In reference to your third question, the data requested on how many and what proportion of people in the NRM from April 2019 to March 2020 are receiving subsistence payments does not currently form part of the published NRM statistics. The Home Office published quarterly statistics regarding the NRM which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which languages the National Referral Mechanism Referral form for referring potential victims of trafficking or modern slavery is published in.

Referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) are made by First Responders via the Modern Slavery Online Portal. As the referral can only be made by designated First Responders, the portal is only available in English.

The First Responder is responsible for identifying potential victims of modern slavery, gathering information in order to understand what has happened to them and referring them to the NRM, or notifying the Home Office under the Duty to Notify where an adult does not consent to referral to the NRM.

Further information on the referral pathways can be found in the Modern Slavery Act 2015: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-slavery-how-to-identify-and-support-victims.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many grants of Discretionary Leave to Remain have been made to victims of human trafficking or modern slavery with a positive Conclusive Grounds decision from the National Referral Mechanism, on the grounds of their personal circumstances relating to safety on return to country of origin.

The Home Office publishes statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2019-uk-annual-report-on-modern-slavery These publications provide the number and nationality of potential victims referred into the NRM and the number of NRM referrals by location of exploitation. The statistics do not currently provide a breakdown of nationalities by location of exploitation. Numbers and reasons for grants of discretionary leave to remain to victims of modern slavery do not currently form part of modern slavery published statistics. The safety on return to a victim’s country of origin is assessed as part of the protection-based decision where the victim has also claimed asylum. Where a victim has not claimed asylum, their safety on return related to their exploitation is considered within the personal circumstances element of their modern slavery discretionary leave to remain decision, where relevant.

Statistics on the total number of people granted Discretionary Leave for all reasons can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2019

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average length of time is for which someone with a positive Conclusive Grounds decision from the National Referral Mechanism for victims of modern slavery is usually granted Discretionary Leave to Remain.

The Home Office publishes statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2019-uk-annual-report-on-modern-slavery These publications provide the number and nationality of potential victims referred into the NRM and the number of NRM referrals by location of exploitation. The statistics do not currently provide a breakdown of nationalities by location of exploitation. Numbers and reasons for grants of discretionary leave to remain to victims of modern slavery do not currently form part of modern slavery published statistics. The safety on return to a victim’s country of origin is assessed as part of the protection-based decision where the victim has also claimed asylum. Where a victim has not claimed asylum, their safety on return related to their exploitation is considered within the personal circumstances element of their modern slavery discretionary leave to remain decision, where relevant.

Statistics on the total number of people granted Discretionary Leave for all reasons can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2019

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, of the people referred to the National Referral Mechanism in 2019 reporting exploitation that took place (a) in the UK, (b) in the UK and overseas, and (c) overseas only, how many people in each of those categories were (i) EEA and Swiss nationals, (ii) UK nationals, and (iii) non-EEA or Swiss foreign nationals.

The Home Office publishes statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2019-uk-annual-report-on-modern-slavery These publications provide the number and nationality of potential victims referred into the NRM and the number of NRM referrals by location of exploitation. The statistics do not currently provide a breakdown of nationalities by location of exploitation. Numbers and reasons for grants of discretionary leave to remain to victims of modern slavery do not currently form part of modern slavery published statistics. The safety on return to a victim’s country of origin is assessed as part of the protection-based decision where the victim has also claimed asylum. Where a victim has not claimed asylum, their safety on return related to their exploitation is considered within the personal circumstances element of their modern slavery discretionary leave to remain decision, where relevant.

Statistics on the total number of people granted Discretionary Leave for all reasons can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2019

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of the victims of (a) human trafficking or (b) modern slavery who were granted asylum or humanitarian protection in each of (i) 2016, (ii) 2017, (iii) 2018 and (iv) 2019 were granted asylum or humanitarian protection on the grounds of circumstances unconnected to human trafficking or modern slavery.

