Peter Dowd Portrait

Peter Dowd

Labour - Bootle

First elected: 7th May 2015


Select Committees
Panel of Chairs (since June 2020)
Criminal Justice Bill (since December 2023)
Pet Abduction Bill (since January 2024)
Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill
7th Jun 2023 - 11th Jul 2023
Child Support (Enforcement) Bill
22nd Feb 2023 - 1st Mar 2023
Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill
18th Jan 2023 - 25th Jan 2023
Electricity and Gas Transmission (Compensation) Bill
18th Jan 2023 - 25th Jan 2023
Shark Fins Bill
9th Nov 2022 - 16th Nov 2022
Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill
1st Dec 2021 - 14th Dec 2021
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Feb 2017 - 6th Apr 2020
Shadow Financial Secretary (Treasury)
6th Oct 2016 - 9th Feb 2017


Department Event
Tuesday 26th March 2024
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Ceasefire in Gaza
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 173 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 20 Noes - 212
Speeches
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Oral Answers to Questions
T7. At the autumn statement, the Chancellor announced that he would explore selling off the Government’s remaining stake in NatWest …
Written Answers
Friday 9th February 2024
Parking: Pedestrian Areas
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to publish the response on the consultation on …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 18th October 2022
Working Time Regulations (Amendment) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to reduce the maximum working week from 48 hours per week …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 10th July 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Andrew Smith
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
EDM signed
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Pay for Royal Fleet Auxiliary Seafarers
That this House pays tribute to the commitment and dedication of the 1,700 civilian seafarers, including trainees, at the Royal …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 28th February 2023
Multi-storey car parks (safety) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to increase the minimum required height of guarding in multi-storey car parks; to make provision about increasing the …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Peter Dowd has voted in 630 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Peter Dowd 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
Paul Scully (Conservative)
(11 debate interactions)
Alex Norris (Labour (Co-op))
Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)
(8 debate interactions)
Judith Cummins (Labour)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Legislation Debates
Criminal Justice Bill 2023-24
(4,889 words contributed)
Health and Care Act 2022
(1,178 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Peter Dowd's debates

Bootle 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

Given how many animals are sold online, we want Government to introduce regulation of all websites where animals are sold. Websites should be required to verify the identity of all sellers, and for young animals for sale pictures with their parents be posted with all listings.

The maximum penalty for failure to stop after an incident is points and a 6-month custodial sentence. Causing death by careless/dangerous driving is between 5-14 yrs. The sentence for failing to stop after a fatal collision must be increased.

The offence of causing 'death by dangerous driving' should be widened to include: failure to stop, call 999 and render aid on scene until further help arrives.

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.


Latest EDMs signed by Peter Dowd

5th December 2023
Peter Dowd signed this EDM on Thursday 22nd February 2024

Pay for Royal Fleet Auxiliary Seafarers

Tabled by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)
That this House pays tribute to the commitment and dedication of the 1,700 civilian seafarers, including trainees, at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA); is concerned that nearly fifteen years of pay restraint is having a negative effect on recruitment, retention, training and industrial relations in the RFA; notes that inflation …
21 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 15
Scottish National Party: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
7th February 2024
Peter Dowd signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 8th February 2024

Gellings Riding School

Tabled by: Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
That this House supports Gellings Riding School in its efforts to acquire the land it is situated upon in order to secure its existence for future generations; notes that the school is a vital community asset which has been an integral part of the West Derby community for 30 years, …
21 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 18
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Peter Dowd's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Peter Dowd, 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.


Peter Dowd has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Peter Dowd has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Peter Dowd


A Bill to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to reduce the maximum working week from 48 hours per week to 32 hours per week and to provide for overtime pay; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023
(Read Debate)

450 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether it remains her Department's policy to end period poverty by 2025.

Period poverty is an issue the government takes very seriously and has taken a number of steps to address the problem.

Since January 2020, a Department for Education scheme provides free period products in schools and 16-19 education institutions in England. 94% of eligible secondary schools had accessed this scheme by December 2021. We are pleased to confirm that the continuation of free period products in schools in England for all learners who need them until 2024. We have expanded the range of products included to ensure more environmentally friendly and sustainable products, based on user feedback.

Additionally, from 1 January 2021, the ‘tampon tax’ has been abolished - with a zero rate of VAT applying to all period products. Prior to the abolition of the tax, a Tampon Tax Fund was in place to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on period products, to projects which improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. A final round of £11.25 million in grant funding was awarded in November 2021 to distribute the VAT collected on period products in the final nine months of the 2020/21 financial year, before the tax ended.

As well as these steps, in 2019, NHS England announced that it would offer period products to every hospital patient who needs them and the Home Office changed the law to ensure that all people in custody are provided with health and hygiene products for free, to include period products.

In March 2020, in light of COVID-19, the work of the Period Poverty Taskforce was paused to free up resources to focus on the pandemic.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the long term priorities for the Office for Veterans' Affairs are.

This Government is committed to making the UK the best country in the world to be a veteran.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) sits at the heart of government in the Cabinet Office and is responsible for coordinating and driving forward work across the UK Government to support our veteran community.

In the long term, the OVA is committed to continue transforming and improving services for veterans, making sure veterans and their families have the support and services they need, whilst using data and research to better understand, and deliver for, this community.

The ten-year Strategy for our veterans (2018) sets out the UK Government's vision, and can be accessed online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/strategy-for-our-veterans

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government plans to publish the (a) UK Commission on Covid Commemoration's report and (b) its response to that report.

The Government is grateful to the Commission for its work. We will publish the Commission’s report and our response in due course.

It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on our society and it is important for the Government to fully consider the Commission’s report and how this period should be marked and remembered.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government plans to take in response to the Future of Work Review, published on 1 September 2022.

On 12 May, the former Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, asked Matt Warman MP to lead a review into how the government can best support a thriving future UK labour market. Matt Warman MP’s response was published on GOV.UK on 1 September 2022.

In line with departmental responsibilities, this work is being followed up across government through collaboration between departments including the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education.

17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) offices, (b) envoys and (c) advisors the Government plans to create as part of the Strategic Framework outlined in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (IR) established the Government’s national security and international policy objectives to 2025. The IR Strategic Framework is designed to be flexible, rather than an exhaustive description of all of the Government’s activity to 2025.

The Government is considering the processes, systems and structures for effective implementation of the IR. A new strategy team in the National Security Secretariat will lead implementation, working with Departments to develop plans to deliver the vision described in the IR Strategic Framework. This work is ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons holding wedding ceremonies will be restricted to (a) places of places of worship and (b) some public buildings from 12 April 2021 when all wedding venues can be made equally covid-secure.

Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships was published on 22 March and can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships#wedding-and-civil-partnership-ceremony-venues

We recognise that any restrictions on wedding venues may be disappointing for those planning such events, but we have to take necessary steps to limit transmission of COVID-19. This includes the closure of some settings and restrictions on social contact, including wedding and civil partnership ceremonies. By their very nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate the sacrifices people have had to make across the COVID-19 pandemic and we do not wish to keep any restrictions in place longer than we need to.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening in England, guided by science and the data, including the staged return of weddings and civil partnerships, as well as sporting events.

In order to inform the pace and sequencing of the roadmap, the Government commissioned advice and modelling from SAGE and its sub-groups. Scientific evidence supporting the government response to coronavirus is regularly published here - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to introduce in central Government Departments similar transparency rules to those applied to local authorities under the Local Government Transparency Code 2015.

Since 2010, the Government has been at the forefront of opening up data to allow Parliament, the public and the media to hold public bodies to account.

Under the terms of the Ministerial Code, departments regularly publish data on a range of information such as Ministers’ external meetings.

Despite the need to reprioritise resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, tremendous progress continues to be made this year by central government departments in publishing core transparency data.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to help (a) small businesses and (b) individuals access (i) Community Development Finance Institutions and (ii) other alternative lending sources.

The British Business Bank’s Finance Hub provides a comprehensive guide for small businesses seeking finance, including the role played by Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) and other alternative lending sources. Several CDFIs are delivery partners for Start Up Loans, providing finance of up to £25,000 for business owners who have been trading for up to three years. CDFIs also provide loans to businesses through the British Business Bank’s regions and nations funds.

In addition, CDFIs play an invaluable role in enabling individuals to access finance who would otherwise be excluded.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an energy social tariff for people living with (a) cystic fibrosis and (b) other long-term conditions.

As set out in the autumn statement, we are exploring the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, as part of wider retail market reforms.

Officials are engaging with stakeholders with a view to targeting support for the most vulnerable and alleviating fuel poverty.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department plans to take to increase the growth in community energy generation.

The Government’s approach to community energy is set out in the Net Zero Strategy. This includes running the Community Energy Contact Group which provides a dedicated forum to discuss the role that community energy can play in the delivery of net zero with the sector. The approach also includes support for community energy projects from Ofgem, which welcomes applications from the sector to the Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme.

The Government is supporting local authorities and community energy groups to work together to develop projects within UK Growth Funding schemes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to help facilitate an increase in non-animal testing methods.

The Government is committed to supporting the growth of technologies that support non-animal research. UK Research & Innovation funds the development of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs) through the National Centre for 3Rs (NC3Rs). Since it was established the NC3Rs has invested £89.3 million in research and £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges scheme. UK law requires that animals are only used in science where there are no alternatives, where the number of animals used, and potential harm is the minimum needed to achieve scientific benefit.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if her Department will take steps to create (a) partnerships and (b) collaborations with industry stakeholders to (i) establish best practice for and (ii) increase the uptake of non-animal testing.

The Government is committed to supporting the growth of technologies that support non-animal research. UK Research & Innovation funds the development of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs) through the National Centre for 3Rs (NC3Rs). Since it was established the NC3Rs has invested £89.3 million in research and £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges scheme.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will have discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of establishing a cross-departmental roadmap to transition away from animal testing.

The Government has no current plans to establish a cross-departmental roadmap. The Government supports advances in biomedical science to reduce the use of animals in research, including stem cell research, cell culture, imaging and computer modelling techniques. UK Research & Innovation funds the development of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs) through the National Centre for 3Rs (NC3Rs). UK law requires that animals are only used in science where there are no alternatives, where the number of animals used, and potential harm is the minimum needed to achieve scientific benefit.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps with Cabinet colleagues to provide an energy assistance payment for families of disabled children and young people who have a high energy usage.

The Government is delivering the Energy Bills Support Scheme, a £400 non-repayable grant to support families with their energy bills. Additionally, The Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will save a typical household in Great Britain £900 this Winter. Families with disabled children are also entitled to a one-off £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment. The Government is currently reviewing the EPG. This consultation will explore the best ways to ensure that vulnerable high energy users, such as those with medical requirements, are not put at risk.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to provide additional statutory protections for night shift workers, in the context of the potential health risks associated with night shift work.

The Working Time Regulations provide extensive protections to night workers. Before someone starts working at night, they must be offered a free health assessment to see if they are fit to work nights before they become a night worker and on a regular basis after that. A record of this must be kept by the employer. Employers must also make sure that night time workers do not work more than an average of 8 hours in a 24-hour period. Employers can make collective or workforce agreements to change or exclude this limit.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will create a departmental working group which brings together industry stakeholders to discuss conditions for night shift workers.

The Working Time Regulations provide specific protections to night workers. Before someone starts working at night, they must be offered a free health assessment to see if they are fit to work nights before they become a night worker and on a regular basis after that. A record of this must be kept by the employer. Employers must also make sure that night time workers do not work more than an average of 8 hours in a 24-hour period. Employers can make collective or workforce agreements to change or exclude this limit.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is taking steps with Cabinet colleagues to assess the health and wellbeing of the night shift workforce.

The Working Time Regulations provide specific protections to night workers. Before someone starts working at night, they must be offered a free health assessment to see if they are fit to work nights before they become a night worker and on a regular basis after that. A record of this must be kept by the employer. Employers must also make sure that night time workers do not work more than an average of 8 hours in a 24-hour period. Employers can make collective or workforce agreements to change or exclude this limit.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a legal requirement for employers with 250 or more employees to have a workplace Menopause Policy to protect and support people experiencing menopause.

The Government considers the best approach is to engage with employers to promote best practice and to support them to implement approaches that work for their own individual workplace. Through the Business Champion for Older Workers, and with external partners, Government is seeking to ensure that employers are aware of how best to support their staff experiencing menopause.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the case of the Lamp Insurance Company Limited, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the steps required of (a) liquidators and (b) regulatory bodies in (i) Gibraltar and (ii) the UK to ensure that (A) creditors and (B) consumers are protected when a company goes into liquidation.

LAMP Insurance Company Limited is a Gibraltar-incorporated and registered company which was authorised and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. The company was placed into liquidation in Gibraltar on 31 May 2019 in accordance with the Gibraltar Insolvency Act 2011. The UK Government has no involvement in the legal or regulatory functions of the authorities in Gibraltar.

LAMP Insurance Company Limited also operated in the UK and was authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. In the event that an authorised insurer fails operating in the UK or Gibraltar, there are consumer protections in place. Eligible policyholders can seek compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and refer claims disputes to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Creditors of the company who are not policyholders can lodge their claims and obtain further information via the Liquidator’s appointed agents, Grant Thornton Limited, who can be contacted by email at lampinsurance@gi.gt.com.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to mitigate the potential effect of rising energy costs on health inequalities for people with kidney failure receiving home dialysis treatment, which uses large volumes of electricity; and if he will make a statement.

Consumers in vulnerable situations due to health issues are protected by the energy price cap if they are on a supplier’s default or standard variable tariff. They will also receive a £200 discount on their electricity bill this autumn, as part of the Government’s package worth £9.1 billion to help domestic households with rising energy bills. The Government will continue to support eligible vulnerable and low-income households through the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government plans to take to help ensure that people with kidney failure receiving home dialysis treatment, which uses large volumes of electricity, are able to maintain their energy requirements as energy costs rise; and if he will make a statement.

Consumers in vulnerable situations due to health issues are protected by the energy price cap if they are on a supplier’s default or standard variable tariff. They will also receive a £200 discount on their electricity bill this autumn, as part of the Government’s package worth £9.1 billion to help domestic households with rising energy bills. The Government will continue to support eligible vulnerable and low-income households through the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a list of UK companies who participate in the UK-China Green Finance Centre.

UK-China Green Finance Centre Partners can be found on the UK China Green Finance Centre website: https://www.ukchinagreen.org/about-us/partners/

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many UK companies currently have joint-partnerships with Chinese companies as part of their operations in China.

The Government does not hold this information, which is an independent commercial matter for the companies involved.

As set out in the Integrated Review, the UK will continue to pursue a positive trade and investment relationship with China, while ensuring our national security and values are protected.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many UK companies are currently involved in providing financing to China’s One Belt One Road Initiative.

The provision of all financial services is an independent commercial decision. The Government does not monitor individual companies’ activities.

As set out in the Integrated Review, the UK will continue to pursue a positive trade and investment relationship with China, while ensuring our national security and values are protected.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has undertaken an assessment of the potential links between (a) universities based in the UK and research institutes in China and (b) the People’s Liberation Army.

The UK’s research sector is independent, but Her Majesty’s Government is supporting the sector to make informed decisions on international research collaboration. The government has published “Trusted Research” and supported the Universities representative body, Universities UK, to develop its own security guidelines which were published in October 2020. We continue to work closely with universities to promote advice and best practice, and to respond to specific inquiries.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding the Government allocated to the UK-China Green Finance Centre in 2019-20.

The UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK-PACT) China Programme has spent £32,154.08 supporting the UK-China Green Finance Centre. The UK-China Green Finance Centre’s mission is to enhance UK and China green finance cooperation to accelerate the global transition to an environmentally sustainable future. UK PACT’s contribution to the UK-China Green Finance Centre is part of a wider grant supporting the City of London Green Finance Initiative and China Green Finance Committee. UK PACT has supported a number of influential initiatives under the Centre over the past two years, most notably the UK-China Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Pilot Working Group; and the Green Investment Principles (GIPs).

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding the Government has allocated to the China-UK PACT since its inception.

Up to £5m has been approved for the UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT) Programme in China between 2018-2022. This programme is a demand-led technical assistance programme, working with high-emitting ODA eligible countries to support their low carbon transition in high impact areas. UK PACT China focuses on green finance, which China has recognised as critical to its climate mitigation. Greening China’s financial system and investment decisions is critical to climate mitigation globally and essential to meeting of the Paris Agreement. It is also central to UK’s objectives as COP26 upcoming Presidents.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of restricting wedding ceremonies to places of worship and some public buildings from 12 April 2021 on the wider wedding industry.

At Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 15 people in COVID-19 Secure venues that are permitted to open or where a broader exemption applies.

Receptions can take place with up to 15 people in the form of a sit-down meal and in any COVID-19 Secure outdoor venue that is permitted to open. Such receptions must not take place in people’s private gardens or public outdoor spaces.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to business, which we keep under regular review.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a sector specific support grant of £680 million for eligible wedding business.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of establishing a Government-backed scheme to support (a) consumers and (b) business in the wedding sector in the absence of available insurance cover.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review.

In order to help consumers, the Competition and Markets Authority have produced guidance for businesses to help them comply with pre-existing consumer law in respect of refunds and cancellations.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what economic impact assessment has been made on the extended closure of the wedding industry.

We have provided an unprecedented package of financial support since March 2020 to businesses, including those in the weddings sector. We keep this regularly under review, through discussions with HM Treasury.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the wedding sector and its supply chain on the sectors' re-opening timelines as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce and we will continue to discuss how the Government can support the sector through the different steps towards reopening.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the financial support required by the wedding industry to support its safe re-opening when covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review. I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce and we will continue to discuss how the Government can support the sector through the different steps towards reopening.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has for the safe reopening of the wedding sector when covid-19 restrictions are eased.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce and we will continue discussions on how we can support the sector through the different steps towards reopening.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of the wedding industry on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak (a) on that sector and (b) on employment levels of women working in that sector.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent all parts of the UK Weddings sector, to understand the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has been made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on employment levels in wedding sector (a) in total and (b) by gender.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent all parts of the UK Weddings sector, to understand the impact on jobs and businesses.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the wedding sector has not received tailored financial support during the covid-19 outbreak.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review. I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent all parts of the sector, to understand the impact on jobs and businesses.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the (a) level of children’s exposure to alcohol marketing and (b) impact of that exposure on children.

The Government does not currently have plans for a comprehensive assessment of the level of children’s exposure to alcohol advertising or its impact. However, the government recognises that there is some evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing can increase the risk that children will start to drink alcohol or, if they already drink, that it can increase the risk that they will consume greater quantities of alcohol. We will continue to assess any emerging evidence in a proportionate, measured way.

Additionally, there are measures in place to protect children and young people from alcohol advertisements. Material in the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice Codes (CAP and BCAP codes) relating to the advertising and marketing of alcohol products is exceptionally robust, to ensure that alcohol advertising is responsible and that children and young people are suitably protected. If new evidence emerges that highlights major problems with the existing Codes, then the Advertising Standards Authority should revisit the Codes and take appropriate action.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the (a) Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group’s action plan entitled Unlocking Green Growth: A plan for the ornamental horticulture and landscaping industry, published on 7 September 2021 and (b) proposals contained in that document that aim to support UK tourism.

I am aware of the value of the garden tourism market, especially domestic ornamental horticulture and the positive impact it makes to the UK, through job creation, encouraging creativity and promoting people’s well-being. The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG) report identifies how barriers to the sector's growth can be unlocked through a collaborative approach between the government and industry. This collaboration reflects the shared ambition for a truly vibrant and sustainable ornamental sector which can support the UK tourism industry.

The government is working with the OHRG and the sector to build on current good work already happening within the industry. The recently published Tourism Recovery Plan highlights our commitment to ensuring the tourism sector enhances the country’s natural heritage, in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason the SEND and alternative provision improvement plan does not make specific reference to (a) cerebral palsy and (b) physical disability; and what steps her Department is taking to ensure that children with cerebral palsy are not overlooked by the SEND and alternative provision implementation board.

The department wants all children and young people to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life.

The Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan is designed to support all children, rather than being restricted to specific conditions, and to meet those needs within a fair and financially sustainable system, by improving national consistency. This will mean that the right support is provided in the right place at the right time for children and young people with SEND.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure any child or young person who has Special Educational Needs, including those with cerebral palsy and physical disabilities, gets the special educational provision they need. Alongside this, all schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of children with cerebral palsy attend mainstream schools.

The department’s ambition is for all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Need (SEN), to receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. The department wants them to achieve well in early years, at school (whether mainstream or special), in further education and to live more fulfilling and independent adult lives with improved employment outcomes. The department is creating a new single national SEN and disability system in England for how needs are identified and met across education, health and care, including for those with cerebral palsy.

The department does not hold the data requested.

The department collects data from schools in England on pupils with SEN, but type of need is held according to the categories specified in the school census.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children with cerebral palsy in (a) Bootle constituency and (b) England and Wales have been assigned education, health and care plans.

The department’s ambition is for all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Need (SEN), to receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. The department wants them to achieve well in early years, at school (whether mainstream or special), in further education and to live more fulfilling and independent adult lives with improved employment outcomes. The department is creating a new single national SEN and disability system in England for how needs are identified and met across education, health and care, including for those with cerebral palsy.

The department does not hold the data requested.

The department collects data from schools in England on pupils with SEN, but type of need is held according to the categories specified in the school census.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the the potential impact of the initial Teacher Training Market Review on its objective to recruit more teachers from diverse backgrounds.

In the 2019 Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, the Department committed to reviewing the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) market, with the aim to make it more effective.

The subsequent ITT accreditation process was recommended by an expert advisory group and implemented following public consultation. The process was designed to assess providers’ capacity to deliver high quality, reformed ITT from September 2024, in line with the new Quality Requirements identified in the advisory group’s ITT Market Review.

The consultation invited views on any impact people considered could arise from implementation of the proposed Quality Requirements in relation to equalities issues. The Department also assessed the potential equalities impacts of the reforms and published the findings here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1037339/Government_response_to_the_initial_teacher_training__ITT__market_review_report_-_equalities_impact_assessment.pdf.

The Department continues to provide support to attract the best possible candidates to teacher training. £181 million has been made available in bursaries and scholarships to attract trainee teachers in high priority subjects for the 2023/24 academic year, which is a £52 million increase on the current academic year. As graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects attract the highest salaries outside teaching, the Department is offering a £27,000 tax free bursary and a £29,000 tax free scholarship in chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics. In addition, a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 tax free annually is available for maths, physics, chemistry and computing teachers who choose to work in disadvantaged schools early in their career. This reflects the priority the Department places on training teachers to teach STEM subjects and on supporting the recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in the subjects, schools and areas that need them most.

The Department wants to attract and retain diverse, talented teachers from all backgrounds and support all teachers in their career journeys. The Department is committed to dismantling the stereotype of what a good teacher looks like and supporting people into teaching, regardless of their gender or background.

The new Apply for Teacher Training service, rolled out in October 2021, will allow the Department to collect more data, giving a greater insight into candidate behaviour and the behaviour of providers of teacher training, so that the Department can identify barriers and work to address them. The Department will continue to work closely with ITT providers to explore, design and test new interventions to ensure teaching is an inclusive career that is open to candidates from all backgrounds.

28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of its most recent round of Initial Teacher Training accreditation on recruitment in STEM subjects.

In the 2019 Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, the Department committed to reviewing the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) market, with the aim to make it more effective.

The subsequent ITT accreditation process was recommended by an expert advisory group and implemented following public consultation. The process was designed to assess providers’ capacity to deliver high quality, reformed ITT from September 2024, in line with the new Quality Requirements identified in the advisory group’s ITT Market Review.

The consultation invited views on any impact people considered could arise from implementation of the proposed Quality Requirements in relation to equalities issues. The Department also assessed the potential equalities impacts of the reforms and published the findings here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1037339/Government_response_to_the_initial_teacher_training__ITT__market_review_report_-_equalities_impact_assessment.pdf.

The Department continues to provide support to attract the best possible candidates to teacher training. £181 million has been made available in bursaries and scholarships to attract trainee teachers in high priority subjects for the 2023/24 academic year, which is a £52 million increase on the current academic year. As graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects attract the highest salaries outside teaching, the Department is offering a £27,000 tax free bursary and a £29,000 tax free scholarship in chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics. In addition, a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 tax free annually is available for maths, physics, chemistry and computing teachers who choose to work in disadvantaged schools early in their career. This reflects the priority the Department places on training teachers to teach STEM subjects and on supporting the recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in the subjects, schools and areas that need them most.

The Department wants to attract and retain diverse, talented teachers from all backgrounds and support all teachers in their career journeys. The Department is committed to dismantling the stereotype of what a good teacher looks like and supporting people into teaching, regardless of their gender or background.

The new Apply for Teacher Training service, rolled out in October 2021, will allow the Department to collect more data, giving a greater insight into candidate behaviour and the behaviour of providers of teacher training, so that the Department can identify barriers and work to address them. The Department will continue to work closely with ITT providers to explore, design and test new interventions to ensure teaching is an inclusive career that is open to candidates from all backgrounds.

18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the amount of time it takes for a young person to be accepted for an education, health and care plan in the Sefton Council area.

The department does not have specific detailed information on the Bootle constituency. However, 602 requests for assessments were received by Sefton Council in the 12 months up to January 2022. In the same time period, 321 new education, health and care plans were issued by Sefton Council. This compares to 431 requests and 296 plans issued in the 12 months preceding January 2021.

In 2021 61.1% of new assessments were completed by Sefton Council within the statutory 20-week timescale. The national average in this time period was 59.9%.

18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many requests for Education Health and Care Plan were (a) requested by parents or (b) signed off by Sefton Council for students in the Bootle constituency.

The department does not have specific detailed information on the Bootle constituency. However, 602 requests for assessments were received by Sefton Council in the 12 months up to January 2022. In the same time period, 321 new education, health and care plans were issued by Sefton Council. This compares to 431 requests and 296 plans issued in the 12 months preceding January 2021.

In 2021 61.1% of new assessments were completed by Sefton Council within the statutory 20-week timescale. The national average in this time period was 59.9%.

18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) exclusions of SEN pupils and (b) total exclusions of students there were in schools in Bootle constituency in each of the last three years.

The table below shows the numbers of permanent exclusions and suspensions in total and by special educational needs (SEN) provision for Bootle constituency in academic years 2018/19 to 2020/21.

Type

Year

Total

No SEN

Education health and care plan

SEN support

Permanent exclusions

2020/21

4

3

0

1

2019/20

4

2

0

2

2018/19

8

2

0

6

Suspensions

2020/21

259

125

6

128

2019/20

283

166

8

109

2018/19

441

276

15

150

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to evaluate the impact of the free period products scheme in schools and colleges on the availability of those products in those settings.

The period products scheme launched in January 2020 and has most recently been extended until July 2024. Take up of the scheme is monitored regularly by the department and our supplier, phs. Within the first two years of the scheme, 94% of secondary schools and 90% of post-16 organisations had ordered at least once. These organisations have older students and therefore are more likely to have a higher proportion of students in scope, compared to primary schools.

The department is considering opportunities to publish further management information in the future, as well as the need for further research into the scheme to evaluate its impact.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to make the free period products scheme permanent.

The period products scheme launched in January 2020, and has most recently been extended until July 2024.

The department will make information available about any extensions or changes to the scheme in due course.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will issue guidance to schools and colleges on consulting with students on period products in the context of the period product scheme.

Guidance regarding the free period products scheme, including the new range of products available was updated on 8 September, the same day eligible organisations can order. This was developed in line with research from schools and colleges, and period product experts. The guidance states that schools and colleges know their learners best and, therefore, have the freedom to select the most suitable products for their learners considering cost and type of product. All eligible organisations were emailed in early September to remind them of their log in details and a link to the guidance will be provided.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to (a) monitor and (b) evaluate the free period products scheme.

The period products scheme launched in January 2020, and has most recently been extended until July 2024. Take up of the scheme is monitored regularly by the department and our supplier, phs. Within the first two years of the scheme, 94% of secondary schools and 90% of post-16 organisations had ordered at least once. These organisations have older students and therefore are more likely to have a higher proportion of students in scope, compared to primary schools.

The department publishes statistics regarding the scheme’s operation, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/period-products-scheme-management-information.

The department is considering opportunities to publish further management information in the future, as well as the need for further research into the scheme to evaluate its impact.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will hold discussions with Ofsted on the potential merits of a protocol to enable formal confidential briefing to hon. Members by Ofsted on their results of local authority inspections in advance of publication.

As set out in the guidance for inspecting local authority children’s services, the report is embargoed until publication and local MPs have full access when reports are fully published. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inspecting-local-authority-childrens-services-from-2018/inspecting-local-authority-childrens-services.

