Rosie Cooper

Labour - West Lancashire

Health and Social Care Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Health and Social Care Committee
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Health and Social Care Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Administration Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 29th Oct 2012
Justice Committee
25th Jan 2010 - 6th May 2010
North West Regional Select Committee
3rd Mar 2009 - 6th May 2010
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 6th May 2010
Justice Committee
6th Nov 2007 - 17th Mar 2008
European Scrutiny Committee
28th Jun 2005 - 12th Dec 2005


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Wednesday 21st July 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

The Government claim that fires in schools are very rare and are mostly confined to one room or cause little …

Written Answers
Monday 19th July 2021
Local Government: Lancashire
What progress (a) has been and (b) is being made on proposals to replace Lancashire County Council with three new …
Early Day Motions
Monday 19th April 2021
Rail to Refuge scheme
That this House celebrates the work of the Rail to Refuge scheme, a joint initiative between rail companies and the …
Bills
Wednesday 16th June 2021
British Sign Language Bill 2021-22
A Bill to declare British Sign Language (BSL) an official language of the United Kingdom; to provide for a British …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: USDAW
Address of donor: 188 Wilmslow Road, Manchester
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation …
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st July 2021
Ban on trophy hunting imports
That this House welcomes the Government’s commitment to implementing a robust, comprehensive and world-leading ban on trophy hunting imports; agrees …
Supported Legislation
Local Health Scrutiny Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Rosie Cooper has voted in 248 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Rosie Cooper voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 147 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
20 Dec 2019 - European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - View Vote Context
Rosie Cooper voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Labour Aye votes vs 162 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 234
View All Rosie Cooper 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(9 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(5 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(13 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(12 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(4 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(4 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Rosie Cooper's debates

West Lancashire Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest West Lancashire signature proportion
Rosie Cooper has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Rosie Cooper

20th May 2021
Rosie Cooper signed this EDM on Wednesday 21st July 2021

Ban on trophy hunting imports

Tabled by: David Amess (Conservative - Southend West)
That this House welcomes the Government’s commitment to implementing a robust, comprehensive and world-leading ban on trophy hunting imports; agrees that the trophy hunting of animals, including those at risk of extinction, is morally reprehensible; notes the strong support for such a ban among the general public, with the most …
63 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 22
Scottish National Party: 14
Conservative: 9
Liberal Democrat: 6
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Green Party: 1
22nd June 2021
Rosie Cooper signed this EDM on Wednesday 7th July 2021

Use of restraints on children and young people

Tabled by: Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Labour - Streatham)
That this House believes that no child or young person who has not committed nor been suspected of committing a crime be placed in handcuffs or subject to similar forms of restraint; notes with concern the prevalence of handcuffs being used against vulnerable children in the UK’s care system by …
25 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Rosie Cooper's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Rosie Cooper, 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.


Rosie Cooper has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Rosie Cooper has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Rosie Cooper


A Bill to declare British Sign Language (BSL) an official language of the United Kingdom; to provide for a British Sign Language Council to promote and advise on the use of BSL; to establish principles for the use of BSL in public services; to require public bodies to have regard to those principles and to guidance issued by the Council; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 28th January 2022

482 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
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 10 February 2021, ref ZA55528, on flooded subways in Skelmersdale.

My Office has no record of receiving this letter. I have asked my Office to contact the Hon Member’s Office to re-send the correspondence and arrange for a reply to be sent.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. member for West Lancashire of 5 February 2021 on EU parcels, reference ZA55434.

This letter was received on 20 April 2021. We will respond as soon as possible.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential exemption of maritime key workers from covid-19 quarantine restrictions, in line with previous exemptions granted.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ132929.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
12th Nov 2020
What plans the Government has to implement the recommendations of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on Russia.

The Government welcomed the ISC’s report on Russia. The Government's response to the report was published on the same day as its release.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Oct 2020
What steps the Government is taking to help protect disabled people from the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to disability benefits and other financial support; the food, medicines and essential goods that they need; as well as accessible communications and updated guidance.

The Department for Work and Pensions are helping disabled people stay in work and enter work through a range of programmes, including Access to Work and Disability Confident, the Work and Health Programme, and the Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the regulations in place for umbrella companies.

The Government remains committed to tackling those who use umbrella company arrangements as part of abusive tax avoidance schemes. In the Finance Act 2021, the Government introduced a package of measures to strengthen existing anti-avoidance regimes and tighten the rules designed to tackle promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes. On 23 March 2021, the Government launched a consultation on a further package of measures to tackle promoters and the UK entities that support them. We will be publishing a summary of responses to this consultation and next steps in due course.

In addition to this, the Government has already taken steps to improve transparency for agency workers, including those employed by umbrella companies, by bringing in the Key Information Document from 6 April 2020. The Government has also committed to expand state enforcement for agency workers to cover umbrella companies, which will enable inspectors to investigate relevant complaints involving umbrella companies and take enforcement action where required. This will require primary legislation which the Government will bring forward in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will assist the hon. Member for West Lancashire in securing a response from the Chief Executive of Centrica plc, to a letter dated 19 February 2021 on a constituent's utility and repair bills, reference ZA55579.

The Department has no record of being sighted on the letter dated 19 February 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire to the Chief Executive of Centrica plc.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on weddings dated 26 February 2021, reference ZA55766.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth wrote to you on 20 April about support for the wedding industry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 12 February 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on support programmes for those who heat their homes using oil, reference ZA55510.

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Lord Callanan, wrote to the Hon. Member on 14 April 2021 about support for households to reduce energy bills.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will assist the hon. Member for West Lancashire in securing a response from the Chief Executive of Just Eat plc, to a letter dated 18 January 2021 on outstanding payments to a constituent, reference ZA55172.

The Department has no record of being sighted on the letter dated 18 January 2021 from the Hon. Member for West Lancashire to Just Eat PLC.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will allocate additional financial support to businesses in the West Lancashire hospitality sector affected by covid-19 restrictions.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) was announced on 9 September to support businesses in England that are required to close during enhanced local restrictions introduced in areas by Her Majesty’s Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On 9 October, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced changes to the grants within this scheme to provide further support to businesses required to close due to local restrictions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/job-support-scheme-expanded-to-firms-required-to-close-due-to-covid-restrictions

These grants will be issued for each two-week period that a business is closed following the implementation of statutory localised restrictions and business closures.

The Government continues to monitor local restrictions and will work closely with any Local Authorities that become eligible for this grant scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to encourage (a) Proctor & Gamble and (b) Assist Recruitment to respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 27 May 2020 on their employment policies.

The Department is unable to intervene in individual cases of correspondence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much the Government has spent on subsidising biomass for electricity in each of the last three years, and if he will make a statement.

Subsidies for generating electricity from biomass are paid under three low carbon electricity schemes: the Renewables Obligation, the Feed-in Tariff, and Contracts for Difference. The Renewables Obligation does not pay a direct subsidy: instead support is provided through tradeable certificates. The costs of the Contracts for Difference scheme are levied on consumer electricity bills.

The table below provides a breakdown of payments made to biomass electricity generators under the Renewables Obligation and Contracts for Difference schemes in the last three financial years where figures are available[1]:

Breakdown of payments made to biomass electricity generators by low carbon electricity support scheme

Scheme

2017-18 (£m)

2018-19 (£m)

2019-20 (£m)

Renewables Obligation[2]

864.7

1,076.1

966.3[3]

Contracts for Difference[4]

247.3

380.2

449.1

[1] Figures are not available broken down by technology for the Feed-in Tariff scheme.

[2] Renewables Obligation figures are based on Ofgem’s certificate report as at 17 June 2020 from their Renewables and CHP Register.

[3] Renewables Obligation figures for 2019/20 are provisional as not all the certificates have been issued yet, and the full notional value of each certificate is not yet known.

[4] Contracts for Difference figures are from the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) CfD dashboard, which is available on LCCC’s website.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to make further financial support available to the events industry in response to the extension of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The events industry makes a valuable contribution to the UK economy, and the Government is committed to supporting the sector’s recovery.

We have provided an additional £700 million to support local and national arts, culture and sports institutions as they reopen, that’s on top of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, bringing our total support for sports and culture to over £2 billion, with around £600 million yet to be distributed.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the promotion of physical activity among young people.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all children and young people have the best opportunities to engage in sport and physical activity. Our Sporting Future strategy sets out how important it is for all children to have a good experience of sport and physical activity while they are young.

The Government’s arm’s-length body, Sport England, has invested over £190 million into physical activity for children and young people over 2016-2021, including programmes such as the £40 million Families Fund, which encourages low-income families with children to do sport and physical activity together. Initiatives such as the Studio You video platform, funded by Sport England and powered by This Girl Can, are also encouraging more teenage girls to be active.

The Government’s School Sport and Activity Action Plan (jointly published by the Department for Education, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Department for Health and Social Care in July 2019) sets out a commitment to ongoing collaboration to support the delivery of high-quality PE lessons and to ensure that sport and physical activity are an integral part of both the school day and after-school activities. This is supported by £320 million per year through the PE and sport premium. More recently, the Government has hosted roundtables on how to take support for young people even further, and has committed to updating the Government sport strategy, with children and young people central to this.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 23 April 2021 on animal charities and graphic advertisements, reference ZA56307.

A response was issued on 10 June 2021 under the case reference MC2021/08554. We apologise for the delay in responding.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 5 March 2021, on a rural broadband speeds, reference ZA55871.

A response was issued on 26 April 2021 under the case reference MC2021/05151. We apologise for the delay in responding.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) stakeholders on investment in fibre broadband in (a) West Lancashire constituency and (b) rural areas in the UK.

The government is committed to gigabit capable broadband to everyone in the UK by stimulating investment, busting barriers and driving competition. The UK is on track for one of the fastest rollouts in Europe and for half of all households to have access to gigabit speeds by the end of the year. It is a huge leap forward from 2019, when it was just one in ten.

The government is investing £5 billion in Project Gigabit to ensure that gigabit capable broadband reaches all communities across the UK. Further detail on our approach is set out in our Project Gigabit - Phase One Delivery Plan published on 19 March 2021, including using subsidised procurements to extend gigabit broadband coverage and providing up to £210m to fund a new voucher from the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and up to £110m to connect rural GP surgeries, libraries and schools.

West Lancashire is in Phase 2 of the delivery plan. We will begin a national Open Market Review by July 2021 for telecoms providers to give us a picture of where the market plans to invest in gigabit networks over the next three years and to confirm where we need to intervene so places are not left out. Officials from Building Digital UK (BDUK) in DCMS are in regular contact with Lancashire County Council and other partners about the delivery plans for Lancashire.

Alongside the delivery plan, the government also launched a Call For Evidence for the Very Hard To Reach premises in the UK. The Barrier Busting Task Force also published an update of their work in a range of measures to support gigabit rollout.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to protect children from harmful online content prior to the coming into force of online harms legislation; and if he will take steps to bring into force the requirement for age-verification on pornographic websites prior to that legislation.

The Government announced in October 2019 that it will not commence the age verification provisions of Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 and instead deliver these protections through our wider online harms regulatory proposals.

Under our online harms proposals, we expect companies to use age assurance or age verification technologies to prevent children from accessing services which pose the highest risk of harm to children, such as online pornography. The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography. Taken together we expect this to bring into scope more online pornography currently accessible to children than would have been covered by the narrower scope of the Digital Economy Act.

We would encourage companies to take steps ahead of the legislation to protect children from harmful and age inappropriate content online, including online pornography. We are working closely with stakeholders across industry to establish the right conditions for the market to deliver age assurance and age verification technical solutions ahead of the legislative requirements coming into force.

In addition, Regulations transposing the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive came into force on 1 November 2020 which require UK-established video sharing platforms to take appropriate measures to protect minors from harmful content. The Regulations require that the most harmful content is subject to the strongest protections, such as age assurance or more technical measures. Ofcom, as the regulatory authority, may take robust enforcement action against video sharing platforms which do not adopt appropriate measures.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support is available for vulnerable gamblers to protect them from excessive online gambling during the covid-19 outbreak.

Gambling operators providing facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and must abide by its player protection requirements. In response to the Covid outbreak, the Commission issued additional guidance for online operators to mandate increased customer interactions, a ban on direct marketing of bonus offers or promotions to customers showing signs of vulnerability, and a ban on operators allowing customers to reverse decisions to withdraw winnings. Data published by the Gambling Commission in November found that since the first national lockdown began, the majority (86%) of those surveyed had gambled the same amount or less than they had previously.

Support and treatment services for people experiencing gambling problems have remained available throughout the Covid 19 period. These include the National Gambling Helpline and counselling services delivered by GamCare and other third sector providers, the NHS specialist gambling clinic in London and the NHS Northern Gambling Service. In April the Gambling Commission directed £8.8 million of regulatory settlement funds to commissioning charity GambleAware to support third sector treatment provision during Covid 19. Other avenues for support such as gambling self exclusion tools and opt-in gambling transaction blocks with banks have also remained available throughout the pandemic.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence led, and aims to make sure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age. The Call for Evidence will be open for 16 weeks until 31 March 2021, and further detail, including how to make a contribution, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-the-gambling-act-2005-terms-of-reference-and-call-for-evidence/review-of-the-gambling-act-2005-terms-of-reference-and-call-for-evidence.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the regulations in place to support problem gamblers.

Gambling operators providing facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and must abide by its player protection requirements. In response to the Covid outbreak, the Commission issued additional guidance for online operators to mandate increased customer interactions, a ban on direct marketing of bonus offers or promotions to customers showing signs of vulnerability, and a ban on operators allowing customers to reverse decisions to withdraw winnings. Data published by the Gambling Commission in November found that since the first national lockdown began, the majority (86%) of those surveyed had gambled the same amount or less than they had previously.

Support and treatment services for people experiencing gambling problems have remained available throughout the Covid 19 period. These include the National Gambling Helpline and counselling services delivered by GamCare and other third sector providers, the NHS specialist gambling clinic in London and the NHS Northern Gambling Service. In April the Gambling Commission directed £8.8 million of regulatory settlement funds to commissioning charity GambleAware to support third sector treatment provision during Covid 19. Other avenues for support such as gambling self exclusion tools and opt-in gambling transaction blocks with banks have also remained available throughout the pandemic.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence led, and aims to make sure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age. The Call for Evidence will be open for 16 weeks until 31 March 2021, and further detail, including how to make a contribution, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-the-gambling-act-2005-terms-of-reference-and-call-for-evidence/review-of-the-gambling-act-2005-terms-of-reference-and-call-for-evidence.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 12 August 2020 on the Roman Fort in Burscough.

A response was issued to the Hon Member on 6th November.

May I apologise for the delay in responding to the issues the hon. Member has raised.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 24 August 2020 on communication he has had with BT on BT workers' contracts and redundancies.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the issues the Hon. Member has raised. The department with the policy remit will reply on each matter shortly.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 10 July 2020 to the Prime Minister on a Maritime Coastal Powerhouse Minister, which was transferred to his Department for answer.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the issues the Hon. Member has raised. The department with the policy remit will reply on each matter shortly.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to respond to the letter of 13 August 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, on subtitling on third party platforms.

A response was sent to the Hon Member on 5th October.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support community sport groups during the covid-19 lockdown to ensure that they can resume activity once it is safe to do so.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active and the Government is committed to reopening facilities as soon as it is safe to do so. The government has announced that indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities would remain closed but from 4 July other indoor other indoor facilities, including indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues would reopen.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Sport England has also announced £210 million of funding to help sport and physical activity organisations deal with the short and long term effects of the pandemic.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to tackle loneliness among people aged over 75 who cannot afford a TV licence from June 2020 and are not eligible for pension credit.

The future of the over 75 licence fee concession is the responsibility of the BBC from June 2020. This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

In 2018 this government published the world's first government loneliness strategy and appointed the world's first minister with responsibility for tackling loneliness. In January 2020 we published our first annual report, highlighting the progress made so far.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking with the BBC to ensure the continuation of the provision of free TV licences for people aged over 75.

The future of the over 75 licence fee concession is the responsibility of the BBC from June 2020. This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

In 2018 this government published the world's first government loneliness strategy and appointed the world's first minister with responsibility for tackling loneliness. In January 2020 we published our first annual report, highlighting the progress made so far.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to support people over 75 to (a) pay for a TV licence and (b) claim a concessionary rate for a TV licence.

The future of the over 75 licence fee concession is the responsibility of the BBC from June 2020. It is for the BBC to set out the ways in which people over 75 can pay for a TV licence or claim the BBC’s concession from this date.

The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

The Government is committed to ensuring that older people receive the support they are entitled to and the DWP targets activity on engaging with people who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim State Pension or report a change in their circumstances.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of adopting a long-term strategy to help improve physical activity and wellbeing in young people.

The Department is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care to provide children with greater opportunities to do 60 minutes of sport and physical activity every day inside and outside school.

The Government set out initial actions in the School Sport and Activity Action Plan in July 2019. The Department has worked to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and is delivering on the actions set out in the plan. This includes providing £11.6 million to Sport England to understand and overcome barriers to schools opening their sport facilities, funding nine teaching school networks to develop and deliver Physical Education (PE) continued professional development programmes and Sport England has provided £1.5 million of National Lottery funding to launch a new digital schools’ platform, designed to reach girls who have disengaged from PE. The Department subsequently announced £10.1 million in funding to support schools to open sports facilities outside of the school day.

The Government has confirmed its intention to publish an update to the action plan following the Spending Review later this year and is working closely with sport organisations through the School Sport and Activity Sector Forum to discuss the Government’s long term approach to PE and school sport.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress he is making on implementing his policies on improving children's health and wellbeing through the provision of physical education and school sport; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care to provide children with greater opportunities to do 60 minutes of sport and physical activity every day inside and outside school.

The Government set out initial actions in the School Sport and Activity Action Plan in July 2019. The Department has worked to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and is delivering on the actions set out in the plan. This includes providing £11.6 million to Sport England to understand and overcome barriers to schools opening their sport facilities, funding nine teaching school networks to develop and deliver Physical Education (PE) continued professional development programmes and Sport England has provided £1.5 million of National Lottery funding to launch a new digital schools’ platform, designed to reach girls who have disengaged from PE. The Department subsequently announced £10.1 million in funding to support schools to open sports facilities outside of the school day.

The Government has confirmed its intention to publish an update to the action plan following the Spending Review later this year and is working closely with sport organisations through the School Sport and Activity Sector Forum to discuss the Government’s long term approach to PE and school sport.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the role that physical education and school sport can play in promoting mental wellbeing among children and young people.

The Department works with the Department of Health and Social Care to regularly review the latest evidence on children and young people’s mental wellbeing, including the impact of physical activity and sport. Physical education (PE) and school sport play a central role in ensuring that pupils have the opportunity to take part in sport and exercise. For this reason, PE is a foundation subject in all four Key Stages of the National Curriculum.

Evidence suggests that good quality sporting activity can have a positive impact on children and young people’s general wellbeing and mental health. For example, research by the National Centre for Social Research shows that participating in organised sports and joining after school clubs can help to improve primary school children’s academic performance and social skills.

There is also evidence that organised sporting activity can have a positive effect on personal development and contribute to wellbeing such as improved self-esteem, self-confidence, and social skills. Such activity can have a beneficial effect on mental health in terms of reducing anxiety, emotional distress, and depressive symptoms.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children with disabilities can participate in appropriate physical activity at school.

The Department has provided £900,000 to the Inclusion 2020 programme since 2018, which supports 9,328 schools with continuing professional development to ensure that physical education (PE) and school sport is inclusive of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This programme funded the development of new teacher resources such as the ‘All about Autism, All about Me’ digital toolkit, endorsed by the National Autistic Society, which provides support for making PE and sport inclusive to pupils with autism spectrum conditions.

The Department has committed to continue to fund a programme to support children and young people with SEND to take part in PE and school sport. It launched an open competition process last month to select a new programme.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the UK Committee for UNICEF and Carnegie UK Trust’s recent report, Closing the Digital Divide for Good; and what steps his Department plans to take to implement the recommendations outlined in that report.

The Department’s investment in devices, platforms, training and digital services is being built on to develop a sustainable strategy for digital technology in education. As part of this, the Department will review the report and consider the implications.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the recommendations made by the Disabled Children Partnership in their report, The Longest Lockdown, published February 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of implementing additional short breaks for families with disabled children who are currently experiencing high levels of family exhaustion.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely challenging for many families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Supporting them is a priority for this government, and their wellbeing remains central to our response to COVID-19.

We have published ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children's social care services’, making clear that parents or carers of disabled children and young people may continue to access respite care. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care. We have communicated best practice to Directors of Children's Services and encouraged local authorities to ensure that as many disabled children and young people as possible can continue to access these respite services during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have encouraged local authorities to prioritise respite support for disabled children, and to consider flexible and pragmatic options to deliver that support, including using direct payments and carrying out activities virtually.

We are providing £40.8 million for the Family Fund in the 2020-21 financial year to support over 80,000 families on low incomes raising children with disabilities or serious illnesses. This includes £13.5 million to specifically respond to needs arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 13 January 2021 on tax-free childcare, reference ZA54965.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 13 January from the hon. Member for West Lancashire.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether a new module on the importance of pelvic floor health education can be introduced into the school curriculum targeting girls between the ages of 13-16.

Pupils need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal, and social lives in a positive way. That is why we have made Health Education compulsory in all state-funded schools in England alongside Relationships Education (in primary schools) and Relationships and Sex Education (in secondary schools). Health education gives schools the opportunity to drive up the consistency and quality of pupils’ physical health knowledge by delivering clear content through evidence-based teaching. The aim of teaching pupils about physical health and mental wellbeing is to give them the information they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing, recognise issues in themselves and others and, when issues arise, seek support as early as possible from appropriate sources.

The Department is committed to supporting schools in their preparations and has published non-statutory implementation guidance alongside teacher training materials. Both are designed to provide teachers with further clarity and practical advice on how to implement the Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum, to help all teachers increase their confidence and quality of teaching. The support is available on a one-stop page for teachers on GOV.UK. This covers all the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance including the importance of developing and maintaining good muscular and skeletal health through regular exercise; and the main changes which take place in males and females, and the implications for emotional and physical health.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils. This could include, for example, choosing to teach about the importance of pelvic floor health education to girls between the ages of 11 and 13. The Department has provided advice on choosing resources in the non-statutory implementation guidance “Plan your Relationships, Sex and Health Curriculum”. We are working with Public Health England to make sure good quality teaching resources are available for teachers delivering health education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether girls between the ages of 13-16 receive formal pelvic floor health education to help avoid future incontinence.

Pupils need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal, and social lives in a positive way. That is why we have made Health Education compulsory in all state-funded schools in England alongside Relationships Education (in primary schools) and Relationships and Sex Education (in secondary schools). Health education gives schools the opportunity to drive up the consistency and quality of pupils’ physical health knowledge by delivering clear content through evidence-based teaching. The aim of teaching pupils about physical health and mental wellbeing is to give them the information they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing, recognise issues in themselves and others and, when issues arise, seek support as early as possible from appropriate sources.

The Department is committed to supporting schools in their preparations and has published non-statutory implementation guidance alongside teacher training materials. Both are designed to provide teachers with further clarity and practical advice on how to implement the Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum, to help all teachers increase their confidence and quality of teaching. The support is available on a one-stop page for teachers on GOV.UK. This covers all the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance including the importance of developing and maintaining good muscular and skeletal health through regular exercise; and the main changes which take place in males and females, and the implications for emotional and physical health.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils. This could include, for example, choosing to teach about the importance of pelvic floor health education to girls between the ages of 11 and 13. The Department has provided advice on choosing resources in the non-statutory implementation guidance “Plan your Relationships, Sex and Health Curriculum”. We are working with Public Health England to make sure good quality teaching resources are available for teachers delivering health education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 11 December 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, regarding covid-19 safety in SEN schools, reference ZA54854.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 11 December 2020, from the hon. Member of West Lancashire.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of schools in England have received their requested allocation of devices to support remote learning.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, this includes over 870,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities.

All schools have been invited to order their full allocation of devices. Schools, academy trusts and local authorities are responsible for distributing the laptops and tablets and are best placed to know which children and young people need access to a device.

Figures on the number of devices delivered are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4.

The Department announced on 12 January 2021 that it is purchasing 300,000 more laptops and tablets, bringing the total number we have secured from one million to 1.3 million. The Get Help with Technology scheme will email all schools with information on the number of additional devices allocated to them, and when they will be able to order. We are providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Where pupils experience barriers to digital remote education, we expect schools to offer different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils on track or answer questions about work.