The Home Office does not publish data on how many and what proportion of the victims of human trafficking or modern slavery, and those who are foreign national victims, who were granted asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave for the years 2016 to 2019, as this information is not held in a reportable format. This also includes those who are EU nationals and/or on the grounds of circumstances unconnected to human trafficking or modern slavery.

However, The Home Office can state how many people were granted asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave, and can be found at Asy_02a of the published Immigration Statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2020/list-of-tables

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of foreign national victims of human trafficking and modern slavery (a) applied for and (b) were granted (i) asylum (ii) humanitarian protection or (iii) Discretionary Leave to Remain in each year from 2016 to 2019 inclusive were EU nationals.

The Home Office does not publish data on how many and what proportion of the victims of human trafficking or modern slavery, and those who are foreign national victims, who were granted asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave for the years 2016 to 2019, as this information is not held in a reportable format. This also includes those who are EU nationals and/or on the grounds of circumstances unconnected to human trafficking or modern slavery.

However, The Home Office can state how many people were granted asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave, and can be found at Asy_02a of the published Immigration Statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2020/list-of-tables

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people who had been identified as trafficked used her Department’s Voluntary Returns Service during (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019; and which were the top five countries they returned to.

The Home Office publishes statistics on all types of removals from the UK which includes voluntary departures. The latest statistics are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2020

Table Ret_D01 shows returns from the UK by type. The Home Office holds data on those identified as having been trafficked into the UK, but not in a format which can easily be reported. To provide the data requested would require examination of individual case files which could only be done at prohibitive cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the subjugation of alleged rape victims to give up private information to the police on case outcomes.

Victims and witnesses should only be asked to provide personal information in pursuit of a reasonable line of enquiry within the context of the individual case, never as a matter of course.

The Government is working alongside criminal justice partners to ensure that this can be done in a way that is proportionate and achieves the delicate balance of protecting individuals’ right to privacy with the interests of justice.

Work undertaken by the Crown Prosecution Service and police includes improved training and the development of a team of specialist and experienced disclosure experts in every police force. The College of Policing is also developing new guidance on investigative practice when mobile data extraction is needed, and the Home Office will work with policing to ensure this will be enabled by appropriate technology and training.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has published details of an independent inspection framework for the Victim Care Contract for supporting survivors of slavery; and which body will be responsible for managing those inspections.

The Home Office has worked with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to develop an inspection framework based on CQC’s five key lines of enquiry to assess the quality of support provided to victims in England and Wales who are receiving accommodation or outreach support through the Victim Care Contract. This framework was developed with the input of support providers and the wider third sector.

In Autumn 2019, and early 2020, CQC piloted inspections based on this framework within the current Victim Care Contract and made iterative changes to the framework as a result. This framework is now complete and will be published in due course.

The inspection regime has been incorporated in the new Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract and the process to formalise the appointment of an independent inspectorate is underway.

An independent inspection regime will enable the Home Office to ensure the consistency and quality of support throughout the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract and give victims the help and support they need to begin to rebuild their lives.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what emergency support has been made available to survivors of modern slavery since the freezing of payment cards by the Financial Conduct Authority on 26 June 2020; what guidance her Department has issued to those people on access to emergency funding; and how many people have accessed additional support since 26 June 2020.

Due to issues relating to the card provider, on 26 June 2020 potential and confirmed victims of modern slavery with access to a payment card through the Adult Victims of Modern Slavery (AVMS) support contract were informed the payment cards were frozen and advised to contact their dedicated support worker if they needed emergency cash payments.

All subcontractors of the AVMS support contract were also instructed to assess their service users for those who might have needed urgent payments, so they could be contacted proactively, and provided with support as required.

On 30 June 2020, the freeze on the payment cards was lifted and all service users were able to resume using their payment cards.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on what date she plans to publish the call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff.