Local council leaders should be made aware of the outcome of the inspections in advance of publication, as this is clearly set out in inspectors’ feedback to senior officers (such as the director of children’s services).

Current protocol enables the local authority to share this intelligence with their local MPs if they wish to do so at any stage before publication. It is not within Ofsted's powers to disclose such confidential information prior to publication and the decision sits firmly with the local authority.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the training provision for careers in the ornamental horticulture, landscaping and arboricultural sectors.

It is for providers and local areas to determine what skills provision to deliver based on learner and employer demand.

Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for all people to receive the high-quality training and knowledge needed to progress in over 640 different careers paths. Employers in the horticulture, landscaping and arboriculture sectors have so far developed high-quality apprenticeship standards between levels 2 and 7 in roles such as Horticulture or Landscape Operative, Professional Arboriculturist and Charted Landscape Professional to help meet their skills needs.

T Levels are a high-quality technical alternative to A levels. The occupational specialisms for the T Level in Agriculture, Land Management and Production pathway, which will be available from September 2023, includes ornamental and environmental horticulture, landscaping, and tree and woodland management and maintenance.

As part of our investment in adult education we are fully funding any adult without an existing level 3 qualification under the Free Courses for Jobs offer. Qualifications available to learners include the Diploma in Work-based Horticulture, the Advanced Technical Diploma in Horticulture, the Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture and the Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture.

There are also several land-based colleges in the country that specialise in agriculture provision.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils whose choice of school is limited to a faith school; and what steps he will take to ensure pupils have access to a non-faith school.

Faith schools have played a longstanding and important role in our education system. Faith schools are popular with parents, with many being high performing and are more likely to be rated good or outstanding by Ofsted than non-faith schools.

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of pupils whose choice of school is limited to a faith school.

Parents are able to express a preference as to the school they would like their child to attend and, subject to very limited exceptions, local authorities and school admission authorities must comply with that preference.

The vast majority of parents are offered a place at a school of their choice. In 2021, 98% of parents received an offer from one of their top 3 choices of primary school, while 93.4% received an offer from one of their top 3 choices of secondary school.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to confirm the funding allocation for Music Education Hubs in 2022-23; how much funding will be allocated to those hubs; and for how many years that funding will be allocated.

Work on the refresh of the National Plan for Music Education and Model Music Curriculum was paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Work has since resumed, and the Government announced the publication of the Model Music Curriculum on 26 March 2021. The Plan will be published in due course.

The Model Music Curriculum is designed to support schools to refresh music lessons with rich and diverse content for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. It will introduce pupils to great composers and artists from across the world and develop their knowledge and skills in reading and writing music. This non-statutory guidance for schools will support the Government’s ambitious plan for all children to have access to an excellent music education. The guidance is available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974366/Model_Music_Curriculum_Full.pdf.

The Government also announced it would provide the 119 music education hubs with £79 million for the financial year 2021-22. Working with 90% of state funded schools across England, the hubs are also expected to support schools that plan to implement the Model Music Curriculum, overseen by our national delivery partner Arts Council England. Decisions regarding funding for 2022-23 onwards are subject to the next Spending Review.

The Department does not hold information on instrumental music teachers employed or contracted by the music education hubs. We recognise the challenges hubs have faced during the COVID-19 outbreak due to a reduction of income from schools and parents following the first lockdown between March and July 2020. Hubs have been eligible to apply for the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, with a further £300 million announced in the 2021 Budget to support organisations across the cultural sector. This will help secure the viability of these hubs and allow them to continue the important role they play in sustaining music and music education in their local communities, as well as in schools.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an estimate of the number of instrumental music teachers employed by Music Education Hubs that have lost their jobs as a result of (a) the covid-19 outbreak and (b) uncertainty about the future funding of those hubs.

Work on the refresh of the National Plan for Music Education and Model Music Curriculum was paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Work has since resumed, and the Government announced the publication of the Model Music Curriculum on 26 March 2021. The Plan will be published in due course.

The Model Music Curriculum is designed to support schools to refresh music lessons with rich and diverse content for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. It will introduce pupils to great composers and artists from across the world and develop their knowledge and skills in reading and writing music. This non-statutory guidance for schools will support the Government’s ambitious plan for all children to have access to an excellent music education. The guidance is available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974366/Model_Music_Curriculum_Full.pdf.

The Government also announced it would provide the 119 music education hubs with £79 million for the financial year 2021-22. Working with 90% of state funded schools across England, the hubs are also expected to support schools that plan to implement the Model Music Curriculum, overseen by our national delivery partner Arts Council England. Decisions regarding funding for 2022-23 onwards are subject to the next Spending Review.

The Department does not hold information on instrumental music teachers employed or contracted by the music education hubs. We recognise the challenges hubs have faced during the COVID-19 outbreak due to a reduction of income from schools and parents following the first lockdown between March and July 2020. Hubs have been eligible to apply for the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, with a further £300 million announced in the 2021 Budget to support organisations across the cultural sector. This will help secure the viability of these hubs and allow them to continue the important role they play in sustaining music and music education in their local communities, as well as in schools.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the Model Music Curriculum.

Work on the refresh of the National Plan for Music Education and Model Music Curriculum was paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Work has since resumed, and the Government announced the publication of the Model Music Curriculum on 26 March 2021. The Plan will be published in due course.

The Model Music Curriculum is designed to support schools to refresh music lessons with rich and diverse content for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. It will introduce pupils to great composers and artists from across the world and develop their knowledge and skills in reading and writing music. This non-statutory guidance for schools will support the Government’s ambitious plan for all children to have access to an excellent music education. The guidance is available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974366/Model_Music_Curriculum_Full.pdf.

The Government also announced it would provide the 119 music education hubs with £79 million for the financial year 2021-22. Working with 90% of state funded schools across England, the hubs are also expected to support schools that plan to implement the Model Music Curriculum, overseen by our national delivery partner Arts Council England. Decisions regarding funding for 2022-23 onwards are subject to the next Spending Review.

The Department does not hold information on instrumental music teachers employed or contracted by the music education hubs. We recognise the challenges hubs have faced during the COVID-19 outbreak due to a reduction of income from schools and parents following the first lockdown between March and July 2020. Hubs have been eligible to apply for the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, with a further £300 million announced in the 2021 Budget to support organisations across the cultural sector. This will help secure the viability of these hubs and allow them to continue the important role they play in sustaining music and music education in their local communities, as well as in schools.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the National Plan for Music Education.

Work on the refresh of the National Plan for Music Education and Model Music Curriculum was paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Work has since resumed, and the Government announced the publication of the Model Music Curriculum on 26 March 2021. The Plan will be published in due course.

The Model Music Curriculum is designed to support schools to refresh music lessons with rich and diverse content for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. It will introduce pupils to great composers and artists from across the world and develop their knowledge and skills in reading and writing music. This non-statutory guidance for schools will support the Government’s ambitious plan for all children to have access to an excellent music education. The guidance is available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974366/Model_Music_Curriculum_Full.pdf.

The Government also announced it would provide the 119 music education hubs with £79 million for the financial year 2021-22. Working with 90% of state funded schools across England, the hubs are also expected to support schools that plan to implement the Model Music Curriculum, overseen by our national delivery partner Arts Council England. Decisions regarding funding for 2022-23 onwards are subject to the next Spending Review.

The Department does not hold information on instrumental music teachers employed or contracted by the music education hubs. We recognise the challenges hubs have faced during the COVID-19 outbreak due to a reduction of income from schools and parents following the first lockdown between March and July 2020. Hubs have been eligible to apply for the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, with a further £300 million announced in the 2021 Budget to support organisations across the cultural sector. This will help secure the viability of these hubs and allow them to continue the important role they play in sustaining music and music education in their local communities, as well as in schools.

18th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to take further steps to support the horticulture sector in developing responsibly-sourced high-quality alternatives to peat that can be produced at volume.

In 2011 we set a voluntary target for the horticulture sector to be peat-free by 2030. Since then, we have contributed towards research into peat-free alternatives including the Royal Horticultural Society’s five-year, £1 million project supporting the transition to peat-free. Forestry England have also invested significantly in developing peat-free production methods.

The Government and industry will continue to support a Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media, which minimises any environmental footprint of peat alternatives.

21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the difference between (a) arboriculture and amenity trees and (b) forestry and woodland.

In the process of creating the England Trees Action Plan, the Government hosted a series of workshops and round table events to engage with partners and stakeholders, specifically regarding individual amenity trees in towns and cities and urban trees. These events included representatives from the arboriculture sector and local authority tree officers.

This process provided the assessment and analysis necessary for the formulation of policies included in the England Trees Action Plan that recognise the implicit and explicit differences in how trees are managed and cared for in the context of arboriculture and forestry; The Plan states “a skilled workforce will plant and manage trees and woodlands. Trees, woodlands, forestry and arboriculture will be important sources of jobs and revenue across England”.1

Action 1.12 of the England Trees Action Plan states that Government will: “Publish guidance for local authorities to develop their own local tree and woodland strategies”. [1] This guidance is currently being produced in partnership with the Tree Council, and further identifies the differences of management between individual amenity trees (arboriculture) and the multiplicity of impacts on them and woodland management, recognising that they are different disciplines requiring different skills and experience.

[1] The England Trees Action Plan (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what specific discussions (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have had with (i) Cabinet colleagues and (ii) officials in other Government departments on assessing the (A) feasibility and (B) impact of a 2024 horticulture peat ban date on the UK horticulture industry; and if he will publish the (1) evidential basis and (2) assessments made to reach the decision of 2024 as the date for that ban.

Prior to publishing the consultation on ending the sale of peat and peat containing products in horticulture in England and Wales, we consulted with all relevant Government departments.

During our consultation, we completed an assessment of the economic impact of the proposed measures. This assessment can be found here: Consultation Impact Assessment Ending the Retail Sale of Peat in Horticulture in England and Wales.pdf (defra.gov.uk). This impact assessment builds on over ten years of close engagement with the horticulture sector that saw the adoption of voluntary targets for the amateur sector to be peat free by 2020.

Following the analysis of all consultation responses, the Government will publish a full response outlining our plans for ending the sale of peat and peat containing products in horticulture.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department made an assessment of the economic impact of a horticulture peat ban on the UK horticulture industry before announcing a consultation on a 2024 ban in retail.

Prior to publishing the consultation on ending the sale of peat and peat containing products in horticulture in England and Wales, we consulted with all relevant Government departments.

During our consultation, we completed an assessment of the economic impact of the proposed measures. This assessment can be found here: Consultation Impact Assessment Ending the Retail Sale of Peat in Horticulture in England and Wales.pdf (defra.gov.uk). This impact assessment builds on over ten years of close engagement with the horticulture sector that saw the adoption of voluntary targets for the amateur sector to be peat free by 2020.

Following the analysis of all consultation responses, the Government will publish a full response outlining our plans for ending the sale of peat and peat containing products in horticulture.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with the ornamental horticulture sector on seasonal worker recruitment.

The Government recognises the importance of the ornamental horticultural sector to local economies and that a reliable source of seasonal labour is a key part of bringing in the harvest for the sector. I met with the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group most recently in December 2021 where we discussed the skills and labour challenges the industry is facing.

Defra continues to speak regularly with the sector and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the farming workforce.

Defra is specifically working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities in the horticulture sector among UK workers. All farming businesses are encouraged to advertise roles through the Find A Job website, where they can upload and manage their vacancies.

The Government has announced that the Seasonal Worker Visa Route will be extended to 2024 to allow overseas workers to come to the UK for up to six months to harvest both edible and ornamental crops. 30,000 visas will be available this year. This will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 visas if there is clear evidence of need.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what procedures or studies his Department has put in place to monitor and communicate the availability of people with EU Settled Status in returning to seasonal worker roles in the horticulture and ornamental horticulture sectors.

Defra works across Government and with industry throughout the year to observe the latest data on the composition of the UK horticultural workforce and to share this knowledge. This includes the availability of workers with EU Settled Status for these roles.

In 2022 and beyond, agricultural businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.6 million EU citizens and their families have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as of December 2021. EU nationals who have settled status can continue to travel to the UK to do seasonal work in 2022 and beyond.

On 24 December 2021, the Government also announced that the Seasonal Worker Visa Route has been extended to 2024 to allow overseas workers to come to the UK for up to six months to harvest both edible and ornamental crops. 30,000 visas will be available in 2022. This will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 visas if there is clear evidence of need.

In addition to these schemes, Defra is also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within the edible and ornamental horticulture sectors among UK workers, some of whom may have EU settled status.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the ornamental horticulture and landscaping industry’s potential to support the UK’s environmental targets.

Defra regularly meets with the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group, who recently published their ‘Unlocking green growth: A plan from the ornamental horticulture & landscaping industry’. This ambitious report sets out the industry’s potential contributions to delivering the 25 Year Environment Plan, and how it can help to underwrite the environmental challenges facing the UK.

In the past year £1 million has been made available through the Tree Production Innovation Fund to encourage adoption of new technologies and ways of working, and a further £2.6 million has been made available in capital grants to support climate and disease resilience and expand nursery capacity. We are also exploring new data sharing practices to help better plan for supply and demand in the sector. This will support nurseries and seed suppliers to produce the right stock at the right time.

We will be publishing a public consultation on proposed long-term targets to be set under the Environment Act 2021. During the consultation we will be interested in hearing the views of all interested sectors, and the delivery of targets will require actions across the economy.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to expand its existing tree nursery production scheme.

In the England Trees Action Plan the Government committed to provide funding to support UK public and private sector nurseries and seed suppliers to enhance the quantity, quality, diversity and biosecurity of domestic tree production. Our interventions will help the sector to modernise existing facilities and explore innovative technologies and practices. This is necessary to create a resilient, healthy, and genetically diverse planting stock.

In the past year £1 million has been made available through the Tree Production Innovation Fund to encourage adoption of new technologies and ways of working, and a further £2.6 million has been made available in capital grants to support climate and disease resilience and expand nursery capacity. We are also exploring new data sharing practices to help better plan for supply and demand in the sector. This will support nurseries and seed suppliers to produce the right stock at the right time.

We continue to work to monitor our interventions and see how the nursery sector can best be supported.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to consult on the introduction of a statutory tree planting target.

As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, we will explore a long-term statutory tree target in England as part of the suite of targets to be introduced using powers in the Environment Act.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of farmer who will be eligible for the proposed lump sum exit scheme and delinked payments.

We are consulting on our proposed lump sum exit scheme, including the eligibility criteria that will apply. The consultation runs until 11 August 2021. We think our proposed scheme will provide a helpful option for some farmers who wish to exit the industry. We are seeking views on likely uptake via our consultation.

We intend to replace the Basic Payment Scheme with delinked payments in 2024. When payments are delinked, recipients won’t have to farm the land to receive the payments until they have been phased out by the end of 2027. Eligibility for delinked payments will be based on a reference period. Our consultation seeks views on what this reference period should be.

Our consultation can be found here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agricultural-policy/lump-sum-and-delinked-payments-england/.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the cost of the proposed lump sum exit scheme and delinked payments for farmers.

We know that some farmers who wish to retire or leave the industry can find it difficult to do so and lack of finance can be one of the barriers to exit. We think that a lump sum exit scheme could help such farmers leave the industry in a planned way. By freeing up land, the scheme will also open up opportunities for new entrants and expanding farmers.

We believe that the proposed lump sum exit scheme will offer good value for the taxpayer. The lump sum will be in place of the Direct Payments farmers could otherwise have received between 2022 to 2027, as we transition to our new farming system outside the Common Agricultural Policy.

This means that the scheme will not increase overall spending on farming. It will not affect the money available for other schemes.

To ensure value for money for the taxpayer, we have proposed a payment cap that will make sure farmers do not receive a lump sum which is higher in value than the amount they could have otherwise received in Direct Payments for 2022 to 2027.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the effect of a (a) variable rate deposit and (b) flat rate deposit on the revenue received from a deposit return scheme.

The Government’s second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS), which is currently live, sets out the intention for the scheme to be managed by an organisation called the Deposit Management Organisation (DMO). We propose that the DMO would have the ability to decide on the type of deposit for the scheme (flat or variable rate) and to set the deposit amount at the level they deem suitable for achieving the objectives of the scheme, subject to parameters set out by Government in legislation. For this reason, we have not conducted specific analysis on all possible scenarios the deposit may be set at, but our current Impact Assessment (published alongside the second consultation) assumes a flat rate 20p deposit is placed on all in-scope drinks containers and offers analysis of how the deposit level can influence return rates.

The operating costs and revenue of a DRS could be impacted by the deposit rate chosen by the DMO, which will be somewhat dependent on the extent to which unredeemed deposits are used to fund the scheme. We are seeking views in the second consultation on how unredeemed deposits should be used to fund the DRS. The department do not foresee significant administrative / operational costs to the scheme as a result of having either a flat or variable rate deposit.

No specific assessment has been made by Government on the potential effect of a variable rate deposit on return rates of in-scope containers, on product wastage, or on portion sizes, but we continue to engage with industry and consider any relevant research which should be factored into our overall design and analysis of the scheme. In any case, we propose to place a 90% collection rate target on the DMO, and the approach to setting the deposit level chosen by the DMO should reflect their obligation to achieve this target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the planned deposit return scheme, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of a variable rate deposit on return rates.

The Government’s second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS), which is currently live, sets out the intention for the scheme to be managed by an organisation called the Deposit Management Organisation (DMO). We propose that the DMO would have the ability to decide on the type of deposit for the scheme (flat or variable rate) and to set the deposit amount at the level they deem suitable for achieving the objectives of the scheme, subject to parameters set out by Government in legislation. For this reason, we have not conducted specific analysis on all possible scenarios the deposit may be set at, but our current Impact Assessment (published alongside the second consultation) assumes a flat rate 20p deposit is placed on all in-scope drinks containers and offers analysis of how the deposit level can influence return rates.

The operating costs and revenue of a DRS could be impacted by the deposit rate chosen by the DMO, which will be somewhat dependent on the extent to which unredeemed deposits are used to fund the scheme. We are seeking views in the second consultation on how unredeemed deposits should be used to fund the DRS. The department do not foresee significant administrative / operational costs to the scheme as a result of having either a flat or variable rate deposit.

No specific assessment has been made by Government on the potential effect of a variable rate deposit on return rates of in-scope containers, on product wastage, or on portion sizes, but we continue to engage with industry and consider any relevant research which should be factored into our overall design and analysis of the scheme. In any case, we propose to place a 90% collection rate target on the DMO, and the approach to setting the deposit level chosen by the DMO should reflect their obligation to achieve this target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the planned deposit return scheme, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of a flat rate deposit on portion sizes.

The Government’s second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS), which is currently live, sets out the intention for the scheme to be managed by an organisation called the Deposit Management Organisation (DMO). We propose that the DMO would have the ability to decide on the type of deposit for the scheme (flat or variable rate) and to set the deposit amount at the level they deem suitable for achieving the objectives of the scheme, subject to parameters set out by Government in legislation. For this reason, we have not conducted specific analysis on all possible scenarios the deposit may be set at, but our current Impact Assessment (published alongside the second consultation) assumes a flat rate 20p deposit is placed on all in-scope drinks containers and offers analysis of how the deposit level can influence return rates.

The operating costs and revenue of a DRS could be impacted by the deposit rate chosen by the DMO, which will be somewhat dependent on the extent to which unredeemed deposits are used to fund the scheme. We are seeking views in the second consultation on how unredeemed deposits should be used to fund the DRS. The department do not foresee significant administrative / operational costs to the scheme as a result of having either a flat or variable rate deposit.

No specific assessment has been made by Government on the potential effect of a variable rate deposit on return rates of in-scope containers, on product wastage, or on portion sizes, but we continue to engage with industry and consider any relevant research which should be factored into our overall design and analysis of the scheme. In any case, we propose to place a 90% collection rate target on the DMO, and the approach to setting the deposit level chosen by the DMO should reflect their obligation to achieve this target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the planned deposit return scheme, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of a flat rate deposit on the levels of product wastage.

The Government’s second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS), which is currently live, sets out the intention for the scheme to be managed by an organisation called the Deposit Management Organisation (DMO). We propose that the DMO would have the ability to decide on the type of deposit for the scheme (flat or variable rate) and to set the deposit amount at the level they deem suitable for achieving the objectives of the scheme, subject to parameters set out by Government in legislation. For this reason, we have not conducted specific analysis on all possible scenarios the deposit may be set at, but our current Impact Assessment (published alongside the second consultation) assumes a flat rate 20p deposit is placed on all in-scope drinks containers and offers analysis of how the deposit level can influence return rates.

The operating costs and revenue of a DRS could be impacted by the deposit rate chosen by the DMO, which will be somewhat dependent on the extent to which unredeemed deposits are used to fund the scheme. We are seeking views in the second consultation on how unredeemed deposits should be used to fund the DRS. The department do not foresee significant administrative / operational costs to the scheme as a result of having either a flat or variable rate deposit.

No specific assessment has been made by Government on the potential effect of a variable rate deposit on return rates of in-scope containers, on product wastage, or on portion sizes, but we continue to engage with industry and consider any relevant research which should be factored into our overall design and analysis of the scheme. In any case, we propose to place a 90% collection rate target on the DMO, and the approach to setting the deposit level chosen by the DMO should reflect their obligation to achieve this target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether there is a difference in the operating costs of a deposit return scheme depending on whether there is a (a) variable rate deposit and (b) flat rate deposit.

The Government’s second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS), which is currently live, sets out the intention for the scheme to be managed by an organisation called the Deposit Management Organisation (DMO). We propose that the DMO would have the ability to decide on the type of deposit for the scheme (flat or variable rate) and to set the deposit amount at the level they deem suitable for achieving the objectives of the scheme, subject to parameters set out by Government in legislation. For this reason, we have not conducted specific analysis on all possible scenarios the deposit may be set at, but our current Impact Assessment (published alongside the second consultation) assumes a flat rate 20p deposit is placed on all in-scope drinks containers and offers analysis of how the deposit level can influence return rates.

The operating costs and revenue of a DRS could be impacted by the deposit rate chosen by the DMO, which will be somewhat dependent on the extent to which unredeemed deposits are used to fund the scheme. We are seeking views in the second consultation on how unredeemed deposits should be used to fund the DRS. The department do not foresee significant administrative / operational costs to the scheme as a result of having either a flat or variable rate deposit.

No specific assessment has been made by Government on the potential effect of a variable rate deposit on return rates of in-scope containers, on product wastage, or on portion sizes, but we continue to engage with industry and consider any relevant research which should be factored into our overall design and analysis of the scheme. In any case, we propose to place a 90% collection rate target on the DMO, and the approach to setting the deposit level chosen by the DMO should reflect their obligation to achieve this target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of (a) the implications for her policies of the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group’s action plan entitled Unlocking Green Growth: A plan for the ornamental horticulture and landscaping industry, published on 7 September 2021 and (b) how that document relates to the UK’s trade regime following its departure from the EU.

The Department recognises that there are export opportunities for ornamental horticulture as outlined in the report. Working together with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, we look forward to engaging further with the industry and continuing to promote plant and seed exports, and services for landscaping, garden design and green urban initiatives.

We work closely with the industry to encourage companies to take advantage of the new trade regime and the opportunities offered globally within our new Free Trade Agreements.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what considerations the Government undertook before appointing HSBC to sit on the UK Investment Council.

Members of the Investment Council are invited and appointed in a personal capacity, based on evidence relevant to the following criteria:

  • competence and experience in areas relevant to international investment,
  • sector expertise, and
  • an understanding of the UK investment climate

All members have been considered under a common due diligence process in line with 10 Downing Street and Cabinet Office guidance.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many of her Department's staff are based in the UK’s consulates and embassy in China.

Based on the department’s staffing data at 30th April 2021, the Department for International Trade has 188 staff based in China (including Hong Kong). This figure includes one member of staff working for UK Export Finance (UKEF).

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many Chinese companies are currently involved in the UK-China partnership on smart cities.

The UK-China partnership on Smart Cities is not an on-going programme and no companies are currently involved. The partnership was a component of a ministerial delegation in August 2018. Accompanying me were UK companies, experts, civic leaders and officials to the Fourth China Smart City International Expo in Shenzhen with a view to promoting opportunities for international trade between the UK and China.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to publish the response on the consultation on Pavement parking: options for change.

The Department has been considering all the views expressed in response to our consultation, and we are currently working through the policy options and the possible legislative opportunities for delivering them. Following conclusion of this process, we will publish our formal response.

The formal consultation response will be available to view at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/managing-pavement-parking.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish a response to his Department's consultation Pavement parking: options for change, updated on 29 June 2023.

The Government is working through the options and the possible legislative opportunities given that pavement parking is a complex issue. We want to take the right step for communities and ensure that local authorities have appropriate and effective tools at their disposal. As soon as those matters are clear we will publish our formal response at:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/managing-pavement-parking.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his public consultation proposals are for the review of the national policy statement for ports announced on 14 March 2023.

The Department intends to undertake thorough public consultation on the review of the National Policy Statement for Ports, later this year. Any proposed amendments will also be subject to appraisal of sustainability and to Parliamentary scrutiny in accordance with the Planning Act 2008, as amended.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Written Statement of 9 March 2023, entitled Transport Update, HCWS625, what alternative sustainable proposals, including rail freight options, he will make an assessment of in relation to Port of Liverpool access.

We will work with the Port and others to appraise future options. Any future assessment of schemes in relation to Port of Liverpool access will be considered with both value for money for the taxpayer and sustainability in mind.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with Guide Dogs UK on (a) illegal pavement parking and (b) the steps the Government will take to tackle this parking.

The Department has held discussions with Guide Dogs UK on the issue of pavement parking and is open to further dialogue. Guide Dogs UK also participated in our consultation on measures to tackle inconsiderate pavement parking. We will publish the formal response to the consultation, and announce next steps, as soon as possible.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of pavement parking provision for those with a vision impairment.

The Department consulted on measures to address inconsiderate pavement parking in 2020 and received over 15,000 responses. We have been considering all views expressed, including from those with vision impairments, and the options for managing pavement parking. This is a complex issue and we want to ensure that local authorities have appropriate and effective tools at their disposal. We will publish the formal consultation response and announce next steps as soon as possible.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to help tackle unauthorised pavement parking.

The Department consulted on measures to address inconsiderate pavement parking in 2020 and received over 15,000 responses. We have been considering all views expressed, including from those with vision impairments, and the options for managing pavement parking. This is a complex issue and we want to ensure that local authorities have appropriate and effective tools at their disposal. We will publish the formal consultation response and announce next steps as soon as possible.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Government will publish its response to the 2020 consultation on pavement parking

The Department consulted on measures to address inconsiderate pavement parking in 2020 and received over 15,000 responses. We have been considering all views expressed, including from those with vision impairments, and the options for managing pavement parking. This is a complex issue and we want to ensure that local authorities have appropriate and effective tools at their disposal. We will publish the formal consultation response and announce next steps as soon as possible.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of reducing maritime emissions on air quality.

In support of the 2019 Clean Maritime Plan the Department commissioned extensive research into emissions from the maritime sector covering both air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

The research examined emissions from both international and domestic shipping, and includes detailed analysis of a series of emissions scenarios out to 2050. The research package has been published on Gov.UK.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support maritime small and medium-sized enterprises recover from the outbreak of covid-19.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government’s priority has been to support businesses and employees. Our financial measures worth an initial £330 billion have been continually refined to support all parts of the economy, including maritime small and medium-sized enterprises. The Government has provided financial support to a range of small and medium-sized enterprises, including making available up to £22.4 million to safeguard lifeline services. As we move towards recovery, we remain committed to safeguarding livelihoods with the Chancellor extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from April to September 2021.

My officials are also working with the sector on a longer-term Maritime Recovery Plan which will support the Maritime 2050 strategy launched by the Government in 2019. The Department is working closely with representatives from across the maritime sector to identify their priorities and develop interventions which can support the sector’s recovery.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he take steps to increase disability benefits in line with inflation.

Disability benefits will increase by September’s CPI figure of 10.1%, subject to the usual parliamentary approval. The new rates will come into force on 10 April 2023 and details of all rates can be found at:

Benefit and pension rates 2023 to 2024 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, whether his Department is taking to help (a) reduce workplace discrimination relating to menopause and (b) reduce the number of women leaving the workforce due to negative experiences in the workplace relating to the menopause.

It is important that those who experience substantial and longer-term menopausal effects should be adequately protected from discrimination in the workplace, and that employers are fully aware of the challenges and their current legal obligations, including under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act).

Depending on circumstances, the Act provides protection from discrimination on grounds of sex and/or age and/or disability for employees experiencing the effects of the menopause.

With women over 50 representing the fastest growing segment of the workforce, there are few workplaces where the menopause is not being experienced by staff.