Where schools need additional devices, above their allocations, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to review the free school meals eligibility criteria to include all children living below the poverty line.

We think it is important that free school meal support is targeted at those that need it most. Free school meals are an integral part of our provision for families on low incomes and our wider actions to promote social mobility.

We will consider the full recommendations set out in the National Food Strategy. The government has committed to respond formally to the National Food Strategy following publication of Part 2 of the report.

Universal Credit is an in-work benefit which reduces as household earnings increase. It is right that free school meals remain targeted at those who are out of work and on the lowest incomes.

In 2018, Government introduced new eligibility criteria for families on Universal Credit, following a consultation in 2017. It is estimated that this will be more generous in its reach by 2022, in comparison to the legacy benefit system. Further to this we included generous protections, which mean any family transitioning to Universal Credit will continue to have access to a free school meal even if they move above the earnings threshold.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support being provided to nurseries during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

On 17 December 2020, the government announced a return to funding early years settings on the basis of attendance.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and have heard from them already on this subject. We will be closely monitoring both parental take-up of places and the capacity and responses of providers and will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

Furthermore, we have provided additional support to the early years sector during the COVID-19 outbreak, making grants and loans available and ensuring early years providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for their non-government funded income, and childminders the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). We continue to ensure that providers can access the support available.

On 17 December, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that both the CJRS and SEISS will be extended to April 2021. We also updated the CJRS guidance for Early Years so that all providers who have seen a drop in their overall income are able to furlough any staff (who were on payroll on or before 30 October 2020) and who are not required for delivering the government’s funded entitlements. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Where Early Years providers are struggling financially, they may be eligible to access support from the Additional Restrictions Grant, if not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant schemes. Further information on these grants is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant-for-open-businesses. We will keep under constant review what further support businesses may require.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on covid-19 testing and vaccinations for nursery staff.

Rapid, regular testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19 will be made available across the country from this week, with the eligibility of the community testing programme expanded to cover all 317 local authorities. Local authorities will be encouraged to target testing at critical workers such as early years staff during the national lockdown.

We are rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools, who will receive testing kits for staff from week commencing 18 January 2020. This includes schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools. The asymptomatic testing programme will offer all primary school, schools-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device test kits for routine testing.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine(s) the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other government departments. The Department for Education will input into this cross-governmental exercise.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that university students receive the same quality of education whilst learning from home.

The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the resources to study remotely. This is more important than ever now, with the vast majority of students studying solely online. The Office for Students (OfS), as regulator for higher education (HE) providers in England, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through face-to-face teaching, remote online learning, or a combination of both.

The OfS has published information on quality and standards for providers providing practical guidance on how best to ensure students continue to receive a high quality academic experience in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. This sets out that providers should make all reasonable efforts to provide alternative teaching and support for students that is at least broadly equivalent to the provider’s usual arrangements. The OfS will keep this guidance under review to ensure it remains relevant to the developing circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The OfS is taking very seriously the potential impacts of the outbreak on teaching and learning and is regularly engaging with all registered providers. It is actively monitoring providers to ensure that they maintain the quality of their provision, that it is accessible for all, and that they have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year. The OfS is also following up directly with providers where they receive notifications from students, parents or others raising concerns about the quality of teaching on offer and requiring providers to report to them when they are not able to deliver a course or award a qualification. If the OfS has concerns, it will investigate further.

The OfS is also monitoring the position across the sector for instance through polling of students' views. Where appropriate, and in response to issues raised through that monitoring, it will issue further advice to the sector.

Students have rights under consumer law that they may be able to rely on if they are dissatisfied with their provider’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In the first instance, students should speak to their provider to see if they can resolve their issue. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly, and sympathetically by providers to resolve any concerns. If a student at a provider in England or Wales is not satisfied with their provider’s final response, they should go to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, which has published guidance on this issue. ​

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Government has made of the adequacy of guidance provided to schools on the attendance of children of keyworkers.

During the period of national lockdown, schools should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely until February half term.

On 7 January, the Department published guidance that sets out what all schools will need to do during the national lockdown: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf. Guidance is also available on the children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school. If parents and carers who are critical workers can work from home and look after their children at the same time then they should do so.

Every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on site provision is provided for these pupils, and there is no limit to numbers of these pupils who may attend, and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across areas and the country rather than individually by each institution.

The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools and will ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that clear guidance is available to schools experiencing high demand for places for key worker children during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

During the period of national lockdown, schools should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely until February half term.

On 7 January, the Department published guidance that sets out what all schools will need to do during the national lockdown: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf. Guidance is also available on the children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school. If parents and carers who are critical workers can work from home and look after their children at the same time then they should do so.

Every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on site provision is provided for these pupils, and there is no limit to numbers of these pupils who may attend, and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across areas and the country rather than individually by each institution.

The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools and will ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 2 October 2020 on an incident suffered by a constituent's child at school, reference ZA53261.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 2 October, ref ZA53261, from the hon. Member for West Lancashire.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the risk to clinically extremely vulnerable parents of sending their children to school.

Updated guidance on protecting clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, developed by the Department of Health and Social Care, was published on 26 November 2020. The advice outlined within this guidance states that children and young people whose parents or carers are clinically extremely vulnerable should still attend education and childcare. This remains the default position for all areas irrespective of local restriction tiers. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

Education and childcare is vital to the wellbeing of children and young people. Time out of nursery, school and college is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development.

Schools, nurseries and colleges have implemented a range of protective measures recommended by the Public Health England-endorsed guidance published by the Department for Education which, when followed, creates an inherently safer environment for pupils, staff and families. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#res.

If parents or carers are anxious about their child attending education, we recommend that they discuss this with their school leaders to understand their concerns and provide reassurance regarding the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at school, nursery or college.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of formally advising secondary schools in the UK to return to remote learning for the final week of term to help reduce the spread of covid-19 over the Christmas break.

It continues to be the Department’s aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full time. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn.

As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, nurseries, schools, and colleges should not change their Christmas holidays or close early this term. Parents should continue to send their children to school during term time. Head teachers, teachers and staff in schools and colleges have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low, and there are negative health impacts from being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.

If parents have concerns about their child attending school because they consider they or members of their household may have particular risk factors, they should discuss these with their school.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, dated 8 September 2020, ref MR/ZA53629, on a student of Runshaw College.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 8 September 2020, from the hon. Member for West Lancashire.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what reparations are available to a student who received incorrect A-level results as a result of a clerical error by Runshaw College which resulted in the student missing out on a university place and who is now being told they are unable to resit their second year of college.

Appeals against A and AS level and GCSE grades are being accepted from schools or colleges where they think the exam board did not apply its procedures properly and fairly or where the data used by the exam board to calculate results contained an error.

Ofqual has published summary guidance, agreed with school and college leaders, which makes clear what the process was for putting together centre assessment grades and the grounds of appeal which are available.

I understand the college has been in touch with the student to see if they wish to enter the autumn exam series. The Department has launched an Exam Support Service which will provide support for schools and colleges to run the autumn exams.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Universities Minister in his Department plans to provide a date and time for the meeting with the hon. Member for West Lancashire to discuss Edge Hill University.

I am due to meet the hon. Member for West Lancashire on 1 September 2020 and look forward to discussing the matter she raised with me in person.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will place a copy of the lease pertaining to Ormskirk School in the Library.

Ormskirk School moved to its new accommodation in 2004. The land had been part of the site of the former Cross Hall High School, a community school, and was transferred by Lancashire County Council (LCC) in February 2006 to five named individuals who were trustees of the Foundation Trust of the school. The Department for Education was not party to that transfer.

The 2006 Charity Commission scheme for the Foundation Trust provides for the Foundation Trust to retain the land for use as a voluntary school.

Copies of the title number LAN28839 are available on request from LCC or the Foundation Trust and the Land Registry. A copy of the title has been shared with the Department as part of the conversion of the school to become an academy.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the building of the current Ormskirk school using funding from his Department was conditional on the terms of the Ormskirk Foundation Trust and the local authority; and if he will place a copy of that lease in the Library.

Ormskirk School moved to its new accommodation in 2004. The land had been part of the site of the former Cross Hall High School, a community school, and was transferred by Lancashire County Council (LCC) in February 2006 to five named individuals who were trustees of the Foundation Trust of the school. The Department for Education was not party to that transfer.

The 2006 Charity Commission scheme for the Foundation Trust provides for the Foundation Trust to retain the land for use as a voluntary school.

Copies of the title number LAN28839 are available on request from LCC or the Foundation Trust and the Land Registry. A copy of the title has been shared with the Department as part of the conversion of the school to become an academy.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of school closures on children’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

The Department for Education is working closely with educational institutions, sector organisations, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) to understand the effects of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of children and identify the children and young people that need help and will continue to do so as more pupils return to school.

There are well established links between physical activity, improved mental wellbeing and educational attainment and we recognise the importance that children continue to remain fit and active, wherever possible, and have the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officers. We are encouraging schools to prioritise physical activity as they welcome more children back to school. Schools are free to organise and deliver a physical education curriculum that suits the needs of all their pupils whilst following COVID-19 government guidelines.

The return to school is a key part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, as in addition to providing more opportunities for physical activity, attendance at school allows social interaction with peers, carers and teachers, which benefits wellbeing. To support this, we have encouraged schools to focus on mental wellbeing as pupils return. Children in Reception, year 1 and year 6 are now able to return to primary, and year 10 and year 12 pupils are able to receive face-to-face support at secondary. Primaries with capacity can bring back additional groups, in line with existing protective measures, and we have given schools the flexibility to have face-to-face ‘check-ups’ with all pupils during the summer term, which will ensure more children and young people are able to achieve this benefit. Our intention is for all children to return to school from September and guidance will be published soon.

We are working with the DHSC to put in place further specific support for school staff to understand the issues that pupils will face with their mental wellbeing. This includes training for teachers, such as a new module developed with clinical experts on how to teach about mental health in health education and more information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. During Mental Health Awareness Week, the government also announced that a further £4.2 million will be awarded to mental health charities – including the Samaritans, Young Minds, and Bipolar UK.

All NHS mental health trusts have been asked to ensure that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. These are available for children and young people as well as adults. PHE and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

In addition, children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations either by texting SHOUT to 85258, or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or The Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available here:
https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide additional funding for PE and school sport in his next budget to account for the extended period of inactivity during the covid-19 lockdown.

The School Sport and Activity Action Plan set out a range of measures to ensure that all children have access to high quality PE and sport sessions during the school week and opportunities to be physically active throughout the school day, to help them do the 60 minutes a day of physical exercise recommended by the Chief Medical Officer.

The Government will confirm arrangements for the Primary PE and Sport Premium in the 2020-21 academic year as soon as possible. The funding for PE and school sport in the 2021-22 academic year and beyond will be considered at the forthcoming Spending Review.

The Government remains committed to supporting schools to make good use of their sports facilities and to promote physical literacy and competitive sport. We plan to update the School Sport and Activity Action Plan with longer term proposals to support schools to improve children’s activity levels.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the role of PE and school sport in promoting mental wellbeing among children and young people.

The Department recognises there are well established links between physical activity, improved mental wellbeing and educational attainment.

The Government’s School Sport and Activity Action Plan set out a range of measures to ensure that all children have access to high quality PE and sport sessions during the school week and opportunities to be physically active throughout the school day, to help them do the 60 minutes a day of physical exercise recommended by the UK Chief Medical Officers.

While schools have been closed to some pupils the Government has taken steps to support those who have had restricted opportunity to exercise while at home to support their physical and mental wellbeing. As part of its guidance on remote education provision, the Department has published online educational resources approved by subject experts for schools and parents to help children to take part in PE and physical activity. In addition, Sport England have free online content to help children and their families to become active at home through their Join the Movement campaign.

The Department is working to ensure that schools are fully supported as they welcome more children back to school and schools are able to give pupils opportunities to take part in physical education and be physically active during the school day.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure children with disabilities are able to participate in appropriate physical activity whilst they are not at school during the covid-19 lockdown.

The department has worked closely with early years settings, schools and physical activity experts to ensure that there is advice and resources to support everyone to participate in regular exercise. The department has published online educational resources approved by subject experts for schools and parents to help children to learn at home. These resources include those for PE, which are available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/online-science-pe-wellbeing-and-send-resources-for-home-education.

On 19 May 2020, we announced £37 million for the Family Fund, which will provide grants to families on low incomes with disabled and critically ill children. £10 million of that funding has been committed specifically in response to the unique difficulties presented by the COVID-19 outbreak for over 75,000 families, helping parents educate and look after children who are staying at home more than usual. Details of the announcement have been published here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/37-million-to-support-children-with-complex-needs.

The government has provided £3.2 billion of additional to support local authorities to address any pressures they are facing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including in children’s social care and for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services. We have also announced £750 million funding to support front line charities during the outbreak, including those supporting vulnerable children.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support the families of pupils on free school meals in West Lancashire during the school summer holidays in 2020.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of school closures on children and young people’s (a) mental health and (b) academic attainment in the 2020-21 school year.

The department is continuing to assess the impact of the potential effect of school closure on children and young people’s mental health and education attainment. We are working closely with educational institutions, sector organisations, the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England to understand the risks to education attainment, mental health and wellbeing and identify the children and young people that need help.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. All NHS Mental Health Trusts have been asked to ensure there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

Pupil wellbeing is an important consideration within our guidance on actions for educational and childcare settings as they begin to open in June 2020, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020.

From the week commencing 1 June 2020, primary schools have been welcoming back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). From 15 June 2020, secondary schools will provide some face-to-face support for young people in year 10 and year 12. We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers.

The department continues to work with the education sector on how best to make up for lost time with the phased return to schools for the 2020-21 school year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that children and young people are adequately informed on how to maintain mental wellbeing (a) while the covid-19 restrictions are in place and (b) as covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. All NHS Mental Health Trusts have been asked to ensure there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

The department has signposted resources on supporting and promoting mental wellbeing among the list of resources to help children to learn at home. BBC Bitesize has worked with the department to provide content with substantial focus on mental health, wellbeing and pastoral care. The list of resources is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

The return to school will in itself be part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils as attendance enables social interaction with peers, carers and teachers. Pupil wellbeing is an important consideration within our guidance on actions for educational and childcare settings as they begin to open in June 2020, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020.

Children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations by texting SHOUT to 85258 or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or the Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available here:
https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will publish operational guidance for SEN schools operating during the covid-19 outbreak.

Special schools are playing a vital role in supporting vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department for Education has published a substantial body of guidance to help special schools and other settings support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This includes in particular:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on vulnerable children and young people:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): SEND risk assessment guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance.

Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to coronavirus (COVID-19):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-law-on-education-health-and-care-needs-assessments-and-plans-due-to-coronavirus.

Further guidance for all schools, including special schools, can be found in our coronavirus (COVID-19) collection:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

We are committed to maintaining and updating all guidance as the COVID-19 outbreak develops.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will raise the rate of funding for sixth form students to at least £4,760 per year.

We are investing an extra £400 million in 16 to 19 education next year to ensure that we are building the skills that our country needs. We will increase the base rate of funding by 4.7%, from £4,000 to £4,188 for the academic year 2020/21. Over and above the base rate rise, this extra spending also includes new resources for high value and high cost courses and funding to support those on level 3 programmes to continue to study English and maths where needed.

This is the biggest injection of new money into 16 to 19 education in a single year since 2010 - with funding increasing faster for 16 to 19 than in 5 to 16 schooling – and will mean a significant increase in the average level of funding per student. We will of course continue to look at the needs of 16 to 19 education in future Spending Reviews.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for sixth form students.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend, the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families on 28 January 2020 to 5550.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the provision of effective financial education for young people.

Since 2014 financial education has been statutory within the secondary national curriculum as part of citizenship and mathematics. Financial education ensures that pupils are taught the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and managing financial risk.

The Ofsted inspection framework sets out how inspections take a view on the quality of the broad and balanced education that a school provides. This includes how schools provide pupils with the knowledge and skills needed to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life, which can include financial education, as well as how curriculum subjects such as citizenship contribute to pupils’ personal development.

There are a number of organisations that support financial education for young people. Young Money recently launched a free financial education textbook for secondary schools, to support high quality teaching of the subject. We are currently working with the Money and Pension Service and HM Treasury to consider how we can support further the teaching of financial education in schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 16 April 2021 on compulsory microchip scanning, reference ZA56243.

A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 14 June 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 12 February 2021 on access to seed potato markets which was transferred to his Department by the Department for International Trade, reference ZA55507.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. A reply is being prepared and will be issued very shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 12 February 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, regarding air pollution regulations in respect to the Animal, Plant and Health Agency, reference ZA53694.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. A reply was sent on 22 April 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to ensure that (a) funding and (b) regulations are in place to help protect (i) the River Tawd and (ii) similar natural environments from pollution.

The Environment Agency has secured funding to commence an investigation into sources of pollution in the River Tawd. We are tackling river pollution from poor farming practice with regulation, financial incentives and educational schemes for farmers. In addition to Government investment in many local improvement schemes, water company investment is increasing to £4.6 billion between 2020-2025. A task force comprising the Government and water companies is addressing the problem of sewage discharge from storm overflows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness and adequacy of the Environment Agency's £175,000 spend on desilting works in West Lancashire over the last three years as part of its recurring maintenance programme.

Desilting is one of a range of activities carried out by the Environment Agency (EA) in West Lancashire to protect people and property from flooding, alongside the control of aquatic vegetation, removal of blockages and the operation of key flood defence assets, including tidal outfalls and pumping stations. The works carried out by the EA are targeted where they will provide the greatest benefit to people and property.

A recurring programme of silt surveys is in place to help the EA focus on areas where the need is greatest. The EA has secured over £70,000 for desilting in West Lancashire in 2021/22, including a desilt of the Three Pools watercourse which has multiple benefits across local residential and agricultural areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the two letters from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 26 October 2020 on watercourse maintenance in West Lancashire constituency, references GD/ZA54244 and GD/ZA54254.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54309 and GD/ZA54475, I replied to the hon. Member on 17 December 2020.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54170, GD/ZA54244, GD/ZA54254,

GD/ZA54258, GD/ZA54301 and GD/ZA54412, I replied to the hon. Member on 18 December 2020.

Correspondence reference GD/ZA54476 was answered in the same reply as GD/ZA54475.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 27 October 2020 on watercourse maintenance in West Lancashire constituency, reference GD/ZA54258.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54309 and GD/ZA54475, I replied to the hon. Member on 17 December 2020.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54170, GD/ZA54244, GD/ZA54254,

GD/ZA54258, GD/ZA54301 and GD/ZA54412, I replied to the hon. Member on 18 December 2020.

Correspondence reference GD/ZA54476 was answered in the same reply as GD/ZA54475.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the two letters from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 9 November 2020 on watercourse maintenance in West Lancashire constituency, references GD/ZA54301 and GD/ZA54412.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54309 and GD/ZA54475, I replied to the hon. Member on 17 December 2020.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54170, GD/ZA54244, GD/ZA54254,

GD/ZA54258, GD/ZA54301 and GD/ZA54412, I replied to the hon. Member on 18 December 2020.

Correspondence reference GD/ZA54476 was answered in the same reply as GD/ZA54475.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the two letters from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 11 November 2020 on watercourse maintenance and Internal Drainage Boards in West Lancashire constituency, references GD/ZA54475 AND GD/ZA54476.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54309 and GD/ZA54475, I replied to the hon. Member on 17 December 2020.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54170, GD/ZA54244, GD/ZA54254,

GD/ZA54258, GD/ZA54301 and GD/ZA54412, I replied to the hon. Member on 18 December 2020.

Correspondence reference GD/ZA54476 was answered in the same reply as GD/ZA54475.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 9 November 2020 on flooding and litter in West Lancashire constituency, reference GD/ZA54309.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54309 and GD/ZA54475, I replied to the hon. Member on 17 December 2020.

With regard to correspondence references GD/ZA54170, GD/ZA54244, GD/ZA54254,

GD/ZA54258, GD/ZA54301 and GD/ZA54412, I replied to the hon. Member on 18 December 2020.

Correspondence reference GD/ZA54476 was answered in the same reply as GD/ZA54475.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the two letters from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 26 October 2020 on watercourse maintenance in West Lancashire constituency.

I apologise for the delay in responding. Replies to the hon. Member's letters have been prepared and will be issued very shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 20 October 2020 on watercourse maintenance in West Lancashire constituency and Environment Agency funding.

I apologise for the delay in responding. Replies to the hon. Member's letters have been prepared and will be issued very shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 27 October 2020 on behalf of the National Farmers Union on watercourse maintenance in West Lancashire constituency.

I apologise for the delay in responding. Replies to the hon. Member's letters have been prepared and will be issued very shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional funding to the Environment Agency to fund the desilting of land in West Lancashire constituency so that that land can be effectively drained to protect crops from loss and damage.

De-silting (also referred to as dredging) and clearing channels, are important parts of the Environment Agency’s (EA) river maintenance regime. The EA will undertake these activities where there is evidence that they will reduce flood risk to local properties cost effectively without increasing flooding downstream.

Typically over each of the past three years the Environment Agency has spent between £45 million and £55 million a year on channel maintenance, of which between £5 million and £11 million is for dredging.

Channel maintenance in West Lancashire, where the majority of watercourses are man-made for drainage, includes a range of activities to maintain conveyance such as desilting, weed cutting and removing blockages. Locally over the last three years in West Lancashire the EA has carried out £175,000 worth of desilting, as part of its recurring maintenance programme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the Environment Agency's funding allocation for de-silting work.

Between 2015 and 2020 we committed around £1 billion on the maintenance of flood defence assets. This is a real terms increase in spending compared to the £812 million spent in the previous five years.

De-silting (also referred to as dredging) and clearing channels, are important parts of the Environment Agency’s (EA) river maintenance regime. The EA will undertake these activities where there is evidence that they will reduce flood risk to local properties cost effectively without increasing flooding downstream.

Typically, over each of the past 3 years the EA have spent between £5 million and £11 million on dredging across England. This equates to approximately 100-200km of river channel each year. The EA regularly reviews its river channel maintenance programme to identify where an increase in river channel maintenance, including dredging, will provide a net positive economic benefit by reducing flood risk.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 14 August 2020 on the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for West Lancashire.

I apologise for the delay in responding. I replied to the hon. Member on 3 November 2020.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond the letters of 11 August 2020, 28 August 2020 and 7 September 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on flooding on Crabtree Lane in Burscough and responsibility for flood management.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. Defra is currently dealing with high volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. It has also been necessary to consult the Environment Agency to provide as accurate and helpful a response as possible, which has taken time. I understand the hon. Member has also separately written to the Environment Agency on some of the points raised in these letters and the Environment Agency has responded.

The replies will be with the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 11 August 2020 on flood pumps and the effects of flooding in West Lancashire.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. Defra is currently dealing with high volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. It has also been necessary to consult the Environment Agency to provide as accurate and helpful a response as possible, which has taken time. I understand the hon. Member has also separately written to the Environment Agency on some of the points raised in these letters and the Environment Agency has responded.

A reply to the hon. Member has been prepared and will be issued very shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs were seized by the Animal Health and Plant Agency for having been illegally imported via (a) Eurotunnel, (b) Dover Port and (c) Harwich port in August 2020.

The number of dogs seized and detained in quarantine at Eurotunnel, Dover Port and Harwich in August 2020 are as follows:

Eurotunnel – 35

Dover Port – 10

Harwich – 0

The number of animals detained in quarantine for Eurotunnel also includes dogs that were seized at Coquelles and moved into the United Kingdom for quarantine purposes.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on dog welfare.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Defra’s animal welfare team has been in regular contact with the sector to understand the impacts and what is needed from government. I am grateful for the work done by animal welfare charities to promote advice for pet owners and look after animals during this difficult time.

The Association of Dogs & Cats Homes undertook surveys in April and May 2020 of their members and wider rescue and rehoming organisations to establish the extent of the impact of Covid-19 on the sector. Many rescue organisations have reported a reduction in the number of dogs being abandoned during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and there has been an increase in demand for dogs and other pets. We are continuing to monitor the effect on pet ownership of lifestyle changes stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that the animal rescue and rehoming sector has been impacted by a significant reduction in income through charity shop closures, cancelled fundraisers and much reduced donations. It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively to safeguard the welfare of animals in their care (including dogs) in the face of real financial hardship and uncertainty.