During the Westminster Hall debate on 11 February, I committed to publish the Government response to the call for evidence on violence and abuse towards shopworkers by the end of March 2020. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, the Government must focus its communications on tackling Covid-19. Therefore, the publication of the Government response is delayed. I am, however, keen to publish it as soon as I am able to.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, at what point of a Recovery Needs Assessment would an individual who is receiving support via the National Referral Mechanism have their subsistence payments ended.

Financial support payments will be provided to victims of modern slavery for as long as there is an identified recovery need for those payments.

Potential victims who enter the National Referral Mechanism, receive a positive Reasonable Grounds decision, and are in Victim Care Contract (VCC) accommodation or receive VCC outreach support, will be paid financial support to assist with their identified recovery needs.

The Recovery Needs Assessment (RNA) process takes place for all confirmed victims of modern slavery supported through the VCC, following receipt of their positive Conclusive Grounds decision. This process ensures that ongoing support is tailored to their individual recovery needs arising from their modern slavery experiences.

Financial support payments will only come to an end where the RNA process finds that there is no longer an identified recovery need for VCC support or that the confirmed victim has access to an alternative source of income to meet their needs, such as income from employment or mainstream state benefits.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of referrals to the National Referral Mechanism were made without the relevant first responder having met and interviewed the potential victim in person in (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.

It is not necessary for a First Responder to meet and interview a potential victim of modern slavery before referring them to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

A First Responder’s decision whether to refer a potential victim into the NRM is based on their professional judgment and on the evidence available to them. Data about whether a First Responder has met and interviewed a potential victim is not currently specifically recorded within NRM referral forms.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the suitability of the level of financial support for people in the asylum system during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have been reviewing the level of the cash allowances provided to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, as we do each year to ensure that they remain capable of meeting their essential living needs.

As a result of this work, the standard allowance has been raised to £39.60 per week from £37.75 per week, an increase of around 5%. The increase is significantly higher than the current general rate of inflation, which Office of National Statistics data shows was only 0.8% in the 12 months period to April 2020. Food inflation over the same period was only 1.4% and the data actually shows that, despite Covid-19, food prices fell between March to April 2020. In addition to asylum support payments, asylum seekers are provided with free accommodation, utilities are paid for, council tax is paid for, they have free access to the NHS and their children have free access to education.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason Recovery Needs Assessments are being carried out during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps she has taken to ensure people currently in support are not adversely affected by that assessment process.

This Government is committed to stamping out modern slavery and providing victims with the support they need to rebuild their lives.

The Recovery Needs Assessment (RNA) process takes place for all confirmed victims of modern slavery who are receiving support through the Victim Care Contract (VCC) to ensure that support is tailored to their individual recovery needs. This process informs a tailored move-on plan, with the aim of establishing longer-term stability by helping victims to transition out of VCC support and back into a community, as appropriate. Where this is not possible, VCC support will continue to meet the victim’s ongoing recovery needs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, confirmed victims who receive a positive Conclusive Grounds decision will have an RNA completed, as it is vital that we continue to facilitate the recovery of victims of modern slavery and build upon the progress that they have made whilst in the VCC to start rebuilding their lives. If, for any reason, the recovery needs of a confirmed victim change, or the confirmed victim needs support beyond the original estimated timescales, a further RNA can be completed by the support worker to reflect this.

The safety and security of those supported through the VCC is a top priority. RNAs are being conducted remotely, where appropriate, in line with advice from Public Health England. Where there is an exceptional need that requires face to face engagement to complete the assessment, support workers will facilitate this with social distancing measures in place.

We recognise at this time that other types of suitable support which could usually be accessed to meet an individual’s recovery needs, for example local authority housing, mainstream benefits, asylum support, and social services under the Care Act 2014, may have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. As part of the RNA process and when making support recommendations, support workers are considering the current availability of alternative support services. Similarly, the Home Office are considering the wider impact of COVID-19 when making RNA decisions. Where possible, arrangements for individuals to access alternative services in line with their recovery plan should still be progressed.