In July 2021 The Minister for Employment commissioned the roundtable on older workers to look at the menopause and employment. An independent menopause and the workplace report was published and the Government’s response was outlined in July. Alongside this, the Women’s Health Strategy sets out a range of commitments including encouraging employers to implement evidence-based workplace support and introduce workplace menopause policies.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that people experiencing menopause are supported to (a) remain in and (b) re-enter the workforce.

It is important that those who experience substantial and longer-term menopausal effects should be adequately protected from discrimination in the workplace, and that employers are fully aware of the challenges and their current legal obligations, including under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act).

Depending on circumstances, the Act provides protection from discrimination on grounds of sex and/or age and/or disability for employees experiencing the effects of the menopause.

With women over 50 representing the fastest growing segment of the workforce, there are few workplaces where the menopause is not being experienced by staff.

In July 2021 The Minister for Employment commissioned the roundtable on older workers to look at the menopause and employment. An independent menopause and the workplace report was published and the Government’s response was outlined in July. Alongside this, the Women’s Health Strategy sets out a range of commitments including encouraging employers to implement evidence-based workplace support and introduce workplace menopause policies.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps his Department has taken to help tackle the number of working days lost due to (a) menopause and (b) perimenopause.

It is important that those who experience substantial and longer-term menopausal effects should be adequately protected from discrimination in the workplace, and that employers are fully aware of the challenges and their current legal obligations, including under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act).

Depending on circumstances, the Act provides protection from discrimination on grounds of sex and/or age and/or disability for employees experiencing the effects of the menopause.

With women over 50 representing the fastest growing segment of the workforce, there are few workplaces where the menopause is not being experienced by staff.

In July 2021 The Minister for Employment commissioned the roundtable on older workers to look at the menopause and employment. An independent menopause and the workplace report was published and the Government’s response was outlined in July. Alongside this, the Women’s Health Strategy sets out a range of commitments including encouraging employers to implement evidence-based workplace support and introduce workplace menopause policies.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to tackle the level of child poverty in Bootle constituency.

This Government is committed to reducing child poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty.  With a record 1.3 million vacancies across the UK, our focus is firmly on supporting people to move into and progress in work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment - particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

The latest available data on in-work poverty shows that in 2019/20, children in households where all adults were in work were around six times less likely to be in absolute poverty (be-fore housing costs) than children in a household where nobody works. Compared with 2010, there are nearly 1 million fewer workless households and almost 540,000 fewer children living in workless households in the UK. In 2020/21, there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty before housing costs than in 2009/10.

To help parents into work, our Plan for Jobs is providing broad ranging support for all jobseekers with our Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP), Job Entry Targeted Support and Restart scheme. Our plan for jobs is providing results. As of 6 July, we estimate that at least 520,400 unemployed Universal Credit claimants and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants have moved into work during the Way to Work Campaign between 31 January and the end of 30 June 2022.

We are also extending the support Jobcentres provide to people in work and on low incomes. Through a staged roll-out, which started in April 2022, around 2.1m low-paid benefit claimants will be eligible for support to progress into higher-paid work. This is on top of the support we have already provided by increasing the National Living Wage to £9.50 per hour and giving nearly 1.7 million families an extra £1,000 (on average) a year through our changes to the Universal Credit taper and work allowances.

To further support parents to move into and progress in work, eligible UC claimants can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month up to a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children. This is on top of the free childcare offer in England which provides 15 hours a week of free childcare for all 3- and 4-year-olds and disadvantaged 2-year-olds, doubling for working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds to 30 hours a week.

Around 1.9 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal, saving families around £450 per year. In addition, around 1.25 million more infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime as well as over 90,000 disadvantaged further education students. We are also investing £200 million a year to continue the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which benefitted over 600,000 children last summer, and we have increased the value of the Healthy Start Vouchers by a third to £4.25 a week.

On top of this, the government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living. These are global challenges, that is why the government is providing over £15bn in further support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need. This package is in addition to the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year.

This includes an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1.5 billion. In England, the current Household Support Fund is already providing £421m of support for the period 1 April – 30 September 2022, at least a third (£140m) will be spent on families with children. Sefton Council has been allocated £2,435,111.24.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps has her Department has taken to support pensioners living in British Overseas Territories.

The UK State Pension is payable worldwide to those who meet the qualifying conditions. Entitlement is based on an individual’s National Insurance record without regard to nationality.

Pensioners in certain EEA countries and Switzerland may receive other payments if they meet the eligibility criteria and are covered by the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, for example, Winter Fuel Payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps she has taken to support overseas British pensioners.

The UK State Pension is payable worldwide to those who meet the qualifying conditions. Entitlement is based on an individual’s National Insurance record without regard to nationality.

Pensioners in certain EEA countries and Switzerland may receive other payments if they meet the eligibility criteria and are covered by the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, for example, Winter Fuel Payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of not uprating benefits in line with inflation on levels of child poverty in Bootle constituency.

No such assessment has been made. The Government is up-rating benefits in line with inflation. The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions with reference to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September. The relevant benefits are increasing by 3.1% from April.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the six years, 2014/15 to 2019/20, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab).

This Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty. Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment – particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of her Department’s Workplace Academy programme for recruitment in to the ornamental horticulture sector.

The requested information is not available.

It is not possible to give specific information about ornamental horticulture vacancies advertised using Find a job or offered as part of our Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs).

Employers categorise their vacancies by business sector, but this data is not granular enough to distinguish ornamental horticulture roles, which employers advertise across many different sectors ranging from agriculture and forestry, facilities management to retail.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to test the effectiveness of the Find a job website in recruiting local people into seasonal worker roles in the ornamental horticulture sector.

The requested information is not available.

It is not possible to give specific information about ornamental horticulture vacancies advertised using Find a job or offered as part of our Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs).

Employers categorise their vacancies by business sector, but this data is not granular enough to distinguish ornamental horticulture roles, which employers advertise across many different sectors ranging from agriculture and forestry, facilities management to retail.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Dec 2021
What steps she is taking to support British pensioners overseas during winter 2021-22.

As with previous winters, the Government is supporting overseas pensioners during winter 2021-22. The UK State Pension is payable worldwide. Additionally, Winter Fuel Payments are payable to those in eligible EEA countries, and Switzerland, providing they have a genuine and sufficient link with the UK and meet the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to her Department's guidance entitled Elective recovery taskforce: implementation plan, published on 4 August 2023, what steps she is taking to ensure equity of access for those unable to use digital platforms.

In September 2023, NHS England published a framework for action on digital inclusion to help the system design and implement inclusive digital approaches and technologies, including actions to build digital skills and capability among patients and National Health Service staff. This covers all NHS digital platforms. Patients unable to use digital channels will continue to be able to access services via telephone and through face-to-face services.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is taking steps to assess the level of regional variation in access to (a) care, (b) services and (c) treatment for patients with inflammatory skin conditions.

As advised in the Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) national report on dermatology, published in August 2021, 56% of trusts reported that they had to wait for commissioner approval before prescribing drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and 12% of trusts said they had been told by clinical commissioning groups that they could not prescribe certain NICE-approved biologics for psoriasis at the time of NHS England’s data questionnaire in 2018/19.

During GIRFT’s subsequent deep dives into the 110 trusts with significant dermatology activity, it became apparent that there was ongoing variation in the way trusts adopt NICE guidelines. While some allow clinicians to prescribe drugs as soon as they are NICE approved, others have processes in place which can produce delays of more than a year in some cases.

GIRFT is aiming to publish trust- and system-level data for dermatology on the Model Health System in early 2024, enabling dermatology clinicians and managers to monitor their variation in provision of care, services, and treatments for skin disorders. Specific metrics for inflammatory skin disorders, including biologic prescribing for psoriasis and eczema, will be included. The aim is to use this data to inform the dermatology element of GIRFT’s Further Faster programme to help target unwarranted variation in care provision for inflammatory skin disease. The Further Faster programme supports providers to deliver rapid clinical transformation to reduce 52-week waits.

There are no plans to introduce specific targets to adopt the NHS England guidance on Referral Optimisation for people with skin conditions. The Outpatient Recovery & Transformation Programme in NHS England will continue to promote the guidance through NHS England regional teams, integrated care boards and directly to provider organisations.

In addition, specific engagement events, such as the webinar delivered on 21 November 2023, will continue to reinforce the need for appropriate and timely referral optimisation across skin care pathways. The programme is working closely with GIRFT and the Further Faster teams to ensure that referral optimisation is seen as a valuable tool to effectively manage the skin care pathway. Through this effort to engage the system combined with the publication of consistent guidance and evidence across the whole skin care pathway, it is hoped that variation can be reduced, across pathway implementation.

It should be recognised that there may be appropriate clinical reasons for some regional or local variation, so it is important to ensure that all patients who need specialist skincare have equal access. The programme will look to review data over the course of the year to understand the impact and consider relevant next steps.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 85 of the Getting it Right First Time report on Dermatology, published by the NHS in August 2021, how many and what proportion of trusts are required to wait for commissioner approval before prescribing (a) NICE-approved biologics for psoriasis and (b) other NICE-approved drugs.

As advised in the Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) national report on dermatology, published in August 2021, 56% of trusts reported that they had to wait for commissioner approval before prescribing drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and 12% of trusts said they had been told by clinical commissioning groups that they could not prescribe certain NICE-approved biologics for psoriasis at the time of NHS England’s data questionnaire in 2018/19.

During GIRFT’s subsequent deep dives into the 110 trusts with significant dermatology activity, it became apparent that there was ongoing variation in the way trusts adopt NICE guidelines. While some allow clinicians to prescribe drugs as soon as they are NICE approved, others have processes in place which can produce delays of more than a year in some cases.

GIRFT is aiming to publish trust- and system-level data for dermatology on the Model Health System in early 2024, enabling dermatology clinicians and managers to monitor their variation in provision of care, services, and treatments for skin disorders. Specific metrics for inflammatory skin disorders, including biologic prescribing for psoriasis and eczema, will be included. The aim is to use this data to inform the dermatology element of GIRFT’s Further Faster programme to help target unwarranted variation in care provision for inflammatory skin disease. The Further Faster programme supports providers to deliver rapid clinical transformation to reduce 52-week waits.

There are no plans to introduce specific targets to adopt the NHS England guidance on Referral Optimisation for people with skin conditions. The Outpatient Recovery & Transformation Programme in NHS England will continue to promote the guidance through NHS England regional teams, integrated care boards and directly to provider organisations.

In addition, specific engagement events, such as the webinar delivered on 21 November 2023, will continue to reinforce the need for appropriate and timely referral optimisation across skin care pathways. The programme is working closely with GIRFT and the Further Faster teams to ensure that referral optimisation is seen as a valuable tool to effectively manage the skin care pathway. Through this effort to engage the system combined with the publication of consistent guidance and evidence across the whole skin care pathway, it is hoped that variation can be reduced, across pathway implementation.

It should be recognised that there may be appropriate clinical reasons for some regional or local variation, so it is important to ensure that all patients who need specialist skincare have equal access. The programme will look to review data over the course of the year to understand the impact and consider relevant next steps.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if her Department will set a target for the number of trusts to adopt the NHS England guidance on Referral optimisation for people with skin conditions.

As advised in the Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) national report on dermatology, published in August 2021, 56% of trusts reported that they had to wait for commissioner approval before prescribing drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and 12% of trusts said they had been told by clinical commissioning groups that they could not prescribe certain NICE-approved biologics for psoriasis at the time of NHS England’s data questionnaire in 2018/19.

During GIRFT’s subsequent deep dives into the 110 trusts with significant dermatology activity, it became apparent that there was ongoing variation in the way trusts adopt NICE guidelines. While some allow clinicians to prescribe drugs as soon as they are NICE approved, others have processes in place which can produce delays of more than a year in some cases.

GIRFT is aiming to publish trust- and system-level data for dermatology on the Model Health System in early 2024, enabling dermatology clinicians and managers to monitor their variation in provision of care, services, and treatments for skin disorders. Specific metrics for inflammatory skin disorders, including biologic prescribing for psoriasis and eczema, will be included. The aim is to use this data to inform the dermatology element of GIRFT’s Further Faster programme to help target unwarranted variation in care provision for inflammatory skin disease. The Further Faster programme supports providers to deliver rapid clinical transformation to reduce 52-week waits.

There are no plans to introduce specific targets to adopt the NHS England guidance on Referral Optimisation for people with skin conditions. The Outpatient Recovery & Transformation Programme in NHS England will continue to promote the guidance through NHS England regional teams, integrated care boards and directly to provider organisations.

In addition, specific engagement events, such as the webinar delivered on 21 November 2023, will continue to reinforce the need for appropriate and timely referral optimisation across skin care pathways. The programme is working closely with GIRFT and the Further Faster teams to ensure that referral optimisation is seen as a valuable tool to effectively manage the skin care pathway. Through this effort to engage the system combined with the publication of consistent guidance and evidence across the whole skin care pathway, it is hoped that variation can be reduced, across pathway implementation.

It should be recognised that there may be appropriate clinical reasons for some regional or local variation, so it is important to ensure that all patients who need specialist skincare have equal access. The programme will look to review data over the course of the year to understand the impact and consider relevant next steps.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she is taking steps to monitor the effectiveness of NHS England’s guidance on Referral optimisation for people with skin conditions.

As advised in the Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) national report on dermatology, published in August 2021, 56% of trusts reported that they had to wait for commissioner approval before prescribing drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and 12% of trusts said they had been told by clinical commissioning groups that they could not prescribe certain NICE-approved biologics for psoriasis at the time of NHS England’s data questionnaire in 2018/19.

During GIRFT’s subsequent deep dives into the 110 trusts with significant dermatology activity, it became apparent that there was ongoing variation in the way trusts adopt NICE guidelines. While some allow clinicians to prescribe drugs as soon as they are NICE approved, others have processes in place which can produce delays of more than a year in some cases.

GIRFT is aiming to publish trust- and system-level data for dermatology on the Model Health System in early 2024, enabling dermatology clinicians and managers to monitor their variation in provision of care, services, and treatments for skin disorders. Specific metrics for inflammatory skin disorders, including biologic prescribing for psoriasis and eczema, will be included. The aim is to use this data to inform the dermatology element of GIRFT’s Further Faster programme to help target unwarranted variation in care provision for inflammatory skin disease. The Further Faster programme supports providers to deliver rapid clinical transformation to reduce 52-week waits.

There are no plans to introduce specific targets to adopt the NHS England guidance on Referral Optimisation for people with skin conditions. The Outpatient Recovery & Transformation Programme in NHS England will continue to promote the guidance through NHS England regional teams, integrated care boards and directly to provider organisations.

In addition, specific engagement events, such as the webinar delivered on 21 November 2023, will continue to reinforce the need for appropriate and timely referral optimisation across skin care pathways. The programme is working closely with GIRFT and the Further Faster teams to ensure that referral optimisation is seen as a valuable tool to effectively manage the skin care pathway. Through this effort to engage the system combined with the publication of consistent guidance and evidence across the whole skin care pathway, it is hoped that variation can be reduced, across pathway implementation.

It should be recognised that there may be appropriate clinical reasons for some regional or local variation, so it is important to ensure that all patients who need specialist skincare have equal access. The programme will look to review data over the course of the year to understand the impact and consider relevant next steps.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of the time taken for patients with inflammatory skin conditions to be referred for specialist care on the cost of treatment for such conditions.

Cutting waiting lists is one of the Government’s top priorities. We are making good progress on tackling the longest waits, to ensure that patients get the care they need when they need it.

We are taking action to recover elective services, including for patients waiting for National Health Service dermatology services, by working towards the targets set out in the Elective Recovery Plan and providing the NHS with record levels of staffing and funding. To facilitate this across the NHS in England, we are: increasing activity, with plans to spend more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25; expanding capacity though creating a new network of community diagnostic centres; and maximising all available independent sector capacity. We are managing demand through specialised advice in primary care and giving patients more control over where they receive their care, and we are increasing productivity through transforming outpatient services, developing new surgical hubs to increase theatre productivity and working actively with trusts to support and challenge on their performance.

No specific assessment has been made of the potential impact of implementing NHS England’s referral optimisation for people with skin conditions on the cost of treatment and the number of referrals for people with skin conditions in England, Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System or Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The aim of referral optimisation is to triage referrals using electronic means, so that those with less serious problems can be offered rapid advice by their general practitioner (GP). This has the potential to create efficiencies by offering people with disabling skin problems rapid treatment to get them back to work and functioning at home quickly. Ensuring only those patients with the most serious conditions are sent to hospital will help to reduce waiting lists and ensure NHS hospital resources are used for those most likely to benefit most.

It is important that integrated care systems work with both GPs and hospitals to monitor referral numbers and ensure that the benefits of electronic triage are not outweighed by increased demand.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help reduce the time taken for patients with inflammatory skin conditions to access (a) specialist care and support and (b) treatment.

Cutting waiting lists is one of the Government’s top priorities. We are making good progress on tackling the longest waits, to ensure that patients get the care they need when they need it.

We are taking action to recover elective services, including for patients waiting for National Health Service dermatology services, by working towards the targets set out in the Elective Recovery Plan and providing the NHS with record levels of staffing and funding. To facilitate this across the NHS in England, we are: increasing activity, with plans to spend more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25; expanding capacity though creating a new network of community diagnostic centres; and maximising all available independent sector capacity. We are managing demand through specialised advice in primary care and giving patients more control over where they receive their care, and we are increasing productivity through transforming outpatient services, developing new surgical hubs to increase theatre productivity and working actively with trusts to support and challenge on their performance.

No specific assessment has been made of the potential impact of implementing NHS England’s referral optimisation for people with skin conditions on the cost of treatment and the number of referrals for people with skin conditions in England, Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System or Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The aim of referral optimisation is to triage referrals using electronic means, so that those with less serious problems can be offered rapid advice by their general practitioner (GP). This has the potential to create efficiencies by offering people with disabling skin problems rapid treatment to get them back to work and functioning at home quickly. Ensuring only those patients with the most serious conditions are sent to hospital will help to reduce waiting lists and ensure NHS hospital resources are used for those most likely to benefit most.

It is important that integrated care systems work with both GPs and hospitals to monitor referral numbers and ensure that the benefits of electronic triage are not outweighed by increased demand.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will have discussions with NICE on developing (a) national guidelines and (b) quality standards for the management of severe eczema in adults.

The Department regularly holds discussions with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) about its guidelines programme. NICE has reviewed its guideline portfolio to identify topics that it thinks will add the most value to the health and care system, considering key factors such as clinical benefit, cost effectiveness, the potential to increase productivity and support workforce issues and the potential to address health inequalities.

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) in young people and adults is one of the topics on which NICE will stop work for the time being to allow them to focus on key priorities. Topics that have been stopped will be reconsidered by NICE’s prioritisation board which is being established in Spring 2024 by its chief medical officer.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps NHS England is taking to increase access to NICE-approved treatments for patients with inflammatory skin conditions.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) evaluates all new licensed medicines and licence extensions for existing medicines including any treatments for inflammatory skin conditions and aims to issue guidance on their use close to the time of licensing wherever possible. The National Health Service in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended by NICE, normally within 90 days of the publication of its final guidance. NICE has recommended a number of treatments for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, hidradenitis suppurativa and psoriasis that are now routinely available for NHS patients.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of publishing quarterly reports on progress made against the commitments set out in her Department's England Rare Diseases Action Plan 2023, last updated on 10 July 2023.

While there are no plans to publish quarterly reports on progress made against the commitments of England’s second Rare Diseases Action Plan 2023. We have committed to publishing action plans annually and England’s third Rare Diseases Action Plan will detail progress made in the past year. In addition, minutes of the eight weekly England Rare Diseases Framework Delivery Group meetings, where progress is monitored, are published to the UK Rare Disease Forum on-line platform and the UK Rare Diseases Forum receives updates on progress across the four nations at its quarterly meetings.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of publishing quarterly updates on data that helps illustrate the levels of utilisation of her Department's access initiatives including the (a) Innovative Medicines Fund, (b) Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway and (c) Early Access to Medicines Scheme.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency already publishes updates on the use of the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway and the Early Access to Medicines Scheme. NHS England plans to publish similar quarterly updates for the Innovative Medicine Fund as are published for the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she plans to increase the specialist cardiology workforce in (a) primary and (b) secondary care.

There are currently 3,738 full time equivalent doctors working in the specialty of cardiology in the National Health Service in England. This is 666 (21.7%) more than in 2019. Within this there are 1,653 full time equivalent consultants working in the speciality of cardiology, 278 (20.2%) more than in 2019.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan (LTWP), published by NHS England on 30 June 2023, sets out our aim to double the number of medical school places in England to 15,000 places a year by 2031/32. It also sets out how we will work towards this expansion by increasing places by a third, to 10,000 a year, by 2028/29. The LTWP commits to an adequate growth in foundation placement capacity, as those taking up these new places begin to graduate, and a commensurate increase in specialty training places that meets the demands of the NHS in the future. This will substantially increase the potential pipeline for the cardiologist workforce in primary and secondary care.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when she plans to publish the findings of the Government Champion for Personalised Prevention's taskforce on cardiovascular disease.

The Government is considering the recommendations of the Government Champion for Personalised Prevention. There are currently no plans to publish his report.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the guidance by NHS England entitled Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, published on 9 May 2023, what steps his Department is taking to provide (a) guidance and (b) funding to pharmacies for the common conditions service in 2023.

Negotiations with Community Pharmacy England (CPE) have concluded, and pharmacy contractors have been informed by a joint letter from the Department, NHS England and CPE about the detail of Pharmacy First including the funding of the service. That letter has been published on gov.uk. Pharmacy First will launch on 31 January 2024, subject to the IT underpinning the service being complete. The expansion of the Pharmacy Contraception Service will launch on 1 December together with a relaunch of the existing Blood Pressure Check Service.

Under Pharmacy First, community pharmacists will be able to supply prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions (sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women) without the need to visit a GP. The supply of prescription-only medicines will be under Patient Group Directions which are strict protocols for when a medicine can be supplied without a prescription. At present, there are no plans to expand the seven conditions.

Pharmacy First can be delivered remotely including by distance selling pharmacies but they will not be able to deliver the earache pathway because this requires someone to look in patient’s ear which cannot be done remotely.

Uptake and delivery of Pharmacy First will be closely monitored including the impact on antimicrobial resistance.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she has plans to expand the common conditions service beyond the initial seven conditions outlined in the Government’s Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care.

Negotiations with Community Pharmacy England (CPE) have concluded, and pharmacy contractors have been informed by a joint letter from the Department, NHS England and CPE about the detail of Pharmacy First including the funding of the service. That letter has been published on gov.uk. Pharmacy First will launch on 31 January 2024, subject to the IT underpinning the service being complete. The expansion of the Pharmacy Contraception Service will launch on 1 December together with a relaunch of the existing Blood Pressure Check Service.

Under Pharmacy First, community pharmacists will be able to supply prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions (sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women) without the need to visit a GP. The supply of prescription-only medicines will be under Patient Group Directions which are strict protocols for when a medicine can be supplied without a prescription. At present, there are no plans to expand the seven conditions.

Pharmacy First can be delivered remotely including by distance selling pharmacies but they will not be able to deliver the earache pathway because this requires someone to look in patient’s ear which cannot be done remotely.

Uptake and delivery of Pharmacy First will be closely monitored including the impact on antimicrobial resistance.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department plans to take to ensure that pharmacies delivering the common conditions service are (a) delivering services to appropriate numbers of patients and (b) meeting high standards.

Negotiations with Community Pharmacy England (CPE) have concluded, and pharmacy contractors have been informed by a joint letter from the Department, NHS England and CPE about the detail of Pharmacy First including the funding of the service. That letter has been published on gov.uk. Pharmacy First will launch on 31 January 2024, subject to the IT underpinning the service being complete. The expansion of the Pharmacy Contraception Service will launch on 1 December together with a relaunch of the existing Blood Pressure Check Service.

Under Pharmacy First, community pharmacists will be able to supply prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions (sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women) without the need to visit a GP. The supply of prescription-only medicines will be under Patient Group Directions which are strict protocols for when a medicine can be supplied without a prescription. At present, there are no plans to expand the seven conditions.

Pharmacy First can be delivered remotely including by distance selling pharmacies but they will not be able to deliver the earache pathway because this requires someone to look in patient’s ear which cannot be done remotely.

Uptake and delivery of Pharmacy First will be closely monitored including the impact on antimicrobial resistance.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department plans to take to support (a) distance-selling pharmacies and (b) other pharmacies to safely deliver the common conditions service.

Negotiations with Community Pharmacy England (CPE) have concluded, and pharmacy contractors have been informed by a joint letter from the Department, NHS England and CPE about the detail of Pharmacy First including the funding of the service. That letter has been published on gov.uk. Pharmacy First will launch on 31 January 2024, subject to the IT underpinning the service being complete. The expansion of the Pharmacy Contraception Service will launch on 1 December together with a relaunch of the existing Blood Pressure Check Service.

Under Pharmacy First, community pharmacists will be able to supply prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions (sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women) without the need to visit a GP. The supply of prescription-only medicines will be under Patient Group Directions which are strict protocols for when a medicine can be supplied without a prescription. At present, there are no plans to expand the seven conditions.

Pharmacy First can be delivered remotely including by distance selling pharmacies but they will not be able to deliver the earache pathway because this requires someone to look in patient’s ear which cannot be done remotely.

Uptake and delivery of Pharmacy First will be closely monitored including the impact on antimicrobial resistance.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the £645 million announced as part of the Government's delivery plan for the recovery of primary care, what progress her Department has made on its negotiations with Community Pharmacy England; and what her planned timescale is for launching the common conditions service.

Negotiations with Community Pharmacy England (CPE) have concluded, and pharmacy contractors have been informed by a joint letter from the Department, NHS England and CPE about the detail of Pharmacy First including the funding of the service. That letter has been published on gov.uk. Pharmacy First will launch on 31 January 2024, subject to the IT underpinning the service being complete. The expansion of the Pharmacy Contraception Service will launch on 1 December together with a relaunch of the existing Blood Pressure Check Service.

Under Pharmacy First, community pharmacists will be able to supply prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions (sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women) without the need to visit a GP. The supply of prescription-only medicines will be under Patient Group Directions which are strict protocols for when a medicine can be supplied without a prescription. At present, there are no plans to expand the seven conditions.

Pharmacy First can be delivered remotely including by distance selling pharmacies but they will not be able to deliver the earache pathway because this requires someone to look in patient’s ear which cannot be done remotely.

Uptake and delivery of Pharmacy First will be closely monitored including the impact on antimicrobial resistance.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a national minimum fee for fitting long-acting reversible contraception.

There are no plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a national minimum fee for fitting long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), or to make an assessment of levels of regional variation in the provision of and funding for LARC.

Integrated care boards (ICBs) may commission General Practices to offer LARC as an enhanced service to their local population, in addition to the service provided through the GP contract. It is for ICBs to decide on commissioning arrangements for their area based on an assessment of local need.

Local authorities in England are responsible for commissioning comprehensive, open access sexual and reproductive health services, including the provision of LARC, to meet local demand.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment her Department has made of levels of regional variation in the (a) provision of and (b) funding for long-acting reversible contraception.

There are no plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a national minimum fee for fitting long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), or to make an assessment of levels of regional variation in the provision of and funding for LARC.

Integrated care boards (ICBs) may commission General Practices to offer LARC as an enhanced service to their local population, in addition to the service provided through the GP contract. It is for ICBs to decide on commissioning arrangements for their area based on an assessment of local need.

Local authorities in England are responsible for commissioning comprehensive, open access sexual and reproductive health services, including the provision of LARC, to meet local demand.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to (a) measure and (b) assess the adequacy of the progress of integrated care systems in (i) establishing women’s health hubs and (ii) ensuring that hubs offer the full list of core services set out in the guidance entitled Women's health hubs: core specification, published on 22 July 2023.

Every integrated care board (ICB) in England has been allocated £595,000 in total over 2023/24 and 2024/25. ICBs have been asked to use this funding to establish or expand at least one women’s health hub in their system in line with the core specification.

ICBs are accountable to NHS England (NHSE) for NHS spend and performance, including the funding for women’s health hubs. All ICBs have now submitted an initial return to NHSE setting out where their hub(s) will be, what services they plan to offer, their staffing model, and other information.

ICBs are responsible for commissioning services that meet the needs of their local population and will determine the exact services that their women’s health hub will provide. NHSE will request further updates over the duration of the funding to enable DHSC and NHSE to monitor ICBs’ progress.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when she plans to launch the consultation on the permanent extension of the Healthy Start scheme to families who are subject to No Recourse to Public Funds.