We have worked closely with the Canine and Feline Sector Group to agree and update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations and pet businesses to enable them to undertake core operations as far as possible, while maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. We also provided pet owners, including those with dogs, with information about how to look after their animals during Covid-19: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals.

The Government remains committed to continued engagement with welfare charities and the wider companion animal sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 21 April 2020 on panic buying which was transferred to his Department from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 6 June 2020.

A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 22 July 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the level of (a) puppy farming, (b) puppy smuggling and (c) third-party sales of puppies and kittens.

Defra is in regular contact with the companion animal welfare sector to discuss matters including dog breeding and sales activity. There has been a high level of demand for pets as more people have been staying at home during the Covid-19 outbreak. We recognise that there are risks of people buying puppies which have unknowingly been bred in poor welfare conditions whether at home or abroad. To help combat this situation, Defra launched a national Government communications campaign in March 2020, 'Petfished', to coincide with the introduction of the ban on the commercial third-party sale of puppies and kittens in England which came into force on 6 April 2020.

The campaign raises awareness of the consequences of buying from a low-welfare seller and challenges the assumption that it is easy to spot bad practice. 'Petfished' also educates the public on best practice for finding a new pet and signposts individuals to resources available to help them make the right decision. We will be shortly launching the second phase of 'Petfished' this month, with the continued support of major animal welfare charities, veterinary associations and celebrities.

In addition, we are fully committed to cracking down on the vile and illegal trade in pets and operate one of the most rigorous pet border checking regimes in the world. Leaving the EU provides us with the opportunity to further crack down on puppy smuggling in line with our manifesto commitment.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the compulsory microchipping of cats.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Blackpool South on 25 June 2020, PQ UIN 61621.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-18/61621]

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will undertake, with representatives from the devolved Administrations, a thorough and wide-ranging assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on animal welfare throughout the UK.

The Government in early April, along with the Scottish and Welsh Governments, commissioned the Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) to assess the risks to animal welfare as a result of Covid-19 controls. The AWC has submitted the first part of its report which was published on 4 June 2020 and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awc-opinion-on-the-animal-welfare-issues-related-to-covid-19.

The AWC is currently considering the potential medium to long-term impact on animal welfare as a consequence of Covid-19 restrictions. We expect to receive that report, and for it to be published, in early autumn.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he take steps with representatives of the animal welfare sector to help prevent increases in demand for animal rescue services as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Defra is in regular contact with the companion animal rescue and rehoming sector. The Minister for Animal Welfare, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, has met the CEOs of the main companion animal welfare charities to discuss the effects of Covid-19 on the sector.

Defra has worked closely with stakeholders to ensure that there has been helpful and effective guidance available to enable animal rescue and rehoming and charitable activities to continue operating as far as possible, during the various phases of Coronavirus restrictions. As we ease the restrictions, we are conscious that this may have an impact on animal rescue and rehoming. We will continue to work closely with the sector to understand their needs.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many native trees have been planted in each of the last three years; how much his Department has spent on supporting native tree planting in each of those years as part of climate mitigation efforts; and if he will make a statement.

Trees have an important role to play for climate mitigation as we work towards net zero emissions. The Government has made major commitments to enable more tree planting in recent years, including through creation of a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund.

Over 4,000 hectares of woodland have been planted with Government support in England over the last three years at a cost of approximately £17 million.

While complying with the United Kingdom Forestry Standard, land managers and owners decide which species of tree to plant on their land. Woodland planted will be a mix of native and exotic species, all of which contribute towards climate mitigation.

As we deploy new funding we will look to ensure the trees we plant not only capture carbon, but deliver a wide range of ecosystems services.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to plan for a review of the ban on the sale of animal fur after the end of the transition period.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Totnes on 30 June 2020, PQ UIN 62631.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-22/62631]

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how people shielding due to the covid-19 outbreak will be allocated supermarkets for priority deliveries; and whether those people will be offered a choice of supermarket where they are not an existing customer.

Defra is working closely with supermarkets to ensure that people who have registered with the Government as extremely clinically vulnerable and have indicated that they need help to access food are supported, by offering them emergency food parcels provided by the Government or by sharing data to facilitate priority access to online supermarket delivery slots. People can register with supermarkets where they were not previously customers in order to ensure that they can access the food and essential goods that they need.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether people identified as clinically extremely vulnerable can access priority slots at (a) one or (b) any supermarket.

People who register as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) either online or via the helpline, and indicate that they need help to access food, will have their details shared with supermarkets. The participating supermarkets are: Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.

Supermarkets will check these details against their own customer databases and flag anyone who matches. They will then contact the CEV individual and offer them priority access to online delivery slots. The individual should be matched with any supermarket that they are already registered with, and they may choose which they wish to use. Work is in hand to address the needs of people who do not have a pre-existing relationship with any supermarket.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from West Lancashire Borough Council sent on 11 March 2019 on flooding in West Lancashire.

I can confirm that Defra received the letter from West Lancashire Borough Council on 15 March 2019. A response was not issued due to administrative error.

A reply is now being drafted and will be sent to the council in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) funding and (b) other resources are available to local authorities to enable the provision of recycling at schools.

The Government is committed to increasing recycling rates. The Queen’s Speech committed the Government to bring forward our ambitious Environment Bill which introduces legislation so that a core set of materials (metal, plastic, paper and card, glass, food and garden waste) will be collected from all households, businesses and other organisations such as schools, in England, from 2023.

Waste collection and recycling arrangements for schools are controlled and financed by schools themselves. One of Defra’s delivery partners, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), provides curriculum linked resources for schools and teachers to help teach pupils about recycling.

https://partners.wrap.org.uk/campaigns/recycle-now/schools/

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many native trees her Department has supported the planting of in each of the last three years as part of climate mitigation efforts; how much her Department has spent on supporting native tree planting in each of those years; how much carbon her Department estimates has been sequestered as a result of those programmes in that time period; and if she will make a statement.

Improving the management of forests is a priority for DFID’s work to tackle climate change and protect the environment and biodiversity. DFID supports a range of interventions, including working with governments, businesses and community groups to strengthen governance of the forest sector and address the illegal timber trade, as well as public-private partnerships that promote sustainable investment in agriculture, by integrating measures to protect and restore forests.

This support does not directly target the replanting of native trees, and so data is not collected on the number of trees planted. Improved management and protection however creates the conditions needed for regeneration of native trees to take place naturally. For example, through DFID support, 18.7 million hectares of forest in Indonesia are protected under a national scheme backed by an international timber trade agreement, and this agreement includes protections that create the conditions under which natural regeneration can take place.

DFID’s has invested £57.2 million (2017-18), £53.1 million (2018-19) and £50.8 million (2019-20) in bilateral forest programmes over the past three years.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how she plans to build on the UK’s leadership at the Global Vaccine Summit to help ensure a globally co-ordinated response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is proud to have raised $8.8 billion for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance at the Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June. The UK pledged £1.65 billion to Gavi for 2021 to 2025. The funding raised by all donors at the Global Vaccine Summit will enable Gavi to immunise 300 million more children and save up to 8 million lives by 2025. The UK has also reallocated $60 million for Gavi’s Covax AMC, to ensure access in the poorest countries to any COVID-19 vaccine.

As Gavi’s lead donor, the UK is using our leadership at the Summit, to strengthen global coordination on the COVID-19 response. The Gavi Alliance, which includes the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, will play a vital role in maintaining essential services, including routine immunisation, throughout the pandemic. Routine immunisation is the strongest shield against secondary outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases. The UK is working closely with Alliance Partners, to ensure that routine immunisation is prioritised within countries’ primary health care recoveries.

The UK is a key donor to the WHO and has already contributed £75 million to help the organisation lead international efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and end the pandemic. This includes: global coordination; planning for country level preparedness and response; global procurement and supply; the science and research and development agenda; and communications.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment he has made of the effect of funding replenishment for (a) Gavi, (b) the Vaccine Alliance and (c) Nutrition for Growth on ending preventable child deaths by 2030.

The UK’s ambition to end the preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030 is supported by our commitment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and addressing malnutrition through Nutrition for Growth.

The UK’s £1.44 billion of support to Gavi between 2016-2020 has saved 1.4 million lives from vaccine-preventable diseases in 68 of the world’s poorest countries. The UK-hosted pledging conference for Gavi on 3-4th June 2020 is an opportunity for the UK to use its global leadership to secure Gavi the funds it needs to immunise 300 million more children and save at least 7 million lives between 2021 and 2025.

The 2020 Nutrition for Growth Summit will be an important opportunity to secure new commitments to nutrition, to set the world on a better track to achieve the Global Goals and to help achieve our ambition of ending preventable deaths by 2030.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will allocate an adequate level of funding to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to provide for stronger health systems.

The UK is proud to be hosting the Gavi Replenishment Conference on 3-4th June, to secure Gavi the funds it needs to immunise 300 million more children and save at least 7 million lives between 2021 and 2025.

We recognise the importance of the UK’s funding to Gavi; our £1.44 billion of support to Gavi between 2016-2020 has saved 1.4 million lives from vaccine-preventable diseases in 68 of the world’s poorest countries. The UK’s commitment to Gavi is also central to our work to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030.

Gavi’s next strategic period is critically important for the UK as we work together to improve intra-country equity and coverage. Immunisation is often a child’s first point of contact with their health service. By extending routine immunisation to reach the underserved, particularly zero-dose children who have never been vaccinated, Gavi is building a foundation for stronger national health systems. The UK will also prioritise ensuring our investment in Gavi is sustainable by supporting countries to effectively transition from Gavi support to increased domestic funding.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on ensuring that universal health coverage is central to the replenishment period and strategy review with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) is a UK priority and an overarching goal for DFID’s contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The UK’s £1.44 billion of support to Gavi between 2016-2020 has saved 1.4 million lives from vaccine-preventable diseases in 68 of the world’s poorest countries.

The UK is proud to be hosting the Gavi Replenishment Conference on 3-4th June, to secure Gavi the funds it needs to immunise 300 million more children and save at least 7 million lives between 2021 and 2025. The UK’s commitment to Gavi is central to our work to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030.

In its next strategic period, Gavi is committed to reaching every child with essential vaccines, to improve intra-country equity and coverage. Immunisation is often a child’s first point of contact with their health service. By extending routine immunisation to reach the underserved, particularly zero-dose children who have never been vaccinated, Gavi is building a foundation for UHC.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she plans to respond to the letter dated 12 February 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on access to seed potato markets, reference ZA55507.

The Department for International Trade’s correspondence team has transferred your letter to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for a response as the subject of the letter sits within their portfolio.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she plans to respond to the letter dated 12 February 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, reference ZA55555, regarding delays to international purchasing and business imports.

The Department for International Trade’s correspondence team has transferred your letter to the Cabinet Office for a response as the subject of the letter sits within their portfolio.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of a Bounce Back’ plan for the maritime sector.

The Department for International Trade is working closely with the Department of Transport to support the UK maritime sector as it seeks to recover from COVID-19. We do not plan to launch a Bounce Back plan.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support local councils in preventing drivers of large vehicles from parking on residential pavements to tackle (a) mobility barriers and (b) road safety issues.

The contravention of parking HGVs on footways is already subject to civil enforcement and 97% of councils have taken civil enforcement powers. Furthermore, my Department recently consulted on measures to assist councils in addressing pavement parking by other vehicles. We received over 15,000 responses and are currently analysing them to ensure we capture all views. We will publish a response to the consultation in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether a toll will be charged to access the proposed tunnel allowing the A303 to bypass Stonehenge.

The A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme is currently subject to a legal challenge but if the project was to proceed, as approved by the Secretary of State for Transport on 12 November 2020, then there will not be a toll for accessing the proposed tunnel. Provision for a toll was not included in the approved Development Consent Order.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, of 28 July 2020, on Government Funded Satellite Navigation, ref za53233.

A response to your letter was sent on 7 December.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he can take to assist residents in the area surrounding St Richard’s Catholic Primary School, Skelmersdale, who are often inconvenienced by poor management of the school traffic.

Local authorities have a range of measures available to them to manage traffic outside schools. The Cycling and Walking Plan for England, published on 28 July 2020, set out that the Government expects local authorities to install more School Streets to help increase levels of active travel on the school run.

Local authorities in England are able to install School Streets already. However, outside London, offences against the signs used to create a School Street can currently only be enforced by the police.

The Plan also included a commitment to give local authorities outside London the powers to enforce these offences, by commencing Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. Once this is in place, local authorities will be able to apply to the Department for the powers to enforce a range of moving traffic offences, including those signs use to create School Streets.

A further £1 million has also been announced to boost the number of children walking to school. The ‘Walk to School Outreach Programme’ – which has already generated four million new walking trips – is being extended to roll out further measures to support walking.

This includes tackling the barriers which may prevent children and their families choosing to walk to and from school, as well as providing schools with classroom materials and access to local coordinators who can help schools get new walking initiatives up and running.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor the Exchequer on the provision of Government funding for the maritime industry to support the decarbonisation of that industry.

My Department has undertaken extensive research considering the level of investment required for the UK’s domestic maritime sector to achieve net zero by 2050. This research comprises a range of scenarios assessing different policy options, including both costs and benefits, and has been published in support of the Clean Maritime Plan on GOV.UK.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential economic effect of providing Government funding to support the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

My Department has undertaken extensive research, in consultation with the shipping sector and other Government Departments, on the economic opportunities for the UK from the design, development and commercialisation of those technologies that are expected to be critical to achieving zero emission shipping by 2050. This research had been published in support of the Clean Maritime Plan on GOV.UK.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to reply to the correspondence of 21 May 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on the Burscough Curves.

A response to your correspondence of 21 May was sent via email on 3rd July. Unfortunately, due to an administrative error, an incorrect date was quoted on that letter for which I apologise. A revised copy of that letter with the correct date can be found in the attached document.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 March 2021 to Question 162619, o Funeral Payments, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the rejection of 47 per cent of applications for the funeral expenses payment in January 2021.

In reference to the Answer of 8th March 2021 to Question 162619, the following figures were included: In January 2021 there were 3,890 Funeral Expenses Payment applications received, and 2,050 awards paid.

Reasons for this discrepancy are below:

  • The figures relate to applications received by DWP, not applications processed. Some applications may have been withdrawn before a decision was made.
  • Applications received aren’t always processed in the same month in which they are received. The clearance standards for average actuals clearance times for Funeral Expenses Payments are 13 days. An application made in January 2021 might not have been awarded until February 2021.
  • The number of applications made is not equal to the number of people who made applications, as individuals may make multiple applications in a given time period.
  • Differences between any comparisons made of applications received, initial decisions, awards and initial refusals are due to applications being withdrawn; applicants rejecting or not responding to loan offers; and decisions outstanding at the time of the count.

We publish application success rate in Annex 1 of the Social Fund Annual Report. The latest available is the 2018/19 report:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-fund-annual-report-2018-to-2019/social-fund-annual-report-2018-to-2019

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to ensure that the Child Maintenance Group replies to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, of 2 September 2020, on a constituent's child maintenance account, ref za53161.

A substantive reply was sent to the hon. Member by the Child Maintenance Service on 1 December; I apologise for the long delay.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to support people in the workplace who have increased vulnerability to covid-19.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was involved in cross-government work, Safer Workplaces, coordinated by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which produced guidance on the safety measures businesses will need to adopt. This includes advice for Vulnerable workers.

HSE guidance on practical steps to support workers in higher-risk groups, including those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and pregnant workers, can be found at https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what financial support is available to people who are extremely vulnerable to covid-19 who cannot work from home and choose to shield themselves.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will previously have received a letter from the NHS or their GP informing them of this and may have been advised to shield in the past. Individuals who receive a new notification that they need to shield should work from home where possible and if not possible follow their respective Government’s advice on not going to work.

Employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable can be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Where they are not furloughed, and they are unable to work, for example where they cannot work from home, they may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from their employer.

Employees who are not eligible for SSP and the self-employed, may be eligible for New Style Employment and Support Allowance, subject to the wider eligibility criteria.

Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, they may be able to receive Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support universal credit claimants at risk of being unable to work due to being unable to pay for childcare costs upfront.

Childcare costs should not be a barrier to getting into work – this Government is committed to helping parents into work. Universal Credit pays up to 85% of childcare costs, compared to 70% in legacy benefits and can be claimed up to a month before starting a job. For families with two children this could be worth up to £13,000 a year.

Help with upfront childcare costs for starting work is available through a non-repayable Flexible Support Fund (FSF) award for eligible Universal Credit claimants up to the limits set. This does not apply for claimants already in work. We have issued guidance to Work Coaches in Jobcentres to ensure that eligible claimants, who require help with upfront childcare costs in order to start work, are directed to the Government’s FSF. The FSF received an additional £150m this financial year to help support Universal Credit claimants to move closer to, or into work. Budgeting Advances are also available to eligible claimants who require help with upfront costs.

Support with eligible childcare costs is based on reporting actual childcare costs that a household incurs as soon as those costs have been paid. Childcare costs can be reported in the same assessment period they were paid or in the following assessment period. Claimants are then reimbursed for their eligible costs within their Universal Credit award. Monthly reporting helps to support accuracy of payment, whilst also avoiding the levels of error in the Tax Credit system and the possibility of overpayments.

The Universal Credit childcare policy aligns with the wider Government childcare offer, which includes free childcare hours for children between 2 and 4 years and tax free childcare. Eligibility for children aged 2 requires household income to be less than £15,400 a year after tax, not including benefit payments. Universal Credit claimants can utilise both the free childcare entitlement and Universal Credit childcare costs in conjunction with each other for the relevant hours.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on the effect of the frozen pension policy on the livelihoods of members of the Windrush generation.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues, including the Home Secretary, on a range of issues.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Government has to review the regulation of sales of hand sanitiser products to (a) help ensure they are (i) safe and (ii) effective and (b) tackle price gouging of those products.

The EU Biocidal Products Regulation 528/2012 (BPR) has applied since 2013. In line with the EU Exit Withdrawal Agreement, the BPR is being retained with changes to reflect the position at the end of the Transition Period. This process does not allow the UK to make policy changes. Thus, there are no current plans to review the procedures within the UK biocides legislation. HSE has no evidence that the current regulatory approach is ineffective.

BPR requires that all the active substances used in hand sanitiser products are reviewed for their safety, both to people and the wider environment. Only products containing active substances that are undergoing that review process are allowed to be marketed.

Once the review of an active substance has been completed and the active is approved as being suitable to continue being used, each product containing that substance is then assessed, both for safety and for efficacy. While the review of an active substance is ongoing, products containing that substance can continue to be marketed subject to the requirements of general legislation relating to product safety and the supply of chemicals.

The BPR does not regulate the price of hand sanitiser products.

There are no current plans to review the regulation of sales of hand sanitiser products.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he plans to respond to the letter from the Hon. Member for West Lancashire dated 5 November 2019 in relation to a constituent's employment and support allowance.

I can only apologise to the hon. Member for the continued delay in this matter. I can assure her a substantive reply will be posted to her tomorrow.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Age UK's briefing entitled Poverty in later life, published September 2019, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the rise in pensioner poverty.

As a result of the triple lock, from April 2020 (subject to Parliamentary approval) the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension will be around £700 higher than if it had been just up-rated by earnings, since April 2010. From April 2020, the Standard Minimum Guarantee in Pension Credit will increase by average earnings. This is the equivalent of over £2,100 per year higher in cash terms for single people, and over £3,200 per year higher in cash terms for couples than it was in 2010.

The Government is committed to action that helps to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty. There are 100,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (before housing costs) than in 2009/10. Rates of material deprivation for pensioners are also at a record low. Since 2009/10 material deprivation for pensioners has fallen from 10% to 7% in 2017/18, and in 2019/20 the Government will spend around £100 billion on the State Pension.

1.6 million people are already claiming around £5.4 billion in Pension Credit. The Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are entitled. That is why on the 10 February 2020 we launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit and encourage those over State Pension age to check whether they are eligible.

To assist customers to prepare for retirement, the Government has introduced a number of initiatives including the launch of the online mid-life MOT page https://www.yourpension.gov.uk/mid-life-mot/ which provides guidance on how to obtain the right information to plan for retirement.

The employer led strategy on fuller working lives https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/587654/fuller-working-lives-a-partnership-approach.pdf aims to maximise the labour market opportunities for people to earn and save for longer reducing the risk of poverty once they have retired permanently from the labour market.

We are also committed to enabling more people to save while they are working, so that they can enjoy greater security and independence when they retire. Automatic enrolment into workplace pensions has succeeded in transforming workplace pension saving for millions of today’s workers. Participation in workplace pension saving rose from 55 per cent in 2012 to 87 per cent of eligible employees in 2018, showing the positive impact of the workplace pension reforms.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to (a) support older renters and (b) increase the uptake of pension age housing benefit.

The rates of pensioner benefits, including Housing Benefit (HB), tend to be higher than some working-age income-related benefits, as pensioners as a group are likely to be reliant on benefits for a longer period and less able to change their circumstances or improve their income through work.

Local Authorities are responsible for administering HB and the take up of HB by pensioners is shown to be higher than the take up of Pension Credit.

The Department publishes an annual report detailing latest available statistics regarding the estimated take-up of HB and other income-related benefits.

The latest version can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-financial-year-2016-to-2017

The next report containing 2017/18 data will be published in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps her Department has taken to increase the uptake of pension credit.

1.6 Million people are already claiming some £5.4 billion in Pension Credit. The Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are rightly entitled. That is why from the 10 February we are launching a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit and encourage those over State Pension age to check whether they’re eligible. The campaign includes a short, animated video that will be shown in GP waiting rooms and in Post Offices. It will also be shown to Facebook users over State Pension Age and be supported by messaging on social media.

We regularly work with our stakeholders to help spread the key messages from the campaign because we know that often the best ways to reach eligible pensioners is through trusted stakeholders working in the community. The Pension Credit toolkit is being updated with the campaign materials to supplement the resources it already contains for those working with pensioners, such as guides to Pension Credit and guidance designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit. The toolkit is designed to help organisations support someone applying for Pension Credit as well as provide ideas for encouraging take-up. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit

The Department for Work and Pensions continues to use a wide range of channels including information on www.gov.uk, in leaflets and by telephone to communicate information about benefits including Pension Credit to potential claimants. We target activity on engaging with people who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim State Pension or Attendance Allowance or report a change in their circumstances which may mean that they could be eligible for Pension Credit. In addition, the Pension Credit calculator https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator enables potential claimants to check if they are likely to be eligible and get an estimate of what they may receive. People wishing to claim Pension Credit can do so by calling the free phone number 0800 99 1234.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people in West Lancashire constituency have (a) opted out after being auto-enrolled into a workplace pension and (b) saved more than the auto-enrolment minimum contribution.

Automatic enrolment has achieved a quiet revolution through getting employees into the habit of pension saving. It has reversed the decline in workplace pension participation seen in the decade prior to its introduction. Since automatic enrolment started in 2012 participation rates have been transformed with 87% of eligible employees saving into a workplace pension in 2018, up from 55% in 2012.

The Department does not hold data for individual constituencies in relation to opt outs or the number of individuals who have saved above the automatic enrolment minimum contribution level. However, we do know that overall around 9% of automatically enrolled workers have chosen to opt out which is significantly below original estimates; and our latest evaluation report shows that, in April 2017, approximately 5.9 million eligible employees were already meeting the April 2019 minimum contribution rates.

I am providing the following information about the impact of automatic enrolment in your constituency, as of December 2019:

In the West Lancashire constituency, since 2012, approximately 16,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 1,710 employers have met their duties.

Automatic Enrolment Evaluation Report 2018, available via the following weblink: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764964/Automatic_Enrolment_Evaluation_Report_2018.pdf.

The Pensions Regulator’s data on Automatic enrolment declaration of compliance by constituency, available via the following weblink:

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on research on the efficacy of (a) monoclonal antibodies and (b) other alternative treatments for immunocompromised and immunosuppressed groups.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has supported 15 studies on monoclonal antibodies and other therapies for immunocompromised and immunosuppressed groups, including cell therapy and the use of probiotics. Twelve of these studies are now complete and three are ongoing. All NIHR-funded research is expected to be published in peer-reviewed, open access journals once completed to promote translation into patient care where appropriate.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on research into the efficacy of a third booster dose of a covid-19 vaccine for immunocompromised and immunosuppressed groups.