In addition, regardless of whether an individual’s RNA identifies a continued recovery need for accommodation support, we have taken steps to ensure that all victims currently accommodated in VCC accommodation will be able to remain where they are until at least 6 July 2020. This policy will be reviewed before the end of June in respect of the Government’s latest COVID-19 advice.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the asylum support rate of £37.75 per week during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are currently reviewing the level of the cash allowances, as we do each year, to ensure that they remain capable of meeting the essential living needs of asylum seekers

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of referrals to the National Referral Mechanism were made by telephone in (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.

Designated First Responders can make referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) via the online referral form at https://www.modernslavery.gov.uk/start. This became available to all designated First Responders on 29 August 2019. Prior to this, referrals were made via email.

The Single Competent Authority does not accept NRM referrals made by telephone. The Home Office did not receive NRM referrals by telephone in 2018 or 2019.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether (a) subsistence rates are payable to all victims of trafficking in the national referral mechanism and (b) those subsistence rates are means tested.

Potential victims and victims of modern slavery who are referred to the National Referral Mechanism, who have received a positive Reasonable Grounds decision, and have consented to enter the Victim Care Contract, will receive financial support. These payments are not means tested.

Those who receive a positive Conclusive Grounds decision will have their ongoing needs assessed using a Recovery Needs Assessment (RNA) to ensure that support is tailored to their recovery needs. The RNA considers whether the victim has financial recovery needs arising from their modern slavery experiences, and whether other sources of financial assistance outside of the Victim Care Contract are available and able to meet those needs.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether victims receiving outreach support through the Modern Slavery Victim Care contract will continue to be supported for the next two months during the covid-19 outbreak at the same level as victims in government funded safe accommodation.

The safety and security of those supported through the modern slavery Victim Care Contract (VCC) is a top priority for government.? Contingency planning continues to consider how essential services and support for all victims of modern slavery can continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Victim Care Contract operates as a bridge to lift victims of modern slavery out of a situation of exploitation and help to establish longer-term stability and pathway to rebuild their lives. The Recovery Needs Assessment (RNA) informs tailored move on plans to help victims transition out of the VCC and back into the community where appropriate.?The assessment considers the availability of alternative, and often more sustainable, support services and victims only begin a move-on process if it is suitable for them to do so, in line with their recovery needs.

In addition, should someone currently receiving outreach support experience a change in their situation which leaves them destitute and without accommodation, their needs, entitlements and risk factors will be assessed, so that they can be provided with the most appropriate safe and secure accommodation during this time.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to (a) tackle a potential increased risk of online child sexual abuse and (b) protect vulnerable children due to increased home working during the covid-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 represents the most serious threat to public health in a generation.

We are working at pace to understand the impact of COVID-19 on child sexual abuse, gathering input from law enforcement, safeguarding leads, charities, international partners and wider colleagues. Based on early reporting from law enforcement partners and expert opinion, our initial assessment suggests the risk of online abuse is likely to increase. We will continue to strengthen this assessment through regular situational updates and measuring the threat over a longer period, to ensure we can deliver the most effective response and that it reflects the risk across the whole system.

In response, we are working across Government and with frontline partners to identify and respond to common challenges impacting vulnerable children across different crime threats, including coordinating messaging and support to frontline services.

Our law enforcement partners continue to address child sexual abuse offending, and are already driving preventative messaging to children, young people and their parents/carers through the NCA’s Thinkuknow network, and charitable partners are sending preventative messaging for offenders. We are also working with these partners to sustain and optimise their response to mitigate the risk.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the risk of an increase in online child sexual abuse during the covid-19 outbreak when people are required to stay at home.

COVID-19 represents the most serious threat to public health in a generation.

We are working at pace to understand the impact of COVID-19 on child sexual abuse, gathering input from law enforcement, safeguarding leads, charities, international partners and wider colleagues. Based on early reporting from law enforcement partners and expert opinion, our initial assessment suggests the risk of online abuse is likely to increase. We will continue to strengthen this assessment through regular situational updates and measuring the threat over a longer period, to ensure we can deliver the most effective response and that it reflects the risk across the whole