We are currently considering options and further information will be available in due course.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 17 April 2023 to Question 177873 on Heart Diseases, what steps the NHS is taking to increase access to testing to support the diagnosis of heart failure in primary care.

The NHS Long Term Plan has committed to a number of key ambitions to improve care and outcomes for individuals with cardiovascular disease, including enhanced diagnostic support in the community, better personalised planning and increasing access to cardiac rehabilitation. These ambitions will support the delivery of the aim to help prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes, and dementia cases by 2029.

Cutting National Health Service waiting lists, including for cardiology services, is one of this Government’s top priorities. £2.3 billion was awarded to transform diagnostic services over the next three years to increase diagnostic capacity, including for cardiology services. This funding will also increase the number of Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) up to 160 by March 2025, including a number delivering cardiology services.

In addition, the NHS will increase capacity, by seeking alternative capacity in other trusts or the independent sector and increasing activity through dedicated and protected surgical hubs.

NHS England is supporting a new fast-track echocardiography training scheme. In collaboration with the British Society of Echocardiography (BSE), this training scheme has been developed to respond rapidly to the urgent workforce needs for accredited echocardiographers.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information her Department holds on neurological outcomes for patients admitted for a cardiac arrest suffered out of hospital (a) with and (b) without defibrillator treatment at the scene.

This data is not held by the Department.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the uptake of flu vaccination across (a) support staff and (b) other professions working in the NHS.

All providers delivering services under the NHS Standard Contract are contractually responsible for ensuring that all eligible frontline staff in contact with service users are vaccinated for flu. NHS England policy is to ensure all frontline patient facing staff working in Trusts are offered a flu vaccination.

NHS England is making best us of established networks to encourage uptake of flu vaccination by frontline health and care workers. This is being achieved using owned communication channels to target National Health Service and care staff and encouraging stakeholders, employers, and Government departments to share messaging, content and case studies with frontline professionals, their members and service users.

NHS England has developed a set of over 85 creative assets for local sites to use for the current seasonal flu campaign, including an FAQ leaflet and core messages, which have been available to order as print copies from Campaign Resource Centre since August 2023 with digital versions available to download throughout the campaign.

NHS England is also sharing regularly updated messaging, as well as highlighting and sharing best practice with its employer networks and reminding them of their responsibility to ensure staff are physically and mentally fit for work.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of (a) paediatric and (b) adult cystic fibrosis centres did not provide at least 85 per cent of their patients with psychological support at their annual review in (i) 2021 and (ii) 2022.

The information is not available in the requested format.

However, tables showing that the number of centres where the percentage of adult cystic fibrosis patients and paediatric cystic fibrosis patients seen by a clinical psychologist within 12 months prior to the latest annual review was less than 85% in 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 are displayed below.

Adult cystic fibrosis patients seen (e.g. annual review screening, in-patient or out-patient consultation) by a clinical psychologist within 12 months prior to latest annual review:

2021/2022

2022/2023

Centres reporting data for this indicator during the reporting period

12

15

Number of centres reporting fewer than 85% of patients had seen a psychologist in the 12 months before their latest annual review

7

10

Number of centres reporting that more than 85% of patients had seen a psychologist in the 12 months before their latest annual review

5

5

Paediatric cystic fibrosis patients seen (e.g. annual review screening, in-patient or out-patient consultation) by a clinical psychologist within 12 months prior to latest annual review:

2021/2022

2022/2023

Centres reporting data for this indicator during the reporting period

16

18

Number of centres reporting fewer than 85% of patients had seen a psychologist in the 12 months before their latest annual review

11

14

Number of centres reporting that more than 85% of patients had seen a psychologist in the 12 months before their latest annual review

5

4

Source: NHS England Specialised Services Quality Dashboard (SSQD).

SSQD reporting was stood down during the Covid pandemic between April 2020 and March 2022 which may interfere with completeness.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to expedite the introduction of newborn spinal muscular atrophy screenings.

In June 2023, the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended that a modelling study be carried out alongside an in-service evaluation of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) screening in the National Health Service. Around 70 babies a year are born with SMA in the United Kingdom (around 1 in every 10,000 live births), with approximately 60% of those having type 1 SMA (SMA1).

The new model will help define important issues for the in-service evaluation, while the evaluation will be used to collect data to feed into the model and test its assumptions. This important work will give the UK NSC the evidence it needs to assess how newborn screening for SMA might work safely in the UK.

Work is still in the planning stages therefore timescales are not established yet. The UK NSC will keep ministers informed, and the public up to date on progress via its blog and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an estimate of the number of babies born with spinal muscular atrophy that may experience irreversible disability between August 2023 and the conclusion of the review into newborn screening.

In June 2023, the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended that a modelling study be carried out alongside an in-service evaluation of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) screening in the National Health Service. Around 70 babies a year are born with SMA in the United Kingdom (around 1 in every 10,000 live births), with approximately 60% of those having type 1 SMA (SMA1).

The new model will help define important issues for the in-service evaluation, while the evaluation will be used to collect data to feed into the model and test its assumptions. This important work will give the UK NSC the evidence it needs to assess how newborn screening for SMA might work safely in the UK.

Work is still in the planning stages therefore timescales are not established yet. The UK NSC will keep ministers informed, and the public up to date on progress via its blog and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the timelines for the UK National Screening Committee’s in-service evaluation for severe combined immunodeficiency screening in the NHS; and whether his Department has plans to reduce the timeline for the upcoming in-service evaluation for spinal muscular atrophy screening.

In June 2023, the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended that a modelling study be carried out alongside an in-service evaluation of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) screening in the National Health Service. Around 70 babies a year are born with SMA in the United Kingdom (around 1 in every 10,000 live births), with approximately 60% of those having type 1 SMA (SMA1).

The new model will help define important issues for the in-service evaluation, while the evaluation will be used to collect data to feed into the model and test its assumptions. This important work will give the UK NSC the evidence it needs to assess how newborn screening for SMA might work safely in the UK.

Work is still in the planning stages therefore timescales are not established yet. The UK NSC will keep ministers informed, and the public up to date on progress via its blog and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information the UK National Screening Committee has provided on the (a) format, (b) scale and (c) duration of the upcoming in-service evaluation for spinal muscular atrophy screening in the NHS.

In June 2023, the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended that a modelling study be carried out alongside an in-service evaluation of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) screening in the National Health Service. Around 70 babies a year are born with SMA in the United Kingdom (around 1 in every 10,000 live births), with approximately 60% of those having type 1 SMA (SMA1).

The new model will help define important issues for the in-service evaluation, while the evaluation will be used to collect data to feed into the model and test its assumptions. This important work will give the UK NSC the evidence it needs to assess how newborn screening for SMA might work safely in the UK.

Work is still in the planning stages therefore timescales are not established yet. The UK NSC will keep ministers informed, and the public up to date on progress via its blog and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to meet with the UK National Screening Committee to discuss the timescale for implementing an in-service evaluation for spinal muscular atrophy screening in the NHS.

In June 2023, the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended that a modelling study be carried out alongside an in-service evaluation of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) screening in the National Health Service. Around 70 babies a year are born with SMA in the United Kingdom (around 1 in every 10,000 live births), with approximately 60% of those having type 1 SMA (SMA1).

The new model will help define important issues for the in-service evaluation, while the evaluation will be used to collect data to feed into the model and test its assumptions. This important work will give the UK NSC the evidence it needs to assess how newborn screening for SMA might work safely in the UK.

Work is still in the planning stages therefore timescales are not established yet. The UK NSC will keep ministers informed, and the public up to date on progress via its blog and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made a comparative assessment of the number of conditions screened under the NHS bloodspot programme with similar programmes in other European countries.

The UK National Screening Committee recently published a paper comparing the United Kingdom with other European countries, which is available at the following link:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanepe/article/PIIS2666-7762(23)00133-3/fulltext

The paper will hopefully improve understanding of the way in which screening principles are developed and applied in new-born blood spot screening settings across the continent.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy on the priorities of the UK Rare Disease Framework.

The Rare Diseases Framework is a high-level document containing overarching priorities and underpinning themes for rare disease policy up to 2025. The Framework is not focused on specific diseases but aims to improve the lives of all people living with rare conditions. As such, no assessment has been made.

In June 2023, the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended that a modelling study be carried out alongside an in-service evaluation of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) screening in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. This important work will give the UK NSC the evidence it needs to assess how newborn screening for SMA might work safely in the UK.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the UK not having a spinal muscular atrophy screening programme on the development of the UK life science sector.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed screening for spinal muscular atrophy in June 2023. While acknowledging recent developments, it found that more evidence was needed to assess how screening might work safely in the United Kingdom.

Its recommendation was to develop a new cost effectiveness modelling study for the UK screening context, as well as start scoping in-service evaluation work in live services in the National Health Service in the UK.

Planning is now underway for the modelling and in-service evaluation, which will help to address these uncertainties and unanswered questions. The UK National Screening Committee will continue to engage with spinal muscular atrophy stakeholders to help shape and input into the work and will keep the public updated via blog articles and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a permanent newborn screening programme for spinal muscular atrophy on the Government's Life Sciences Vision ambition to make the UK a world leader for (a) access and (b) uptake of new and innovative treatments and technologies.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed screening for spinal muscular atrophy in June 2023. While acknowledging recent developments, it found that more evidence was needed to assess how screening might work safely in the United Kingdom.

Its recommendation was to develop a new cost effectiveness modelling study for the UK screening context, as well as start scoping in-service evaluation work in live services in the National Health Service in the UK.

Planning is now underway for the modelling and in-service evaluation, which will help to address these uncertainties and unanswered questions. The UK National Screening Committee will continue to engage with spinal muscular atrophy stakeholders to help shape and input into the work and will keep the public updated via blog articles and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made a comparative assessment of health inequalities for babies that have had access to newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy with those that haven't.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed screening for spinal muscular atrophy in June 2023. While acknowledging recent developments, it found that more evidence was needed to assess how screening might work safely in the United Kingdom.

Its recommendation was to develop a new cost effectiveness modelling study for the UK screening context, as well as start scoping in-service evaluation work in live services in the National Health Service in the UK.

Planning is now underway for the modelling and in-service evaluation, which will help to address these uncertainties and unanswered questions. The UK National Screening Committee will continue to engage with spinal muscular atrophy stakeholders to help shape and input into the work and will keep the public updated via blog articles and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the UK National Screening Committee commissioning a cost-effectiveness modeling study for spinal muscular atrophy on the timeline for implementing newborn screenings across the UK.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed screening for spinal muscular atrophy in June 2023. While acknowledging recent developments, it found that more evidence was needed to assess how screening might work safely in the United Kingdom.

Its recommendation was to develop a new cost effectiveness modelling study for the UK screening context, as well as start scoping in-service evaluation work in live services in the National Health Service in the UK.

Planning is now underway for the modelling and in-service evaluation, which will help to address these uncertainties and unanswered questions. The UK National Screening Committee will continue to engage with spinal muscular atrophy stakeholders to help shape and input into the work and will keep the public updated via blog articles and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) ensure and (b) monitor the (i) introduction, (ii) delivery and (iii) completion of the in-service evaluation for spinal muscular atrophy screening in the NHS.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed screening for spinal muscular atrophy in June 2023. While acknowledging recent developments, it found that more evidence was needed to assess how screening might work safely in the United Kingdom.

Its recommendation was to develop a new cost effectiveness modelling study for the UK screening context, as well as start scoping in-service evaluation work in live services in the National Health Service in the UK.

Planning is now underway for the modelling and in-service evaluation, which will help to address these uncertainties and unanswered questions. The UK National Screening Committee will continue to engage with spinal muscular atrophy stakeholders to help shape and input into the work and will keep the public updated via blog articles and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of opportunities available to the patient community to input into the (a) design and (b) delivery of the UK National Screening Committee’s upcoming in-service evaluation of spinal muscular astrophy screening in the NHS.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed screening for spinal muscular atrophy in June 2023. While acknowledging recent developments, it found that more evidence was needed to assess how screening might work safely in the United Kingdom.

Its recommendation was to develop a new cost effectiveness modelling study for the UK screening context, as well as start scoping in-service evaluation work in live services in the National Health Service in the UK.

Planning is now underway for the modelling and in-service evaluation, which will help to address these uncertainties and unanswered questions. The UK National Screening Committee will continue to engage with spinal muscular atrophy stakeholders to help shape and input into the work and will keep the public updated via blog articles and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of an in-service evaluation for spinal muscular atophy in the NHS on (a) patients and (b) patient families outside of the pilot area.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed screening for spinal muscular atrophy in June 2023. While acknowledging recent developments, it found that more evidence was needed to assess how screening might work safely in the United Kingdom.

Its recommendation was to develop a new cost effectiveness modelling study for the UK screening context, as well as start scoping in-service evaluation work in live services in the National Health Service in the UK.

Planning is now underway for the modelling and in-service evaluation, which will help to address these uncertainties and unanswered questions. The UK National Screening Committee will continue to engage with spinal muscular atrophy stakeholders to help shape and input into the work and will keep the public updated via blog articles and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 July 2023 to Question 191810 on Ultrasonics, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of increasing access to MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound treatments on (a) the ability of patients to return to work and (b) the economy.

We have no plans to make an assessment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to expedite the process for publishing minutes from UK National Screening Committee meetings.

The review of whether to screen for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is under active consideration. At the June UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) meeting this was tabled for discussion. Minutes of this meeting are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-meeting-june-2023/uk-nsc-minutes-june-2023

The UK NSC supported the proposal to commission a cost effectiveness modelling study and to start planning a high-quality in-service evaluation to support a UK NSC recommendation. Due to these new decisions made at the June meeting, no timetable has yet been developed.

As per the UK NSC’s published process, the committee will hold a three-month public consultation on SMA inviting stakeholders and members of the public to comment and submit further evidence for consideration. It will keep the public abreast of developments via its blogs and ongoing stakeholder engagement activities.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the UK National Screening Committee plans to review the evidence generated by Oxford University from its Thames Valley pilot within the Committee’s own population-based study on Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

The review of whether to screen for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is under active consideration. At the June UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) meeting this was tabled for discussion. Minutes of this meeting are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-meeting-june-2023/uk-nsc-minutes-june-2023

The UK NSC supported the proposal to commission a cost effectiveness modelling study and to start planning a high-quality in-service evaluation to support a UK NSC recommendation. Due to these new decisions made at the June meeting, no timetable has yet been developed.

As per the UK NSC’s published process, the committee will hold a three-month public consultation on SMA inviting stakeholders and members of the public to comment and submit further evidence for consideration. It will keep the public abreast of developments via its blogs and ongoing stakeholder engagement activities.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the UK National Screening Committee’s timelines for reviewing the case for including Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) in the NHS newborn screening programme on patients and families with SMA where symptoms are yet to present.

The review of whether to screen for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is under active consideration. At the June UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) meeting this was tabled for discussion. Minutes of this meeting are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-meeting-june-2023/uk-nsc-minutes-june-2023

The UK NSC supported the proposal to commission a cost effectiveness modelling study and to start planning a high-quality in-service evaluation to support a UK NSC recommendation. Due to these new decisions made at the June meeting, no timetable has yet been developed.

As per the UK NSC’s published process, the committee will hold a three-month public consultation on SMA inviting stakeholders and members of the public to comment and submit further evidence for consideration. It will keep the public abreast of developments via its blogs and ongoing stakeholder engagement activities.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ask the UK National Screening Committee to publish indicative timelines for its review of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

The review of whether to screen for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is under active consideration. At the June UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) meeting this was tabled for discussion. Minutes of this meeting are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-meeting-june-2023/uk-nsc-minutes-june-2023

The UK NSC supported the proposal to commission a cost effectiveness modelling study and to start planning a high-quality in-service evaluation to support a UK NSC recommendation. Due to these new decisions made at the June meeting, no timetable has yet been developed.

As per the UK NSC’s published process, the committee will hold a three-month public consultation on SMA inviting stakeholders and members of the public to comment and submit further evidence for consideration. It will keep the public abreast of developments via its blogs and ongoing stakeholder engagement activities.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the UK National Screening Committee has made on reviewing the case for including Spinal Muscular Atrophy in the NHS newborn screening programme, and what that Committee's timeline is for making a final recommendation.

The review of whether to screen for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is under active consideration. At the June UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) meeting this was tabled for discussion. Minutes of this meeting are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-meeting-june-2023/uk-nsc-minutes-june-2023

The UK NSC supported the proposal to commission a cost effectiveness modelling study and to start planning a high-quality in-service evaluation to support a UK NSC recommendation. Due to these new decisions made at the June meeting, no timetable has yet been developed.

As per the UK NSC’s published process, the committee will hold a three-month public consultation on SMA inviting stakeholders and members of the public to comment and submit further evidence for consideration. It will keep the public abreast of developments via its blogs and ongoing stakeholder engagement activities.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to monitor the National Screening Committee’s progress on reviewing the case for including Spinal Muscular Atrophy in the NHS newborn screening programme; and what his timetable is for making a decision on that matter.

The review of whether to screen for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is under active consideration. At the June UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) meeting this was tabled for discussion. Minutes of this meeting are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-meeting-june-2023/uk-nsc-minutes-june-2023

The UK NSC supported the proposal to commission a cost effectiveness modelling study and to start planning a high-quality in-service evaluation to support a UK NSC recommendation. Due to these new decisions made at the June meeting, no timetable has yet been developed.

As per the UK NSC’s published process, the committee will hold a three-month public consultation on SMA inviting stakeholders and members of the public to comment and submit further evidence for consideration. It will keep the public abreast of developments via its blogs and ongoing stakeholder engagement activities.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's policy paper entitled England Rare Diseases Action Plan 2023: main report, updated on 10 July 2023, what steps his Department is taking to end the diagnostic odyssey experienced by people with rare diseases.

Helping patients get a final diagnosis faster is one of the four priorities of the 2021 UK Rare Diseases Framework, and we have committed to several actions to address this priority. For example, in the 2023 England Rare Diseases Action Plan we committed to commissioning policy research through a National Institute for Health and Care Research open call, inviting researchers to develop an effective method for measuring the time to diagnosis for both genetic and non-genetic rare conditions, with input from the rare diseases community. This will allow us to establish a baseline time to diagnosis, understand the effects of policy interventions on length of the diagnostic odyssey and provide a basis for working with the National Health Service to identify and address challenges in delivering diagnoses faster.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the UK National Screening Committee has had recent discussions with (a) patient organisations, (b) patients and (c) families affected by spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) as part of its review of incorporating SMA within the NHS newborn screening programme.

As part of the UK National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) work to review newborn screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the UK NSC secretariat has held multiple stakeholder engagement activities where stakeholders have helped formulate evidence work.

The UK NSC last met with the SMA Alliance earlier in July and responded recently to correspondence about screening for SMA. The UK NSC will continue to actively engage with patient organisations and provide updates as far as is possible within the bounds of the published process of the UK NSC as an independent scientific advisory committee.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the UK National Screening Committee is taking to review its methods, processes and criteria to ensure they are appropriate for assessing rare conditions.

Information about the UK National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) methods, processes and criteria for reviewing conditions are all publicly available on its website.

The UK NSC Secretariat already has significant horizon scanning capabilities: it has connections and talks to key clinicians, users, and stakeholder groups; it liaises with colleagues at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence when a screening proposal is mooted; it holds and attends regular meetings with international colleagues; and it maintains an article alert service. It also receives many approaches from researchers active in the screening and mass testing areas.

The four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers recently recommended expanding the UK NSC’s remit to increase its capabilities and scope, and the independent body has been working over the past year to implement these changes. Among the additional processes to ensure the UK NSC is appraised of what is on the horizon is the blood spot task group to help it identify practical and innovative approaches to the development and evaluation of evidence, and its new research and methodology group, which is made up of academics with multiple connections to research in screening and testing.

The UK NSC Secretariat is currently recruiting additional staff, including a new horizon scanning lead, which will further increase its ability to sift and assess evidence and make high quality recommendations even within the constraints of limited evidence bases, such as exists with rare diseases.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ask the UK National Screening Committee to publish its methods, processes and criteria for reviewing conditions to be included in the NHS newborn screening programme.

Information about the UK National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) methods, processes and criteria for reviewing conditions are all publicly available on its website.

The UK NSC Secretariat already has significant horizon scanning capabilities: it has connections and talks to key clinicians, users, and stakeholder groups; it liaises with colleagues at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence when a screening proposal is mooted; it holds and attends regular meetings with international colleagues; and it maintains an article alert service. It also receives many approaches from researchers active in the screening and mass testing areas.

The four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers recently recommended expanding the UK NSC’s remit to increase its capabilities and scope, and the independent body has been working over the past year to implement these changes. Among the additional processes to ensure the UK NSC is appraised of what is on the horizon is the blood spot task group to help it identify practical and innovative approaches to the development and evaluation of evidence, and its new research and methodology group, which is made up of academics with multiple connections to research in screening and testing.

The UK NSC Secretariat is currently recruiting additional staff, including a new horizon scanning lead, which will further increase its ability to sift and assess evidence and make high quality recommendations even within the constraints of limited evidence bases, such as exists with rare diseases.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) improve the horizon scanning capabilities of the UK National Screening Committee and (b) increase alignment between National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendations and newborn screening decisions.

Information about the UK National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) methods, processes and criteria for reviewing conditions are all publicly available on its website.

The UK NSC Secretariat already has significant horizon scanning capabilities: it has connections and talks to key clinicians, users, and stakeholder groups; it liaises with colleagues at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence when a screening proposal is mooted; it holds and attends regular meetings with international colleagues; and it maintains an article alert service. It also receives many approaches from researchers active in the screening and mass testing areas.

The four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers recently recommended expanding the UK NSC’s remit to increase its capabilities and scope, and the independent body has been working over the past year to implement these changes. Among the additional processes to ensure the UK NSC is appraised of what is on the horizon is the blood spot task group to help it identify practical and innovative approaches to the development and evaluation of evidence, and its new research and methodology group, which is made up of academics with multiple connections to research in screening and testing.

The UK NSC Secretariat is currently recruiting additional staff, including a new horizon scanning lead, which will further increase its ability to sift and assess evidence and make high quality recommendations even within the constraints of limited evidence bases, such as exists with rare diseases.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the (a) capacity of and (b) funding available to the UK National Screening Committee.

The range and expertise of the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) members has been reviewed and adapted since the remit of the UK NSC expanded last year following the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations. The capacity of the UK NSC Secretariat has been re-evaluated in that context. Recruitment is currently underway for additional staff to support the work of the UK NSC.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support early (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment for people with (i) spinal muscular atrophy and (ii) other rare, genetic and neuromuscular conditions.

The 2021 UK Rare Diseases Framework includes priorities on ‘helping patients get a final diagnosis faster’ and ‘improving access to specialist care, treatment and drugs’. NHS England commissions a national network of specialist services offering an integrated clinical and investigative diagnostic and advisory service for patients with specified forms of rare inherited neuromuscular diseases. The network enables all patients with these disorders to access specialised diagnosis and advice on management and treatment. Genomic testing for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is currently offered in NHS England under the clinical indications R70, R71 and R311. Genomic testing is also available for a number of other rare, genetic neuromuscular conditions, the full list of which can be found in the National Genomic Test Directory. As with many National Health Service services, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an ongoing impact on the genomic testing pathway. NHS England is working to support recovery to reduce reporting times.

Evidence presented to the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) in June provided reasonable grounds for more formal exploration of a United Kingdom newborn screening programme for SMA. The health impacts of time to diagnosis will be considered as part of the UK NSC’s work on SMA.

NHS England is also developing a proposal for a pilot ‘syndromes without a name’ clinic, the aim of which will be to provide better opportunities for diagnosis and to shorten the time to diagnosis through multidisciplinary review and enhanced access to tests. Additionally, the Genomics England Newborn Genomes Programme has been allocated £105 million of Departmental funding to explore whether whole genome sequencing can diagnose rare diseases earlier and improve outcomes for newborns.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment waiting times for people with rare diseases which present in childhood.

The 2021 UK Rare Diseases Framework includes priorities on ‘helping patients get a final diagnosis faster’ and ‘improving access to specialist care, treatment and drugs’. NHS England commissions a national network of specialist services offering an integrated clinical and investigative diagnostic and advisory service for patients with specified forms of rare inherited neuromuscular diseases. The network enables all patients with these disorders to access specialised diagnosis and advice on management and treatment. Genomic testing for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is currently offered in NHS England under the clinical indications R70, R71 and R311. Genomic testing is also available for a number of other rare, genetic neuromuscular conditions, the full list of which can be found in the National Genomic Test Directory. As with many National Health Service services, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an ongoing impact on the genomic testing pathway. NHS England is working to support recovery to reduce reporting times.

Evidence presented to the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) in June provided reasonable grounds for more formal exploration of a United Kingdom newborn screening programme for SMA. The health impacts of time to diagnosis will be considered as part of the UK NSC’s work on SMA.

NHS England is also developing a proposal for a pilot ‘syndromes without a name’ clinic, the aim of which will be to provide better opportunities for diagnosis and to shorten the time to diagnosis through multidisciplinary review and enhanced access to tests. Additionally, the Genomics England Newborn Genomes Programme has been allocated £105 million of Departmental funding to explore whether whole genome sequencing can diagnose rare diseases earlier and improve outcomes for newborns.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the resources available to the UK National Screening Committee to (a) adequately engage with the rare disease stakeholder community and (b) ensure it takes account of the specific considerations relating to rare diseases.

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has dedicated experienced members of the Secretariat to increased and sustained stakeholder engagement, who have been especially focused on rare diseases. They meet regularly with interested organisations to keep them informed of the ongoing work of the UK NSC. The Departmental screening team also attends the Rare Diseases Framework Delivery group meetings where discussions with stakeholders can address specific issues.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to ensure an equitable uptake of new treatments for (a) spinal muscular atrophy and (b) other rare diseases once recommended by NICE.

NHS England has undertaken an assessment of uptake of drugs for patients with spinal muscular atrophy and some other rare diseases. The assessment concluded that uptake equalled or exceeded the estimated number of patients in the original National Institute for Health and Care Excellence assessment and that access was equitable regardless of where patients live.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of average (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment waiting times on people affected by spinal muscular atrophy.

NHS England has made no specific assessment of the impact of average diagnosis and treatment waiting times on people affected by spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). However, since the 2018 recommendation not to introduce newborn screening for SMA, there have been significant developments in the treatment of SMA, including the approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network of several drugs to treat SMA in newborns. Evidence presented to the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) in June provided reasonable grounds for more formal exploration of a United Kingdom newborn screening programme for SMA. The health impacts of time to diagnosis will be considered as part of the UK NSCs modelling work on SMA. The UK NSC are currently in discussions on how best to take this forward.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy entitled Newborn Screening for Rare Conditions, published in May 2023, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendations of that report that the UK National Screening Committee should (a) give greater consideration to existing real-world evidence and (b) consider international evidence from countries with similar health systems during its review of new conditions to be included within the NHS newborn screening programme.

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has published its evidence review process, which outlines the type of evidence taken into consideration when making a screening recommendation, and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-evidence-review-process/uk-nsc-evidence-review-process

The UK NSC is clear that screening is introduced where the benefit to screen clearly outweighs the harm, this is underpinned by robust peer-reviewed evidence.

The UK NSC considers a wide array of evidence when making recommendations, including published peer-reviewed evidence, public, clinical and academic commentary and real-world evidence undertaken internationally. However, the UK NSC needs to be confident when making screening recommendations that the offer to screen is supported by robust evidence that clearly illustrates that the benefit outweighs the harms.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the APPG for Muscular Dystrophy report entitled Newborn Screening for Rare Conditions, published May 2023, what assessment he has made for the implications for his policies of the recommendation that when conditions previously rejected for newborn screening are reassessed, there should be a clear expedited process that demonstrates how gaps will be filled rather than restarting a review process each time.

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has published its evidence review process, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-evidence-review-process/uk-nsc-evidence-review-process

As outlined in the process, an evidence map is commissioned first. This process deliberately builds on previous evidence and does not start again. This evidence map draws on uncertainties identified from the previous review to identify whether there has been any advancement in the evidence base for that topic before a more significant review is commissioned. The final evidence product (a map or a review) draws attention to the gaps in the evidence that mean the UK NSC cannot confidently recommend screening.

The UK NSC’s process using an evidence map is similar to a process used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to support the needs of people with (a) spinal muscular atrophy and (b) other rare neurological conditions as part of its implementation of the Rare Diseases Action Plan.

The UK Rare Diseases Framework and England’s Rare Disease Action Plans are high-level documents containing overarching priorities and underpinning themes for rare disease policy. The documents are focused on improving the lives of all people living with rare conditions, so there are no specific plans to support the needs of people with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and other rare neurological conditions in isolation. There are around 7,000 rare conditions, and whilst each is different, people living with rare conditions often face common challenges with the healthcare system and wider services, which the Department seeks to address through the implementation of the England Rare Disease Action Plans.