The COV-BOOST study was commissioned through the National Institute for Health Research and will provide vital data on the impact of a third dose on patients’ immune responses. Initial findings are expected in September. To fully understand how COVID-19 vaccines respond as a booster dose they must first be studied in people with a fully functioning immune system.

UK Research and Innovation is providing £4 million towards the OCTAVE study examining COVID-19 vaccine responses in clinically at-risk groups, including immunocompromised patients.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 17 March 2021 from the Hon. Member for West Lancashire, regarding water fluoridation, ref ZA55978.

We replied to the hon. Member on 25 June 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the Hon. Member for West Lancashire dated 19 February 2021, regarding Integrated Care Systems, ref ZA55687.

We replied to the hon. Member on 14 June 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 12 February 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, regarding the CQC report of a Health Care Provider in the North West, ref ZA55567.

We replied to the hon. Member on 21 June 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s No End In Sight Report, that six in 10 families with disabled children are still experiencing some form of delay with health appointments and operations, what assessment he has made of delays to health appointments in disabled children; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing specific funding to help disabled children access health appointments.

No specific assessment has been made. However, as part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health services to disabled children. NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance making clear that essential community services must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or who are going through an assessment for one. On 25 March 2021 NHS England and NHS Improvement issued 2021/22 operational planning guidance​, including an elective recovery framework and expectations in relation to re-establishing services. This framework includes elective in-patient activity for children and young people aged 0 to 16 years old.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 31 March 2021 on smear tests, reference ZA56134.

We replied to the hon. Member on 25 May 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 1 April 2021 on vaccine passports, reference ZA56156.

We replied to the hon. Member on 25 May 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that NHS England respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire to the Chief People Officer, dated 26 February 2021, on the NHS restructure, ref number MR/za55752.

NHS England has confirmed they have received this letter and are working to provide an answer as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 31 March 2021 on face coverings, reference ZA56046.

We replied to the hon. Member on 28 May 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many former residents of Winterbourne View are in inpatient units as at 20 May 2021.

Current available information indicates that the number of former patients of Winterbourne View who are currently in in-patient units is very small. We are unable to provide further information as individuals could be identified.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of his Department’s ability to meet the Government’s 2024 target of a 50 per cent reduction in inpatient beds for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

The latest NHS Digital Assuring Transformation data, as at the end of April 2021, shows there were 2,040 people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist-in patient settings in England. This is a net reduction of 30% on the inpatient number in March 2015.

The Building the Right Support Delivery Board has been established to drive further progress in reducing the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist in patient settings. The Board is monitoring progress to ensure the target is met.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that (a) early intervention and (b) prevention are at the centre of the cross-organisational strategy on transforming care for people with a learning disability.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out our commitment to developing seven-day specialist multidisciplinary services, forensic services and crisis care to provide early intervention and reduce preventable admissions to inpatient care. Our work includes the delivery of community Care (Education) and Treatment Reviews; development of keyworkers for children and young people with the most complex needs; and a focus on the use of dynamic support systems to mitigate individuals’ risk of crisis.

We are consulting through the Reforming Mental Health Act white paper on the introduction of new duties on commissioners to ensure the adequate supply of community services for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there are no financial incentives for people with a learning disability and/or autism to be admitted to inpatient units.

People should only be admitted to a mental health inpatient unit when there is a clinical need which cannot be treated in the community. The Building the Right Support Delivery Board has been established to drive further progress in reducing the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist inpatient settings through the development of community-based support. A priority for the Board is examining issues with funding flows, including assessing any financial disincentives preventing progress.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on patients of moving further NHS mental health services to the telephone and online.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Wakefield (Imran Ahmad Khan MP) on 18 May to Question 539.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of digital exclusion on the delivery of remote NHS mental health services.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Wakefield (Imran Ahmad Khan MP) on 21 May 2021 to Question 540.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on outcomes for patients of the delivery of remote mental health services (a) face-to-face, (b) by telephone and (c) by video call.

No such comparative assessment has been made.

Data on access to mental health services on people with mental health conditions is collated in the Mental Health Services Dataset and the Improving access to Psychological Therapies dataset. While both these datasets are able to record the consultation medium and show increased use of remote consultations for people in contact with services, it is too early to determine the overall effect of this change on service users and outcomes.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the use of (a) restrictive interventions and (b) seclusion on people with learning disabilities in settings that provide (i) inpatient and (ii) residential care.

The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018, will increase the oversight and management of the use of force or restraint in mental health units so that force is only ever used as a last resort. We are committed to publishing the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 draft statutory guidance for public consultation by late spring 2021 and we will set out a full timetable for commencing the Act at the earliest opportunity.

As part of our joint arm’s length bodies’ programme on Reducing Use of Restraint and Restrictive Practices, a set of standards and an accreditation scheme for training providers has been developed to provide assurances that staff in mental health services and social care services are adequately trained in safe and appropriate use of restraint. Since April 2021, all services across health and social care have been expected to use training in restrictive practices that is certified as complying with the Restraint Reduction Network Standards. These standards apply across child and adult services, including for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is also leading a new programme of work to transform the way they regulate services for people with a learning disability and autistic people. The CQC set out their expectations for providers in their policy Right Support, Right Care, Right Culture, as well as in their updated guidance, which gives inspectors further support to identify warning signs of a closed culture in services.

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, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 26 February 2021 on shielding, reference ZA55735.

We replied to the hon. Member on 17 May 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to verify the reliability and good practice of companies who are listed on gov.uk as suppliers of covid-19 testing kits for quarantine day 2 and day 8 testing.

We monitor all providers’ performance, including their delivery and testing services. We are taking rapid action with companies where appropriate. Those providers providing inadequate services receive a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service, or they are removed from GOV.UK.

All private providers listed on GOV.UK have demonstrated compliance with the relevant minimum standards for their commercial provision of testing. This includes undergoing the three-staged UKAS accreditation process if they are providing sample collection and/or test analysis services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to sanction private companies that breach their contract by failing to provide covid-19 testing kits in a timely manner for day 2 and day 8 testing.

We monitor all providers’ performance, including their delivery and testing services. We are taking rapid action with companies where appropriate. Those providers providing inadequate services receive a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service, or they are removed from GOV.UK.

All private providers listed on GOV.UK have demonstrated compliance with the relevant minimum standards for their commercial provision of testing. This includes undergoing the three-staged UKAS accreditation process if they are providing sample collection and/or test analysis services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of patients that have waited 12 hours or more from the time of arrival in emergency departments to being seen by an accident and emergency professional in 2021.

Data on 12 hour waiting times in accident and emergency departments in 2019-20, the latest data available, is published at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/hospital-accident--emergency-activity/2019-20

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the effect on health of exposure to industrial waste; and what steps the Government is taking to minimise exposure to potential ingestion of contaminated industrial waste.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses a broad range of health issues with Cabinet colleagues. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are the lead Government department for contaminated industrial waste and consult with experts on matters related to ingestion.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 8 January 2021 on support for dentists purchasing ventilation systems, reference MR/ZA55081.

We replied to the hon. Member on 27 April 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on DIY Abortion dated 26 February 2021, reference ZA55783.

We replied to the hon. Member on 28 April 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on NHS Health Reforms dated 26 February 2021, reference ZA55715.

We replied to the hon. Member on 22 April 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to set up a cross-government task force alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to examine how housing-based social care options can be expanded to provide more choice to older people.

The Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and local government are committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people, including housing-with-care and are engaging closely with both the sector and a range of other stakeholders on this issue.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to widen the range of social care options for older people to allow that new models, including housing-with-care, to play a bigger role in complementing care homes, homecare and other existing options.

The Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and local government are committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people, including housing-with-care and are engaging closely with both the sector and a range of other stakeholders on this issue.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is able to take to secure a response to the letter dated 5 February 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire to Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive at NHS England on the proposed transfer of community services from Liverpool Community Health to Bridgewater Community Health Foundation Trust, ref number ZA55419.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that they responded to the hon. Member on 15 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that covid-19 (a) testing and (b) vaccination services are accessible for deaf British Sign Language users in the context that the wearing of personal protective equipment by the people providing those services makes lipreading impossible.

We recommend that individuals who have specific needs, such as requiring the use of British Sign Language (BSL), book their covid-19 vaccine through their general practitioner, so they can access the appropriate support to meet their needs.

Guidance published on GOV.UK states the specifications of the personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, that should be worn. The guidance requires that where the wearing of PPE restricts communication with individuals, other ways of communicating to meet their needs should be considered. Transparent masks are not currently used at test sites. However, the Department and the National Health Service are actively working with partners to ensure that at least one designated staff member will be provided with a transparent mask to be worn during the site’s opening hours, to assist test subjects that need to be able to lip read or see facial expressions. BSL is also currently available via the Test and Trace 119 call centre.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on dementia research; and if he will make a statement.

No specific assessment has been made. However, the Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) published a framework in May 2020 to support the restarting of research, including dementia research, paused due to COVID-19 which is available at the following link:

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

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that deaf British Sign Language users have access to be able to communicate with health providers 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

The Department has not made a recent assessment of the potential merits of extending the funding for the British Sign Language (BSL) Health Access service. NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned a rapid review into access to BSL interpretation in the National Health Service which is near completion. The review will set out clear steps to support NHS providers to meet their responsibilities to deliver access to BSL interpretation.

All NHS providers must comply with the public sector equality duty set out in the Equality Act 2010 and the Accessible Information Standard to ensure that deaf people who wish to communicate using BSL can do so. NHS England and NHS Improvement have extended access to BSL interpretation of their 111 service via Interpreter Now.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the funding for BSL Health Access; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has not made a recent assessment of the potential merits of extending the funding for the British Sign Language (BSL) Health Access service. NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned a rapid review into access to BSL interpretation in the National Health Service which is near completion. The review will set out clear steps to support NHS providers to meet their responsibilities to deliver access to BSL interpretation.

All NHS providers must comply with the public sector equality duty set out in the Equality Act 2010 and the Accessible Information Standard to ensure that deaf people who wish to communicate using BSL can do so. NHS England and NHS Improvement have extended access to BSL interpretation of their 111 service via Interpreter Now.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report by the Disabled Children’s Partnership, entitled The Loneliest Lockdown, published on 29 March 2021, what steps his Department plans to take to tackle the disproportionate level of mental health issues affecting disabled children and their families.

On 23 November 2020 we published a Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19, setting out the steps we have taken to strengthen the mental health support available including for disabled children and their families.

On 5 March 2021, we announced that £79 million of the additional £500 million for mental health announced at the November 2020 Spending Review will be used to significantly expand mental health services for children, including disabled children. As part of the £500 million, £31 million will also be used to address particular challenges faced by individuals with a learning disability and autistic people, including for community respite services for children and young people and their families.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 11 November 2020 on dementia, reference ZA54485.

We replied to the hon. Member on 21 April 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 11 December 2020 on continuing care.

We replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 15 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 4 December 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, reference ZA54741, regarding a constituent's covid-19 test and personal data; and if he will assist that constituent in seeking a response from the head of NHS Test and Trace to a letter of the same reference number.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of of NHS RightCare scenarios on improving the quality of life for patients with long term conditions.

No specific assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement work with clinical leaders within the field to evaluate and ensure that the clinical content in their toolkits is correct and up to date, as well as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to ensure that they align with their guidance. In addition, informal feedback has been received on how the scenarios and toolkits have been used to develop services across the National Health Service.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2021 to Question 142842 on Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Medical Treatments, what the timeframe is for the NHS RightCare inflammatory bowel disease scenario to be released to stakeholders for consultation.

Progress on the inflammatory bowel disease RightCare scenario has been delayed due to COVID-19 pressures. A working draft has been reviewed and commented on by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s working group and by Crohn’s and Colitis UK. NHS England and NHS Improvement are in the process of updating the original working draft based on these comments. It is anticipated that a revised version will be ready to be share with IBD UK and their partner organisations for consultation in May.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2021 to Question 142842 on Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Medical Treatments, what plans his Department has to ensure that the NHS RightCare inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) scenario is implemented throughout England to help reduce variations in IBD care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement promote RightCare scenarios to the health system through their website, events, bulletins, trade media articles and social media and are planning to resume these communications as they begin to resume normal services, following from the response phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RightCare scenarios should be used as an improvement tool that highlights the difference between a suboptimal pathway of care and an optimal one. The scenarios support local systems to identify where patient outcomes, quality of life and service costs can be improved as the result of shifting the care pathway from a suboptimal journey to an optimal one that consistently delivers timely, evidence-based excellence of care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 11 December 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, reference ZA54827, regarding the Government's £500 covid-19 self-isolation grant.

We replied to the hon. Member on 14 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 8 January 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, reference ZA55025, on a constituent's covid-19 vaccine grouping.

We replied to the hon. Member on 14 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 25 January 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine, reference ZA55223.

We replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 12 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 25 January 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine, reference ZA55246.

We replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 12 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 20 November 2020 on isolation payments, reference ZA54482.

We replied to the hon. Member on 14 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire dated 29 January on a constituent's vaccine grouping, reference ZA55328.

We replied to the hon. Member on 12 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 27 October 2020 on Nightingale hospitals, reference ZA54243.

We replied to the hon. Member on 12 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that patients with a learning disability are able to access a specialist learning disability nurse when they attend hospital.

The latest national learning disability improvement standards annual survey shows that approximately two thirds of National Health Service trusts in England directly employ learning disability liaison nurses. Trusts that do not directly employ learning disability liaison nurses often have a shared support arrangement in place with their local specialist mental health trust to access a learning disability nurse.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations made by the Disabled Children Partnership in their report, The Longest Lockdown, published February 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of developing a catch-up plan for disabled children to address where children have regressed or plateaued in their speech, communication, physical development, or social skills.

No specific assessment has been made. However, identifying and addressing the needs of disabled people, including disabled children, is a key part of the Government’s recovery planning. We will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People later this spring, taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people, including disabled children.

National Health Service recovery guidance makes clear that community services must be prioritised for children and young people aged up to 25 years old with special educational needs and disabilities and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or who are going through an assessment for one.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 26 August 2020 on autism screening, reference ZA53526.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he expects Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive at NHS England, to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire dated 6 December 2020, reference ZA54791, on funding for social care enterprises.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that they expect to provide a response by 26 March 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that the care of patients with major (a) continence and (b) prolapse issues is expedited as covid-19 restrictions are eased in recognition of the increase in waiting times for provision of that care that has accrued to those patients as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England understands the need for improved services and care to be consistently available for those suffering from bladder and bowel problems. The approach remains to make full use of available capacity, both in the National Health Service and in contracted independent hospitals, to maintain elective activity as far as possible.

Working with and agreed by the Royal Colleges, a national clinical stratification programme has been established to make sure that every patient waiting for surgery, including patients with major continence and prolapse issues, can partake in decision-making discussions regarding their treatment. This will also include the assignment of a priority code to ensure that patients with the greatest clinical need are prioritised for treatment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he expects Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive at NHS England, to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire dated 20 November, reference za54586, on electronic prescriptions.

NHS England and NHS Improvement responded to the hon. Member on 12 March.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter of 18 September 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on the rule of 6, reference ZA53718.

We replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 16 February 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which health professionals are responsible for the delivery of perinatal pelvic floor services.

All healthcare professionals in contact with women in the perinatal period have a role to play in supporting pelvic health. NHS England and NHS Improvement will develop a service model for Perinatal Pelvic Health Services in partnership with 14 Early Implementer Systems


Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter of 28 August 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on sugar tax, reference ZA53545.

We replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 4 March 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 27 October 2020 on Nightingale hospitals, reference ZA54243.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 20 November 2020 on isolation payments, reference ZA54482.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 27 October 2020 on lung disease, reference ZA54267.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether GPs are required to carry out a mandatory pelvic floor health check on all postnatal patients.

In April 2020 a requirement for general practitioners to offer a universal six to eight week post-natal check was introduced for new mothers. In line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance, the check should focus on is early identification of pelvic health issues.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is planning to take to help prevent incontinence as a result of (a) pregnancy and (b) the menopause.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council ‘Standards of Proficiency for Midwives’ include a requirement that registrants are able to provide support and postnatal care, which can include referral to services and resources for urinary or faecal incontinence. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to improve access to postnatal physiotherapy and for all women across England to have access to multidisciplinary pelvic health care perinatally by March 2024. This will be delivered through national perinatal pelvic health services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have identified 14 early implementer systems which will help develop the model for these services from Quarter 4 2021/22 to improve the prevention, identification and specialist treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction around pregnancy and birth. Further to the postnatal work, during 2021/22 NHS England and NHS Improvement will consider options for improving prevention of incontinence in menopausal women.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what training on continence care is given to midwives to help (a) prevent and (b) mitigate postnatal incontinence.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council ‘Standards of Proficiency for Midwives’ include a requirement that registrants are able to provide support and postnatal care, which can include referral to services and resources for urinary or faecal incontinence. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to improve access to postnatal physiotherapy and for all women across England to have access to multidisciplinary pelvic health care perinatally by March 2024. This will be delivered through national perinatal pelvic health services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have identified 14 early implementer systems which will help develop the model for these services from Quarter 4 2021/22 to improve the prevention, identification and specialist treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction around pregnancy and birth. Further to the postnatal work, during 2021/22 NHS England and NHS Improvement will consider options for improving prevention of incontinence in menopausal women.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding his Department plans to allocate for the provision of perinatal pelvic floor services in the next five years; and where the focus of that funding will be targeted.

Perinatal pelvic health care is provided and funded locally across England. In addition to existing local investment, the NHS Long Term Plan commits to improving access to postnatal physiotherapy and for all women to have access to multidisciplinary pelvic health care across England by March 2024.

This will be delivered locally through the establishment of Perinatal Pelvic Health Services, and NHS England and NHS Improvement will be providing 14 Early Implementer Systems (EIS) with up to £10.5 million funding to help develop these services from Quarter 4 2021/22 to 2023/24. The EIS plans to increase the establishment of specialist physiotherapists and midwives and provide additional training to maternity staff to improve the prevention, identification and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction in the perinatal period.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to increase the (a) recruitment of staff and (b) training of staff to provide perinatal pelvic floor services.

Perinatal pelvic health care is provided and funded locally across England. In addition to existing local investment, the NHS Long Term Plan commits to improving access to postnatal physiotherapy and for all women to have access to multidisciplinary pelvic health care across England by March 2024.

This will be delivered locally through the establishment of Perinatal Pelvic Health Services, and NHS England and NHS Improvement will be providing 14 Early Implementer Systems (EIS) with up to £10.5 million funding to help develop these services from Quarter 4 2021/22 to 2023/24. The EIS plans to increase the establishment of specialist physiotherapists and midwives and provide additional training to maternity staff to improve the prevention, identification and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction in the perinatal period.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 8 January 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on covid-19 vaccinations, reference ZA55034.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 6 November 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, on covid-19 testing for care workers, reference ZA54381.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were employed as (a) bladder and bowel continence nurses, (b) urology nurses, (c) stoma nurses and (d) pelvic floor physiotherapists in the most recent period for which that information is available.

The Department does not hold the information requested for bladder and bowel continence nurses or pelvic floor physiotherapists.

As at September 2020, there were 2,054 full time equivalent (FTE) nurses employed with an area of work of urology and 312 FTE nurses with an area of work of stoma care. These figures are based on the main area of work in which each staff member is coded and therefore may not reflect the complete number of staff providing these services.

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 funding his Department makes available for the training of staff to provide bladder and bowel continence care.

National Health Service employers are responsible for determining and recruiting the number of specialist staff that they require to meet their local workforce and service needs. NHS employers also have a responsibility to ensure their workforces have the mandatory training required to undertake their roles. The approach taken for post-registration for bladder, bowel, urology and stoma care will differ in each locality depending on service, profession and workforce supply need and as such is generally commissioned by NHS employers.

Health Education England (HEE) is responsible for ensuring that there are training models in place nationally to support and develop post-registration specialty training pipelines. HEE develops, and funds a wide range of national training platforms, programmes and initiatives for cross-profession specialist workforce training.

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, whether funding to train staff in providing (a) bladder and bowel continence, (b) urology and (c) stoma care is allocated through the NHS.

National Health Service employers are responsible for determining and recruiting the number of specialist staff that they require to meet their local workforce and service needs. NHS employers also have a responsibility to ensure their workforces have the mandatory training required to undertake their roles. The approach taken for post-registration for bladder, bowel, urology and stoma care will differ in each locality depending on service, profession and workforce supply need and as such is generally commissioned by NHS employers.

Health Education England (HEE) is responsible for ensuring that there are training models in place nationally to support and develop post-registration specialty training pipelines. HEE develops, and funds a wide range of national training platforms, programmes and initiatives for cross-profession specialist workforce training.

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 steps his Department is taking to recruit increased numbers of specialist staff to provide (a) bladder and bowel continence and (b) stoma care.

National Health Service employers are responsible for determining and recruiting the number of specialist staff that they require to meet their local workforce and service needs. NHS employers also have a responsibility to ensure their workforces have the mandatory training required to undertake their roles. The approach taken for post-registration for bladder, bowel, urology and stoma care will differ in each locality depending on service, profession and workforce supply need and as such is generally commissioned by NHS employers.

Health Education England (HEE) is responsible for ensuring that there are training models in place nationally to support and develop post-registration specialty training pipelines. HEE develops, and funds a wide range of national training platforms, programmes and initiatives for cross-profession specialist workforce training.

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, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February 2021 to Question 141947, and with reference to the findings of YouGov’s survey for Fight for Sight that more than four in ten working adults believe an increase in screen time during the covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected their vision, when his Department plans to make an assessment of the effect of increased screen time on eyesight due to the covid-19 outbreak.

There are currently no plans to make an assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Knowsley NHS Clinical Commissioning Group took part in the 2020 NHS Staff Survey.

The NHS Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) did not take part in the 2020 NHS Staff Survey. Since March 2020, all staff in the CCG have worked from home due to the pandemic. In 2020 the CCG followed good practice guidance and carried out a Staff Health and Wellbeing Survey. The content was derived from other best practice examples and was completed anonymously. Feedback was given to staff and the survey and outputs were reported to the governing body. In addition, the CCG carried out a risk assessment with every member of staff to further support them in their individual home working circumstances and to determine deployment options where relevant - for example, supporting the vaccination programme.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how young people aged 16-18 in priority groups 4 or 6 are being supported to take-up the covid-19 vaccine; and what proportion of young people in those groups have been offered the vaccine.

The Government is committed to supporting all those offered the COVID-19 vaccine to take up this offer. Phase one of the vaccination programme includes those considered clinically extremely vulnerable in priority group four and those have underlying conditions which increase their risks from COVID-19 in priority group six. Both groups include all those who meet the clinical criteria and who are aged 16 years old and over.

The vaccine offer was communicated directly to all those in priority groups four and six by the National Health Service. Communications for those aged 18 years old or over are directly to the individual. For those aged 16-17 years old the communication is made by agreement by either with the individual or their parents or carers. General practitioners and other clinicians involved in a young person care are available to discuss any concerns they or their parents or carers may have.

Data is not held centrally on the number of people in priority groups four and six who have been offered the vaccine. Data is held on the number of people who have been vaccinated from these groups but is not held in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to ensure prompt access to dental care for people who need it as a precursor for (a) biphosphonate injections for some cancers and (b) other urgent treatments.

National Health Service dental practices remain open, supported by over 600 Urgent Dental Care Centres and clinicians are prioritising care for patients, in line with guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer. Therefore, patients who are considered at highest risk of oral disease, including people who require dental care prior to receiving bisphosphonate injections or other urgent treatments will continue to be prioritised for dental care.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will publish information on the effectiveness of each type of covid-19 vaccine on (a) immuno-suppressed and (b) other clinically vulnerable people to encourage people in those groups to take up those vaccines.

Public Health England is monitoring the effectiveness and impact of COVID-19 vaccines on a broad range of outcomes including symptomatic disease, infection and hospitalisations as set out in the COVID-19 vaccine surveillance strategy which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-surveillance-strategy

Vaccine effectiveness assessments are reported regularly to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to inform vaccine policy recommendations. This will include assessment of vaccine effectiveness in immunocompromised individuals and the clinically vulnerable using general practice electronic health record data. Vaccine effectiveness data will be published in due course.

Once sufficient evidence becomes available, the JCVI will consider options for a protection strategy for immunosuppressed individuals, including whether any specific vaccine is preferred in this population.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, following the publication of the NHS People Plan 2020-21, what discussions his Department has had with NHS England on developing a longer-term People Plan.