11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential role of the community pharmacy sector in delivering annual flu vaccinations; and what steps he plans to take to support that sector to increase its capacity to deliver vaccines.

No assessment has been made of the potential role of the community pharmacy sector in delivering annual flu vaccinations. Community pharmacies have demonstrated their commitment to delivering annual flu vaccinations with numbers increasing year on year. In the 2020/21 flu season, community pharmacies delivered over 2.76 million vaccines, increasing to over 4.79 million vaccines in 2021/22 and over 5 million in 2022/23. The upcoming NHS England vaccination strategy will set out the approach to delivering National Health Service vaccination and immunisation services.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the turnover rate in the Regulatory Leadership directorate of the Care Quality Commission was in financial years (a) 2020/21,(b) 2021/22 and (c) 2022/23.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-Departmental public body of the Department. The information requested about the CQC’s staffing and vacancies is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the turnover rate in the Operations Group directorate of the Care Quality Commission was in financial years (a) 2020/21,(b) 2021/22 and (c) 2022/23.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-Departmental public body of the Department. The information requested about the CQC’s staffing and vacancies is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what percentage of staff posts were vacant in the Technology Data and Insight directorate of the Care Quality Commission in each of the last 18 months.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-Departmental public body of the Department. The information requested about the CQC’s staffing and vacancies is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what percentage of staff posts were vacant in the Regulatory Customer and Corporate Operations directorate of the Care Quality Commission in each of the last 18 months.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-Departmental public body of the Department. The information requested about the CQC’s staffing and vacancies is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what percentage of staff posts were vacant in the Engagement Strategy and Policy directorate of the Care Quality Commission in each of the last 18 months.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-Departmental public body of the Department. The information requested about the CQC’s staffing and vacancies is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what percentage of staff posts were vacant in the Regulatory leadership directorate of the Care Quality Commission in each of the last 18 months.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-Departmental public body of the Department. The information requested about the CQC’s staffing and vacancies is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what percentage of staff posts were vacant in the Operations Group directorate of the Care Quality Commission in each of the last 18 months.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-Departmental public body of the Department. The information requested about the CQC’s staffing and vacancies is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to give integrated care systems flexibility to (a) organise and (b) deliver bespoke vaccination programmes.

The Government is committed to improving vaccination uptake rates to fully protect the public from vaccine-preventable diseases, in part through making it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated.

There is ongoing work as part of the NHS England future vaccine strategy to look at more local solutions to vaccine delivery. This may include integrated care boards taking a more active role in vaccine delivery.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of seasonal flu vaccinations delivered by (a) community pharmacies, (b) general practices and (c) other providers in the last 12 months.

The annual flu reports for 2022 to 2023 were published on 22 June 2023 and reported on uptake between 1 September 2022 to 28 February 2023. The report ‘Seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in GP patients in England: winter season 2022 to 2023’ includes a breakdown of vaccination amongst all eligible cohorts by setting and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/seasonal-influenza-vaccine-uptake-in-gp-patients-in-england-winter-season-2022-to-2023

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of the decision not to renew the 50 to 64-year-old flu vaccination programme on (a) public health, (b) the economy and (c) NHS and social care capacity.

The Department is guided by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the approach to the seasonal flu vaccination programme in England. Details about the flu vaccination programme for 2023/24, including which groups will be eligible for a free vaccine and the vaccines that will be reimbursable to National Health Service providers, were published on 25 May 2023. The groups eligible for a free flu vaccine for the 2023 to 2024 season include those aged 65 years old and over and those aged six months old to under 65 years old in clinical risk groups.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, eligibility for the influenza programme was temporarily extended to include all adults aged between 50 and 64 years old to protect the population from the potential threat of cocirculation of COVID-19 and influenza, and to alleviate pressure on the NHS. In the JCVI’s advice for the 2023/24 programme published in November 2022, it stated that whilst there would be a health benefit in vaccinating low-risk 50- to 64-year-olds, it is uncertain whether this would be cost effective, and that the overall priority should be to extend the childhood programme in secondary schools as this would be more cost effective and likely to have a greater impact on morbidity and mortality compared with vaccinating 50- to 64-year-olds.

Whilst there was no quantitative assessment made of additional indirect benefits to public health, the economy and NHS and social care capacity of not offering flu vaccinations to 50- to 64-year-olds this year, we did take into consideration qualitative evidence, including the benefits of seasonal flu vaccination on reducing winter pressures, when making our overall assessment. The Department will continue to be guided by JCVI advice on cost effectiveness.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 June 2023 to Question 190694 on Respiratory Syncytial Virus, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the advice on a universal infant RSV immunisation programme from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation, published on 22 June 2023; and whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the budgetary requirements of such a programme.

Policy options based on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice on a potentially expanded infant Respiratory Syncytial Virus vaccination programme are being developed. This process includes the Department engaging with HM Treasury to seek budgetary support for a potential programme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact of increasing access to MR-guided focused ultrasound treatments on the economy.

There are no current plans to make an assessment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the time taken to (a) license and (b) roll out vaccines; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of accelerating this process.

National licensing applications for vaccines follow the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) accelerated 150-day timetable for new medicines. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when there was a public health need for fast access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, these vaccines were licensed in the shortest time possible via rolling review, while maintaining the MHRA’s standards of safety, quality and effectiveness. Where there is a public health need for the accelerated roll out of a new vaccine, the MHRA will prioritise and expedite the assessment of the licensing application, using rolling review where applicable.

The Government is committed to supporting the timely delivery of our vaccination programmes to fully protect the public from vaccine preventable diseases. It is important that the implementation of any new programme is sufficiently planned and prepared for to ensure the stability of the programme. There is no set timeline for the implementation of a new programme or for changes to an existing programme. Instead, a holistic and systems approach is taken to support best possible public health protection.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to roll out an infant Respiratory syncytial virus immunisation programme in time for this winter.

The United Kingdom has a programme of monoclonal antibody immunisation to reduce the risk of severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease in babies at high risk of complications, including those with major congenital heart disease and complications of prematurity. For RSV, this includes the selective seasonal offer to infants at high risk, which is managed and reviewed in accordance with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Advice has recently been given by JCVI for specialised commissioning to work towards replacing the current vaccine palivizumab with nirsevimab. Nirsevimab should give protection for at least six months and possibly longer, unlike palivizumab which requires administration of monthly doses in a series of five monthly injections to infants and children during the RSV season. NHS England is working with partners, including the UK Health Security Agency, to plan for and manage the transition from palivizumab to nirsevimab.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the (a) resources available to and (b) capacity of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation to manage (i) current and (ii) future public health needs.

Suggested reply

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) meet regularly to consider both current and future public health needs and provide advice to Ministers accordingly. The Department of Health and Social Care and UK Health Security Agency remain attentive to any changes to JCVI's capacity and resource needs.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 30 May 2023 to Questions 186514 on Radiotherapy: Medical Treatments and 186513 on Radiotherapy: Reform, whether NHS England has set a target timeframe to increase capacity to deliver molecular radiotherapy services once a new treatment is approved through the NICE technology appraisal process or NHS England’s clinical commissioning development process.

The review of the Brachytherapy and Molecular Radiotherapy Service Specification is being carried out in accordance with the NHS England Methods process for Service Specifications and is expected to be completed in 2023/24.

NHS England is undertaking an assessment of readiness to implement any new molecular radiotherapy treatments, should they be approved by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Where treatments are approved by NICE through the Technology Appraisals programme, the National Health Service is required to make them available within agreed timescales, which vary by technology. Implementation of any NICE approvals will be supported by the service readiness assessment and the development of additional capacity where necessary.

Where a treatment is approved through NHS England’s clinical commissioning policy process, a commissioning plan is developed which sets out the implementation arrangements, including the development of new or expanded service provision where necessary and the implementation timescales.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 30 May 2023 to Questions 186514 on Radiotherapy: Medical Treatments and 186513 on Radiotherapy: Reform, what the timeline is for completion of the Brachytherapy and Molecular Radiotherapy Service Specification review; and whether he plans to implement the review's findings.

The review of the Brachytherapy and Molecular Radiotherapy Service Specification is being carried out in accordance with the NHS England Methods process for Service Specifications and is expected to be completed in 2023/24.

NHS England is undertaking an assessment of readiness to implement any new molecular radiotherapy treatments, should they be approved by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Where treatments are approved by NICE through the Technology Appraisals programme, the National Health Service is required to make them available within agreed timescales, which vary by technology. Implementation of any NICE approvals will be supported by the service readiness assessment and the development of additional capacity where necessary.

Where a treatment is approved through NHS England’s clinical commissioning policy process, a commissioning plan is developed which sets out the implementation arrangements, including the development of new or expanded service provision where necessary and the implementation timescales.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department will use responses to its call for evidence for the Health Disparities White Paper in the development of the Major Conditions Strategy.

The Major Conditions Strategy is being informed by materials gathered from previous listening exercises including those carried out on health disparities, cancer and mental health. Those who responded to previous engagement exercises have the opportunity to input into the Call for Evidence issued on 17 May and to provide further insights and suggestions building on previous contributions.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to review NICE appraisal process for rare disease medicines to increase the number of rare disease treatments recommended for the full patient population.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) evaluates all new medicines, including medicines for rare diseases, to determine whether they should be routinely funded by the National Health Service based on an assessment of clinical and cost effectiveness. Most new medicines are evaluated through NICE’s technology appraisal programme, and NICE also operates a separate highly specialised technologies (HST) programme for the assessment of medicines for very rare diseases.

Since 2013, 91% of NICE’s recommendations on medicines for rare diseases have recommended use of the treatment for some or all of the eligible patient population, of which 58% have been for the full patient population defined in the marketing authorisation. NICE has recommended 100% of the medicines evaluated through its HST programme for some or all of the eligible patient population.

NICE concluded a comprehensive review of the methods and processes that it uses for health technology assessment in 2022 to ensure that its methods and processes remain fit for purpose. Many of the changes that NICE has introduced through the methods review will benefit medicines for rare diseases, including the introduction of a severity modifier (replacing the end of life modifier) and changes to better respond to uncertainty.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) expand service capacity and (b) ensure patients can access molecular radiotherapy treatments; and whether he plans to take further steps to meet anticipated levels of demand in the next five years.

There are no current plans to provide additional funding to modernise the National Health Service molecular radiotherapy infrastructure. However, work is currently underway to revise the Brachytherapy and Molecular Radiotherapy Service Specification and to understand current service readiness to expand access to new molecular radiotherapy treatments, should they be approved by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This will help to inform what support needs to be put in place. NHS England commissions treatments that have either been approved via the NICE technology appraisal process or NHS England’s clinical commissioning development process. Service provision will normally be reviewed at the point that new treatments are approved through either of these two routes. Where additional capacity is required to meet demand, this will be put in place.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to provide additional funding to modernise the NHS's molecular radiotherapy infrastructure.

There are no current plans to provide additional funding to modernise the National Health Service molecular radiotherapy infrastructure. However, work is currently underway to revise the Brachytherapy and Molecular Radiotherapy Service Specification and to understand current service readiness to expand access to new molecular radiotherapy treatments, should they be approved by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This will help to inform what support needs to be put in place. NHS England commissions treatments that have either been approved via the NICE technology appraisal process or NHS England’s clinical commissioning development process. Service provision will normally be reviewed at the point that new treatments are approved through either of these two routes. Where additional capacity is required to meet demand, this will be put in place.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to (a) increase access to podiatry services for rheumatology patients, (b) increase access to specialised psychology services for rheumatology patients, (c) increase the number of pharmacists working within rheumatology services, (d) increase the number of allied health professionals working within rheumatology teams, (e) increase the number of sports and exercise consultants, (f) increase access to sports and exercise medicine and (g) improve the skill mix in primary care to diagnose, treat and manage Musculoskeletal and rheumatic conditions.

No assessment has been made.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve levels of staff retention of healthcare professionals working in rheumatology services.

The NHS People Plan and People Promise set out a comprehensive range of actions to improve staff retention. They provide a strong focus on creating a more modern, compassionate and inclusive National Health Service culture by strengthening health and wellbeing, equality and diversity, culture and leadership and flexible working.

NHS priorities and operational planning guidance 2023/24 has asked systems to refresh their 2022/23 whole system workforce plans to improve staff retention through a systematic focus on all elements of the NHS People Promise.  Staff wellbeing should be strategically aligned with elective recovery plans, including workforce demand and capacity planning.

In addition, the NHS Retention Programme is continuously seeking to understand why staff leave, resulting in targeted interventions to support staff to stay whilst keeping them well. A staff retention guide has been updated and includes information on supporting staff in their late and early career with specific focus on induction, reward and recognition and menopause support.

These initiatives apply across all NHS staff groups, including healthcare professionals working in rheumatology services.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to take steps to increase the number of rheumatology medical school places as part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

The Government has funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places per year for domestic students in England, a 25% increase, taking the total number of medical school places in England to 7,500 each year. This expansion was completed in September 2020 and delivered five new medical schools in England. This will help ensure a larger potential pipeline for rheumatology trainees in coming years.

In January 2023, Health Education England announced that nearly 900 additional medical specialty training posts have been created for this year, including five rheumatology posts.

As of January 2023, there were 694 full-time equivalent (FTE) consultants working in the rheumatology specialism in National Health Service trusts and commissioning bodies in England. This is an increase of 19 since last year.

To support the workforce as a whole, we have commissioned NHS England to develop a long term workforce plan for the next 15 years. This plan will help ensure that we have the right numbers of staff with the right skills to transform and deliver high quality services fit for the future.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of (a) rheumatology consultants, (b) rheumatology clinical nurse specialists, (c) specialist rheumatology physiotherapists, (d) psychologists, (e) podiatrists, (f) occupational health therapists and (g) specialist rheumatology pharmacists in England; and what steps he is taking to fill vacancies in these professions.

The following table shows the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff, by staff group, working in National Health Service trusts and integrated care boards in England, as of January 2023.

Staff Group

Number of FTE staff

Rheumatology Consultants

694

Rheumatology Clinical Nurse Specialists

No data held

Specialist Rheumatology Physiotherapists

No data held

Psychologists (Applied Psychology)

8,349

Podiatrists

2,548

Occupational Health Therapists

16,351

Specialist Rheumatology Pharmacists

No data held

Source: NHS Workforce Statistics

To support the workforce, we have commissioned NHS England to develop a long-term workforce plan for the NHS workforce for the next 15 years. It will look at the mix and number of staff required and will set out the actions and reforms across the NHS that will be needed to reduce supply gaps and improve retention. This plan will help ensure that we have the right numbers of staff with the right skills to transform and deliver high quality services fit for the future.

On 10 of January 2023, Health Education England announced that nearly 900 additional medical specialty training posts will be created for this year, including an additional five rheumatology specialty training posts. Rheumatology is a popular specialty with a fill rate of over 95%.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the provision of rheumatology care in Bootle constituency in the last (a) 12 and (d) 24 months.

No assessment has been made.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help increase the number of (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) Allied Health Professionals entering specialist rheumatology training.

The Government has funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places per year for domestic students in England, which is a 25% increase, taking the total number of medical school places in England to 7,500 each year. This expansion was completed in September 2020 and delivered five new medical schools in England. It will help ensure a larger potential pipeline for rheumatology trainees in coming years. In January 2023 Health Education England announced that nearly 900 additional medical specialty training posts have been created for this year, including five rheumatology posts.

Specialising in Rheumatology is a post-registration option for nurses and allied health professionals. The Government is on track to ensure there are at least an additional 50,000 nurses in place by 31 March 2024 compared to September 2019, which will increase the pool of nurses who may wish to specialise in rheumatology.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to increase the number of NHS staff providing rheumatology care in (a) Merseyside and Cheshire Integrated Care System area and (b) England.

Cheshire and Merseyside’s elective recovery programme is reviewing workforce gaps, priorities and the actions required to ensure safe and appropriately skilled workforce across several pathways, including rheumatology.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to take steps to increase the number of paediatric rheumatology (a) consultants and (b) clinical nurse specialists in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

As of January 2023, there were 694 full-time equivalent consultants working in the rheumatology specialism in National Health Service trusts and commissioning bodies in England. This is an increase of 19 since last year. We do not hold data for paediatric rheumatology and clinical nurse specialists.

To support the workforce as a whole we have commissioned NHS England to develop a long-term plan for the next 15 years. This plan will help ensure that we have the right numbers of staff, with the right skills, to transform and deliver high quality services fit for the future.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to take steps to increase the number of (a) rheumatology consultants and (b) rheumatology clinical nurse specialists in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

As of January 2023, there were 694 full-time equivalent consultants working in the rheumatology specialism in National Health Service trusts and commissioning bodies in England. This is an increase of 19 since last year. We do not hold data for paediatric rheumatology and clinical nurse specialists.

To support the workforce as a whole we have commissioned NHS England to develop a long-term plan for the next 15 years. This plan will help ensure that we have the right numbers of staff, with the right skills, to transform and deliver high quality services fit for the future.

17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will introduce a waiting time target for treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding.

The Department has no current plans to introduce a waiting time target for treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of including a question on heavy menstrual bleeding in the routine set of checks and questions that accompany a gynaecological procedure or consultation in a primary care setting.

No specific assessment has been made. Menstrual health and gynaecological conditions is a priority within the Women’s Health Strategy for England. This sets out our ambitions for raising awareness of menstrual health problems among women and healthcare professionals and tackling taboos and stigmas that can prevent women from accessing care. In addition, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline on heavy menstrual bleeding contains recommendations for healthcare professionals on the diagnosis and management of heavy menstrual bleeding.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department uses low levels of engagement around menstrual health services as a criterion used to determine in which areas women’s health hubs should be introduced.

Integrated care boards are responsible for commissioning services that meet the health needs of their local population. However, one of our priorities for the first year of the Women's Health Strategy is to encourage commissioners and providers across England to consider adopting these models of care.

We recently announced a £25 million investment over the next two years to accelerate the development of women’s health hubs. More information on delivery of the funding will be announced in due course and the hub models that are subsequently adopted will need to be tailored to meet local women’s needs. Our expectation, however, is that hubs will improve access and quality of care for services for menstrual problems, contraception, pelvic pain, menopause care and more. In addition, the Department will be publishing a package of resources in July to support local systems in their development of women’s health hubs.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
28th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish NHS data on access to Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression through the long-term conditions pathway by condition.

NHS England publishes data on referrals to NHS Talking Therapies for those with long-term conditions in the NHS Talking Therapies Annual Report. The data provides details of integrated referrals at England level for 2021/22 split by selected long term conditions. The report is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/psychological-therapies-annual-reports-on-the-use-of-iapt-services/annual-report-2021-22

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
28th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of mental health support available for people with Parkinson's in Cheshire and Merseyside integrated care systems area; and if he will make a statement.

No assessment has been made.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to include projections of the numbers of mental health staff that will be recruited to support people with Parkinson’s in the NHS workforce plan.

To support the workforce as a whole, we have commissioned NHS England to develop a Long Term Workforce Plan, which will include independently verified forecasts for the number of healthcare professionals required in future years. The Plan is for the whole of the National Health Service workforce, including mental health, however, it will not provide detailed workforce assessments for individual services or staff groups.

The NHS mental health workforce has grown. Latest data shows that, as of December 2022, there has been an increase of over 8,900, 6.9%, full-time equivalent staff compared to December 2021. This includes only those people who work directly on mental health, across NHS trusts and integrated care boards in England.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for the maintenance phase of hepatitis C elimination once England has reached the World Health Organization elimination metrics.

Significant progress has been made in the effort to eliminate Hepatitis C (HCV) in England. NHS England has publicly committed to the elimination of HCV in England in advance of the World Health Organization’s target of 2030, aiming to eliminate by 2025.

Work to support the elimination maintenance phase is currently being developed. It will involve multiple stakeholders including NHS England Specialised Commissioning, integrated care boards (ICBs), the Department, and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). In addition, commissioning arrangements for HCV elimination are expected to be devolved to local levels, with ICBs managing funding for issues such as testing and treatment. UKHSA will continue to monitor maintenance of elimination through routine surveillance data.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the opt-out testing programme for blood-borne viruses in Emergency Departments; and whether he plans to expand it beyond the initial areas included.

We are assessing all the evidence from the first year of the opt-out testing programme for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and blood-borne viruses in emergency departments, alongside the data on progress towards our ambitions to end new HIV transmissions and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and HIV related deaths within England by 2030.

This data will be used to examine the feasibility of further expanding the programme and we will be sharing evidence as it emerges to support other areas of the country to make the case for implementing the same approach locally.

27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing for people with (a) Crohn’s disease and (b) colitis.

NHS England is working closely with key stakeholders, including Crohn’s and Colitis UK, to finalise the NHS RightCare scenario on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

In addition, the Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) specialty report on gastroenterology, published in September 2021, sets out actions and recommendations for the National Health Service to improve patient care and ensure consistency of care across the country.

In November 2022, GIRFT and the Outpatient Recovery and Transformation programme published Clinically-led Specialty Outpatient Guidance supporting 15 specialties, including gastroenterology, with guidance for services to help tackle escalating demand for outpatient appointments. The focus of these actions covered areas such as remote consultations, reducing did-not-attends and implementing patient-initiated follow-up, all of which are particularly helpful for patients with IBD.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to include provisions for (a) treatment of liver cancer and (b) tackling hepatitis C as a cause of liver cancer in the forthcoming Major Conditions Strategy.

The Major Conditions Strategy will look at the treatment and prevention of cancer in people of all ages, covering the patient pathway. The Strategy will look at a wide range of interventions and enablers to improve outcomes and experience for cancer patients.

This Strategy will draw on previous work on cancer, including over 5,000 submissions provided to the Department as part of our Call for Evidence last year. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders, citizens and the National Health Service in coming weeks to identify actions for the Strategy that will have the most impact.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has held recent discussions with pharmacists on the (a) community pharmacy contractual framework and (b) the adequacy of resources available to them.

The Department meets regularly with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, the representative body of all pharmacy contractors in England, to discuss the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework and the funding available to the sector.

18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department are taking to ensure that primary care healthcare practitioners are (a) trained and (b) resourced to support patients with self-care.

No assessment has been made of the potential cost-saving, time-saving or patient benefits of using self-care in primary care settings.

Self-care is however an integral part of the NHS Long Term Plan and the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-24 five-year deal. All community pharmacies in England delivering services from the National Health Service must provide support for self-care, including for minor ailments. Under the five-year deal we have introduced the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service enabling NHS 111 and general practitioners (GPs) to refer patients with a minor illness to a community pharmacist for a consultation, advice and support for self-care and, if necessary, an over-the-counter medicine. The service can also provide an emergency supply of previously prescribed medicines. From 15 May, urgent and emergency care settings will also be able to refer patients to a community pharmacist for a consultation for a minor illness or urgent medicine supply.

GPs are responsible for ensuring their own clinical knowledge remains up-to-date and for identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development. This activity should include taking account of new research and developments in guidance, such as that produced by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, to ensure that they can continue to provide high quality care to all patients.

All United Kingdom registered doctors are expected to meet the professional standards set out in the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Good Medical Practice. In 2012 the GMC introduced revalidation which supports doctors in regularly reflecting on how they can develop or improve their practice, gives patients confidence that doctors are up to date with their practice and promotes improved quality of care by driving improvements in clinical governance.

18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential (a) cost-saving (b) time-saving and (c) patient benefits of using self-care in primary care settings.

No assessment has been made of the potential cost-saving, time-saving or patient benefits of using self-care in primary care settings.

Self-care is however an integral part of the NHS Long Term Plan and the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-24 five-year deal. All community pharmacies in England delivering services from the National Health Service must provide support for self-care, including for minor ailments. Under the five-year deal we have introduced the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service enabling NHS 111 and general practitioners (GPs) to refer patients with a minor illness to a community pharmacist for a consultation, advice and support for self-care and, if necessary, an over-the-counter medicine. The service can also provide an emergency supply of previously prescribed medicines. From 15 May, urgent and emergency care settings will also be able to refer patients to a community pharmacist for a consultation for a minor illness or urgent medicine supply.

GPs are responsible for ensuring their own clinical knowledge remains up-to-date and for identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development. This activity should include taking account of new research and developments in guidance, such as that produced by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, to ensure that they can continue to provide high quality care to all patients.

All United Kingdom registered doctors are expected to meet the professional standards set out in the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Good Medical Practice. In 2012 the GMC introduced revalidation which supports doctors in regularly reflecting on how they can develop or improve their practice, gives patients confidence that doctors are up to date with their practice and promotes improved quality of care by driving improvements in clinical governance.

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many consultant dermatologists there are in (a) Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, (b) the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board area and (c) England.

The table below provides the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) National Health Service consultant doctors working in the specialty of dermatology as of December 2022.

Organisation

FTE Doctors

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

12

Cheshire and Merseyside ICB area

34

England

667

Source: NHS England Workforce Statistics

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the guidance entitled The two-week wait skin cancer pathway: innovative approaches to support early diagnosis of skin cancer as part of the NHS COVID-19 recovery plan, published by NHS England on 4 April 2022, whether (a) his Department and (b) NHS England are taking steps to monitor implementation of service delivery models in the guidance by integrated care boards.

NHS England are responsible for monitoring the implementation of teledermatology services via several routes. Where possible, data has been collected directly from dermatology services by Cancer Alliances. In the 2023/24 financial year, NHS England are asking National Health Service trusts in England to collect and submit data on implementation of teledermatology in cancer pathways through a quarterly snapshot audit. NHS England continues to work with key partners, particularly the British Association of Dermatologists, who also have considerable intelligence on the extent to which teledermatology services have been implemented so far

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what percentage of dermatology patients started treatment within 18 weeks of referral in (a) Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, (b) the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board area and (c) England in February 2023.

The percentage of dermatology patients starting treatment within 18 weeks of referral in February 2023 in Liverpool University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was 61.28%, in the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board area 57.75%, and in England 69.53%.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many dermatology specialist nurses there are in (a) Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, (b) the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board area and (c) England.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

10th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he has made an assessment of the potential impact of removing the NHS England Children’s Hospice Grant on the delivery of services in those hospices.

No specific assessment has been made. NHS England determines the best use of its financial settlement to deliver services. Funding arrangements for children’s hospices beyond 2023/24 have not yet been agreed. Palliative and end of life care is commissioned locally by integrated care boards in response to the needs of their local population.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many surgical hubs are currently in operation; and are due to be operating by the end of 2023.

There are currently 89 elective surgical hubs in operation in England. 16 further new elective hubs are due to open by December 2023, subject to construction being able to progress as planned, as recent availability of materials and other external factors are impacting some project delivery timelines. The Department and NHS England are working with providers in each locality on revised hub timings where appropriate.

9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government is on track to deliver the 18 month target within the elective recovery plan.

Cutting waiting lists is one of the Government’s top priorities. All efforts are being made to deliver the next long wait ambition by April 2023, eliminating waits of 18 months or more for treatment. Thanks to incredible National Health Service staff, the total number of patients waiting more than 18 months went down more than two thirds from its peak of 123,969 in September 2021 by February 2023. Over 70 NHS trusts in England now have fewer than 100 patients waiting more than a year and a half, ahead of the target to virtually eliminate these by April.

9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department's Major Conditions Strategy will include the impact of multimorbidity.

The Major Conditions Strategy will support health and care services to diagnose individuals earlier as well as helping them to manage their conditions better and improving the overall co-ordination of their treatment and care. This will include a focus on multi-morbidity.

We will look at the health of people at all stages of life from prevention through to living well with one or more major conditions. We will also include a focus on geographical and other differences in health that contribute to variations in health outcomes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 26 January 2023 to Question 128715 on Health: Disadvantages, what plans he has to expand the Major Conditions Strategy to cover ethnic and gender disparities.

The Major Conditions Strategy will support health and care services to diagnose individuals earlier as well as helping them to manage their conditions better and improving the overall co-ordination of their treatment and care. This will include a focus on multi-morbidity.

We will look at the health of people at all stages of life from prevention through to living well with one or more major conditions. We will also include a focus on geographical and other differences in health that contribute to variations in health outcomes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines entitled Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers, published on 20 June 2018, whether his Department is taking steps to increase patient access to (a) fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography and (b) cerebrospinal fluid tests for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines provide evidence based recommendations for health and care, including on assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers. NICE guideline NG97 states that clinicians should consider a fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scan and cerebrospinal fluid tests when the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is uncertain.