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 and with systems and employers to determine our workforce and people priorities beyond April 2021 to support the recovery of National Health Service staff and services. This will include building on many of the positive ways of working that have emerged through the pandemic whilst continuing to support the wellbeing of NHS staff.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on capacity in the imaging and diagnostics workforce.

Health Education England (HEE) welcomes Professor Sir Mike Richards’ report ‘Diagnostics Recovery and Renewal’, which stated that major expansion and reform of the diagnostic services is needed over the next five years to facilitate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to meet rising demand across multiple aspects of diagnostics.

HEE is working with system partners on the longer-term strategy that looks at the workforce needs beyond 2021. This planning is fully aligned with the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS People Plan and associated ambitions for further development of cancer services. This will include exploring sustainable growth beyond 2021 in key professions through continued investment in training places, with a greater focus on attracting and retaining students and improving the numbers of qualified professionals who go on to work in the National Health Service.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2020 to Question 124263, on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what dataset his Department is using to identify unpaid carers in order to offer them a covid-19 vaccination.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for unpaid carers was published on 8 March. It outlines the numbers of existing sources that will be drawn from to identify unpaid carers. They are:

- those in receipt of or entitled to a carer’s allowance;

- those known to GPs who have a ‘carer’s flag’ on their primary care record;

- those known to Local Authorities who are in receipt of support following a carer’s assessment; and

- those known to local carers organisations to be actively receiving care and support.

The SOP is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/sop-covid-19-vaccine-deployment-programme-unpaid-carers-jcvi-priority-cohort-6/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish an implementation plan for Prof. Sir Mike Richards' review of NHS diagnostics capacity.

Professor Sir Mike Richards’ recommendations have been accepted by the NHS England and NHS Improvement Board. There is no intention to publish an implementation plan. However, a national Diagnostics Programme has been established to take forward the recommendations. This work will be overseen by the NHS England and NHS Improvement Diagnostics Programme Board.

The Government has ringfenced £325 million of capital spending for National Health Service diagnostics and equipment through the 2020 Spending Review to support implementation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to asses the effect of delaying the second Pfizer/Biontech vaccine dose on immunity levels in elderly people against the South African variant of covid-19.

Industry led studies are ongoing to understand the level of protection the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will provide against variant strains of COVID-19. This will include immunological studies to understand the potential for protection from COVID-19 vaccines against variants and follow up of phase three trial participants in geographical areas where variants are circulating. Global surveillance systems, including systems within Public Health England, will be able to provide observational data on vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 variants. These will be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as they become available.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether elderly people will potentially have an increased risk of contracting the South African variant of covid-19 due to delaying the second dose of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine to 12 weeks.

Industry led studies are ongoing to understand the level of protection the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will provide against variant strains of COVID-19. This will include immunological studies to understand the potential for protection from COVID-19 vaccines against variants and follow up of phase three trial participants in geographical areas where variants are circulating. Global surveillance systems, including systems within Public Health England, will be able to provide observational data on vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 variants. These will be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as they become available.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that vaccination teams attending care homes vaccinate both care home staff and residents by 15 February 2021.

Primary Care Networks are organising for vaccines to be delivered directly to care homes and given on site to residents by teams of general practitioners (GPs), practice nurses, community pharmacists and other trained vaccinators. They will also provide vaccination to care home staff on site where this is possible.

Where it is not possible or appropriate for care home workers to receive their vaccination in the care home, their employer should make arrangements for them to receive a vaccination at another appropriate and accessible vaccination service.

Anyone who has not yet received the vaccination will be visited, including those in care homes that had an outbreak. If a resident has ‘missed’ vaccination, or is new to the home, the registered manager should liaise with their GP to arrange vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the vaccination of maritime workers by Singapore, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on prioritising maritime workers for covid-19 vaccination.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has had a number of discussions with Cabinet colleagues on prioritisation for COVID-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on who should be offered the vaccination first. The key principles are to reduce mortality, to protect the health and care systems and save lives. For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

Prioritisation decisions for the next phase are subject to surveillance and monitoring data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts such as the JCVI. Phase two may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the final findings will be published from the gastroenterology Getting It Right First Time workstream.

The recommendations of the work of the gastroenterology workstream of the Getting it Right First Time programme is currently being considered by NHS England and NHS Improvement and will be published later this year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps NHS RightCare has taken to tackle variations in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that the NHS RightCare team are currently working on an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) scenario. A working draft of the IBD scenario is with Crohn’s and Colitis UK for review, prior to sharing with stakeholders for comment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of (a) metastatic and (b) primary breast cancers are first diagnosed during emergency presentation.

The latest available data shows that in 2017, 4% of primary breast cancers were diagnosed following emergency presentation. In total 60% of primary breast cancers were diagnosed following a general practitioner referral.

Data for non-primary/recurrent metastatic cancers is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of (a) metastatic and (b) primary breast cancers are first diagnosed through a GP referral.

The latest available data shows that in 2017, 4% of primary breast cancers were diagnosed following emergency presentation. In total 60% of primary breast cancers were diagnosed following a general practitioner referral.

Data for non-primary/recurrent metastatic cancers is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking in response to the Getting It Right First Time national report on ophthalmology, which concluded that there are notable gaps in the (a) collection and (b) utilisation of data by the NHS in ophthalmology.

The Getting It Right First Time ophthalmology metrics, including information on referrals, clinical flows and clinical risks are now collated and shared on the NHS Model Health System online platform which is accessible to all trusts and local health systems. It aims to address gaps in information by collating and sharing data, including information on waiting times and waiting lists, across various specialties, including ophthalmology. This enables trusts to benchmark their performance and agree plans to reach ‘top decile’ performance, supported by national and regional colleagues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of NHS Trusts providing eyecare services routinely submit data to the National Ophthalmology Database; and if he will amend the NHS Mandate to require that all relevant Trusts submit to that database.

Of the 118 eligible National Health Service trusts in England and Wales, 73 NHS trusts in England and four Welsh Local Health Boards submitted data to the National Ophthalmology Audit Database (NOD) between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2019, the time period for which data is currently available. This is in addition to 23 independent treatment centre sites and one centre in Guernsey. All eligible trusts are encouraged to submit data to the NOD but there are no plans to make this mandatory.

The NOD is managed by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. NHS England and NHS Improvement work closely with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and NHS Digital to support the collection and utilisation of healthcare data to improve patient safety and quality outcomes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on eyesight of increased screen time during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have made no such assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to collect standardised data on treatment outcomes of (a) glaucoma, (b) wet age-related macular degeneration and (c) diabetic retinopathy.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and NHS Digital to improve the collection of eye care related data captured by National Health Service trusts and the independent sector. They are drawing upon the clinical data sets already produced by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and the data set in production for glaucoma.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people without access to a (a) telephone or (b) computer can receive notice of their covid-19 vaccination appointment in a timely manner.

The National Booking Service is sending physical invitation letters to registered addresses. Others can make an appointment on behalf of individuals who are not able to make it themselves.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made in ophthalmology services on the NHSX commitment to ensure that shared care records will be fully rolled out across the NHS in 2021.

Work continues to meet the commitment for national coverage of basic shared records by September 2021. Over half of National Health Service trusts and general practices in the country are already connected to some form of shared care record with plans for the remainder to be connected by September 2021 with funding and other support from NHSX. The timing of support for ophthalmology services will vary according to local clinical priorities and existing systems.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether as part of the commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to reducing health inequalities he plans to require integrated care services to take account of the National Ophthalmology Database in understanding the extent of inequalities within eyecare.

As part of their planning and commissioning arrangements, clinical commissioning groups should be taking into account all sources of available information, including the National Ophthalmology Database.

Working with the health inequalities team at NHS England and NHS Improvement, we are considering how to put Integrated Care Systems on a statutory footing and will bring forward proposals in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to primary eye care to ensure effective diagnosis of sight-threatening conditions during the covid-19 outbreak.

Optical practices are open for face-to-face consultations with the requirement that Public Health England’s Infection Prevention and Control measures are adhered to.

Prevention, early detection and access to timely treatment are all key to improving eye health and anyone with concerns about their vision should not hesitate to seek care. Free National Health Service sight tests, a vital eye health check, continue to be available to all children, those aged 60 and over, individuals on low incomes and those at increased risk of certain eye diseases.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the backlog in ophthalmology appointments resulting from the cancellation of routine eye care appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Outpatient Transformation Programme team at NHS England has been working closely with national partners, including the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the College of Optometry and the Royal National Institute of Blind People, to develop clinical guidance for hospital eye services which will support the restoration of services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes an eye care roadmap for 2020/21, with supporting COVID-19 sub-specialty pathways and toolkits, which has been shared nationally.

Separately, NHSX are currently leading on the launch of a dynamic purchasing system, which will support local systems to procure a digital connectivity solution to further enhance the ability for primary and secondary care services to support integrated patient care, and avoid a significant number of unnecessary referrals being made into hospital eye services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps with care home providers to develop guidance on how care home should operate as staff and residents receive covid-19 vaccination.

We are continuing to work closely with stakeholders, including NHS England, Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and key social care sector partners to provide the most up-to-date advice, including on how care homes should manage infection prevention and control, use of personal protective equipment and visiting as staff and residents receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the social care sector will receive details on the £149 million of funding for the delivery of covid-19 testing in care homes; and how and when that funding will be allocated.

The Department expects the care homes allocation to be passed to providers within 10 working days upon the receipt of the funding in a local authority, subject to providers meeting the conditions of the grant. The funding was released to local authorities on 15 January 2021.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the £149 million in funding for the delivery of covid-19 testing in care homes will reach providers of frontline services to older people.

Local authorities should pass 80% of this funding to care homes within the local authority’s geographical area on a ‘per beds’ basis. The remaining 20% of the funding must be used to support the care sector to implement increased lateral flow testing but can be allocated at the local authority’s discretion. The guidance states that the Department expects the care homes allocation to be passed to providers within 10 working days upon the receipt of the funding in a local authority, subject to providers meeting the conditions of the grant. This funding was released to local authorities on 15 January 2021.

Providers and local authorities will have to submit monthly returns, as part of their Infection Control Fund reports, detailing how the Rapid Testing Fund has been spent.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 9 November 2020 on actions to improve mental health care.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 11 December 2020 on continuing care.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including dental professionals on the list of people eligible for early covid-19 vaccination.

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

Frontline healthcare staff include those who have frequent face-to-face clinical contact with patients and who are directly involved in patient care in either secondary or primary care/community settings. This includes dentists, as well as non-clinical ancillary staff who may have social contact with patients but are not directly involved in patient care. Their advice states that this not only includes those working for the National Health Service, but also those in independent, voluntary, non-standard and community healthcare settings.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department plans to allocate to (a) recruiting and (b) training more Clinical Nurse Specialists.

The Spending Review 2020 provides £260 million to continue to grow the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Full details on funding allocations towards NHS workforce budgets in 2021-22, including any related to clinical nurse specialists, will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Health Education England is facilitating a number of initiatives to increase Clinical Nurse Specialist capacity 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.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary breast cancer patients with access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Data on the proportion of primary and secondary breast cancer patients who have accessed a clinical nurse specialist is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 7 October 2020 on covid-19 testing for care workers, reference ZA53914.

We are working rapidly to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 21 July 2020, on care home restrictions, ref 53161.

We are working rapidly to provide all hon. Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Prime Minister's Health and Social Care Taskforce.

Ministers and officials across the Department have engaged with the Health and Social Care Taskforce on a regular basis. Officials joined the Taskforce’s weekly Steering Group meetings from July to September. In addition, there were frequent working-level conversations between Departmental and Taskforce officials on a wide range of health and social care policy issues.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have accessed the isolation note service via the NHS 111 online service.

Data is not collected on the number of people accessing the isolation notice via the NHS 111 online service.

The isolation note service can be accessed from multiple originating sources - the NHS 111 online service, the National Health Service website and GOV.UK, which all link to the same landing page. By 23 November, 2,015,017 isolation notes have been issued in total.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of public information campaigns on the process for obtaining a covid-19 isolation note via NHS 111's online form.

Public information and guidance about the isolation note service has been published on NHS.UK and GOV.UK websites as part of the wider Government guidance for COVID-19. The guidance for the isolation note service has been regularly reviewed to ensure that it is in line with the Government’s public health advice during the pandemic.

Data is collected on the number of times an isolation note is issued. By 23 November, over two million isolation notes had been issued by the service.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward proposals to help people without internet access or technological literacy to access a covid-19 isolation note.

People who do not have internet access or who need support to access the isolation note service can ask family, friends or a trusted third party to obtain an isolation note on their behalf. The service includes the ability to send a copy of the note directly to their employer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether GPs or NHS 111 are responsible for issuing covid-19 sick notes to patients; what guidance his Department has issued to the (a) NHS and (b) GPs on that matter; and what assessment he has made of consistency of advice given to patients by the (i) NHS and (ii) GPs on that matter.

A fit note can only be provided by a registered medical practitioner, usually a general practitioner (GP) or hospital doctor. GPs have been advised that they should continue to issue fit notes for health conditions that impact on a person’s ability to work.

The isolation note is a temporary service delivered online by NHS 111 to provide people with evidence for their employer of their need to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19.

The Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care have worked collaboratively throughout the pandemic with the British Medical Association (BMA) to provide advice to GPs and to ensure that the isolation note guidance is updated in line with Government advice. The role of both the fit note and the isolation note service has been clarified and is also included in the guidance on the NHS.UK and GOV.UK websites. Specific advice for GPs has been published on the BMA website as part of their response to coronavirus, which was developed with input from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Work and Pensions continue to work with the BMA, employers and GPs to understand the issues being faced during the pandemic and to offer support that enable people to access the services they require.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the Chief Dental Officer at NHS England responds to the letter of 7 September 2020 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire on dental procedures, reference ZA52357.

The Department has been notified that the Chief Dental Officer responded to the hon. Member’s letter on 20 November 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) stakeholders his Department consulted on and (b) what plans his Department has to publish a revised version of the Excellence in Continence Care Guidelines.

Excellence in Continence Care: Practical guidance for commissioners, and leaders in health and social care is available for all Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks. No recent assessment has been made of adherence to this guidance.

There has been no recent review and there are no plans at this stage to publish a revised version of the Excellence in Continence Care guideline. The current guideline has already been rolled out to Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks.

The National Bladder and Bowel Project was set up to improve continence care across the whole public health and care system following feedback from the July 2018 publication.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of levels of adherence to the guidance entitled Excellence in Continence Care: Practical guidance for commissioners, and leaders in health and social care, published in July 2018.

Excellence in Continence Care: Practical guidance for commissioners, and leaders in health and social care is available for all Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks. No recent assessment has been made of adherence to this guidance.

There has been no recent review and there are no plans at this stage to publish a revised version of the Excellence in Continence Care guideline. The current guideline has already been rolled out to Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks.

The National Bladder and Bowel Project was set up to improve continence care across the whole public health and care system following feedback from the July 2018 publication.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support he is providing to people with severe mental illness during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The mental health of everyone is absolutely critical in these unprecedented times. National Health Service mental health services remain open for business and are available throughout the November lockdown restrictions and throughout the winter, providing support online and by phone where necessary. The NHS will also work to ensure that the option of face-to-face support is provided to people with serious mental illness across all ages, where it is clinically safe to do so.

All mental health trusts have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent helplines where people experiencing a mental health crisis can access urgent support and advice.

People with serious mental illness continue to be able to get help from NHS volunteer responders to access essentials, such as food and medication during this period of national restrictions and throughout the winter.

We will bring forward our winter plan for mental health and wellbeing in due course, which will further detail the support available during the remaining weeks of restrictions and beyond.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to achieve the target of 60 per cent of people with a severe mental illness receiving an annual physical health check by 2020-21.

The NHS has committed to ensure that 60% of people with severe mental illness receive a comprehensive physical health-check and follow up, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS England has issued communications to general practitioner surgeries to ensure that the physical health of those living with severe mental illness is protected this winter. This includes asking practices to identify people with severe mental illness who are clinically vulnerable and offering those people comprehensive physical health checks and follow up interventions, free flu vaccines, depending on their eligibility, and a care plan review as appropriate.


Public Health England will issue tailored communications to those with severe mental illness around protecting their physical health this winter, and to encourage them to take up their free flu vaccination if eligible.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's timeframe is for rolling out the Excellence in Continence Care Guidelines across the Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks.

Excellence in Continence Care: Practical guidance for commissioners, and leaders in health and social care is available for all Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks. No recent assessment has been made of adherence to this guidance.

There has been no recent review and there are no plans at this stage to publish a revised version of the Excellence in Continence Care guideline. The current guideline has already been rolled out to Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks.

The National Bladder and Bowel Project was set up to improve continence care across the whole public health and care system following feedback from the July 2018 publication.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to deliver ring-fenced funding of continence services under the NHS Long Term Plan; and what the timescale is for delivery of that funding.

Trusts, working with general practitioner practices, have been asked to ensure that every patient whose planned care has been disrupted by COVID-19 receives clear communication about how they will be looked after, and who to contact if their clinical circumstances change.

The focus is on accelerating the return of non-COVID-19 health services to near-normal levels, including making full use of available capacity between now and winter, whilst also preparing for winter demand pressures. This will be done alongside continued vigilance against further COVID-19 spikes locally and possibly nationally.

The National Bladder and Bowel Health Project are currently supporting a study to establish the impact of COVID-19 on continence services. There are no plans for ringfenced funding for continence services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether continence services which have been reduced as a result of the covid-19 outbreak are planned to be reinstated.

Trusts, working with general practitioner practices, have been asked to ensure that every patient whose planned care has been disrupted by COVID-19 receives clear communication about how they will be looked after, and who to contact if their clinical circumstances change.

The focus is on accelerating the return of non-COVID-19 health services to near-normal levels, including making full use of available capacity between now and winter, whilst also preparing for winter demand pressures. This will be done alongside continued vigilance against further COVID-19 spikes locally and possibly nationally.

The National Bladder and Bowel Health Project are currently supporting a study to establish the impact of COVID-19 on continence services. There are no plans for ringfenced funding for continence services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to incorporate the recommendations from the Excellence in Continence Care Guidelines into the work of the National Bladder and Bowel Health Project.

There are currently no plans to incorporate the recommendations from the Excellence in Continence Care Guidelines into the work of the National Bladder and Bowel Health Project (NBBP). The NBBP has a specific remit to look at clinical standards for bladder, bowel, paediatrics and stoma care pathways. It is anticipated that the NBBP will enhance the guidelines themselves as part of its remit to improve continence care across the whole public health and care system.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the Clinical Commissioning Groups that have incorporated the Excellence in Continence Care Guidelines into their procedures to date.

This information is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the National Bladder and Bowel Health Project plans to use the Excellence in Continence Care Guidelines to inform the development of clinical standards and pathways.

There are currently no plans to incorporate the recommendations from the Excellence in Continence Care Guidelines into the work of the National Bladder and Bowel Health Project (NBBP). The NBBP has a specific remit to look at clinical standards for bladder, bowel, paediatrics and stoma care pathways. It is anticipated that the NBBP will enhance the guidelines themselves as part of its remit to improve continence care across the whole public health and care system.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and (b) NHS England on the potential merits of a national secondary breast cancer audit.

The Department, along with stakeholders, is currently reviewing the proposal of a secondary breast cancer audit.

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership commissions, develops and manages the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme on behalf of NHS England and the devolved administrations. The programme currently consists of over 30 national clinical audits, six clinical outcome review programmes and the National Joint Registry.

The existing audit of breast cancer in older women does include some sections on women with metastatic breast cancer. The latest audit is available at the following link:

https://www.hqip.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/REF212_NABCOP-2020-Annual-Report-V1_high-res_20200702.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial support is available to people (a) with cystic fibrosis and (b) others who are clinically extremely vulnerable to covid-19 and unable to work from home.

Shielding was paused on 1 August 2020 in England; however, it is important that clinically extremely vulnerable people continue to take extra care, particularly as infection rates rise again. On 13 October, the Government published new guidance to the clinically extremely vulnerable that advises additional things they are advised to do to keep themselves safe at each local COVID-19 alert level.

Currently, everyone is advised to work from home if they are able. If not, they should return to the workplace. Employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, ensuring the workplace is COVID-secure. If an individual has concerns about their health and safety at work, they should raise them with their workplace union, the Health and Safety Executive or local authority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure safe access to deliveries of food, medicines and other essential items in high-risk and other areas to prevent people with cystic fibrosis and other clinically extremely vulnerable people taking unnecessary risks.

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

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to allow breast screenings and treatments to continue during a potential second wave of covid-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to increase the resilience of breast cancer screening and diagnosis so that services may continue to operate during a second wave of COVID-19. The NHS England and NHS Improvement Public Health Commissioning and Operations Team advise that where there are local COVID-related lockdowns or other restrictions in place the expectation is that screening services should continue as contracted, including continuing actions to support the full restoration of National Health Service screening services. This includes the expectation that screening staff should not be diverted towards other services, or their buildings or facilities repurposed for other uses, without the specific agreement of the relevant regional commissioner.

Cancer treatment continued during the first wave and will continue during any second wave. Between March and August, over 200,000 cancer treatments were carried out, 85% of the number for the same period in 2019. From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been clear that cancer treatment should continue, a challenge which the NHS has risen to.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on the number of patients dentists are able to see of the use of ventilation systems in dental practices to increase the rate of air change per hour.

There has been no specific assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the NHS’s ability to clear the backlog of bowel cancer screenings; and how long his Department estimates it will take for waiting times to return to pre-covid-19 levels.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to clear the backlog of bowel cancer screening as quickly as possible. All 64 bowel screening centres are now undertaking diagnostic colonoscopies and sending routine screening invitations.

The time it will take for waiting times to return to pre-COVID-19 levels depends on a variety of factors, including the ongoing impact of COVID-19. However, as at 5 October 2020, the number of people who have had a faecal immunochemical test-positive result and are awaiting a diagnostic test has nearly halved in comparison to those waiting in April 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to provide, how many patients have been awaiting bowel cancer screening; and what the average delay in weeks has been for patients waiting to receive bowel cancer screening in (a) the North West and (b) the UK in each month since March 2020.

Bowel screening service providers across the country took the decision to delay invites for routine screening during the first wave of COVID-19 to protect patients and support the redeployment of staff to respond to the pandemic. As a result, there were delays in sending routine invitations.

There are currently 1.7 million participants awaiting an invitation to the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in England, of which 283,000 are in the North West. NHS England and NHS Improvement do not collect data on the average delay in weeks for patients.

All 64 NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Centres are now issuing routine invitations and in September 2020, nearly 400,000 routine invitations, compared to an average of 370,000 per month prior to the pandemic, were sent as centres work to get back on track.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the backlog of bowel cancer screenings that has developed since those services were paused as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

To minimize the impact on patients and ensure safe clinical practice for the NHS Bowel Screening Programme, NHS England and NHS Improvement prioritised individuals with the highest risk during the COVID-19 response.

All 64 bowel screening centres are now undertaking diagnostic colonoscopies and sending routine invitations. As of 5 October 2020, the number of people who have had a FIT-positive result and are awaiting a diagnostic test has nearly halved in comparison to those waiting in April 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that dental surgeries receive adequate levels of personal protective equipment.

Since 25 February 2020 the Department has distributed over 3.8 billion personal protective equipment (PPE) items for use by health and social care services in England, which includes over 30 million items authorised for release to designated wholesalers for onward sale to dentists.

We have over 32 billion PPE items on order and are building a stockpile equivalent to approximately four months PPE usage at COVID-19 usage levels which will be in place by November.

Dentists that have a National Health Service contract are now be able to get PPE to meet all of their COVID-19 demand free of charge via the PPE portal. Where this is not possible, we have provided alternative routes for urgent dental care centres to access specific items.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to publish additional guidance for dental professionals on (a) the resumption of a full service and (b) how to handle fallow times.

NHS England and NHS Improvement provides guidance which is updated as needed for dentists holding National Health Service contracts on the modified contractual requirements during the ongoing pandemic. Since 8 June, routine NHS dentistry has resumed with the full range of services available. The availability of appointments is however greatly reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, largely due to the need for fallow times. The latest guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/06/C0839-dental-recovery-sop-v4.01-29-oct.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the effect of the covid-10 outbreak on (a) people with dementia and (b) their carers.