Integrated commissioning boards are expected to commission appropriate resources, including such testing, in line with the local population health needs.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to (a) increase availability of equipment to diagnose dementia and (b) prepare the NHS for new treatments in the context of the US's approval of Lecanemab.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations for health and care, including on assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers. NICE guideline NG97 states that clinicians should consider a fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scan and cerebrospinal fluid tests when the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is uncertain. Integrated commissioning boards are expected to commission appropriate resources, including such testing, in line with the local population health needs.

NHS England is currently exploring what pathways, processes and equipment might best support future disease modifying treatments, including for Alzheimer’s disease.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress his Department has made on reducing waiting times for bowel cancer referrals.

To reduce waiting times, including in bowel cancer referrals, the Government has taken steps by working with NHS England to publish the delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlogs in elective care in February 2022. To deliver this plan, the Government plans to spend more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25 to help drive up and protect elective activity, including cancer diagnosis and treatment activity.

Diagnostics are crucial part of all cancer pathways. The Government awarded £2.3 billion at the 2021 Spending Review to transform diagnostic services over the next three years. As part of this investment, up to 160 new Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) will deliver additional, digitally connected, diagnostic capacity in England, providing patients with a coordinated set of diagnostic checks, including for cancer. To date, there are 92 CDCs currently operational that have delivered over 3 million additional tests since July 2021, including vital cancer checks.

The National Health Service is also continuing to roll-out faecal immunochemical tests (FIT) to support the clinical triage of patients on the lower gastrointestinal cancer pathway, with a clear expectation set out in NHS England’s 2023/24 Operational Planning that at least 80% of Faster Diagnosis Standard for lower gastrointestinal referrals should be accompanied by a FIT result.

2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has had discussion with NHS England on reframing the dementia risk reduction messaging within the NHS Health Check to promoting good brain health.

In 2017, national guidance on the NHS Health Check was updated to include new advice that, during a check, practitioners should make attendees aware that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. The Department also developed online NHS Health Check training resources, created in conjunction with Health Education England, to support practitioners delivering a check to have a conversation on dementia risk, and inform people about the signs and symptoms of dementia.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2022 to Question 92245 on Essential Tremor: Liverpool, if his Department will take steps to provide support to centres wanting to offer MR-Guided Focussed Ultrasound for Essential Tremor.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (London) and The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust (Liverpool) provide this treatment in England and can meet the patient demand. There are no current plans to expand the number of providers offering this treatment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2022 to Question 92245 on Essential Tremor: Liverpool, if his Department will take steps to (a) increase the number of eligible patients receiving MR-Guided Focussed Ultrasound for Essential Tremor and (b) support centres in providing this treatment.

The Department does not intend to revise guidance which sets out the eligibility for Transcranial magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy for Essential Tremor. Current eligibility is set out in guidance produced by NHS England.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London and The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool provide this treatment in England and can meet the patient demand associated with this treatment. There are no current plans to expand the number of providers offering this treatment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether community pharmacies have adequate funding for the role envisaged for them in the primary care recovery plan.

The primary care recovery plan will be published shortly and will set out a range of proposals including how they will be funded.

Community pharmacy have played an active role in every phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. At the height of the booster programme there were over 1,500 designated community pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites. As recommendations are made to the Government on the need for any future vaccination programmes, NHS England will consider how best to deliver them.

6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to increase the use of community pharmacies in future covid-19 vaccination programmes.

The primary care recovery plan will be published shortly and will set out a range of proposals including how they will be funded.

Community pharmacy have played an active role in every phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. At the height of the booster programme there were over 1,500 designated community pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites. As recommendations are made to the Government on the need for any future vaccination programmes, NHS England will consider how best to deliver them.

6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proposals will be included in the primary care recovery plan on using community pharmacies to support the health service.

The primary care recovery plan will be published shortly and will set out a range of proposals including how they will be funded.

Community pharmacy have played an active role in every phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. At the height of the booster programme there were over 1,500 designated community pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites. As recommendations are made to the Government on the need for any future vaccination programmes, NHS England will consider how best to deliver them.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure primary care optometrists are used effectively to help relieve the caseload of general practice.

In England, integrated care boards are responsible for the planning and commissioning of services to meet local needs. This includes decisions on whether to commission locally enhanced services, such as minor eye conditions services, from primary eye care providers. NHS England’s transformation programme is also considering how eye care services should be commissioned for the future, this includes considering a greater role for primary eye care providers.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of rolling out optometrist-led Minor Eye Care Services to all integrated care systems.

In England, integrated care boards are responsible for the planning and commissioning of services to meet local needs. This includes decisions on whether to commission locally enhanced services, such as minor eye conditions services, from primary eye care providers. NHS England’s transformation programme is also considering how eye care services should be commissioned for the future, this includes considering a greater role for primary eye care providers.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans for all NHS commissioners to allow primary care optometrists to provide Minor Eye Care Services across England.

In England, integrated care boards are responsible for the planning and commissioning of services to meet local needs. This includes decisions on whether to commission locally enhanced services, such as minor eye conditions services, from primary eye care providers. NHS England’s transformation programme is also considering how eye care services should be commissioned for the future, this includes considering a greater role for primary eye care providers.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the contribution of primary care optometrists in the detection and treatment of sight loss as a result of glaucoma.

Optometrists and Ophthalmic Medical Practitioners play a vital role in the early detection of glaucoma, which is usually diagnosed through a sight test. Free National Health Service sight tests are available for many, including individuals diagnosed with, or at risk of glaucoma. Patients with suspected glaucoma will be referred for further investigation and any clinically necessary treatment.

Integrated care boards are able to commission out of hospital services from primary eye care providers to meet local needs. This could include undertaking further tests on patients with suspected glaucoma to identify those that require referral into the hospital eye service, and the ongoing monitoring of selected glaucoma patients.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce levels of (a) glaucoma and (b) preventable sight loss in England.

Prevention, early detection and access to timely treatment are all key to preventing sight loss. Free National Health Service sight tests are available to children, those aged 60 years old and over, individuals on low incomes, and those at increased risk of certain eye diseases, including glaucoma. Diabetic Retinopathy screening is also offered annually to individuals aged 12 years old or over with diabetes.

Furthermore, the Government has well established programmes on reducing smoking and obesity, both long terms risk factors for sight loss. The Government also recognises that research is crucial for improving outcomes for patients with sight threatening conditions. Over the past five financial years, the National Institute for Health and Care Research has invested more than £100 million in funding and support for eye conditions research, many of the studies specifically focus on sight loss. NHS England’s transformation programme is also considering how eye care services should be commissioned for the future, which will improve access to care and patient outcomes.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Mental Health Bill, whether he plans to include a statutory duty to provide early intervention strategies to detect and address mental health issues for children and young people within primary and secondary schools; and if he will make a statement.

The draft Mental Health Bill, published in June 2022, is intended to modernise the Mental Health Act and work better for people with serious mental illness. The draft Bill has completed its pre-legislative scrutiny and the Joint Committee published its report on 19 January 2023 on the Draft Mental Health Bill. The Department will consider the Committee’s recommendations carefully and we will introduce the Bill when parliamentary time allows.

Separate to the provisions in the draft Bill, there are currently 287 mental health support teams in place in around 4,700 schools and colleges across the country, offering support to children experiencing anxiety, depression and other common mental health issue. These

teams now cover 26% of pupils, a year earlier than originally planned and this will increase to 399 teams, covering around 35% of pupils by April 2023 with over 500 planned to be deployed by 2024.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the number of faecal calprotectin tests that were issued in primary care settings in the last 12 months; and whether his Department has taken recent steps to encourage the use of faecal calprotectin in primary care settings to facilitate the referral of people with suspected inflammatory bowel disease.

There are no plans to make a specific estimate. To facilitate the referral of people with suspected inflammatory bowel disease, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published evidence-based recommendations on the use of faecal calprotectin tests, which is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/dg11

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to provide funding for research into the health effects of night shift working.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including the health effects of night shift working. However, it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards made on the basis of value for money, scientific quality, and the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services.

22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities has made of the adequacy of existing measures to mitigate health inequalities for night shift workers.

No specific assessment has been made.

21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 November to Question 74727 on Smoking, if he will publish data on whether England is on schedule to achieve or exceed targets on adult smoking.

In the 2017 Tobacco Control Plan, the Government set the ambition for adult smoking rates in England to reduce to 12% or less by the end 2022. In 2011 rates were 19.8%, and in 2019 rates were 13.9%. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, data from 2020 is not comparable to previous years. However, based on the trend to 2019, we expect to meet our 2022 target.

National smoking prevalence data for 2022 will be available in 2023 through the Office for National Statistics’ ‘Adult smoking habits in the UK’ publication.

21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of patients in the Liverpool area who will be treated by MR-Guided Focussed Ultrasound for Essential Tremor in 2022.

No specific assessment has been made.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average nurse-to-patient ratio was for (a) in-centre dialysis and (b) home therapy patients in the latest period for which data is available.

The information requested is not held centrally.

8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the trends in the level of in-centre dialysis patients over the last three years; and what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of in-centre capacity in renal units in England.

From 2018 to 2020, there has been an increase of approximately 2.6% in demand for in-centre haemodialysis services in England.

NHS England advises that there is no evidence of current in-centre capacity issues which may impact patient outcomes. Renal clinical networks in England continue to work with commissioned renal providers to assess capacity challenges and support mitigation through regional infrastructures.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the take-up by patients dialysing at home of the available financial reimbursements.

Provisions are in place for patients receiving haemodialysis treatment at home to be reimbursed by their usual dialysis provider for additional direct energy costs as a result of their treatment. NHS England is increasing access to this utility reimbursement, including communicating directly to all commissioned providers of home dialysis and renal clinical networks to proactively alert eligible patients to these arrangements.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of demand for renal dialysis; and what assessment his Department has made of the capability of the NHS to support future anticipated demand for dialysis with existing infrastructure.

NHS England’s renal clinical networks are undertaking demand forecasting and capacity planning to understand future in-centre patient demand for adult haemodialysis patients, and peritoneal patients unable to receive treatment at home.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the withdrawal of funding from Smart Dental Care on (a) the deployment of new dentists and (b) the provision of dentistry services in (i) Merseyside and (ii) Cheshire.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive. NHS England regularly reviews the contracts held with providers and in circumstances where providers do not fulfil contractual obligations, it will take appropriate action to ensure value for money and that patients continue to receive treatment and care. Where a contract is terminated, NHS England ensures continued service provision.

7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the NHS did not agree a contract with Smart Dental Care to provide NHS dental services in (a) Merseyside and (b) Cheshire.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive. NHS England regularly reviews the contracts held with providers and in circumstances where providers do not fulfil contractual obligations, it will take appropriate action to ensure value for money and that patients continue to receive treatment and care. Where a contract is terminated, NHS England ensures continued service provision.

1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to narrow the gap in healthy life expectancy between areas where it is highest and lowest by 2030.

The Government is committed to supporting individuals to live healthier lives and improve access to health and care services. The Department continues to review measures to address health disparities and further information will be available in due course.

1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the publication of his Department’s long-term transformation plan for the Breast Screening Programme.

Further information will be available in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to publish to publish the White Paper on health disparities by the end of 2022; and whether that White Paper will include a cross-government strategy.

No decisions have been taken in relation to the health disparities white paper.

31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the Government’s response to Javed Khan’s Making Smoking Obsolete review.

We are currently considering the recommendations made in ‘The Khan review: making smoking obsolete’ and further information will be available in due course.

31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the progress in meeting the Government’s smokefree targets; and whether he plans to retain those targets.

We are on schedule to achieve or exceed our targets on youth and adult smoking, including reducing the number of 15 year olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less. The most recent data available shows that smoking rates in the population are currently 13.5%. No decisions on the retention of these targets have been made.

31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Nicotine vaping in England: 2022 evidence update, published on 29 September 2022 by the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities, whether he has held discussions with that Office on the steps that could be taken to encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives.

Since 2014, we have provided evidence-based information and guidance for clinicians and healthcare professionals on vaping. This includes guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, online training and printed advice, blogs, videos and the publication of ‘Nicotine vaping in England: 2022 evidence update main findings’ in September 2022. We also recently published online information on the benefits of smokers switching to vaping, which is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/vaping-to-quit-smoking

The Office of Health Improvement and Disparities is based within the Department of Health and Social Care. The Department is currently considering the recommendations made in ‘The Khan review: making smoking obsolete’, including those related to vaping. This includes encouraging adult smokers to switch to vaping.

31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to equip clinicians with accurate information about the benefits of smokers switching to vaping as recommended by Dr Javed Khan’s recent independent review into tobacco control policies.

Since 2014, we have provided evidence-based information and guidance for clinicians and healthcare professionals on vaping. This includes guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, online training and printed advice, blogs, videos and the publication of ‘Nicotine vaping in England: 2022 evidence update main findings’ in September 2022. We also recently published online information on the benefits of smokers switching to vaping, which is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/vaping-to-quit-smoking

The Office of Health Improvement and Disparities is based within the Department of Health and Social Care. The Department is currently considering the recommendations made in ‘The Khan review: making smoking obsolete’, including those related to vaping. This includes encouraging adult smokers to switch to vaping.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help increase the uptake of breast cancer screening in Bootle constituency.

The Department is working with NHS England to finalise the delivery of £10 million for breast screening units, including determining which areas will benefit from this investment.

National Health Service breast screening providers are also encouraged to work with Cancer Alliances, Primary Care Networks, NHS regional teams and the voluntary sector to promote the uptake of breast screening and ensure access to services.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help improve access to mental health services in Bootle constituency.

In September we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will increase access to National Health Service mental health services, including in Bootle. Improved access to general practice will expand routes into mental health care, as demonstrated through the A, B, C, D priorities.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are investing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 to expand NHS mental health and eating disorder services for adults, children and young people in England, including in Bootle.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made (a) podiatry vacancy rates in the NHS in Bootle constituency and (b) the impact these vacancies will have on patient treatment for diabetic foot complications.

No specific assessment has been made as this information is not collected centrally.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the NHS dentist provision in Bootle constituency.

No specific assessment has been made. In September, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Bootle.

The plan includes improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work, allowing greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver National Health Service treatment, whilst enabling full use of the dental team. The plan also includes streamlining processes for overseas dentists and holding the local NHS to account for dentistry provision. In addition, Health Education England is also reforming dental education to improve the recruitment and retention of dental professionals.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help improve access to NHS dental services in Bootle constituency.

No specific assessment has been made. In September, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Bootle.

The plan includes improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work, allowing greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver National Health Service treatment, whilst enabling full use of the dental team. The plan also includes streamlining processes for overseas dentists and holding the local NHS to account for dentistry provision. In addition, Health Education England is also reforming dental education to improve the recruitment and retention of dental professionals.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department will consult with stakeholders to inform the development of the 2023 Rare Disease Action Plan.

There will be engagement with the rare diseases community on drafts of the 2023 Action Plan during the autumn. The Department also continues to engage regularly with stakeholders on rare diseases policy through the UK Rare Diseases Forum.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the England Rare Diseases Action Plan 2022, what estimate she has made of when NHS England and NHS Digital will publish the annual report on uptake of drugs for patients with rare diseases.

The annual report will be published by the end of the 2022/23 financial year.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department will allocate funding to support the establishment and operation of Rare Disease Collaborative Networks in the 2023 Rare Disease Action Plan.

We have no plans to do so. Trusts may receive tariff rates for activity based on NHS England’s contractual and funding framework in place for the duration of the Rare Disease Collaborative Networks.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications have been made to form Rare Disease Collaborative Networks in the last 12 months.

Five applications for Rare Disease Collaborative Networks were received and approved in the last 12 months.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what threshold of evidence has been set for the procurement of potential future prophylactic covid-19 treatments.

During the pandemic, interim procurement decisions on COVID-19 treatments, including prophylactics, have been based on the available evidence of clinical effectiveness and advice from expert groups, including the multi-agency RAPID C-19. This process considers the available clinical evidence for whether treatments are likely to be effective at preventing symptomatic infection, hospitalisation or mortality from COVID-19.

Any future decisions on licensed COVID-19 treatments in England, including prophylactics, will be taken through the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s health technology evaluation process.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the independent review report entitled the Khan review: making smoking obsolete, published on 9 June 2022, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the proposal in that report to modify advertising rules so vaping products can be promoted as a less harmful product.

We are considering the recommendations made in ‘The Khan review: making smoking obsolete’, including measures to help smokers switch to vaping such as introducing positive messaging through pack inserts and amending front of packet labelling on nicotine vaping products. The Department will continue to gather evidence on the potential merits of these measures and further information will be available in due course.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding her Department plans to provide to help tackle the sale of illicit vaping products in the upcoming Tobacco Control Plan.

The Department provides funding to local authorities to support of local trading standards activity and the enforcement of vaping regulations to address the sale of illicit products.

We are currently considering the recommendations made in the independent ‘The Khan review: making smoking obsolete’, including tackling illicit tobacco and vaping products. Further information regarding the plan will be available in due course.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what her timescale is for publication of the White Paper on Health Disparities in England.

We will provide further information in due course.

20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to encourage Integrated Care Systems to improve care pathways for patients with inflammatory skin conditions.

The majority of services for people with dermatological conditions, including inflammatory skin conditions, are commissioned locally, with community pharmacists offering advice and treatment for many skin conditions. No specific assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis or management of inflammatory skin conditions has been made.

However, to ensure sufficient provision of dermatology services and specialist referrals, we are expanding the number of training posts in dermatology for doctors in postgraduate training by 15 from August 2022.

The National Health Service has launched a rapid access teledermatology advice and guidance service for general practitioners and is implementing technology such as digital imaging. A teledermatology roadmap is also available to integrated care systems to provide recommendations on optimising teledermatology triage and specialist advice.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to tackle the backlog for dermatology specialist referrals as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The majority of services for people with dermatological conditions, including inflammatory skin conditions, are commissioned locally, with community pharmacists offering advice and treatment for many skin conditions. No specific assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis or management of inflammatory skin conditions has been made.

However, to ensure sufficient provision of dermatology services and specialist referrals, we are expanding the number of training posts in dermatology for doctors in postgraduate training by 15 from August 2022.

The National Health Service has launched a rapid access teledermatology advice and guidance service for general practitioners and is implementing technology such as digital imaging. A teledermatology roadmap is also available to integrated care systems to provide recommendations on optimising teledermatology triage and specialist advice.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) diagnosis and (b) management of inflammatory skin conditions.

The majority of services for people with dermatological conditions, including inflammatory skin conditions, are commissioned locally, with community pharmacists offering advice and treatment for many skin conditions. No specific assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis or management of inflammatory skin conditions has been made.

However, to ensure sufficient provision of dermatology services and specialist referrals, we are expanding the number of training posts in dermatology for doctors in postgraduate training by 15 from August 2022.

The National Health Service has launched a rapid access teledermatology advice and guidance service for general practitioners and is implementing technology such as digital imaging. A teledermatology roadmap is also available to integrated care systems to provide recommendations on optimising teledermatology triage and specialist advice.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to help ensure that there is sufficient provision of dermatology services to meet demand in England.

The majority of services for people with dermatological conditions, including inflammatory skin conditions, are commissioned locally, with community pharmacists offering advice and treatment for many skin conditions. No specific assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis or management of inflammatory skin conditions has been made.

However, to ensure sufficient provision of dermatology services and specialist referrals, we are expanding the number of training posts in dermatology for doctors in postgraduate training by 15 from August 2022.

The National Health Service has launched a rapid access teledermatology advice and guidance service for general practitioners and is implementing technology such as digital imaging. A teledermatology roadmap is also available to integrated care systems to provide recommendations on optimising teledermatology triage and specialist advice.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of the community diagnostic centres operating in England are equipped with diagnostic equipment purchased in the last (a) 12 months, (b) five years and (c) ten years.

The information is not held centrally in the format requested.

The majority of equipment for community diagnostic centres (CDCs) was purchased in the last 12 months with the launch of the programme in July 2021. However, some sites may have used existing equipment to increase capacity and reduce waiting times for diagnostic tests. NHS England plans to equip CDCs with new facilities, including those located on existing National Health Service estate, through purchasing new equipment rather than upgrading existing equipment.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) CT, (b) MRI, (c) X-ray, and (d) PET machines his Department plans to purchase to support the expansion of community diagnostic centres in England.

This information is not currently held in the format requested as the specification of services for future community diagnostic centres (CDCs) has not yet been confirmed. Business cases for the next cohort of CDCs are being finalised and decisions on the procurement of computerised tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and X-ray scanners will be made following the outcome of this process.

Positron emission tomography machines are not used within CDCs.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to upgrade equipment in community diagnostic centres.

Community diagnostic centres (CDCs) were launched in July 2021 with the majority of locations provided with new equipment. NHS England continues to purchase new equipment for each CDC as it is established to ensure facilities are digitally connected across integrated care systems.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made representations to the Health Promotion Taskforce on the impact of alcohol on health, economic recovery and levelling up.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is a long-established precedent that specific information about the discussions in Cabinet and its Committees is not shared publicly.

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential implications for his policies of the assessment of the size of the clinical radiology workforce in the report by the Royal College of Radiologists entitled RCR Clinical radiology census report 2021; and whether his Department will take steps to help increase the number of clinical radiologists in future workforce planning documents.

At the end of March 2022, there were 5,081 full time equivalent doctors in the specialism of clinical radiology working in the National Health Service, an increase of 1,853 or 57.4% since March 2010. This includes doctors in training, specialists and doctors on other contracts.

The Department has commissioned Health Education England (HEE) to review long-term workforce demand and supply and asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a long-term workforce plan. The conclusions of this work will be available in due course. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement and HEE are developing a plan to ensure sufficient workforce capacity in community diagnostic centres.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) clinical radiologists and (b) other NHS diagnostic staff will be reassigned from other service providers to support the expansion of the community diagnostic centre programme.

The information requested is not held centrally.

NHS England and Health Education England are developing a plan to ensure sufficient workforce capacity in community diagnostic centres. This aims to improve existing good practice across the professional workforce to increase capacity through the optimisation of staff and the variety of skills available, retention and health and wellbeing measures.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of the diagnostic staff that will work as part of the expanded community diagnostic centre programme will be (a) agency or bank and (b) newly recruited staff.

The information requested is not held centrally.

NHS England and Health Education England are developing a plan to ensure sufficient workforce capacity in community diagnostic centres. This aims to improve existing good practice across the professional workforce to increase capacity through the optimisation of staff and the variety of skills available, retention and health and wellbeing measures.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of clinical radiologists working in community diagnostic centres are (a) agency and bank staff (b) newly recruited and (c) reassigned from other service providers.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of diagnostic staff in community diagnostic centres were (a) agency or bank staff, (b) recruited within the last three months and (c) reassigned from other service providers as on 13 July 2022.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the context of the social care reform agenda, if he will take steps to ensure that the funding allocation for the social care sector enables care givers to be paid an adequate wage in the context of the rising costs of living.

We have made an additional £3.7 billion available for councils in 2022/23 which includes £1 billion for social care. Councils also have access to additional funding, including from un-ringfenced grants and council tax.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers which determine their terms and conditions independently of central Government. Local authorities work with care providers to determine fee rates, which should take account of employment costs, based on local market conditions. When commissioning services, local authorities should ensure that service providers deliver services through staff remunerated in order to retain an effective workforce.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an immediate fuel subsidy for home care workers in the context of the rising cost of fuel.

We have no plans to make a specific assessment. The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers which set their terms and conditions, including renumeration for travel costs, independently of central government. Local authorities work with care providers to determine fee rates, which should take account of employment costs, based on local market conditions.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what specific funding will be assigned to the upcoming 10-year plan for dementia.

We are reviewing plans for dementia in England and further information will be available in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) people (i) living with and (ii) affected by dementia and (b) organisations representing people living with dementia have been consulted since the announcement of the 10-year plan.

The Dementia Programme Board last met formally in March 2022. We are reviewing plans for dementia in England and further information will be available in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to direct NHS England to maintain the Children's Hospice Grant beyond the 2023-24 financial year.

We have no plans to do so. NHS England manages its budget and determines the best use of its financial settlement to deliver its objectives. The Children’s Hospice Grant provides funding directly from NHS England to hospices, which is reviewed through the annual grant application process. The NHS Long Term Plan states that NHS England is increasing its contribution to the Children’s Hospice Grant by up to £25 million a year by 2023/24. Funding arrangements beyond 2023/24 have not yet been agreed.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of (a) paediatric and (b) adult cystic fibrosis centres in England did not provide at least 85 per cent of their patients with psychological support at their annual review, in each year since 2015.

This information is not held in the format requested.

However, tables showing the number of centres where the percentage of adult cystic fibrosis patients and child cystic fibrosis patients seen by a clinical psychologist within 12 months prior to latest annual review was less than 85% in each year since 2016/2017 are attached.

This data has been submitted to NHS England on a voluntary basis during the pandemic. From April 2022, providers were asked to resume such reporting.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the mental health and wellbeing of the community pharmacy workforce.

No assessment has been made. However, employers in the National Health Service and the community pharmacy sector have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have extended the NHS Mental Health Support Helpline and NHS Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs to all community pharmacy teams. This provides access to free and confidential clinical assessments by trained mental health professionals plus access to talking therapies and other secondary care mental health services.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that there are no further community pharmacy closures.

Community pharmacies are private businesses which receive funding to provide NHS services. The closure or consolidation of a pharmacy is a commercial decision of the owner. However, the Department monitors the market and the effect of any such closures on patient access. The Pharmacy Access Scheme seeks to protect access for patients where pharmacies are more than a mile away from the next nearest pharmacy or 0.8 of a mile in areas of high deprivation.
Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) set out the timeframe for the NHS Supply Chain’s National Bladder and Bowl Health Project and (b) provide details of which stakeholders have been consulted in respect of that project.

NHS England established the National Bladder and Bowel Health Project to improve continence care, to further research and implement recommendations from ‘Excellence in Continence Care’ published in 2018. The Project is currently developing bladder and bowel care pathways to be shared with stakeholders, which was paused due to the pandemic. However, a timeframe has not been agreed and no stakeholders have been consulted with as yet.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the impact of health interventions provided by Continence Advisory Services on patients' outcomes in respect of incontinence.

No specific assessment has been made. However, NHS England is planning an assessment of ‘Excellence in Continence Care’ published in 2018 and its pandemic recovery and restoration plans include continence services.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department last made an assessment of the state of continence care in England.

No specific assessment has been made. However, NHS England is planning an assessment of ‘Excellence in Continence Care’ published in 2018 and its pandemic recovery and restoration plans include continence services.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to help ensure providers enable patients choice on whether a (a) single-use or (b) reusable endoscope is used in their endoscopy treatment; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently reviewing the potential merits of single-use endoscopes, while considering hospital acquired infections, patient safety and the prevalence of antibiotic resistant organisms in care environments. NHS England and NHS Improvement will review factors including environmental sustainability and economic factors. However, there are no current plans to use single-use endoscopes in any setting.

The National Health Service offers patients accessible, reliable and relevant information to inform healthcare decisions. This will include information on the range and quality of clinical services where there is robust and accurate information available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of using single use endoscopes in community care settings; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently reviewing the potential merits of single-use endoscopes, while considering hospital acquired infections, patient safety and the prevalence of antibiotic resistant organisms in care environments. NHS England and NHS Improvement will review factors including environmental sustainability and economic factors. However, there are no current plans to use single-use endoscopes in any setting.

The National Health Service offers patients accessible, reliable and relevant information to inform healthcare decisions. This will include information on the range and quality of clinical services where there is robust and accurate information available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of using single-use endoscopes on (a) hospital-acquired infections, (b) patient safety and (c) the prevalence of antibiotic resistant organisms in care environments.

The purchase and use of single-use equipment is determined by individual National Health Service trusts which consider the relevant facilities, workforce, finances and patient population when selecting the most appropriate medical equipment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently reviewing single-use endoscopes, taking into consideration hospital acquired infections, patient safety and the prevalence of antibiotic resistant organisms in care environments. This will review all factors, including economic and environmental sustainability. There are no current plans to deploy single-use endoscopes in any setting.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to help ensure that the implementation of the National Outpatients Transformation Programme’s guidance on improving personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplant patients in renal services across England.

All Renal Services Transformation Programme workstreams intend to make key deliverables available by April 2023. This will include documentation outlining best practice, a data dashboard of metrics to support better decision making and support the review of the renal service specification led by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Clinical Reference Group.

The clinical leads for the five workstreams were appointed by a competitive process. Once in post, clinical leads, supported by the programme team, recruited individuals with expertise in the relevant areas of the overall work plan. The teams are multi-professional with involvement by patient and public voice partners. Membership is not funded and is under continual review to ensure representation from relevant subject matter experts. Membership will continue to evolve as the workstreams develop. The clinical networks are at varying stages of resourcing and developing annual work plans. These workplans will include their local renal priorities and are currently being developed for review and agreement by regional commissioning teams by the end of the first financial quarter in 2022.