The Government has taken a range of action to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for people with dementia and unpaid carers.

We commissioned research through the National Institute for Health Research on how to manage or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia and their carers living in the community. Concise advice based on this research for people with dementia and their carers is available at the following link:

http://www.idealproject.org.uk/covid/

Guidance for care homes and for carers on how best to support people living with dementia during the pandemic as well as wider advice for unpaid carers has also been made available. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued guidance to the health service on the adjustments that are needed across the NHS Dementia Well Pathway.

Support for recovery and managing any ongoing symptoms is also available at the following link:

https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his Department's policy to offer children and adults with cystic fibrosis priority access to influenza vaccinations for the remainder of 2020.

General practitioners and other National Health Service providers have been asked to prioritise flu vaccination for all those who are in the clinically vulnerable groups, documented in the national guidance, this includes children and adults with cystic fibrosis.

Vaccination of those who are in at risk groups has started and will continue in all areas in England through the winter months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recent suspected ransomware attack on a hospital in Dusseldorf, what assessment he has made of the NHS’s ability to withstand a cyber attack.

Thanks to over £250 million of investment nationally by 2021, the cyber maturity and security posture of National Health Service organisations has increased over the past three years and continues to do so. Cyber attacks, including ransomware attacks, remain a major risk for the NHS and the cyber programme we have implemented has a strong focus on managing that risk.

We are using the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) to assess cyber security performance at an organisation level, and this information is collated nationally to help inform policy and investment decisions. The DSPT helps organisations understand their data and cyber security risks and encourages the inclusion of cyber security in business continuity planning.

We are also helping NHS organisations increase their preparedness to recover from successful cyber attacks. During the COVID-19 response period, we have put in place additional cyber security protection for the NHS, including additional incident response capacity, a rapid remediation programme, and enhancements to the NHS Digital Cyber Security Operations Centre to increase monitoring.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that the NHS England Chief Dental Officer responds to the letter of the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 23 June 2020 ref ZA52357.

The Chief Dental Officer responded on 3 September and has spoken to the hon. Member for West Lancashire.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to publish the Social Care Taskforce plan for supporting the social care sector through the covid-19 outbreak.

The recommendations from the Social Care Sector Covid-19 Taskforce will shape our approach to COVID-19 in the adult social care sector and, in particular, the plans we put in place for winter which we will set out in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan. The Taskforce concluded at the end of August and will publish its recommendations in September on what measures need to be in place across all parts of the care sector in England to respond to COVID-19 and winter.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will take steps to work with disabled people, their families and social care providers to develop an action plan to reintroduce safe and flexible community care and support services.

Local authorities and service providers should have maintained contact with carers and those receiving services throughout the lockdown. They will now be discussing arrangements to reintroduce care packages where these had been limited due to lockdown restrictions.

Understanding and mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people was a focus of the Social Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce. The Taskforce was supported by several advisory groups, one of which was the learning disability and autism advisory group. The group included members with lived experience.

The recommendations of the Taskforce will shape our approach to COVID-19 in the adult social care sector and, in particular, the plans we put in place for winter which we will set out in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan, being published later this month.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review whether alcohol-free hand sanitisers which are independently lab-certified to be effective can be included in public guidance alongside alcohol-based products.

The Government’s advice is for people to wash their hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so and to use hand sanitiser if that is all they have access to.

The Government agrees with the World Health Organization recommendations that hand sanitiser should contain a minimum of 60% alcohol, but in line with Health and Safety Executive guidance, hand sanitisers with different levels of alcohol, and those hand sanitisers that use other active substances (non-alcohol based) can also be effective.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 30 June 2020 on the Government's contract with TransUnion.

We replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 19 August 2020.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government's tackling obesity public awareness campaign in relation to people with an eating disorder.

We recognise concerns people with eating disorders may have on measures to reduce obesity and are committed to striking a careful balance between enabling people to make healthier food and drink choices whilst not negatively impacting on those with or recovering from an eating disorder.

Obesity represents a huge cost to the health and wellbeing of the individual, the National Health Service and the wider economy. With over six in 10 adults and more than one in three children aged 10 to 11 years old overweight or obese, it is right we take action.

In response to feedback to our consultation on out-of-home calorie labelling, we will introduce legislation to require large out-of-home sector businesses, that is businesses with 250 or more employees, to calorie label the food they sell.

An equalities assessment and impact assessment were published alongside the consultation response and can be viewed at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/calorie-labelling-for-food-and-drink-served-outside-of-the-home

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to protect NHS staff from skin conditions or a worsening of existing skin conditions as a result of the drying effects of alcohol-based hand rubs.

Providers of National Health Service care in England use the evidence cited and ensure that appropriate training is provided to health care workers in hand hygiene, providers also ensure that products are purchased that are consistent with the best available evidence. All healthcare workers have access to occupational health assessment and are referred for assessment and treatment in the event of developing skin complications. Using the guidelines, recommendations made by occupational health are followed by NHS providers as part of risk assessment and mitigation for the individual and the patient.

As Health and Safety Executive guidance for the general public states, and in line with WHO guidance, alcohol does not have to be “active ingredients” to be effective in hand sanitizer. The World Health Organization recommend that hand sanitiser should contain a minimum of 60% alcohol, but non-alcohol based sanitisers can also be effective when combined with other social distancing measures.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of guidance on hand sanitiser for people who cannot use alcohol-based hand rubs as a result of (a) eczema, (b) dermatitis and (c) other skin conditions.

Providers of National Health Service care in England use the evidence cited and ensure that appropriate training is provided to health care workers in hand hygiene, providers also ensure that products are purchased that are consistent with the best available evidence. All healthcare workers have access to occupational health assessment and are referred for assessment and treatment in the event of developing skin complications. Using the guidelines, recommendations made by occupational health are followed by NHS providers as part of risk assessment and mitigation for the individual and the patient.

As Health and Safety Executive guidance for the general public states, and in line with WHO guidance, alcohol does not have to be “active ingredients” to be effective in hand sanitizer. The World Health Organization recommend that hand sanitiser should contain a minimum of 60% alcohol, but non-alcohol based sanitisers can also be effective when combined with other social distancing measures.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to launch the national public information campaign on the 2020-21 flu vaccine programme.

The 2020/21 flu vaccination programme will be supported with a new marketing campaign to encourage take up amongst eligible groups for the free flu vaccine, due to launch in autumn 2020. Resources for the campaign will be available to download and order from the Public Health England Campaign Resource Centre at the following link:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 20 April 2020 on furlough for agency or bank staff at NHS Professionals.

I replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 12 August 2020.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with cancer and a mental health condition in the UK in each region of the UK in each year from 2014.

Data on the number of people diagnosed with cancer and a mental health condition are not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mandatory training is provided for (a) the NHS workforce and (b) healthcare professionals working in oncology on the delivery of mental health assessments for people with cancer.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 June 2020 to Question 55909.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with cancer have been offered a holistic needs assessment (HNA); and what steps he has taken to ensure that patients' needs are met as a result of an HNA.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 1 July 2020 to Question 55913.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to include data collection on cancer diagnosis in the NHS Mental Health Dashboard.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 June 2020 to Question 55911.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 20 March 2020 on UV lighting and killing flue and other viruses in public places.

We have no record of receiving the letter of 20 March 2020. However, if the hon. Member resends the letter to the Department, we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to include data collection on psychological and emotional wellbeing in future National Cancer Patient Experience surveys.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 June to Question 55912.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support NHS England has provided NHS staff in relation to personalised care provided to people with cancer.

Support and information for all cancer patients in England is provided through four key personalised care interventions:

- Personalised care and support planning based on holistic needs assessments;

- Health and wellbeing information and support (including nutritional advice and psychological support);

- End of treatment summaries, that provide symptom management information;

- A Cancer Care Review with their general practitioner.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support should continue by telephone, video, online or by post if face-to-face appointments and group sessions have not been possible.

As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented where appropriate for every person diagnosed with cancer by 2021. NHS England and NHS Improvement are building up a picture of current provision to help target future work to support rollout.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Long Term Plan, what progress he has made on the activity Cancer Alliances have undertaken to offer personalised care to people with cancer.

Support and information for all cancer patients in England is provided through four key personalised care interventions:

- Personalised care and support planning based on holistic needs assessments;

- Health and wellbeing information and support (including nutritional advice and psychological support);

- End of treatment summaries, that provide symptom management information;

- A Cancer Care Review with their general practitioner.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support should continue by telephone, video, online or by post if face-to-face appointments and group sessions have not been possible.

As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented where appropriate for every person diagnosed with cancer by 2021. NHS England and NHS Improvement are building up a picture of current provision to help target future work to support rollout.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Written Statement of 16 July on Independent Investigation of Patient Safety Incidents and Deaths at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust Terms Of Reference, Offial Report, HCWS376, when the terms of reference for the Liverpool Community Health Investigation will be be placed in the Library.

The Terms of Reference for the Liverpool Community Health Independent Investigation were placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 16 July.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people affected by secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence estimates that secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) affects around 9,000 people in England. Secondary progressive MS is a stage which comes after relapsing remitting MS for many people with the condition. After a diagnosis of relapsing remitting MS has been established, clinicians will observe the patient's symptoms over a period of time, in order to determine if they are associated with secondary progressive MS. With this type of MS, a person’s disability gets steadily worse and they are less likely to have relapses (when symptoms get worse but then get better).

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the diagnosis of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence estimates that secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) affects around 9,000 people in England. Secondary progressive MS is a stage which comes after relapsing remitting MS for many people with the condition. After a diagnosis of relapsing remitting MS has been established, clinicians will observe the patient's symptoms over a period of time, in order to determine if they are associated with secondary progressive MS. With this type of MS, a person’s disability gets steadily worse and they are less likely to have relapses (when symptoms get worse but then get better).

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to local NHS services to improve the care of people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

In order to improve the care and outcomes for people with progressive neurological conditions, such as secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), NHS England and NHS Improvement produced a progressive neurological conditions RightCare toolkit, in collaboration with key stakeholders such as the MS Trust and the MS Society. This toolkit supports systems to understand the priorities in care for people living with various progressive neurological conditions, in line with best practice guidelines.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline ‘Multiple sclerosis in adults: management’, updated in 2019 sets out best practice on the diagnosis, treatment, care and support of people MS. On secondary progressive MS, the guidance sets out that “While a variety of symptomatic treatments is available, progression in secondary progressive MS is currently intractable, and immunomodulatory strategies used for relapse remitting MS have not proven effective when extended into secondary progressive MS.”

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve outcomes for people living with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

In order to improve the care and outcomes for people with progressive neurological conditions, such as secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), NHS England and NHS Improvement produced a progressive neurological conditions RightCare toolkit, in collaboration with key stakeholders such as the MS Trust and the MS Society. This toolkit supports systems to understand the priorities in care for people living with various progressive neurological conditions, in line with best practice guidelines.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline ‘Multiple sclerosis in adults: management’, updated in 2019 sets out best practice on the diagnosis, treatment, care and support of people MS. On secondary progressive MS, the guidance sets out that “While a variety of symptomatic treatments is available, progression in secondary progressive MS is currently intractable, and immunomodulatory strategies used for relapse remitting MS have not proven effective when extended into secondary progressive MS.”

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to implement the recommendations of the report, The Forgotten Many: A 2020 Vision for Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, published in June 2020.

‘The Forgotten Many: A 2020 Vision for Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis’, was published in June 2020 and was funded by Novartis.

The report sets out a wide range of recommendations for NHS England and NHS Improvement and local commissioners around awareness, treatment pathways and support. NHS England and NHS Improvement are aware of the report, and a range of activity is underway to improve awareness, treatment, care and support for people neurological conditions, including secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), which are relevant to the recommendations.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) start date is and (b) panel members are for the independent investigation into Liverpool Community Health.

The Liverpool Community Health Investigation was launched in June 2019 and work has begun. The Investigation comprises three Stages. Stage 1 covers the scale of the issues and Stage 2 is a clinical and structured judgement review alongside Stage 1. Preliminary work on Stages 1 and 2 was completed in August 2019.

Stage 3 will investigate individual serious patient safety incidents identified from the previous two stages to establish the nature and scale of deaths and patient harm at the Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust from 2010 to 2014.

The Investigation has identified a number of expert advisors to assist the Chairman and details will be confirmed when the Terms of Reference are published in Parliament.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date he plans to lay before Parliament the Liverpool Community Health independent investigation terms of reference.

The Terms of Reference for the Liverpool Community Health Independent Investigation have been agreed and will be published shortly.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 4 and 5 June 2020 to Questions 51733 and 51735 on Movianto UK: Contracts, what recent discussions his Department has had with Movianto on recouping payments made to the company to cover fixed costs that it did not pay for the personal and protective equipment storage sits at (a) Titan and (b) Haycock Green warehouses.

Supply Chain Coordination Ltd (SCCL) hold the contract with Movianto on behalf of Public Health England. SCCL have had conversations with Movianto.

As a result of these conversations, the Department can confirm it has only paid for its share of services provided by Movianto under the terms of the contracts it holds with suppliers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 4 and 5 June 2020 to Questions 51733 and 51735 on Movianto UK: Contracts, what discussions his Department has had with Movianto on establishing the value of its unpaid (a) rent, (b) electricity, (c) rates, (d) water rates and (e) other the fixed costs since the start of its contract for maintaining UK covid-19 pandemic supplies.

Supply Chain Coordination Ltd (SCCL) hold the contract with Movianto on behalf of Public Health England. SCCL have had conversations with Movianto.

As a result of these conversations, the Department can confirm it has only paid for its share of services provided by Movianto under the terms of the contracts it holds with suppliers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the age adjusted access rate for perinatal mental health beds per 100,000 population is in each (a) Clinical Commissioning Group and (b) local authority area for the latest period for which figures are available..

Mother and baby unit admissions data is available by the patient’s originating clinical commissioning group (CCG). The number of admissions per CCG falls below the level that would be reported and the data are thereby suppressed under the disclosure controls applied to the data.

The information is not held at local authority level.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to undertake a review of the (a) effectiveness and (b) outcomes of the Digital First programme in (i) primary care and (ii) other NHS service settings.

The Digital First programme supports the delivery of access to primary care and helps patients and their carers manage their health. The NHS Long Term Plan commits that every patient will have the right to be offered digital-first primary care by 2023-24. An independent evaluation of Digital First has been commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement and is now underway. The evaluation will provide evidence on the impact of online consultation systems on patients, general practitioner practices and the wider health and social care system and will be used to inform policy and other digital initiatives. Other National Health Service settings have implemented new digital ways of working during the COVID-19 pandemic and there will be much to learn from these.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to (a) allocate funding and (b) provide support for rehabilitation and recovery programmes for people recovering from covid-19.

The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of the COVID-19 virus, including the severity and duration of symptoms. The UK Research and Innovation – National Institute for Health Research ‘Rapid Response Rolling Call’ has funded a large post-hospitalisation study. The study, announced in July, will establish a national consortium and a research platform embedded within clinical care to understand and improve long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to develop a digital, interactive, personalised recovery programme for people recovering from COVID-19. The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, which was announced on 5 July, forms part of NHS plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but have not fully recovered.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential for a rise in childhood obesity as a result of inactivity during the covid-19 lockdown; and what steps he will take to tackle that issue.

While schools have been closed to some pupils the Government has taken steps to support those who have had restricted opportunity to exercise while at home. As part of its guidance on remote education provision the Government has published online educational resources approved by subject experts for schools and parents to help children to take part in PE and physical activity. In addition, Sport England have free online content to help children and their families get active at home through their Join the Movement campaign.

The Change4Life website also includes information on how to keep children active, including links to online resources and providers, such as games and activities, as well as advice for accessible activities for disabled children and is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/activities

The Government is working to ensure that schools are fully supported as they welcome more children back to school and schools are able to give pupils opportunities to be physically active during the school day.

Many of the measures in the three chapters of the childhood obesity plan will have an impact on tackling obesity. These include the soft drinks industry levy, sugar reduction and wider calorie reformulation programme, restricting promotions and calorie labelling in restaurants which will improve children’s eating habits and reduce the amount of sugar they consume.

We remain committed to reviewing what more can be done and will continue to monitor progress and emerging evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's recent announcement that people at high risk from coronavirus will no longer be advised to shield from 1 August 2020, if he will make it his policy to issue personalised information to those people on the levels of (a) their personal risk and (b) the risks of different activities that they may undertake.

The National Health Service has asked service providers, including general practitioners (GPs), to undertake a series of actions to support people who have been asked to shield. This includes ensuring every shielding individual has a named care coordinator to help them with their healthcare and any changing or emerging health needs. People should continue to talk to their GP if they have concerns about their ongoing treatment.

National advice to clinically extremely vulnerable people who are shielding is set out at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure adequate local provision of mother and baby mental health units for people in West Lancashire constituency.

The Ribblemere Mother and Baby Unit located in Chorley, Lancashire is one of four new specialist eight-bed mother and baby units opened as part of the delivery of the Five Year Forward View commitments for perinatal mental health services. It opened in 2018 and is one of the 19 mother and baby units in England.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to increasing access to evidence-based care for women experiencing moderate/complex–severe mental health problems, to benefit an additional 24,000 women per year by 2023/24, in addition to the extra 30,000 women getting specialist help by 2020/21.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people with (a) asthma, (b) COPD and (c) other lung conditions (i) receive timely diagnoses and (b) access emergency and routine care during the covid-19 lockdown.

Specialist respiratory services for severe asthma, along with urgent and emergency treatment for other serious complaints, have continued throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. In most cases people with severe asthma have been able to receive their medication at home instead of having to attend hospital.

Whilst routine treatments were suspended to provide capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, we are now working closely with the National Health Service and other partners to restart these in a safe way, with excellence in infection prevention and control as a key principle. Guidance has already been issued on this, and approaches are being tailored at local level according to local capacity and local demand, with the most urgent services being restarted first.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding published on 4 June 2020 by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Service that providers of adult social care services may face more than £6.6 billion in extra costs as a result of the covid-19 outbreak by the end of September 2020, what assessment he has made of the implications of that finding for his policies on adult social care; and whether he has plans to mitigate those costs to those providers.

We recognise that COVID-19 is imposing significant pressures on the social care sector. We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

On 15 May we published details of an additional £600 million Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care. This funding is to support adult social care providers in England reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes and to support workforce resilience.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings published by Age UK on 10 June 2020 that some care home residents are being required to pay extra fees to cover costs associated with the covid-19 outbreak, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications of those findings for his policies on adult social care and (b) likelihood that the inability of care home residents to meet those extra costs could precipitate care home closures.

Where individuals are not eligible for financial support from their local authority, they make their own arrangements for care services and pay the fees. This is known as being a ‘self-funder’. The fees are set out in a contract between the individual and the care provider. The Government has no say in these private arrangements.

A local authority must regularly reassess a person’s ability to meet the cost of any charges to take account of any changes to their income and assets.

We recognise the pressures that COVID-19 is placing on the social care system. We have already provided £3.2 billion to local authorities and have made a £600 million Infection Control Fund available to care homes to allow them to take additional steps to reduce the spread.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities are required to shape their whole local markets to ensure that they are sustainable, diverse and offer high quality care and support for people in their local area. The Care Act places a duty on local authorities to ensure that people continue to receive the services they need if their adult social care provider is no longer able to carry on delivering services.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that remote (a) consultations and (b) working in certain clinical practice scenarios continues after the covid-19 lockdown.

There has been an impressive response to the pandemic by the National Health Service, with staff and organisations rapidly adapting to changing circumstances and implementing new ways of working; including the greater use of digital tools and the growth in the availability and use of remote consultations. This is helping to minimise the spread of COVID-19 by supporting patients to stay at home, while still enabling them to receive the care they need, and to allow general practitioners and clinicians to work remotely. The NHS has already made a commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan that every patient will have the right to be offered digital-first primary care by 2023-24. We will learn from these new ways of accessing services so that subject to patient and clinician preference, and clinical safety, they are part of delivery going forward.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the November 2019 NHS workforce statistics, what steps he is taking to reduce the deficit of (a) 400 consultant psychiatrists and (b) 8,100 mental health nurses to tackle mental health problems after the covid-19 outbreak.

The interim NHS People Plan, published in June 2019 set out actions to reduce vacancies and secure the staff we need for the future. Since then, there have been a number of initiatives put in place to increase the National Health Service mental health workforce.

The new junior doctor contract gives psychiatry trainees an additional £21,017 pay premia over the course of their training programme which is in addition to their normal pay. Health Education England has also increased the number of psychiatry placements available for junior doctors undertaking foundation training.

For mental health nurses, the ‘Golden Hello’ offer for mental health nursing incentivises nurses to train in mental health and we have seen an increase in the number of postgraduate students studying mental health nursing since September 2018. We have also launched the ‘We are the NHS’ campaign highlighting nursing opportunities in mental health to garner more interest in this profession and we are committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses for the NHS.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on recruiting an adequate number of mental health staff to meet the commitments made in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health by 2021; and what steps he is taking to meet the targets for those staff in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The interim NHS People Plan, published in June 2019 set out actions to reduce vacancies and secure the staff we need for the future. Since then, there have been a number of initiatives put in place to increase the National Health Service mental health workforce.

The new junior doctor contract gives psychiatry trainees an additional £21,017 pay premia over the course of their training programme which is in addition to their normal pay. Health Education England has also increased the number of psychiatry placements available for junior doctors undertaking foundation training.

For mental health nurses, the ‘Golden Hello’ offer for mental health nursing incentivises nurses to train in mental health and we have seen an increase in the number of postgraduate students studying mental health nursing since September 2018. We have also launched the ‘We are the NHS’ campaign highlighting nursing opportunities in mental health to garner more interest in this profession and we are committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses for the NHS.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to include data collection on cancer diagnosis within the NHS Mental Health Dashboard.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have no plans to include data on cancer diagnoses within the National Health Service Mental Health Dashboard.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's response was to (a) Public Health England’s (PHE) warning of 24 February 2020 that elderly people should not be discharged from hospitals into care homes if there was risk of coronavirus transmission, (b) PHE’s National Infection Service guidance issued on 24 February 2020 that stated (i) it was not safe to discharge untested individuals to care homes from hospitals where there was an outbreak of 5 to 25 cases and (ii) there should be no discharges to care or residential homes.

The scenario set out in Public Health England’s (PHE) National Infection Service document, issued on 24 February, related to hospital-acquired COVID-19 outbreaks during the containment phase of COVID-19, prior to 12 March, when there was no sustained community transmission in the United Kingdom. There was no evidence of recorded cases of hospital-acquired COVID-19 outbreaks during the COVID-19 containment phase and before 19 March when the COVID-19 hospital discharge service requirements were published.

On 12 March the Government announced that we were moving our COVID-19 response from the ‘contain’ to ‘delay’ phase. The following day (13 March) PHE published new guidance to care homes. We subsequently published the COVID-19 hospital discharge service requirements on 19 March.

Since the start of the outbreak we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to ensure we have the right guidance and support in place for care homes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish his response to the National Care Forum letter of (a) 26 March 2020 on the discharge to care homes of hospital patients who had not been tested for the covid-19 virus and were exhibiting symptoms of that virus and (b) 10 April 2020 on the risk of litigation in the event of the discharge to care homes of hospital patients that were not tested for covid-19 subsequently infecting other care home residents.

The Department does not have record of the mentioned correspondence from the National Care Forum.

As set out in the Adult Social Care Action Plan on 15 April, all patients are now required to be tested prior to discharge to a care home.

A small number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 may be discharged from the National Health Service within the 14-day period from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms and also require ongoing social care. Some care providers will be able to accommodate these individuals through effective isolation strategies or cohorting policies – such as keeping residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 together in one dedicated area.

If a care home provider does not feel they can provide the appropriate care for these individuals, the individual’s local authority should secure alternative appropriate accommodation and care for the remainder of the required isolation period. Costs of providing alternative accommodation are covered by the £1.3 billion COVID-19 discharge funding provided via the NHS in March.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with cancer and a mental health condition in the UK in each year from 2014 to 2019, by region.

The data is not available in the format requested, as data is collected based on finished admission episodes (FAEs), rather than on number of people.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mandatory training is provided for (a) the NHS workforce and (b) healthcare professionals working in oncology to deliver mental health assessments for people with cancer.

National Health Service employers are responsible for ensuring that the staff they employ are trained to the required standards to deliver appropriate treatment for patients. Individual trusts must decide what specific mandatory training they deem appropriate for their employees.

Training programmes for healthcare professionals must meet the standards set by the regulatory body for their profession. Training curricula for doctors emphasise the skills and approaches that a doctor must develop in order to ensure accurate and timely diagnoses and treatment plans for their patients. While medical and other clinical curricula equip healthcare professionals with the skills necessary to consider a patient’s mental health during treatment, individual trusts are responsible for mandating training for their employees and setting appropriate policies for assessing and treating patients.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps NHS England has taken to support NHS staff offer personalised care to people with cancer.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets a clear ambition that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer should have access to personalised care by 2021. Personalised care in cancer is focused on four key interventions:

- Personalised care and support planning based on Holistic Needs Assessments;

- End of treatment summaries;

- Health and wellbeing information and support; and

- A Cancer Care Review with their general practitioner.

NHS England is supporting staff to offer personalised care to people affected by cancer by promoting awareness and understanding of the personalised care interventions and by providing resources such as a handbook on personalised stratified follow up, webinars, and a collaborative online workspace for staff. Cancer Alliances are leading programmes of work to embed personalised care within local providers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to ensure that the breast cancer imaging and diagnostic workforce has sufficient capacity to manage the backlog of patients resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Despite facing enormous pressure from this unprecedented pandemic, the National Health Service continues to treat cancer patients as a priority.

On 29 April, Simon Stevens and Amanda Pritchard wrote to colleagues across the NHS to set out the expectation that local systems and Cancer Alliances continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic capacity for cancer and sought assurance from regional cancer Senior Responsible Officers that appropriate arrangements were in place. On 8 June, further guidance was issued on the second phase of the NHS response to COVID-19 for cancer services.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement national cancer team is supporting planning by providing analytical modelling about the local capacity required to catch up on demand for diagnostics and acting as a central link to the independent sector partnership so that local systems can be supported with additional capacity where required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to include data collection on psychological and emotional wellbeing in future National Cancer Patient Experience Surveys.

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey includes the questions below which relate to psychological and emotional wellbeing:

- During your hospital visit, did you find someone on the hospital staff to talk to about your worries and fears?

- While you were being treated as an outpatient or day case, did you find someone on the hospital staff to talk to about your worries and fears?

- Did hospital staff give you information about support or self-help groups for people with cancer?

- Did hospital staff give you information about how to get financial help or any benefits you might be entitled to?

- Did hospital staff tell you that you could get free prescriptions?

The survey benefits from the expertise of an advisory group which includes a wide range of stakeholders such as patients, clinicians, commissioners and charities. The survey content is reviewed each time it is carried out and any changes discussed with the advisory group.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with cancer have been offered a holistic needs assessment (HNA); and what steps he has taken to ensure that patients’ needs are met following an HNA.

Across England, as of December 2019 at least 96% of trusts offered Holistic Needs Assessments to all breast cancer patients, 93% for prostate and 92% for colorectal. The figures were estimated to be similarly high for other cancer types. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, trusts are not currently required to submit data to Public Health England on number of Holistic Needs Assessments offered, so we do not have more recent data.

A Holistic Needs Assessment should lead to a personalised care and support plan being agreed between the patient and their health professional. This plan is designed to ensure the person’s holistic needs are being met, which may be through referral to other services, signposting to sources of support, or advice and information about the person’s concerns and how they might self-manage any issues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the long term mental health effects of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps the Government is taking to prepare to tackle those effects.

It is very normal during these uncertain and unusual times to be experiencing distress or anxiety, or to be feeling low. People can go to the Every Mind Matters website and GOV.UK for advice and practical steps to manage their mental health during this pandemic. We know that more serious mental illness stemming from experience of trauma can take time to manifest, and work is underway to plan for a possible increase in demand for people needing mental health support due to COVID-19.

We are working with the National Health Service and Public Health England, service users, academics and the voluntary sector to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on access to (a) improving access to psychological therapies, (b) child and adolescent mental health services and (c) community mental health services.

The Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise that the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak are significant and are working closely with mental health providers to ensure those who need them have access to mental health services.

Our community mental health services, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services and children and young people’s services have remained open for business throughout this time and are working to support people with mental health issues through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, deploying innovative digital tools to connect with people and provide ongoing support.

For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS England has instructed all National Health Service mental health trusts to establish 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines for urgent NHS mental health support, advice and triage for people of all ages through a single point of access.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of covid-19 home testing kits are sent out and not returned in (a) each region and (b) the UK.

As of 3 June 2020, 62% of Home Test Kits had been returned. This figure is on an upward trajectory and the seven-day rolling average is significantly higher than the year-to-date figure.

It is not currently possible to break down return rates on a regional basis.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the range of time taken is for covid-19 test results (a) by region and (b) in the UK.

We do not hold data by region. Overall turnaround times for tests conducted under Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 are published weekly on GOV.UK as part of the Weekly NHS Test and Trace Bulletin.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average length of time taken to answer a call to the test and trace service from someone with covid-19 symptoms is in (a) each region and (b) across the UK for the latest period in which figures are available.

Regional data is not available. The devolved administrations have their own contact tracing systems in place.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of tests for covid-19 are false negatives.

False-negative (and true-positive) results are more likely to occur when disease prevalence is high, which is typically at the height of a pandemic or spike in infection. False-positive (and true-negative) results are more likely to occur when disease prevalence is low, which is generally at the beginning and end of a pandemic or a spike in infection rate.

The SARS-CoV-2 RNA tests (PCR is one such example) we are using are very accurate. Where the primer and probe sequences (which is identical to a part of the virus’ genetic code) are detected then the viral RNA is present. The analytical sensitivity is nearly 100%.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of covid-19 tests are void, unclear, spoiled or lost (a) by region and (b) in total.

We do not currently publish figures on the proportion of tests that are void, unclear, spoiled or lost. We are working with officials in the testing programme to validate the data and to present it in a form that is suitable for publication.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Movianto contract with the NHS to maintain the UK's pandemic stock pile is an open book contract.

The contract with Movianto is managed under open book arrangements which allows for their costs and margins to be scrutinised through regular reporting and accounting processes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to update the guidance given to people that are shielding in response to the covid-19 outbreak as 12 week threshold since receiving their letters approaches.

On 1 June the shielding guidance was updated to advise that those shielding may wish to consider spending time outdoors once a day while following social distancing guidelines.

The Government continues to review the emerging evidence and we will continue to listen to medical advisers on the level of clinical risk the virus presents to different groups of people at different points in time.

At each review point for the social distancing measures, we will review the risks for the clinically extremely vulnerable and assess whether the shielding period needs to be extended or whether it is possible for the shielding guidance to be eased further.

The next review will take place the week commencing 15 June. As part of this, we will consider the next steps for shielding beyond 30 June. We will write to all individuals on the shielded patient list with information about next steps on shielding advice and the support that will be available to them after this review point.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Movianto NHS contract to maintain the UK pandemic supplies stockpile required the NHS to pay for the fixed costs such as rent and utilities that Movianto incurred.

The contract with Movianto regarding the maintenance of the United Kingdom pandemic supplies has costs associated with an appropriate portion of building service charges.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Movianto has claimed and received payment from the NHS for the cost of the rent for the new Haydock Green premises.

The contract with Movianto regarding the maintenance of the United Kingdom pandemic supplies has costs associated with an appropriate portion of building service charges, and these currently relate to the Haydock Green premises.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the backlog of ophthalmology appointments that were cancelled due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We continue to work closely with the National Health Service and partners and guidance has already been issued to the NHS on the process of starting to restore urgent non-covid services in a safe way.

This will be done on the principle that the most urgent treatments should be brought back first and this will be driven by local demands on the system. The approach will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country. The restoration of services will be gradual, over weeks.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Government guidelines on personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers were based on PPE availability.

Public Health England (PHE) has published clear guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care workers. This was written and reviewed by all four United Kingdom public health bodies and informed by National Health Service infection prevention control experts. It is consistent with World Health Organization guidance PHE has also published guidance on ‘Considerations for acute personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages’. This covers sessional use, reuse and alternatives to standard PPE when there are severe shortages of supply.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the low vision service effectively supports people with low vision.

Low vision services are commissioned by CCGs in specific hospital settings.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that eye clinic liaison officers are available in all ophthalmology departments; and what steps he is taking to ensure that patients with sight loss can access the support they need for retaining their independence.

The Government fully appreciates the impact that sight loss can have on a person’s life and the importance of information being available for those newly diagnosed with sight loss, in addition to access to appropriate support and rehabilitation services.

Eye clinics and their staff, including eye clinic liaison officers, are commissioned and funded by individual clinical commissioning groups, on the basis of local assessments of need.

The Care Act 2014 requires that where a person, including those with sight loss, has care and support needs, these must be met by their local authority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that pharmacists are included in (a) the next stage of the Government’s response to the covid-19 outbreak, (b) plans for the roll-out of testing and (c) forthcoming vaccination programmes; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers, officials and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been in regular contact with the pharmacy sector in relation to phase one of the response to the pandemic and continue to engage with them, seeking views and support, as we move into phase two. This include plans for the roll-out of testing and any forthcoming COVID-19 related vaccination programmes.

We are committed to increasing testing capacity so everyone who needs a test can access one. As a result, COVID-19 testing eligibility has recently expanded to all symptomatic people in England and Wales, and all symptomatic people over the age of five across the United Kingdom.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all pharmacy staff have access to (a) covid-19 tests and (b) personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers, officials and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been in regular contact with the pharmacy sector in relation to phase one of the response to the pandemic and continue to engage with them, seeking views and support, as we move into phase two. This include plans for the roll-out of testing and any forthcoming COVID-19 related vaccination programmes.

We are committed to increasing testing capacity so everyone who needs a test can access one. As a result, COVID-19 testing eligibility has recently expanded to all symptomatic people in England and Wales, and all symptomatic people over the age of five across the United Kingdom.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the additional funding needs of the community pharmacy sector during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has put in place an unprecedented financial package, providing support to all businesses, including community pharmacies, such as tax deferrals and cash grants of up to £25,000 for small businesses. Due to the specific pressures faced by community pharmacy, we have made available £350 million in extra advance payments to alleviate cash flow pressures. Additional community pharmacy funding has been provided to cover the costs of Bank Holiday opening, the new medicine delivery service for shielded patients, and to contribute to measures taken by community pharmacy to support social distancing. From June, there was also an increase of £15 million per month to reimbursement prices of the most commonly prescribed generic medicines.

We continue to work with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and NHS England and NHS Improvement to examine what further funding community pharmacy may require to continue to supply medicines and to help their communities stay well.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will extend the life assurance scheme to care workers in privately funded care homes.

The Government has launched a life assurance scheme for frontline National Health Service and social care staff. The scheme is non-contributory and pays a £60,000 lump sum where staff who had been recently working where personal care is provided to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 die as a result of the virus.

Care workers are eligible, providing that their work requires them to be present in frontline settings where COVID-19 is present. Employees of all care homes registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are eligible, regardless of how they are funded.

Any social care staff working in non-CQC registered settings are also eligible, if their employer receives public funding.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that all local authorities receive guidance on covid-19 local contact tracing initiatives.

Local authorities are a key part of contact tracing and are working with the NHS Test and Trace service. Public Health England and representatives from the local government sector are developing the details of key aspects of the testing and tracing service, focused especially on local outbreak management.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether tests for covid-19 that have exceeded the recommended time-frame for results are recorded as clinical incidents.

Later than expected delivery of test results i.e. exceeded the ‘within 24 to 48 hour of test booking’ target are reported as clinical incidents if one of the below two conditions applies:

- Aged samples – where an incident causes a delay to the testing of a sample, but a result was achieved.

- Voids – where a result cannot be achieved from a sample for reasons including that the sample has become too old.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when will my constituent receive the results of their covid-19 test reference MES00016038 of 4 May 2020.

We cannot provide test results for individual members of the public. We strongly advise that the hon. Member’s constituent to take up this query with the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre. The Call Centre handles all enquiries about the testing process, from how someone books an appointment, to what they do upon receipt of their result.

The Coronavirus Testing Call Centre can be contacted on 119 (in England and Wales) and 0300 303 2713 (in Scotland and Northern Ireland) between the hours of 7am – 11pm.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 April to Question 37528 on Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust Independent Review and the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 41400 on Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust Independent Review, when she plans to place in the Library the agreed changes to the terms of reference for the Liverpool Community Health investigation.

The Terms of Reference for the investigation are being finalised. We expect these Terms of Reference to be published shortly.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that registered NHS agency workers are being deployed to help tackle the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service has mobilised a large number of clinical and non-clinical staff to manage the challenges posed by the pandemic, including those retired and those who normally work in the private sector.

In addition, the NHS has a robust temporary staffing supply chain to ensure it can bring in the right people at the right time to deal with fluctuations in demand.

During the pandemic, we have also seen increasing numbers of staff sign up to NHS staff banks, which are pools of flexible resource that can be deployed as an alternative to the use of staffing agencies. Bank staff provide good continuity of care and value for money, and we continue to actively encourage and support trusts to further develop these banks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to ensure that all registered NHS agency workers are deployed to help tackle covid-19.

The National Health Service has mobilised a large number of clinical and non-clinical staff to manage the challenges posed by the pandemic, including those retired and those who normally work in the private sector.

In addition, the NHS has a robust temporary staffing supply chain to ensure it can bring in the right people at the right time to deal with fluctuations in demand.

During the pandemic, we have also seen increasing numbers of staff sign up to NHS staff banks, which are pools of flexible resource that can be deployed as an alternative to the use of staffing agencies. Bank staff provide good continuity of care and value for money, and we continue to actively encourage and support trusts to further develop these banks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to issue guidance to care homes on allowing visitors to care home residents with dementia.

The Department, Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the National Health Service have published guidance on the care of residents in care homes, including those with dementia. It asks care homes to consider alternatives to in-person visiting, including use of telephones or video, or the use of plastic or glass barriers between residents and visitors. Care homes are responding with innovative solutions which are allowing residents to stay in touch with their family and friends.

While we have recommended that family and friends should be advised not to visit care homes, we are clear that there may be exceptional situations where this is appropriate. This includes visits at the end of life.

Work is ongoing with the National Clinical Director for dementia, service providers, and user groups to develop additional resources on dementia to support those in care homes and the community.

We will continue to review our policies in line with the latest scientific advice.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that testing methods for covid-19 in care homes take account of the needs of people with dementia.

To ensure the needs of certain individuals are taken into account in care home settings, detailed and clinically approved guidance has been produced for care home managers. We have also produced a tutorial video to guide staff through the swab collection process. Carers and nurses are required to complete online care home swabbing competency assessment before carrying out swabbing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to what extent local authorities have been involved in the setting up of covid-19 testing stations; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the extent of local authority involvement in that matter.

During the first phase of the testing programme our priority was to find reliable tests, and to scale-up our capacity to deliver. We took a more centralised approach to testing, focusing on the safety of patients, those at greatest risk, getting health, social care and other essential workers back to work and on improving our understanding of the virus and its spread.

The current phase of testing gives Directors of Public Health, their councils and local partners a greater role in deciding where and who to test, building on their understanding of their local communities. Local authorities are being given greater scope to design different types of testing models which are suited to the needs of their population and local communities, with a focus on reaching communities who they know from can face barriers to accessing services.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) the full use of NHS radiotherapy capacity and (b) that radiotherapy cancer treatments are not being disrupted as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

A letter was issued to trusts on 29 April detailing the Second Phase of Response to COVID-19.

This letter sets out that local systems and Cancer Alliances must continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, and providers must protect and deliver cancer treatment by ensuring that cancer hubs are fully operational. Full use should be made of the available contracted independent sector hospitals. Regional cancer Senior Responsible Officers must now provide assurance that these arrangements are in place everywhere.

Cancer treatment, including radiotherapy, must be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an oropharyngeal swab for testing care homes residents with dementia for covid-19 in order to reduce distress in those residents.

The Department is looking at a range of new methodologies for testing including oropharyngeal swabs to increase our ability to test in the most effective way possible across a range of circumstances. These methods are rigorously validated both scientifically and in the proposed setting before adoption.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the under-use of radiotherapy capacity during the covid-19 outbreak.

As set out in a letter from NHS England and NHS Improvement to trusts on 29 April, cancer treatment must be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that care homes have the technological capability to (a) maintain social contact and (b) preserve cognitive ability for people affected by dementia.

The Department, Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the National Health Service have published guidance on the care of residents in care homes, including those with dementia. It asks care homes to consider alternatives to in-person visiting, including use of telephones or video, or the use of plastic or glass barriers between residents and visitors. NHSX has rapidly established a team to support those who are vulnerable, isolated or in social care with technology during Coronavirus (Covid-19). The team has taken several steps to ensure that care homes have the technological capability to maintain social contact for their residents, including: a pilot of 2,050 Facebook Portal devices, and negotiating broadband deals to make sure care homes have the connectivity to access video calls. Twelve of the major telecoms providers have also agreed to work with care homes that have slow, or no broadband connections, to improve connectivity wherever possible. A number of offers have recently been made available to care homes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government will require local authorities to develop social care contingency plans with disabled people (a) who may develop more complex needs and (b) in the absence of family carers due to covid-19.

Under the Care Act 2014 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, local authorities must develop social care contingency plans for emergency situations.

Local authorities should consider how to respond where need has significantly changed alongside the Ethical Framework for Adult Social Care and the prioritisation guidance issued by the Department.

The Department published guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family which advises carers to create an emergency plan for those they care for to use in circumstances where help from other people to deliver care may be needed. The guidance provides information on how to create an emergency plan and where to find support.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allocate additional funding to the social care system to ensure disabled people and their families are adequately supported to stay healthy and safe.

Social care services are commissioned by local authorities. On 19 March we announced £1.6 billion to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, which many councils will have directed towards adult social care. On 18 April we announced an additional £1.6 billion of funding to support councils to deliver essential frontline services.

This funding is part of the Government’s commitment to ensure the National Health Service and social care system, and other public services, have the resources required to tackle COVID-19. The Government will continue to monitor pressures in the NHS and local government and will keep future funding under review.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure (a) transparent monitoring of Care Act Easements so that there is a comprehensive record of all reduced or withdrawn packages of care and support during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is working with the Care Quality Commission and Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP) to understand the impact of the Care Act easements introduced by the Coronavirus Act 2020, which allow local authorities to prioritise care and support so that the most urgent and acute needs are met. This work includes conversations with local authorities. Recording by local authorities remains a priority and will help them to ensure accountability and provide evidence for the thought processes behind their decisions. This is stated in the Care Act easements guidance published on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-changes-to-the-care-act-2014

There is no requirement to share these internal records with the Department.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) people with learning disabilities and autism and (b) other people are not unlawfully having Do not resuscitate or Do not attempt cardio pulmonary resuscitation written into their medical records.

We are clear that it is completely unacceptable for do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions to be applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people, or for a DNACPR decision to be put in place without appropriate consultation with the patient concerned, or their families and carers if the patient lacks capacity.

The guidance, published jointly by the British Medical Association, the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the Royal College of Nursing, is clear that resuscitation decisions must be tailored to the individual circumstances of the patient and must not be made on the basis of blanket assumptions applied to particular groups. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.resus.org.uk/dnacpr/decisions-relating-to-cpr/

We have commended this guidance to the National Health Service, as the basis for local policies on resuscitation.

On 30 March, the Care Quality Commission, British Medical Association, Care Provider Alliance and Royal College of General Practitioners wrote to adult social care providers and general practitioner practices to set out their shared position on the importance of advance care planning being based on the needs of the individual. This statement is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/joint-statement-advance-care-planning

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also written to the NHS regarding the appropriate use of DNACPR decisions for people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable groups. These letters are available at the following links:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/C0166-Letter-DNACPR.pdf

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/maintaining-standards-quality-of-care-pressurised-circumstances-7-april-2020.pdf

We are working with the social care sector to understand their experiences of the wrongful application of DNACPR decisions and what further action may be needed to address inappropriate practices.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 April 2020 to Question 34319 on Coronavirus: Screening, which suppliers the Government (a) is working with and (b) has entered into contracts with.

The Government has established partnerships with industry, academia, local government and others to deliver its testing programme - from companies supplying testing kits and supplies to logistics and processing partnerships.

The Department plans to make summaries of all contracts it enters into available on GOV.UK via the contractor finder service.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to give local authorities timely access to (a) SAGE and COBRA planning assumptions and (b) the NHSX covid-19 data warehouse to enable authorities to coordinate effectively their covid-19 response.

The Government is working closely with local communities to undertake contingency planning so we can ensure the public are kept safe, and any tragic loss of life is handled with the utmost respect and care. As the Government continue to learn more about the outbreak, and potential future measures that may be needed, we will set out those plans to local resilience forums.

The planning assumptions critically depend on the response the Government takes to mitigate the effect of the outbreak, and we are working with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and others to develop assumptions that reflect those actions and that those assumptions are shared with the local level as soon as possible.

The National Health Service COVID-19 Data Store securely assimilates and protects all of the accurate, real-time information in England necessary to inform strategic and operational decisions in response to the current pandemic. It is available to use for SAGE planning, and the information feeds into relevant COBRA dashboards. Furthermore, there have already been a number of NHS Data Store COVID-19 requests from local authorities submitted and approved for public health responses.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to lay before Parliament the terms of reference for the independent investigation into historic patient safety incidents at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 27 April 2020 to Question 37528.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to create covid-19-free hospital sites suitable for the treatment of cancer patients.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published guidance and supported the development of ‘hubs’ for cancer surgery. Hubs are being developed in all 21 Alliance areas across England and are already fully or partially operational in at least 18 areas. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with all Cancer Alliances on plans for the next phases of service delivery.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the effect of covid-19 on people living with cancer.

The National Health Service is adapting how it runs its cancer services to ensure the safety of both patients and staff. Cancer specialists are discussing with their patients the potential risks to them, either through undergoing or to delay treatment at this time.

A letter was issued to trusts on 29 April detailing the Second Phase of Response to COVID-19. This letter sets out that:

Local systems and Cancer Alliances must continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, and providers must protect and deliver cancer surgery and cancer treatment by ensuring that cancer surgery hubs are fully operational. Full use should be made of the available contracted independent sector hospital and diagnostic capacity locally and regionally. Regional cancer Senior Responsible Officers must now provide assurance that these arrangements are in place everywhere.

Treatment must be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to protect the provision of end-o- life care by community-based palliative care teams during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is important to ensure patients requiring high-quality palliative and end of life care, whether in hospices or in the community, continue to receive that support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

To support local commissioners during this challenging time, NHS England and NHS improvement has developed a standard operating procedure for community palliative and end of life care. This is due to be published shortly and will contain guidance for healthcare professionals working in community settings, taking into account the safety of clinicians.

In addition, a range of guidance has already been made available to support the delivery of high-quality end of life care in community settings, including:

- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) ‘Rapid Guideline: managing symptoms (including at the end of life) in the community’;

- The NHS England and NHS Improvement clinical specialty guide ‘Community Palliative, End of Life and Bereavement Care in the COVID-19 pandemic’; and

- The NHS England and NHS Improvement clinical guidelines for children and young people with palliative care needs in all care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance is available at the following links:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG163

elearning.rcgp.org.uk/pluginfile.php/149342/mod_resource/content/1/COVID%20Community%20symptom%20control%20and%20end%20of%20life%20care%20for%20General%20Practice%20FINAL.PDF

www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0249-clinical-guidelines-children-young-people-with-palliative-care-needs-24-04-2020.pdf

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to tackle the backlog of cancer treatments that have been delayed or postponed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service providers have previously been asked to maintain access to essential cancer treatments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with guidance from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Cancer Alliances will continue to identify surgical capacity for cancer, and providers are working to make Cancer Hubs around England fully operational. Full use should be made of the available contracted independent sector hospital and diagnostic capacity locally and regionally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to issue guidance for local authorities on (a) how and (b) when local authorities should (i) reverse and (ii) restore any Care Act easements used.

The Department worked with stakeholders to develop guidance for local authorities on Care Act easements. Local authorities should reverse Care Act easements when they are able to comply with their Care Act duties in full. The easements are time limited and should be used as narrowly as possible. All assessments and reviews that are delayed or not completed must be followed up and completed in full once the easements are terminated. The Department will consider whether it is necessary to issue any further guidance.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to publish a register of local authorities that have declared and used Care Act easements in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has worked with partners to publish a list of local authorities that have notified the Department of their use of Care Act easements. This is updated daily at the following link:

www.cqc.org.uk/CareActEasements

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the rate of cancer referrals within two weeks.