Guidance has been developed for specialist advice and the implementation of personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplants. This is available to providers via the National Outpatient Transformation Programme Futures platform. While NHS England and NHS Improvement do not intend to mandate the guidance, its use will be recommended to support providers and networks in the recovery of outpatient services following the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the 11 renal clinical networks established by NHS England and NHS Improvement will report on local renal priorities.

All Renal Services Transformation Programme workstreams intend to make key deliverables available by April 2023. This will include documentation outlining best practice, a data dashboard of metrics to support better decision making and support the review of the renal service specification led by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Clinical Reference Group.

The clinical leads for the five workstreams were appointed by a competitive process. Once in post, clinical leads, supported by the programme team, recruited individuals with expertise in the relevant areas of the overall work plan. The teams are multi-professional with involvement by patient and public voice partners. Membership is not funded and is under continual review to ensure representation from relevant subject matter experts. Membership will continue to evolve as the workstreams develop. The clinical networks are at varying stages of resourcing and developing annual work plans. These workplans will include their local renal priorities and are currently being developed for review and agreement by regional commissioning teams by the end of the first financial quarter in 2022.

Guidance has been developed for specialist advice and the implementation of personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplants. This is available to providers via the National Outpatient Transformation Programme Futures platform. While NHS England and NHS Improvement do not intend to mandate the guidance, its use will be recommended to support providers and networks in the recovery of outpatient services following the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what selection process her Department used for selecting the participants of the Renal Services Transformation Programme’s five clinical workstreams.

All Renal Services Transformation Programme workstreams intend to make key deliverables available by April 2023. This will include documentation outlining best practice, a data dashboard of metrics to support better decision making and support the review of the renal service specification led by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Clinical Reference Group.

The clinical leads for the five workstreams were appointed by a competitive process. Once in post, clinical leads, supported by the programme team, recruited individuals with expertise in the relevant areas of the overall work plan. The teams are multi-professional with involvement by patient and public voice partners. Membership is not funded and is under continual review to ensure representation from relevant subject matter experts. Membership will continue to evolve as the workstreams develop. The clinical networks are at varying stages of resourcing and developing annual work plans. These workplans will include their local renal priorities and are currently being developed for review and agreement by regional commissioning teams by the end of the first financial quarter in 2022.

Guidance has been developed for specialist advice and the implementation of personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplants. This is available to providers via the National Outpatient Transformation Programme Futures platform. While NHS England and NHS Improvement do not intend to mandate the guidance, its use will be recommended to support providers and networks in the recovery of outpatient services following the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Renal Services Transformation Programme’s clinical workstreams on (a) improving access, (b) identifying best practice, (c) developing solutions to chronic kidney disease, (d) acute kidney injury and (e) dialysis and transplant plan to report their findings.

All Renal Services Transformation Programme workstreams intend to make key deliverables available by April 2023. This will include documentation outlining best practice, a data dashboard of metrics to support better decision making and support the review of the renal service specification led by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Clinical Reference Group.

The clinical leads for the five workstreams were appointed by a competitive process. Once in post, clinical leads, supported by the programme team, recruited individuals with expertise in the relevant areas of the overall work plan. The teams are multi-professional with involvement by patient and public voice partners. Membership is not funded and is under continual review to ensure representation from relevant subject matter experts. Membership will continue to evolve as the workstreams develop. The clinical networks are at varying stages of resourcing and developing annual work plans. These workplans will include their local renal priorities and are currently being developed for review and agreement by regional commissioning teams by the end of the first financial quarter in 2022.

Guidance has been developed for specialist advice and the implementation of personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplants. This is available to providers via the National Outpatient Transformation Programme Futures platform. While NHS England and NHS Improvement do not intend to mandate the guidance, its use will be recommended to support providers and networks in the recovery of outpatient services following the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2022 to Question 135529 on Kidney Diseases: Health Services, what steps he is taking to implement the National Outpatients Transformation Programme’s guidance on specialist advice in renal services and implementing personalised care follow up for CKD and transplant patients in England.

All Renal Services Transformation Programme workstreams intend to make key deliverables available by April 2023. This will include documentation outlining best practice, a data dashboard of metrics to support better decision making and support the review of the renal service specification led by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Clinical Reference Group.

The clinical leads for the five workstreams were appointed by a competitive process. Once in post, clinical leads, supported by the programme team, recruited individuals with expertise in the relevant areas of the overall work plan. The teams are multi-professional with involvement by patient and public voice partners. Membership is not funded and is under continual review to ensure representation from relevant subject matter experts. Membership will continue to evolve as the workstreams develop. The clinical networks are at varying stages of resourcing and developing annual work plans. These workplans will include their local renal priorities and are currently being developed for review and agreement by regional commissioning teams by the end of the first financial quarter in 2022.

Guidance has been developed for specialist advice and the implementation of personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplants. This is available to providers via the National Outpatient Transformation Programme Futures platform. While NHS England and NHS Improvement do not intend to mandate the guidance, its use will be recommended to support providers and networks in the recovery of outpatient services following the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2022 to Question 135529 on Kidney Diseases: Health Services, what selection process was used for participation in the Renal Services Transformation Programme’s five clinical workstreams.

All Renal Services Transformation Programme workstreams intend to make key deliverables available by April 2023. This will include documentation outlining best practice, a data dashboard of metrics to support better decision making and support the review of the renal service specification led by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Clinical Reference Group.

The clinical leads for the five workstreams were appointed by a competitive process. Once in post, clinical leads, supported by the programme team, recruited individuals with expertise in the relevant areas of the overall work plan. The teams are multi-professional with involvement by patient and public voice partners. Membership is not funded and is under continual review to ensure representation from relevant subject matter experts. Membership will continue to evolve as the workstreams develop. The clinical networks are at varying stages of resourcing and developing annual work plans. These workplans will include their local renal priorities and are currently being developed for review and agreement by regional commissioning teams by the end of the first financial quarter in 2022.

Guidance has been developed for specialist advice and the implementation of personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplants. This is available to providers via the National Outpatient Transformation Programme Futures platform. While NHS England and NHS Improvement do not intend to mandate the guidance, its use will be recommended to support providers and networks in the recovery of outpatient services following the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2022 to Question 135529 on Kidney Diseases: Health Services, when the 11 renal clinical networks will report on local renal priorities.

All Renal Services Transformation Programme workstreams intend to make key deliverables available by April 2023. This will include documentation outlining best practice, a data dashboard of metrics to support better decision making and support the review of the renal service specification led by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Clinical Reference Group.

The clinical leads for the five workstreams were appointed by a competitive process. Once in post, clinical leads, supported by the programme team, recruited individuals with expertise in the relevant areas of the overall work plan. The teams are multi-professional with involvement by patient and public voice partners. Membership is not funded and is under continual review to ensure representation from relevant subject matter experts. Membership will continue to evolve as the workstreams develop. The clinical networks are at varying stages of resourcing and developing annual work plans. These workplans will include their local renal priorities and are currently being developed for review and agreement by regional commissioning teams by the end of the first financial quarter in 2022.

Guidance has been developed for specialist advice and the implementation of personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplants. This is available to providers via the National Outpatient Transformation Programme Futures platform. While NHS England and NHS Improvement do not intend to mandate the guidance, its use will be recommended to support providers and networks in the recovery of outpatient services following the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2022 to Question 135529 on Kidney Diseases: Health Services, what his planned timetable for the reporting of findings from the Renal Services Transformation Programme’s Clinical workstreams on (a) improving access, (b) identifying best practice and (c) developing solutions to (i) chronic kidney disease, (ii) acute kidney injury and (iii) dialysis and transplant.

All Renal Services Transformation Programme workstreams intend to make key deliverables available by April 2023. This will include documentation outlining best practice, a data dashboard of metrics to support better decision making and support the review of the renal service specification led by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Renal Clinical Reference Group.

The clinical leads for the five workstreams were appointed by a competitive process. Once in post, clinical leads, supported by the programme team, recruited individuals with expertise in the relevant areas of the overall work plan. The teams are multi-professional with involvement by patient and public voice partners. Membership is not funded and is under continual review to ensure representation from relevant subject matter experts. Membership will continue to evolve as the workstreams develop. The clinical networks are at varying stages of resourcing and developing annual work plans. These workplans will include their local renal priorities and are currently being developed for review and agreement by regional commissioning teams by the end of the first financial quarter in 2022.

Guidance has been developed for specialist advice and the implementation of personalised care follow up for chronic kidney disease and transplants. This is available to providers via the National Outpatient Transformation Programme Futures platform. While NHS England and NHS Improvement do not intend to mandate the guidance, its use will be recommended to support providers and networks in the recovery of outpatient services following the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to tackle pressures faced by community pharmacies by increasing the size of the community pharmacy workforce.

We are currently negotiating with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on the expanded and additional services to be introduced in the fourth year of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. The Framework sets out the ambition for community pharmacy to be further integrated to provide more clinical services, such as treatment for minor illnesses, to relieve pressures elsewhere in the National Health Service.

New clinical services already introduced include the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, where staff in general practices and NHS 111 can refer patients to community pharmacies for advice and treatment of minor illnesses, blood pressure checks and the Discharge Medicines Service, providing patients recently discharged from hospital with support with their medication. All pharmacies are now also healthy living pharmacies requiring teams to be aware of local health issues and proactively promoting healthy lifestyles.

NHS England is investing a further £15.9 million over the next four years to support the expansion of frontline pharmacy staff in primary and community care, to provide increased access to educational, prescribing and clinical training and development opportunities for post registration pharmacy professionals to meet the needs of patients and local communities.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to implement a long-term vision for the future of local pharmacies.

We are currently negotiating with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on the expanded and additional services to be introduced in the fourth year of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. The Framework sets out the ambition for community pharmacy to be further integrated to provide more clinical services, such as treatment for minor illnesses, to relieve pressures elsewhere in the National Health Service.

New clinical services already introduced include the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, where staff in general practices and NHS 111 can refer patients to community pharmacies for advice and treatment of minor illnesses, blood pressure checks and the Discharge Medicines Service, providing patients recently discharged from hospital with support with their medication. All pharmacies are now also healthy living pharmacies requiring teams to be aware of local health issues and proactively promoting healthy lifestyles.

NHS England is investing a further £15.9 million over the next four years to support the expansion of frontline pharmacy staff in primary and community care, to provide increased access to educational, prescribing and clinical training and development opportunities for post registration pharmacy professionals to meet the needs of patients and local communities.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to expand the role of pharmacy teams to support public health.

We are currently negotiating with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on the expanded and additional services to be introduced in the fourth year of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. The Framework sets out the ambition for community pharmacy to be further integrated to provide more clinical services, such as treatment for minor illnesses, to relieve pressures elsewhere in the National Health Service.

New clinical services already introduced include the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, where staff in general practices and NHS 111 can refer patients to community pharmacies for advice and treatment of minor illnesses, blood pressure checks and the Discharge Medicines Service, providing patients recently discharged from hospital with support with their medication. All pharmacies are now also healthy living pharmacies requiring teams to be aware of local health issues and proactively promoting healthy lifestyles.

NHS England is investing a further £15.9 million over the next four years to support the expansion of frontline pharmacy staff in primary and community care, to provide increased access to educational, prescribing and clinical training and development opportunities for post registration pharmacy professionals to meet the needs of patients and local communities.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to ensure the clinical skillset of the community pharmacy workforce is more effectively utilised.

We are currently negotiating with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on the expanded and additional services to be introduced in the fourth year of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. The Framework sets out the ambition for community pharmacy to be further integrated to provide more clinical services, such as treatment for minor illnesses, to relieve pressures elsewhere in the National Health Service.

New clinical services already introduced include the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, where staff in general practices and NHS 111 can refer patients to community pharmacies for advice and treatment of minor illnesses, blood pressure checks and the Discharge Medicines Service, providing patients recently discharged from hospital with support with their medication. All pharmacies are now also healthy living pharmacies requiring teams to be aware of local health issues and proactively promoting healthy lifestyles.

NHS England is investing a further £15.9 million over the next four years to support the expansion of frontline pharmacy staff in primary and community care, to provide increased access to educational, prescribing and clinical training and development opportunities for post registration pharmacy professionals to meet the needs of patients and local communities.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how he intends to use local pharmacy teams to increase capacity in primary care.

We are currently negotiating with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on the expanded and additional services to be introduced in the fourth year of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. The Framework sets out the ambition for community pharmacy to be further integrated to provide more clinical services, such as treatment for minor illnesses, to relieve pressures elsewhere in the National Health Service.

New clinical services already introduced include the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, where staff in general practices and NHS 111 can refer patients to community pharmacies for advice and treatment of minor illnesses, blood pressure checks and the Discharge Medicines Service, providing patients recently discharged from hospital with support with their medication. All pharmacies are now also healthy living pharmacies requiring teams to be aware of local health issues and proactively promoting healthy lifestyles.

NHS England is investing a further £15.9 million over the next four years to support the expansion of frontline pharmacy staff in primary and community care, to provide increased access to educational, prescribing and clinical training and development opportunities for post registration pharmacy professionals to meet the needs of patients and local communities.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) eliminate the shortfall in the overall number of women who underwent breast screening as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) catch up with the estimated 936,430 fewer women who were screened in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.

All National Health Service breast screening services are operational, offering additional screening sessions and walk-in appointments. NHS England and NHS Improvement have allocated £50 million to support the recovery of breast screening services and a further £22 million to replace mobile breast screening units. This funding seeks to improve uptake in rural and less affluent areas and accelerate the restoration of services impacted by the pandemic. Later this year, we will set out a 10 year cancer plan which will focus on early diagnosis and innovative treatments.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the proportion of urgent referrals for suspected breast cancer that met the 28 day faster diagnosis standard was (a) in general and (b) according to diagnosis outcome in each month for the last year.

The following table shows the proportion of referrals in England for suspected breast cancer within the 28 day faster diagnosis standard between April 2021 and January 2022, the most recent data available. Data by diagnostic outcome is not collected.

April 2021

88.8%

May 2021

88.8%

June 2021

88.2%

July 2021

91.7%

August 2021

91.5%

September 2021

93.2%

October 2021

92.5%

November 2021

86.9%

December 2021

81.0%

January 2022

74.5%

February 2022

85.0%

Source: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/cancer-waiting-times/

In the latter half of 2021, there was an increase in the number of referrals for breast cancer. This increase led to a subsequent decrease in performance in January 2022, due to the impact of the Christmas and New Year period.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to mitigate the potential effect of rising energy costs on health inequalities for people with kidney failure receiving home dialysis treatment, which uses large volumes of electricity; and if he will make a statement.

The Department of Health and Social Care currently has no specific plans. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is responsible for monitoring the energy market to ensure it meets the need of all consumers, including those receiving medical treatment at home.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government plans to take to help ensure that people with kidney failure receiving home dialysis treatment, which uses large volumes of electricity, are able to maintain their energy requirements as energy costs rise; and if he will make a statement.

The Department of Health and Social Care currently has no specific plans. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is responsible for monitoring the energy market to ensure it meets the need of all consumers, including those receiving medical treatment at home.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to ensure that people with kidney failure receiving home dialysis treatment, which uses high volumes of electricity, are supported with their energy costs; and if he will make a statement.

The Department of Health and Social Care currently has no specific plans. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is responsible for monitoring the energy market to ensure it meets the need of all consumers, including those receiving medical treatment at home.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which vulnerable groups of people will be able to continue to receive free covid-19 lateral flow tests after 1 April 2022; and whether tests will be made available to people with symptoms of covid-19.

From 1 April 2022, free universal access to lateral flow device tests for the public in England will end. We will continue to make testing available for a small number of at risk groups. Further details on eligible groups will be made available in due course.

23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take steps to identify vulnerable groups who will continue to be entitled to free covid-19 lateral flow tests after 1 April 2022; and whether those groups will include (a) people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed and (b) chronic kidney disease patients.

From 1 April 2022, free universal access to lateral flow device tests for the public in England will end. We will continue to make testing available for a small number of at risk groups. Further details on eligible groups will be made available in due course.

22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to recent research on the marketing and consumption of no and low alcohol drinks in the UK published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, whether his Department has plans to restrict the ways and contexts in which those products can be promoted.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates the advertising of alcohol products through the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice Codes. The rules within these Codes apply to advertisements featuring or referring to alcoholic drinks containing more than 0.5% alcohol by volume. The rules also apply to advertisements, while not specifically for alcoholic drinks, which have the effect of promoting them, such as soft drinks advertised as mixers. The ASA is currently consulting on new rules and guidance to regulate the advertising of alcohol alternative products. It will consider how these products should be marketed responsibly, including safeguarding people under the age of 18 years old and how such marketing intersects with current alcoholic products regulation. The consultation is open until 5 May 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to recent research on the marketing and consumption of no and low alcohol drinks in the UK published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, what assessment he has made of the potential risk posed by the marketing strategies of those products in exposing children to alcohol brands.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates the advertising of alcohol products through the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice Codes. The rules within these Codes apply to advertisements featuring or referring to alcoholic drinks containing more than 0.5% alcohol by volume. The rules also apply to advertisements, while not specifically for alcoholic drinks, which have the effect of promoting them, such as soft drinks advertised as mixers. The ASA is currently consulting on new rules and guidance to regulate the advertising of alcohol alternative products. It will consider how these products should be marketed responsibly, including safeguarding people under the age of 18 years old and how such marketing intersects with current alcoholic products regulation. The consultation is open until 5 May 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will reconsider the decision that the UKHSA will scale down the COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS) announced in the Government’s Living with COVID-19 Strategy, published on 21 February 2022.

We have now begun a new phase of living with the virus, as outlined in ‘COVID-19 Response: Living with COVID-19’ published on 21 February 2022. The Government will continue monitoring the virus through maintaining surveillance studies such as the Office for National Statistics’ COVID-19 Infection Survey and other data sources, including genomic sequencing. We will keep all surveillance activities under review.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will extend the provision of free covid-19 tests to unpaid carers of clinically vulnerable individuals in the community.

The testing regimes for adult social care after 1 April 2022 are currently under review. Further details will be provided in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support research into intra-nasal covid-19 vaccines.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR and UK Research and Innovation have funded rapid research to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including on nasal administration of vaccines. Approximately £580,000 in funding was awarded to Imperial College London towards a study looking at safety and lower airway immunogenicity of two candidate COVID-19 vaccines administered to the respiratory tract. Additionally, the NIHR is providing infrastructure support to two phase one studies in this area, including the study at Imperial College London. As the largest public funder of health and care research, the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including intra-nasal COVID-19 vaccines.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his department will make an assessment of lesson learned from the covid-19 vaccine deployment and apply the findings to the routine childhood immunisation programme.

Work is underway to learn lessons from the COVID-19 vaccination programmes, particularly on the use of data and technology to supplement childhood immunisations programmes.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities has had with other Departments since it was formally established in October 2021.

Officials in the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities regularly meet with officials in other Government Departments to discuss a wide range of policy issues. We have established the Health Promotion Taskforce to work across Government to address health disparities and prevent ill-health.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is for the publication of the Health Disparities White Paper.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bradford East (Imran Hussain MP) on 22 February 2022 to Question PQ125230.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in workforce levels in the community pharmacy sector.

Health Education England (HEE) conducted a community pharmacy workforce survey between May and June 2021. This indicated a 5% reduction in headcount compared with the last workforce survey in 2017, except for pharmacists and trained dispensing assistants which increased by 18% and 15% respectively. These estimates are based on responses from 47% of community pharmacies. HEE expects to repeat this data collection annually to inform future workforce planning and investment decisions.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is responsible for maintaining a register of all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Great Britain. As of 31 January 2022, there were 85,742 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on the GPhC’s register. The register shows an increase in both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians year on year.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the sustainability of community pharmacy funding.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) five-year deal from 2019 to 2024 commits £2.592 billion each year. Additional funding has been made available to community pharmacies for COVID-19 and flu vaccinations and the medicines delivery service and Pharmacy Collect. Negotiations with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on what the sector will deliver in 2022/23 are ongoing.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of using the community pharmacy sector to provide covid-19 vaccinations on an annual basis if required.

No such assessment has been made. At present, it is not known whether recurrent boosters will be required annually. However, we are aiming to deliver a sustainable vaccination service which does not displace other health and care services.

7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the impact of kidney disease on an individual's mental health will be included in the Government’s Strategy on Mental Health.

The Department plans to launch a public discussion paper this year to inform the development of a new longer term mental health strategy. The mental health and wellbeing of people with multiple and other long-term conditions will be in scope for the discussion paper.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress he has made on the renal services transformation programme.

The recommendations from the Getting It Right First Time speciality report on renal medicine, published in September 2021, have been accepted and are being implemented by the Renal Services Transformation Programme (RSTP). The RSTP has appointed five expert renal clinical leads and established four clinical workstreams improving access, identifying best practice and developing solutions in chronic kidney disease (CKD), acute kidney injury, dialysis and transplants.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have established 11 renal clinical networks which are finalising workplans and determining local priorities identified nationally through the Programme. Guidelines have been produced in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement’s National Outpatients Transformation Programme focusing on specialist advice in renal services and an approach to implement personalised care follow up for CKD and transplant patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether kidney disease is included in the Government’s initiative on reducing health inequalities, Core20PLUS5.

One of the priority clinical areas for NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Core20PLUS5 approach is hypertension case finding. More than half of those with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have hypertension. Case-finding hypertension and optimising blood pressure are essential in the effective regulation of CKD. Both undiagnosed hypertension and CKD are more prevalent among ethnic minorities and those living in the most deprived areas, which are included in the CORE and PLUS elements of the initiative.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Programme is facilitating co-ordination between regions to reduce variation and prevent any widening of health inequalities. This includes all clinical areas including kidney disease.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on implementing the reduction of hormone replacement therapy prescription costs which was announced in October 2021.

Officials are reviewing implementation options for reducing the cost of National Health Service prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy to be introduced at the earliest opportunity. The Department will outline next steps, including a timetable, in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is for reducing the cost of repeatable hormone replacement therapy prescriptions announced on 29 October 2021.

Officials are reviewing implementation options for reducing the cost of National Health Service prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy to be introduced at the earliest opportunity. The Department will outline next steps, including a timetable, in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to require health warnings on alcohol product labels.

The Government committed to consult on whether mandatory calorie labelling should be introduced on all prepacked alcohol, as well as alcoholic drinks sold in the out of home sector, for alcohol products over 1.2% ABV. We will also seek views on whether the provision of the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines and a drink driving warning should be mandatory or continue on a voluntary basis.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to take steps to reduce alcohol harm among deprived groups.

We have invested £27 million to establish specialist Alcohol Care Teams in the 25% hospitals with the highest rates of alcohol dependence-related admissions, alcohol-mortality, and deprivation. This is estimated to prevent 50,000 admissions over five years.

Local authorities are responsible for commissioning services to prevent, mitigate and treat alcohol-related health harm, based upon on local need. We are investing £533 million over three years to support local authority commissioned substance misuse treatment services in England. This funding will be targeted to areas of highest need first. This is in addition to local authorities’ expenditure annually on substance misuse services from the Public Health Grant.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of healthcare provision for people with allergies.

No specific assessment has been made. However, we are working with delivery partners and stakeholders to ensure the appropriate workforce, clinical leadership and expert guidance is in place to support those living with allergies. The majority of those with allergies are supported by local services commissioned through clinical commissioning groups, with specialist allergy clinics available for those with more severe or complex allergic conditions.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of introducing a polluter pays levy on the tobacco industry.

The Department continues to work with HM Treasury regarding tobacco taxation and revenue funding. This includes reviewing options to raise additional funds to support the ambition to be smoke-free by 2030.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his oral evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee session on 25 January 2022, Q12, when he plans to publish the upcoming long-term workforce plan.

In July 2021 the Department commissioned Health Education England (HEE) to work with partners to renew the strategic framework for the workforce. This will include the National Health Service workforce and regulated professionals in the social care workforce to ensure we have the appropriate numbers of staff with the right skills, values and behaviours to deliver high quality services and standards of care. The outcomes will be published in 2022.

In addition, the Department has recently commissioned NHS England to develop a workforce strategy following HEE’s framework, including long term projections. Its conclusions will be set out in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to (a) bring forward legislative proposals to reform the Mental Health Act (1983) during the 2021-22 session of Parliament and (b) ensure that the needs of children and young people are the central objective of that reform.

Legislation to reform the Mental Health Act 1983 will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows. The reforms will ensure that people of all ages, including children and young people, are at the centre of decisions about their own care and everyone is treated equally.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason his Department has not met with representatives of INFACT to discuss proposals to support children and adults harmed by sodium valproate.

INFACT was a key stakeholder whilst the Government considered the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety (IMMDS) Review. This process concluded with the publication of the Government’s response on 21 July 2021. The former Minister of State for Patient Safety, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (Ms Nadine Dorries MP) met with INFACT on 14 July 2021, prior to the publication of the Government’s response.

The Government is now focusing on implementing the accepted recommendations from the IMMDS Review, including those related to sodium valproate. We aim to publish an update on progress in summer 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) GP surgeries, (b) NHS Trusts and (c) community settings have agreed to take part in the National Obesity Audit.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that data for the National Obesity Audit (NOA) will be collected through routine data collections including Hospital Episode Statistics and the Community Services Dataset. General practice data for planning and research will be subject to approval once the collection commences.

The NOA will collect metrics which facilitate the audit to answer its seven questions and to achieve its stated aims of improving access and outcomes from weight management services. The NOA questions are as follows:

- What proportion of people and which population groups living with overweight and obesity are being identified and recorded;

- What proportion of people living with overweight and obesity have been offered appropriate NICE recommended interventions;

- Which people with living with overweight and obesity access weight management services;

- What are the short and long term weight loss outcomes of weight management services;

- Do people living with overweight and obesity transition successfully between the different types of weight management services available and from children’s to adult services;

- What are the health outcomes for people living with overweight and obesity; and

- What is the coverage and provision of weight management services.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 2 November 2021 to Question HL3390 on Obesity: Surgery, what specific metrics will be recorded in the proposed National Obesity Audit.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that data for the National Obesity Audit (NOA) will be collected through routine data collections including Hospital Episode Statistics and the Community Services Dataset. General practice data for planning and research will be subject to approval once the collection commences.

The NOA will collect metrics which facilitate the audit to answer its seven questions and to achieve its stated aims of improving access and outcomes from weight management services. The NOA questions are as follows:

- What proportion of people and which population groups living with overweight and obesity are being identified and recorded;

- What proportion of people living with overweight and obesity have been offered appropriate NICE recommended interventions;

- Which people with living with overweight and obesity access weight management services;

- What are the short and long term weight loss outcomes of weight management services;

- Do people living with overweight and obesity transition successfully between the different types of weight management services available and from children’s to adult services;

- What are the health outcomes for people living with overweight and obesity; and

- What is the coverage and provision of weight management services.

30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to implement a compensation framework for people who have experienced harm as a result of Primodos.

The Government’s response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review (IMMDS) was published on 21 July 2021. We did not accept the report’s fourth recommendation, which called for separate redress schemes should be set up for hormone pregnancy tests such as Primodos, sodium valproate and pelvic mesh

Our priority is to make medicines and devices safer. The Government’s response sets out the changes in place since the IMMDS Review’s report was published and further action we will take to implement the recommendations accepted and to improve patient safety.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the capacity of community pharmacies to provide all services they are contracted to provide.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework outlines a transformational programme to integrate community pharmacy into the National Health Service, delivering more clinical services, such as treatment for minor illnesses. The Department and NHS England agree with the sector representative body what community pharmacies will deliver within the £2.592 billion committed annually. Workforce and capacity considerations form part of these negotiations.

Health Education England carried out a community pharmacy workforce survey between 7 May 2021 and 18 June 2021. The survey will provide an updated insight into the size and skill set of the workforce and inform future planning and investment decisions. The results of the survey are being analysed, and anonymised and aggregated data will be published in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework and (b) sustainability of pharmacies.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework outlines a transformational programme to integrate community pharmacy into the National Health Service, delivering more clinical services, such as treatment for minor illnesses. The Department and NHS England agree with the sector representative body what community pharmacies will deliver within the £2.592 billion committed annually. Workforce and capacity considerations form part of these negotiations.

Health Education England carried out a community pharmacy workforce survey between 7 May 2021 and 18 June 2021. The survey will provide an updated insight into the size and skill set of the workforce and inform future planning and investment decisions. The results of the survey are being analysed, and anonymised and aggregated data will be published in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the sustainability of (a) pharmacists and (b) the wider community pharmacy workforce.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework outlines a transformational programme to integrate community pharmacy into the National Health Service, delivering more clinical services, such as treatment for minor illnesses. The Department and NHS England agree with the sector representative body what community pharmacies will deliver within the £2.592 billion committed annually. Workforce and capacity considerations form part of these negotiations.