NHS England and NHS Improvement launched a new drive on 25 April 2020 urging the public to seek care, including cancer care when they need it. There have been concerns that patients with cancer symptoms are not seeking medical advice in fear of contracting COVID-19. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/04/help-us-help-you-nhs-urges-public-to-get-care-when-they-need-it/

Essential and urgent cancer treatment and care will continue during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People should still attend hospital for essential appointments. General practitioners and cancer teams are finding ways to reduce the need for them to leave their homes wherever possible, for example offering telephone or video consultations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of surgical theatres have been repurposed to tackle the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England does not currently collect this information from National Health Service provider trusts.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cancer-related NHS operations were carried out throughout the UK in (a) November 2019, (b) December 2019, (c) January 2020, (d) February 2020 and (e) March 2020.

The information on how many cancer-related National Health Service operations were carried out throughout the United Kingdom is not available in the format requested.

A count of finished admission episodes (FAEs) with a primary diagnosis of cancer, with a main procedure carried out in England in November 2019, December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020 is provided in the following table. Data for March 2020 is not yet available.

Activity in English NHS hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector:

Month

FAEs

November 2019

133,898

December 2019

126,754

January 2020

141,329

February 2020

108,287

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics, NHS Digital

Note: Provisional data (subject to change following reviews)

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34316, what data his Department collects on the testing of close contacts of people who (a) have been or (b) are suspected as having been infected with covid-19.

Until 12 March, during the containment phase of the COVID-19 response, Public Health England (PHE) tested people with symptoms of COVID-19.

Close contacts of people who were or were suspected of having been infected with COVID-19 who did not display symptoms, were not tested. 3,494 contacts were identified from 302 confirmed cases up to 12 March. Those who developed symptoms were advised to be tested and that those who test positive were listed as cases in the national figures, available to view at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34315, how many close contacts of people infected with covid-19 have been traced.

Public Health England (PHE) undertook contact tracing of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the contain phase of the response, until 12 March. Since then contact tracing activities have been undertaken when needed as part of outbreak investigations. Contact tracing is undertaken by staff in local health protection teams and the PHE Field Service as part of their day to day health protection work. It is not possible to provide a specific number of people involved at this stage.

The number of people identified in England since 1 March 2020 having been in close contact with COVID-19 confirmed cases, and the number of people traced are not available in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34318, how many (a) consultants in communicable disease control and (b) community infection control nurses work in the NHS in England.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34315, how many personnel in are involved in carrying out contact tracing to identify people who may be at risk of transmitting covid-19.

Public Health England (PHE) undertook contact tracing of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the contain phase of the response, until 12 March. Since then contact tracing activities have been undertaken when needed as part of outbreak investigations. Contact tracing is undertaken by staff in local health protection teams and the PHE Field Service as part of their day to day health protection work. It is not possible to provide a specific number of people involved at this stage.

The number of people identified in England since 1 March 2020 having been in close contact with COVID-19 confirmed cases, and the number of people traced are not available in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34315, how many close contacts of people infected with covid-19 have been identified in England since 1 March 2020.

Public Health England (PHE) undertook contact tracing of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the contain phase of the response, until 12 March. Since then contact tracing activities have been undertaken when needed as part of outbreak investigations. Contact tracing is undertaken by staff in local health protection teams and the PHE Field Service as part of their day to day health protection work. It is not possible to provide a specific number of people involved at this stage.

The number of people identified in England since 1 March 2020 having been in close contact with COVID-19 confirmed cases, and the number of people traced are not available in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the implications of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 for his Department's policies on reporting the deaths of NHS staff following occupational exposure to covid-19.

The Department has agreed with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that National Health Service and social care employers will be reminded of the requirement to report dangerous occurrences, cases of disease and work-related fatalities to the HSE under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) regulations.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that testing for covid 19 is (a) accurate and (b) accessible.

The Government published its testing strategy on 4 April. The strategy, which addresses the importance of testing accessibility and accuracy, is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878121/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-strategy.pdf

Since the strategy was published, the Government has met its target to deliver 100,000 tests per day, and our overall ambition is to provide enough swab tests for everyone that needs one.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish the vaccination strategy announced by the Government on 18 August 2019.

The forthcoming vaccine strategy, as announced in the Green Paper ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’, will consider all vaccination programmes over the life-course.

Due to re-prioritisation necessary as part of the health and care system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, publication has been delayed, but is expected in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that immunological expertise is being used in his Department’s decision making.

The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) is an expert committee of the Department which advises the Government. Members include those with expertise in immunology and serology all of whom advise the Chief Medical Officer and share information with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

SAGE provide expert medical and scientific advice to the four United Kingdom Governments’ Chief Medical Officers who in turn advise the health and social care systems across the UK, the Government and agencies in all parts of the UK who are involved in responding to this outbreak.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to lay before Parliament, the terms of reference for the Liverpool Community Health Independent Investigation.

The initial scoping phase of the independent investigation of historic patient safety incidents at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust has commenced in accordance with the announcement by Departmental Ministers in June of last year. The terms of reference which govern the investigation are still being finalised and will be announced in due course subject on any constraints imposed by COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department has spent on consultancy for work related to the covid-19 outbreak (a) in total and (b) by company.

Expenditure on COVID-19 will be published as part of the Department’s 2019-20 Annual Report and Accounts later this year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the ability of the NHS to meet targets.

The National Health Service is facing significant pressure as it responds to patient demand from COVID-19 cases and it is a success that hospital capacity has met the demand for services. The action taken to free up capacity has included the postponement of non-urgent elective treatment while protecting urgent services such as cancer. The response that has been needed is likely, therefore, to impact on the NHS’s ability to meet NHS waiting times standards for routine elective care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 testing centres have been set up; how many of those testing centres are located in out-of-town areas; and on what date each of those centres was fully operational.

As of 29 April, 43 Regional Testing Sites were open. In addition, the Government had 18 satellite testing centres and 17 mobile testing units to boost testing capacity as of the same date and time. The Government will be publishing the full list and locations of Regional Testing Sites soon.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department used to determine the location of each covid-19 testing centre; what consideration was given to the distance that people might have to travel to reach such centres; and what the average distance is of each of those centres from the nearest town.

The broad geographical locations were selected with the aim of ensuring that as many people as possible live within 45 minutes of a centre by road. The Government aims to be responsive to local need and, where possible, consult with local stakeholders and partners before making decisions.

In determining the specific site where a centre is located, the Government typically works with a number of potential site owners to identify and narrow down sites. The primary concern when considering a site is safety. A number of factors influence that decision – including the size and layout of the site, the period for which it is available, and nearby road links.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the daily capacity is of each of the covid-19 testing centres; and what the average daily attendance has been at each such centre during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government does not publish data broken down by test centre. As of 29 April, 43 Regional Testing Sites were open. In addition, the Government had 18 satellite testing centres and 17 mobile testing units to boost our testing capacity as of the same date and time. Across this testing programme, the Government has tested over 150,000 persons and their household members for COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the capacity of the vaccine manufacturing industry.

The new Government ‘Vaccines Taskforce’ is working with the BioIndustry Association Taskforce to review existing domestic capability to manufacture vaccines, in response to COVID-19. The Taskforce is also reviewing options for increasing this capacity, including how to support the acceleration and expand the capacity of the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, so that it becomes operational earlier than planned and is able to manufacture population level doses.

For COVID-19, the type of vaccine manufacturing capacity needed will be determined by the nature of the vaccine that is developed and the technology used to produce the vaccines. This work is proceeding at pace, with the support of industry and academic partners, to ensure that we are identifying suitable capacity across different vaccine types, while those vaccines are still under development.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which (a) public bodies and (b) companies are carrying out covid-19 testing; and what is the (i) sensitivity, (ii) specificity and (iii) cost of each those tests.

Testing is a crucial part of the United Kingdom’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government is working with a number of major suppliers to put in place additional testing capacity for the UK. This builds upon existing services offered through the National Health Service and Public Health England.

The suppliers and number of tests is subject to confidential commercial agreements and the Government is unable to confirm at present.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether each local authority in England is undertaking contact tracing to identify those who have been infected with covid-19; and how many (a) personnel are involved in carrying out that tracing and (b) close contacts have been (i) identified and (ii) traced in each local authority.

The local health protection teams and Public Health England (PHE) have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week since mid-January to carry out contact tracing. As we are now in the delay phase of the COVID-19 response, PHE will continue to follow-up cases, outbreaks and high-risk individuals.

The data are not available in the format requested. However, PHE has published a dashboard detailing the total number of cases in the United Kingdom. This is broken down by upper tier local authorities and National Health Service regions in England and can be viewed online at the following link:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/f94c3c90da5b4e9f9a0b19484dd4bb14

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of close contacts of those who have been, or are suspected as having been, infected with covid-19 (a) are undergoing testing, (b) have tested positive and (c) have been isolated or quarantined in each local authority area.

The data regarding information on close contacts is not available in the format requested.

The data on number of people tested and positive COVID-19 cases are updated daily and available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the study by Keeling et al. titled The Efficacy of Contact Tracing for the Containment of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), published in February 2020, whether he is ensuring rapid and effective contact tracing for covid-19.

In the containment phase of the COVID-19 response, the local health protection teams and Public Health England’s (PHE) Field Epidemiology Service carried out contact tracing from mid-January to early March. PHE scaled up its contact tracing response with staff from the field service, staff from local health protection teams and clinical staff additionally recruited. This action helped to delay community transmission, save lives and bought time for the National Health Service and country to prepare.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) consultants in communicable disease control and (b) community infection control nurses there are in each location by local authority area.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made a recent comparative assessment of trends in the value of contracts for charities providing regulated care and the UK Homecare Association minimum price for homecare; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has not made an assessment of the ability of local authority care commissioners to pay UK Homecare Association (UKHCA) recommended minimum price for homecare, neither has the Department made a comparative assessment of trends in the value of contracts for charities providing regulated care and the UKHCA minimum price for homecare.

The Care Act 2014 placed duties on local authorities to shape their local markets so that there is an adequate supply of provision which ensures all adult social care service users have a choice of high-quality services.

As a result, in the case of state-funded care, local authorities negotiate individually with care providers to achieve a balance of quality, effectiveness and value for money for the public purse.

The level of fees charged to people who fund their own care is a private contractual arrangement.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the ability of local authority care commissioners to pay the UK Homecare Association recommended minimum price for homecare.

The Department has not made an assessment of the ability of local authority care commissioners to pay UK Homecare Association (UKHCA) recommended minimum price for homecare, neither has the Department made a comparative assessment of trends in the value of contracts for charities providing regulated care and the UKHCA minimum price for homecare.

The Care Act 2014 placed duties on local authorities to shape their local markets so that there is an adequate supply of provision which ensures all adult social care service users have a choice of high-quality services.

As a result, in the case of state-funded care, local authorities negotiate individually with care providers to achieve a balance of quality, effectiveness and value for money for the public purse.

The level of fees charged to people who fund their own care is a private contractual arrangement.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to change the provisions in the NHS constitution in relation to the clinically led NHS access standards review.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement Clinically-led Review of Access Standards is still underway. The existing National Health Service performance standards remain in place, and the Government will respond to the recommendations for change when they are made.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many pods designed for testing for covid-19 have been (a) acquired and (b) delivered to NHS units; and how many delivered pods are (i) in use or (ii) not yet in use.

The number of pods acquired and commissioned into use is increasing daily. Testing more broadly is increasing at a rapid rate and as of 23 March, a total of 83,945 have been tested with 77,295 being negative and 6,650 testing positive.

Most adults in good health who develop symptoms will fully recover, and the Chief Medical Officer has advised that we need to prioritise testing to those who have the greatest clinical need. Both key workers - such as health workers - and clinically high priority cases will be prioritised.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for the proposed audit of continence services by the National Bowel and Bladder Health Project; and when the results of that audit will be published.

The National Bladder and Bowel Project Group will undertake an audit of clinical commissioning groups across all regions in England to assess the commissioning of continence services later this year. A more specific timeframe has not been set at this stage.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to publish proposals on social care reform.

Putting social care on a sustainable footing, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society. As the Prime Minister has said, the Government will bring forward a plan for social care this year.

The Government will seek to build cross-party consensus and will outline next steps shortly.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Age UK briefing entitled Health and Care of Older People in England 2019, published July 2019, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the 100,000 vacancies in the social care workforce in England.

The Government recognises that adult social care employers can struggle to recruit and retain the right number of staff, with the right values and skills, and that vacancy and turnover rates across the sector are high. We are working alongside stakeholders in adult social care to support a growing workforce, with the values and skills to deliver high quality, compassionate care.

The Department has invested £7 million over the past two years in a national recruitment campaign designed to raise the profile of adult social care, encourage potential applicants to apply for job vacancies, and highlight opportunities for career development and progression. Through our continued funding of Skills for Care we have also provided a range of resources and practical toolkits for providers to help attract, train and retain staff.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Age UK's General Election Manifesto 2019, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the unmet social care needs of 1.5 million people aged over 65 in England.

The Government has enshrined in legislation, through the Care Act 2014, councils’ statutory responsibility to meet eligible needs. This eliminates the postcode lottery of eligibility across England.

Many people will fund their own care, which has been the case for decades. State-funded social care is available for those with the greatest needs on the lowest incomes and, at year-end 2018/19, 381,475 older people were receiving long-term support from their council, either through residential care or support in their own home.

Social care is a Government priority. We have given councils access to up to £1.5 billion more dedicated funding for social care in 2020/21 to meet rising demand and further stabilise the system.

Putting social care on a sustainable footing, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society. As the Prime Minister has said, the Government will bring forward a plan for social care this year.

The Government will seek to build cross-party consensus and will outline next steps shortly.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support carers who are over 80 years old.

In June 2018 we published the cross-Government Carers Action Plan 2018-2020 which includes commitments from across Government to support the health and wellbeing of all carers, including those over 80.

We have also commissioned a piece of work through the Health and Wellbeing Alliance which looks at supporting carers to make plans for a future where they may be less able to care. A report and resources will be published in the spring.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients have timely access the care require to leave hospital in order to ease pressure on the NHS from delayed discharge from hospital.

The Department is clear that no one should stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary. The jointly set Better Care Fund (BCF) plans focus on reducing delayed transfers of care (DToCs). All local health and care systems must adopt the centrally-set expectations for reducing or maintaining rates of DToC during 2019-20 in their BCF plans.

The Government provided £240 million in 2019-20, pooled in the BCF, to support local health and care systems to manage demand pressures on the National Health Service. This includes interventions that support people to be discharged from hospital to access the appropriate social care to help promote their independence.

The last available published figures for delayed transfers are for December performance. These show that since the peak in February 2017, there has been a reduction in the average number of delayed days per day of over 1,800.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which body is responsible for overseeing national provision of extra breast screening for women with family history of breast cancer, as recommended by NICE guideline CG164.

No single body has sole responsibility for overseeing the national provision of high-risk breast screening. Provision of high-risk breast cancer screening services is currently the responsibility of National Health Service trusts, at a local level.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has produced guidance on caring for people with a family history of breast, ovarian or other related (prostate or pancreatic) cancer. In addition, the NHS Breast Screening Programme has published protocols for providers on the surveillance of women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This document can be viewed at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/766128/nhsbsp74.pdf

As part of a wider screening improvement programme and following publication of the vision for screening as set out in ‘Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s’, the department, NHS England and Public Health England are considering how to better integrate targeted screening in high-risk groups with our current approach to population screening.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which body is responsible for overseeing national provision of family history clinics to support women with a family history of breast cancer.

The Manual for Prescribed Specialised Services 2018/19 sets out that NHS England and NHS Improvement commission genetic testing for inherited cancer through the Genomic Laboratory Hubs and the genetic clinical service through the Regional Clinical Genetics Services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 4 November 2019 to Question 7034 on Health: Screening, when his Department plans to publish the implementation plan relating to Professor Sir Mike Richards’ Review of National Adult Screening programmes.

The Department, NHS England and Public Health England are considering the findings of Professor Sir Mike Richards’ report, together with recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee and the Independent Breast Screening Review in 2019, as part of a wider screening improvement programme.

We intend to publish an implementation plan in spring 2020, which will build on the findings from Professor Richards’ review and include actions that will support delivery of our vision for a more personalised, targeted screening offer as set out in the Green Paper ‘Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s’.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Written Statement of 16 October 2019, Publication of Professor Sir Mike Richards’ Review of National Adult Screening Programmes, HCWS 11, what discussions his Department plans to hold with patient groups when developing the implementation plan on the recommendations of that review.

The Department, NHS England and Public Health England are considering the findings of Professor Sir Mike Richards’ report, together with recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee and Independent Breast Screening Review in 2019.

We will publish an implementation plan in spring 2020 and, as part of that plan, assess the level of patient group engagement required to effectively support implementation and deliver improvements to the screening programmes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what training is provided to GPs to ensure that they have adequate knowledge of the (a) causes and (b) health management of adult and paediatric incontinence.

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 doctors are up to date with their practice and promotes improved quality of care by driving improvements in clinical governance.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether adult and paediatric incontinence is classified as a long-term medical condition by the NHS.

The National Health Service supports patients with health problems that affect them over both the short and long term. Adult and pediatric continence challenges are already being considered as part of the National Bowel and Bladder Health Project to support the delivery of the ambitions of the Excellence in Continence Care Programme within the NHS. This is led by NHS England and NHS Improvement and is aimed at improving the experience of care for patients and their carers.

This programme will work towards a model of care which takes into account the expertise and resources of the people with long-term conditions and their communities, which the National Bowel and Bladder project aims to support via the clinical pathway workstreams. This will help to provide a holistic approach to patient care and lives, and help individuals achieve the best outcomes possible.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from the Hon. Member for West Lancashire of 17 March 2021 on foreign aid in India, reference ZA55927. .

A response to this letter is currently being expedited and will be sent out shortly.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with AstraZeneca and Oxford University on their commitment to the WHO Covid-19 Technology Access Pool.

Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) provided initial details on the COVID-19 technology access pool (C-TAP) in October 2020, the UK has led the way in bringing industry and the research community to the table. During our G7 presidency, we will continue this work with stakeholders, including the WHO as it establishes the governance structures, and refines the operating model for C-TAP. This includes pharmaceutical sector representatives, and research institutions such as Oxford University.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is working closely with key development partners in vaccines, such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi the Vaccines Alliance, WHO, and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), along with development finance institutions, and the private sector to catalyse investments into vaccine manufacturing in Africa.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK passport holders stranded abroad during the covid-19 outbreak are able to access extended visas to comply with travel advice without incurring additional charges.

We are advising British Nationals stranded abroad, to contact the relevant authority in the country they are located with regards to their visa. In a number of countries, including Thailand and Indonesia, we have provided British National travellers with expiring visas, letters and information notes from the Consulate to support their visa extension requests.

We are also lobbying countries to ensure that individuals who are unable to leave the country because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions, will not be regarded as over-stayers; will not suffer any immigration detriment in the future; and will not be pursued during the crisis.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking in preparation for the upcoming Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations of prepaid funeral plans to ensure that people who have purchased plans from suppliers that fail to receive FCA approval will receive an equal plan from another provider or get a refund.

Following consultation with industry the Government concluded that the majority of providers operating in the pre-paid funeral plan market are well run with properly funded trusts.

The Government also found that the reports of poor practices have largely been attributed to providers that had chosen not to register with the sector’s voluntary regulatory body – the Funeral Planning Authority – thereby demonstrating that a voluntary system of regulation cannot be fully effective because providers can simply choose not to comply.

It is a regrettable fact that bringing a previously unregulated sector into regulation creates a possibility that some providers are not able to meet the threshold for authorisation


The Government therefore cannot rule out that in authorising these firms under the new regime, it is revealed that some funeral plan providers are unable to deliver on the promises they have made to their customers.

However, the Government and the FCA are monitoring the situation very closely and, subject to the facts at the time, stand ready to take any appropriate action.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 16 April 2021 on NHS pay rise, reference ZA56278.

HM Treasury responded to the Member on 4 May 2021. A further copy has been sent by email.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 1 March 2021, on financial support for sufferers of long covid, reference ZA54924.

The Financial Secretary responded to the Honourable Member’s correspondence on 23 April 2021.
Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 27 November 2020 on business rates, reference ZA54614.

HM Treasury has no record of receiving the letter of 27 November from the Honourable Member. The Member's follow up correspondence of 18 February is now receiving attention. HM Treasury apologises for the delay in responding and will respond to the Member as soon as possible.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what security measures his Department has put in place to secure funds that members of the public have deposited in tax-free childcare accounts.

Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) is delivered from GOV.UK alongside other government digital services through the secure Government Gateway. The Childcare Service (on GOV.UK) complies and adheres to the following best practice security measures which secure funds in TFC accounts:


• HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard
• HMG Government Security Classifications
• HMG Personnel Security Controls
• HMG Security Policy Framework
• ISO20001: IT Service Management
• ISO22301: Business Continuity Management
• ISO27001:2013 Information technology, Security techniques,
Information security management systems, Requirements
• Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the options available to a customer whose funds have gone missing after deposit into their tax-free childcare account.

Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) is delivered from GOV.UK alongside other government digital services through the secure Government Gateway. Parents apply for TFC through the online Childcare Service, which HM Revenue & Customs deliver in partnership with National Savings & Investment.


If parents suspect their account is being misused they should contact the Childcare Service helpline to report their concerns. The Childcare Service will
investigate the matter immediately.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many reports he has received of deposited funds not appearing in tax-free childcare accounts; whether those incidents have been resolved; and what steps he is taking to prevent such incidents.

Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) is delivered from GOV.UK alongside other government digital services through the secure Government Gateway. Parents apply for TFC through the online Childcare Service, which HM Revenue & Customs deliver in partnership with National Savings & Investment (NS&I).

There have been two incidents of deposited funds not appearing in TFC accounts since the scheme started in April 2017. In August 2019 3,074 TFC customers were affected by a system error, of which all funds were remediated to the correct account. Since this incident, NS&I introduced a number of additional controls; including automated system scripts which alert them to any missed or unprocessed files. When alerted NS&I evoke their industry standard Incident (ITIL) process and conform to a Service Level Agreement set with HMRC, which has a range of response and resolution times depending on the scale of the incident (such as the number of customers impacted).

More recently in December 2020 198 customers were affected by a different processing issue, which is currently being remediated.

If parents suspect their account is being misused they should contact the Childcare Service helpline to report their concerns. The Childcare Service will investigate the matter immediately.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to ensure that HM Revenue and Customs replies to the letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, dated 14 September 2020, on a constituent's tax issue, ref za53685.

HMRC apologise for the delay in dealing with this case. They telephoned the constituency office of the Honourable Member on 2 December in order to resolve her constituent’s issue and have confirmed the position by email with her.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if his Department will publish the (a) terms of reference and (b) minutes of meetings of the Number 10 Health and Social Care Taskforce.

The No10 and HM Treasury Health and Social Care Taskforce was made up of civil servants from a number of Government departments, who met on a daily basis as part of their policy development work, from the beginning of June through to the end of October this year.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the (a) terms of reference and (b) minutes of the meetings of his Health and Social Care Taskforce.

The No10 and HM Treasury Health and Social Care Taskforce was made up of civil servants from a number of Government departments, who met on a daily basis as part of their policy development work, from the beginning of June through to the end of October this year.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer meets Cabinet colleagues to discuss a range of issues as part of the policy making process.

The government continues to take its environmental responsibilities very seriously, and is committed to meeting its climate change targets. With this in mind, the government is considering how it can most effectively progress transport decarbonisation through the Spending Review.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 20 April 2020 on furlough for agency or bank staff at NHS Professionals.

The Treasury responded to the Member’s letter on 24 July 2020.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will ensure that local authorities are provided with sufficient funding to provide grants to all charities in receipt of charitable rate relief.

The Government is aware that some small businesses and organisations have found themselves excluded from the existing business grants schemes because of the way they interact with the business rates system. That is why the Government has allocated up to an additional £617 million to Local Authorities to enable them to give discretionary grants to organisations in this situation. The Government’s intention is for Local Authorities to prioritise the following types of organisation when making discretionary grants:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces for example, industrial parks, science parks, incubators etc, which do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief

Local Authorities may choose to focus payments on those priority groups which are most relevant to their local areas. Local Authorities may also choose to pay gr