Health Education England carried out a community pharmacy workforce survey between 7 May 2021 and 18 June 2021. The survey will provide an updated insight into the size and skill set of the workforce and inform future planning and investment decisions. The results of the survey are being analysed, and anonymised and aggregated data will be published in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to include data on operations cancelled or postponed for non-clinical reasons by NHS Trusts according to specialty when the publication of the Cancelled Elective Operations dataset is resumed.

The collection will resume for Quarter 3 2021/22, to be published in February 2022.

The decision on data on cancelled or postponed operations is determined based on a balanced assessment, to collect timely and clinically valuable data. There are currently no official plans to introduce new data. When considering future changes to data published, NHS England and NHS Improvement will take account of the views of the clinicians, patients and stakeholder organisations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when data collection for the Cancelled Elective Operations dataset will be resumed for inclusion in planned publication of the quarter 3 2021-22 data set in 2022.

The collection will resume for Quarter 3 2021/22, to be published in February 2022.

The decision on data on cancelled or postponed operations is determined based on a balanced assessment, to collect timely and clinically valuable data. There are currently no official plans to introduce new data. When considering future changes to data published, NHS England and NHS Improvement will take account of the views of the clinicians, patients and stakeholder organisations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications for his policies of the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group’s action plan, Unlocking Green Growth: A plan for the ornamental horticulture and landscaping industry, published on 7 September 2021 and (b) the benefits of gardens and green spaces to the UK’s physical and mental wellbeing.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working with the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group and the sector to explore where the Government can support the opportunities outlined in the report and its associated action plan.

The Department of Health and Social Care is working with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Natural England and other partners on the ‘Preventing and tackling mental ill health through green social prescribing’ project, a £5.77 million cross-Government project to increase the use of and connectivity to green social prescribing services and activities in England. This aims to improve mental health outcomes, reduce health inequalities, reduce demand on the health and social care system and develop best practice in making local systems more resilient and accessible.

22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of potential the number of nuclear medicine physicians required to provide adequate care for NHS patients in the next year; and if he will make it his policy to increase the number of nuclear medicine physicians in training.

No assessment has been made. However, Health Education England is providing additional funding to support an increase of five nuclear medicine physician training posts in the National Health Service in England in 2021/22. The next Spending Review will set out further details of the Government’s spending plans including the NHS workforce.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to support the adoption of radioligand therapies and other targeted treatments in the NHS through provision of training of specialist (a) staff and (b) equipment.

Radioligand therapy is not yet licensed for the National Health Service and has yet to receive approval from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. We therefore have no current plans to consider the adoption of equipment and training of specialist staff for Radioligand or any other targeted treatments until they are licensed.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of specialist centres required to ensure wide and equitable access to radioligand therapies and targeted treatments on the NHS in the next 12 months.

Radioligand therapy has not been licensed and has yet to receive approval from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, therefore no assessment has been made.

Recent advances in radiotherapy using cutting-edge imaging and computing technology have helped target radiation doses at cancer cells more precisely. This includes proton beam therapy and stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR), both of which are available on the National Health Service. The Government has committed £250 million capital investment into two proton beam therapy facilities for the United Kingdom, at The Christie Hospital in Manchester and University College London Hospitals in London. SABR will be available as a treatment option through routine commissioning.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) support the rollout of nuclear medicines across the NHS and (b) prevent regional variations in access to those medicines.

Nuclear medicine is already used widely in the National Health Service in England to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases. NHS England and NHS Improvement routinely fund licensed medicines that have been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or off-label use of licensed medicines that have been approved via the NHS England clinical commissioning policy process.

NHS England and NHS Improvement commission positron emission tomography/computed tomography scan while other diagnostic imaging involving nuclear medicine is commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). It is for CCGs to commission those services according to the needs of their local population.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when a decision will be taken to reinstate the collection and publication of NHS data in currently paused publications or series.

The Mixed Sex Accommodation for data relating to October 2021 and Quarterly Monitoring of Cancelled Operations for data relating to quarter 3 2021-22 collections are due to resume.

The Critical Care Bed Capacity and Urgent Operations, Delayed Transfers of Care, Direct Access Audiology and Venous Thromboembolism collections were paused from quarter 4 of 2020-21 to quarter 2 of 2021-22 and will remain paused. NHS England and NHS Improvement will keep the paused collections under review to establish at which point further collections should be reinstated and update published information when the status of the collections change.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what NHS England publications and data collection have been paused or suspended from quarter 4 of 2020-21 to quarter 2 of 2021-22.

Two collections were paused and have subsequently been retired following a consultation. The Mental Health Community Teams Activity data collection was paused for quarter 4 2020-21 and The Dementia Assessment and Referral data collection was paused for quarter 4 2020-21 to quarter 1 2021-2.

The Mixed Sex Accommodation for data relating to October 2021 and the Quarterly Monitoring of Cancelled Operations for data relating to quarter 3 2021-22 were paused for quarter 4 of 2020-21 to quarter 2 of 2021-22 and will resume. The Critical Care Bed Capacity and Urgent Operations, Delayed Transfers of Care, Direct Access Audiology and Venous Thromboembolism collections were paused from quarter 4 of 2020-21 to quarter 2 of 2021-22 and remain paused.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to develop a national strategy to promote self-care for minor ailments.

There are no plans to introduce a dedicated national strategy to promote self-care for minor ailments. However, supported self-management or self-care is an integral part of the NHS Long Term Plan, to encourage and empower people to manage their ongoing physical and mental health conditions.

All community pharmacies in England delivering NHS services provide support for patients to self-care, including for minor ailments. This support can include provision of advice, information, and where appropriate the sale of medicines to patients, carers and the general public to support their self-care for minor ailments.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) encourage people to self-care and (b) educate healthcare professionals to support people to self-care for minor ailments.

Supported self-management or self-care is part of the NHS Long Term Plan, to encourage and empower people to manage their ongoing physical and mental health conditions. It is also included in NHS England’s action plan ‘Universal Personalised Care: Implementing the Comprehensive Model’ published in 2019 which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/universal-personalised-care-implementing-the-comprehensive-model/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require pharmaceutical companies that artificially inflate the cost of their products to make those products more affordable.

Anti-competitive behaviour, including excessive pricing, is a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The Department asks the CMA to investigate where it has concerns about abuses of competition law for generic medicines and where companies are found by the CMA to be in breach of the legislation, the Department will seek damages and invest that money back into the National Health Service.

The Government relies on competition to reduce the prices of generic medicines. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe and allows prices to react to the market. The Department has been considering proposals for ways to address high prices of generic medicines and will consult in due course.

The Department also has powers in the NHS Act 2006 to control the prices of NHS medicines. Prices of branded medicines are controlled through the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS) and alternative statutory scheme which utilises those powers. VPAS caps branded medicines' sales at an agreed level of growth. Any growth in sales above this level results in payments made by scheme members.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to criminalise the inflation of prices for the NHS by drug companies.

Anti-competitive behaviour, including excessive pricing, is a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The Department asks the CMA to investigate where it has concerns about abuses of competition law for generic medicines and where companies are found by the CMA to be in breach of the legislation, the Department will seek damages and invest that money back into the National Health Service.

The Government relies on competition to reduce the prices of generic medicines. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe and allows prices to react to the market. The Department has been considering proposals for ways to address high prices of generic medicines and will consult in due course.

The Department also has powers in the NHS Act 2006 to control the prices of NHS medicines. Prices of branded medicines are controlled through the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS) and alternative statutory scheme which utilises those powers. VPAS caps branded medicines' sales at an agreed level of growth. Any growth in sales above this level results in payments made by scheme members.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the NHS is making on the rollout of electronic prescribing medications systems.

The National Health Service is on course to eliminate paper prescribing in hospitals and achieve the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to introduce digital prescribing by 2024. Since 2018, we have invested £78 million with 216 NHS trusts having received a share of this fund. The proportion of trusts with an electronic prescriptions and medicines administration system is estimated to have risen from 19% in 2018 to more than 80% to date.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service, Early: Cancer Diagnosis Guidance, published on 31 March 2021, what plans the Government has to produce a long-term strategy to tackle the estimated 37,000 people who had not started their first cancer treatment.

Following the ‘Help us help you’ campaign which raised awareness of general symptoms of cancer and encouraged people experiencing persistent symptoms to contact their general practitioner, cancer referrals reached over 10,500 referrals per day in April and 11,000 per day in May. Local systems, drawing on advice and analysis from their Cancer Alliance, will ensure that there is sufficient diagnostic and treatment capacity in place to meet the increased level of referrals and treatment required to address the number of first treatments by March 2022.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are prioritising delivery of NHS Long Term Plan commitments which supports recovery, such as increasing diagnostic capacity and early diagnosis and survival rates through rapid diagnostic centres (RDC). As of June 2021, there were 88 live RDC pathways across hospitals in England, compared to 12 in March 2020.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on providing a fully-costed and comprehensive multi-year funding settlement to ensure the adequacy of the size of the Cancer Nurse Specialist workforce to deliver the targets in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Discussions with HM Treasury on any multi-year settlement will take place within the Spending Review process. There are specialist training grants for 250 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for publishing the Getting It Right First Time dermatology national specialty report.

The Getting It Right First Time national report on dermatology was completed in 2020 and will be published later this year, following NHS England and NHS Improvement’s review of the recommendations. This publication will be timed to support the NHS recovery programme after COVID-19.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the performance of NICE in (a) conducting appraisals of new medicines and (b) development of (i) clinical guidelines and (ii) quality standards in relation to the resources allocated to that body.

The Department assesses the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) performance against the targets set out in its annual business plan. NICE is currently on track to meet its performance targets for the publication of technology appraisals, clinical guidelines and quality standards. NICE’s Annual Report and Accounts sets out its activity, performance and expenditure for key areas of its business, including its appraisals of new medicines and the development of clinical guidelines and quality standards.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to prioritise the transformation of dermatology services in England.

NHS England’s National Outpatient Transformation programme is developing a toolkit to support local systems to transform dermatology services. The toolkit includes a suite of redesign tools, optimal dermatology pathways and a baseline self-assessment tool, which will enable local systems to improve the efficiency and enhance the benefits of dermatology outpatient appointments. It also explores opportunities to improve the quality of primary care referrals into secondary care, teledermatology and the two week wait skin cancer pathway, working collaboratively with the National Cancer team to create new pathways for assessing and treating suspected skin cancer patients.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on publishing a fully-costed multi-year funding settlement to ensure the adequacy of the size of the cancer nurse specialist workforce to deliver the targets in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Spending Review 2020 provided £260 million to continue to increase the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, including the Cancer Workforce Plan phase one published by Health Education England (HEE) in 2017. In 2020/21, HEE is prioritising the training of 400 clinical endoscopists and 450 reporting radiographers. Training grants are being offered for 250 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists and 100 chemotherapy nurses, training 58 biomedical scientists, developing an advanced clinical practice qualification in oncology and extending cancer support-worker training.

HEE is facilitating a number of initiatives to increase clinical nurse specialist capacity which will help tackle the elective backlog, including the development of cancer nurses, through provision of 250 training grants of up to £5,000 each in 2020/21. The grants are aimed at existing and aspiring cancer nurse specialists to enable them to undertake additional training to develop specialist clinical, leadership, education or research capabilities.

Discussions with HM Treasury on any multi-year settlement will take place within the Spending Review process.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service, Early: Cancer Diagnosis Guidance, published on 31 March 2021, what plans the Government has to produce a long-term strategy to tackle the estimated 37,000 people who had not started their first cancer treatment.

Public Health England in partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement, is running a campaign, ‘Help us help you’, to raise awareness of general symptoms of cancer and encourage people experiencing persistent symptoms to contact their general practitioner. Cancer referrals were over 10,500 referrals per day in April, and 11,000 per day in May.

Local systems, drawing on advice and analysis from their Cancer Alliance, will ensure that there is sufficient diagnostic and treatment capacity in place to meet the needs of cancer to meet the increased level of referrals and treatment required to address the shortfall in number of first treatments by March 2022. NHS England and NHS Improvement are prioritising delivery of NHS Long Term Plan commitments that also support recovery such as increasing diagnostic capacity and early diagnosis and survival rates through rapid diagnostic centres (RDC). As of June 2021, there were 88 active RDC pathways across hospitals in England, compared to 12 in March 2020.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential cost savings to the NHS of having automated medicines cabinets made mandatory in every NHS trust.

The Department has made no such assessment. This year 83% of National Health Service trusts have implemented the electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA) systems in hospitals. Once fully implemented, the EPMA will have significant impact on the safety of administration of medicines. Individual trusts are determining their requirements for technology such as automated cabinets and are introducing as required locally.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that evidence on the impact of automated dispensing cabinets on safety is inconclusive. If future research provides evidence of a consistent positive impact on safety, their cost effectiveness can then be assessed.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the administration of medicines in NHS trusts.

The Department has established the Medicine Safety Improvement Programme, as part of the national NHS Patient Safety Strategy, to co-ordinate the work on reducing the burden of errors related to medication.

The Medicine Safety Improvement Programme is working to meet the World Health Organization’s Medication Without Harm Challenge. The programme will look at a number of areas to support the improvement of safe medication administration in National Health Service trusts including better use of technology, guidance and support and how best to educate and inform patients about their medicines.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional resources he plans to put in place to tackle the backlog of cancer (a) diagnosis, (b) care and (c) treatment following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government confirmed an additional £3 billion for the National Health Service in the Spending Review 2020 to support the recovery from the impact of COVID-19. Cancer patients will continue to be prioritised and will benefit from approximately £1 billion of this funding to begin tackling the elective backlog. This will be supported by £325 million for NHS diagnostics. Further funding is subject to the 2021 Spending Review in the autumn.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support cancer patients who have experienced disruption or delays to their cancer treatment as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service is focusing on reducing the number of people waiting over 62 days on cancer pathways, particularly rescheduling diagnostic procedures or treatment for those who have had their care delayed by the pandemic.

An additional £1 billion has been made available in 2021/22 to support the start of the recovery of elective activity, including cancer services.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has revised the planned delivery date for the Government's commitment to provide every person with cancer with personalised care.

The National Health Service remains committed to ensuring that by 2021, where appropriate, every person diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised care, including needs assessment, a care plan and health and wellbeing information and support.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make further funding available to digital aspirants in relation to Electronic Health Records.

Details of the next round of funding to support digital aspirants with their Electronic Health Record implementation will be published shortly, as part of the NHSX Unified Technology Fund prospectus.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the survey by the Royal College of Physicians in July 2021 that reported that 56 per cent of medical trainees were considering working part-time in the future, if he will make an assessment of the effect of trends in the number of doctors working less than full-time hours on his Department’s policies for increasing the size of the health and care workforce.

The average Hospital and Community Health Service doctor works 93.9% of a full-time working pattern, an increase from 93.2% in 2010. We consider the historical and potential future working patterns of doctors as one of many factors that inform workforce planning.

We are committed to providing greater flexibility for doctors. For example, the Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives programme, led by Health Education England (HEE), is supporting doctors who wish to undertake less than full time specialty training. Trainees are employed by the National Health Service and work in the service. Through this programme, HEE is monitoring the numbers of junior doctors training less than full time to ensure that this does not reduce the overall numbers of doctors in the workforce.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS 2021-22 priorities and operational planning guidance, published on 25 March 2021, whether the NHS is on schedule to tackle the backlog of cancer diagnosis, care and treatment by the end of March 2022.

NHS England and Improvement are committed to clearing the cancer backlog of patients waiting over 62 days from referral to first treatment by March 2022. Progress has been made, with 2.68 million urgent referrals and over 664,000 people treated for cancer between March 2020 and May 2021. In May 2021 general practitioner urgent referrals for suspected cancer were 14% higher than the May 2019 baseline. Cancer referrals have reached over 10,500 referrals per day in April and nearly 11,000 in May.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the size of the cancer nursing workforce to help tackle the cancer treatment backlog; and if he will make a statement.

The Spending Review 2020 provided £260 million to continue to increase the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, including the Cancer Workforce Plan phase one published by Health Education England (HEE) in 2017. In 2020/21, HEE is prioritising the training of 400 clinical endoscopists and 450 reporting radiographers. Training grants are being offered for 250 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists and 100 chemotherapy nurses, training 58 biomedical scientists, developing an advanced clinical practice qualification in oncology and extending cancer support-worker training.

HEE is facilitating a number of initiatives to increase clinical nurse specialist capacity which will help tackle the elective backlog, including the development of cancer nurses, through provision of 250 training grants of up to £5,000 each in 2020/21. The grants are aimed at existing and aspiring cancer nurse specialists to enable them to undertake additional training to develop specialist clinical, leadership, education or research capabilities.

Discussions with HM Treasury on any multi-year settlement will take place within the Spending Review process.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to produce a long-term and fully funded plan for the cancer workforce.

The Spending Review 2020 provided £260 million to continue to increase the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, including the Cancer Workforce Plan phase one published by Health Education England (HEE) in 2017. In 2020/21, HEE is prioritising the training of 400 clinical endoscopists and 450 reporting radiographers. Training grants are being offered for 250 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists and 100 chemotherapy nurses, training 58 biomedical scientists, developing an advanced clinical practice qualification in oncology and extending cancer support-worker training.

HEE is facilitating a number of initiatives to increase clinical nurse specialist capacity which will help tackle the elective backlog, including the development of cancer nurses, through provision of 250 training grants of up to £5,000 each in 2020/21. The grants are aimed at existing and aspiring cancer nurse specialists to enable them to undertake additional training to develop specialist clinical, leadership, education or research capabilities.

Discussions with HM Treasury on any multi-year settlement will take place within the Spending Review process.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with (a) NICE and (b) NHS England and NHS Improvement on setting levels of ambition in the NICE Methods Review.

The Department regularly discuss a range of issues with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement, including NICE’s methods review. However, NICE is an independent body and is responsible for its own methods and processes. NICE expects to consult on the draft programme manual in the summer, with implementation of the changes from early 2022.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with (a) NICE and (b) NHS England and NHS Improvement on the changes needed in the NICE methods and process review to improve access to new medicines for patients.

The Department regularly discuss a range of issues with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement, including NICE’s methods review. However, NICE is an independent body and is responsible for its own methods and processes. NICE expects to consult on the draft programme manual in the summer, with implementation of the changes from early 2022.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to take steps to help improve patients’ understanding of the merits of regular dental check-ups in helping to ensure the early diagnosis of oral cancer.

No assessment has been made. Whilst dentists play a valuable role in detecting potential oral cancers through dental check-ups, patients with concerns should seek advice from their dentist or general practitioner.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the projection by Cancer Research that cases of oral cancer will rise by 33 per cent from 2014 to 2035, whether his Department has plans to (a) promote and (b) increase the public's awareness of dental services available to support the diagnosis of that cancer.

No assessment has been made. Whilst dentists play a valuable role in detecting potential oral cancers through dental check-ups. Patients with concerns should seek advice from their dentist or general practitioner.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Cancer Research's projection that oral cancer will rise by 33% in the UK from 2014 to 2035, whether his Department has made an assessment of the (a) potential merits of increasing patients’ awareness of the dental services available to support the diagnosis of oral cancer and (b) importance of those services.

No assessment has been made. Whilst dentists play a valuable role in detecting potential oral cancers through dental check-ups. Patients with concerns should seek advice from their dentist or general practitioner.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to increase patients’ understanding of the merits of regular dental check-ups in helping to ensure the early diagnosis of oral cancer.

No assessment has been made. Whilst dentists play a valuable role in detecting potential oral cancers through dental check-ups. Patients with concerns should seek advice from their dentist or general practitioner.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has taken steps to provide funding to increase resources and training to strengthen the workforce of local pharmacies.

The Department is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Health Education England and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) on pharmacists’ education and training reforms. The GPhC’s new initial education and training standards which will be implemented from September, will transform the education and training of pharmacists, so they are able to play a much greater role in providing clinical care to patients and the public.

Training is also available for specific new services that are introduced in community pharmacy. For example, NHS111 and general practitioners can refer patients to community pharmacies for urgent medicines supply and minor illnesses under the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service. Free training is available for pharmacists that have signed up for this service to learn and practise new skills and to gaining confidence in performing clinical examinations.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to support pharmacies to play a greater role in primary care provision.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-24 five-year deal, agreed with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee in 2019, sets out how community pharmacy will further integrate into the National Health Service. This sets the ambition that community pharmacies will deliver more clinical services, embed their role in providing advice on medicines and preventing ill-health and further utilise the skills in community pharmacy to support the wider NHS

NHS111 can now refer patients to a community pharmacist for minor illness or the urgent supply of a prescribed medicine. At the end of 2020, we extended this service to general practitioner surgeries, who can now also formally refer patients to community pharmacy for consultation. We expect to introduce more clinical services in community pharmacy and play a larger role in primary care provision.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans are in place to fund and deliver a national NHS care pathway for functional neurological disorder.

The National Neuro Advisory Group (NNAG), which includes NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England, expert bodies, clinicians, academics, and patient voice organisations, develops and coordinates the national programme of neurology service improvement. The NNAG has a priority in their work plan for 2021/2022 to support development of a clinical pathway for functional neurological conditions, including functional neurological disorder.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the need for specific NICE guidance for the diagnosis and treatment of functional neurological disorder.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has guidance in place to support clinicians in the diagnosis of functional neurological disorder. The ‘Suspected neurological conditions: recognition and referral’’ guideline published in 2019 covers the initial assessment of symptoms and signs that might indicate a neurological condition. It helps healthcare professionals to identify people more quickly who should be offered referral for specialist investigation and includes recommendations for people who have previously been diagnosed with functional neurological disorder. The guideline is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng127

In January 2021, NICE also published a quality standard on suspected neurological conditions which states that adults diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder should be supported to manage symptoms that are a part of the disorder in non-specialist care. The quality standard is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs198

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of how complementary therapies can help to tackle (a) increased levels of stress, (b) anxiety, (c) mental health issues and (d) symptoms associated with long covid.

We have made no assessment.

It is the responsibility of local National Health Service organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of any NHS healthcare treatments, taking account of safety, clinical and cost effectiveness and the availability of suitability qualified and regulated practitioners.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of complementary therapy services in supporting patients in hospitals and hospices.

We have made no assessment.

It is the responsibility of local National Health Service organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of any NHS healthcare treatments, taking account of safety, clinical and cost effectiveness and the availability of suitability qualified and regulated practitioners.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that complementary therapy services are accessible to NHS patients.

We have made no assessment.

It is the responsibility of local National Health Service organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of any NHS healthcare treatments, taking account of safety, clinical and cost effectiveness and the availability of suitability qualified and regulated practitioners.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase the funding allocated to complementary therapy services.

We have made no assessment.

It is the responsibility of local National Health Service organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of any NHS healthcare treatments, taking account of safety, clinical and cost effectiveness and the availability of suitability qualified and regulated practitioners.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to help to improve (a) cost, (b) time and (c) staffing efficiencies in the NHS by using complementary therapists.

We have made no assessment.

It is the responsibility of local National Health Service organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of any NHS healthcare treatments, taking account of safety, clinical and cost effectiveness and the availability of suitability qualified and regulated practitioners.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of complementary therapists in (a) responding to health needs and (b) supporting the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have made no assessment.

It is the responsibility of local National Health Service organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of any NHS healthcare treatments, taking account of safety, clinical and cost effectiveness and the availability of suitability qualified and regulated practitioners.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that the hotel covid-19 quarantine rules are consistent with UN Resolution A/75/L.37 on international cooperation to address challenges faced by seafarers as a result of the covid-19 pandemic to support global supply chains.

There is an exemption for seamen, masters, inspectors and surveyors of ships from managed quarantine which is consistent with the United Nations Resolution. The Government has introduced this exemption to ensure that vital services through freight routes and supply chains can continue, as well as providing for crew welfare.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will maintain the full exemption from covid-19 quarantine for seafarers.

The Government has maintained an exemption. Seamen, masters, inspectors and surveyors of ships returning from countries not on the ‘red list’ who live in the United Kingdom do not need to quarantine. If they live overseas, they must self-isolate in their accommodation while in England, except while they are undertaking the exempt activity or travelling as part of their work.

Seamen, masters, inspectors and surveyors of ships who arrive from ‘red list’ countries are permitted to enter the UK and do not need to quarantine in a Government approved hotel, even if they have been in any country on the travel ban list in the previous 10 days.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of seafarers who will be required to quarantine in hotels each week after arriving into the UK from red list countries during the covid-19 outbreak.

Seamen, masters, inspectors and surveyors of ships are not required to quarantine in hotels, even if they have been in any country on the travel ban ‘red list’ in the previous 10 days.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons he has not exempted maritime key workers from covid-19 quarantine restrictions in line with previous exemptions so granted.

We have introduced an exemption for seamen and masters, maritime pilots and inspectors and surveyors of ships, where they have travelled to the United Kingdom in the course of their work and live in the UK, they do not need to self-isolate. If they live overseas, they must self-isolate in their accommodation while in England, except while undertaking the exempt activity or travelling as part of their work. They are permitted to enter the UK and do not need to quarantine in a Government approved hotel, even if they have been in any country on the travel ban ‘red list’ in the previous 10 days. This is to reflect the critical role that seafarers play in ensuring the continued supply of goods in and out of the UK.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received on exempting maritime key workers from hotel covid-19 quarantine measures.

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

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the mental health impacts of the extended closure of the wedding industry on (a) couples and (b) business owners.

No such assessment has been made.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish part 2 of the People Plan; and if he will set out a long-term plan for the NHS workforce.

The NHS People Plan is a shared programme of work to increase the workforce, support new ways of working and develop a compassionate and inclusive workplace culture in order to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. We are working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Health Education England, systems and employers to determine our workforce and people priorities beyond April 2021 whilst continuing to support the wellbeing of National Health Service staff.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent information his Department holds on the adequacy of staffing levels in the mammography workforce.

While the Department does not hold information on the adequacy of staffing levels in the mammography and radiology workforce, we are aware of collaborative work undertaken by NHS England and Improvement, Public Health England and Health Education England to ensure that staffing levels are adequate.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent information his Department holds on the adequacy of staffing levels in breast radiology.

While the Department does not hold information on the adequacy of staffing levels in the mammography and radiology workforce, we are aware of collaborative work undertaken by NHS England and Improvement, Public Health England and Health Education England to ensure that staffing levels are adequate.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the candidacy of Emirati Major General Nasser Ahmed al-Raisi for the Interpol presidency, to be elected on 23-25 November 2021, in the context of the UAE’s human rights record.

As with all elections for international organisations, the UK Government will review all candidates for the presidency of Interpol, and consider our vote carefully. We are committed to the promotion of universal freedoms and human rights and we encourage all states, including the United Arab Emirates, to uphold international human rights obligations.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his Emirati counterpart on (a) the health of Mohammed al-Roken in response to the covid-19 pandemic and (b) his unconditional release upon completion of his full sentence on 17 July 2022.

We are aware of reports concerning the detention of Mohammed al-Roken. The UK urges all countries to comply with their human rights obligations. Our close relationship with the United Arab Emirates allows us to discuss important issues such as human rights. We consistently underline the importance of political freedoms globally. This includes respect for the right to peaceful protest, the rule of law, and freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. Where the UK has cause for concern, we raise these concerns at official and Ministerial level.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how his Department estimates the potential cost to the public purse of removing VAT on (a) defibrillators and (b) other products.

The cost of relieving VAT on defibrillators is uncertain owing to the lack of data on purchases of defibrillators and associated apparatus, and on purchasers who are able to reclaim the VAT on these purchases. Businesses are not required to provide information at a product level in their VAT returns, as this would impose an excessive administrative burden; HMRC does not therefore hold this data. All taxes are kept under review; any policy measure would be costed in the usual way.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to target energy support for people living with (a) arthritis and (b) other medical conditions.

At Autumn Statement 2022, the Government announced that it will provide a further Disability Cost of Living Payment of £150 in 2023/24. This was on top of the previous one-off Disability Cost of Living Payment, worth £150, announced in May 2022.

Cost of Living Payments, available to those on means-tested benefits, are also designed to support those on low incomes with the rising cost of living, with a £650 payment announced in May and a £900 payment announced at Autumn Statement 2022.

Disabled people and those with long-term health conditions will also benefit from other forms of Cost of Living support. This includes the Energy Price Guarantee, Energy Bills Support Scheme and the Council Tax rebate.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has had discussions with banks on the provision of a service to deal with unresolved business banking complaints for SMEs following the planned closure of the Business Banking Resolution Service in December 2023.