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Written Question
Abortion
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bob Blackman (CON - Harrow East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to ensure that the upper gestational limits on abortion are guided by the latest science on foetal viability; and whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies of the findings on foetal viability from 22 weeks gestation in (a) Riley K., et al., Survival and neurodevelopmental morbidity at 1 year of age following extremely preterm delivery over a 20-year period: a single centre cohort study, published in Acta Paediatrica in 2008, (b) MBRRACE-UK Supplementary report on survival up to one year of age for babies born before 27 weeks gestational age — For Births in Great Britain from January to December 2016, Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme published in 2019 and (c) Håkansson S. et al., Proactive Management Promotes Outcome in Extremely Preterm Infants: A Population-Based Comparison of Two Perinatal Management Strategies, published in Pediatrics in 2004.

Answered by Maggie Throup

It would be a matter for Parliament to determine whether changes to the law on abortion should be made. As with other matters of conscience, abortion is an issue on which the Government adopts a neutral stance and allows hon. Members to vote according to their moral, ethical or religious beliefs.


Written Question

Question Link

21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Olivia Blake (LAB - Sheffield, Hallam)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is for publishing the review into the variation in provision of NHS fertility services; and following that review, whether he plans to take steps to ensure that Clinical Commissioning Groups are prevented from setting additional non-clinical criteria for fertility services, including having children from previous relationships.

Answered by Maria Caulfield

The Department undertook a review on the variation in access to National Health Service fertility services, which was completed in 2021. The results of this internal review will inform future policy. We will set out our initial aims in the Women’s Health Strategy, due to be published in the spring.

We expect local NHS commissioning bodies to commission fertility services in line with the National Institute for National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guidelines, to ensure equitable access in England. We are aware that some commissioners set additional non-clinical criteria, which can include having children from previous relationships. This is outside the best clinical practice within NICE’s fertility guidelines.


Written Question
Immunosuppression: Coronavirus
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Ian Byrne (LAB - Liverpool, West Derby)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what specific support his Department is taking to help protect people who are immunocompromised and have at least one child attending school settings from covid-19 infection; and whether his Department is taking additional steps to protect those people from infection with the omicron variant of covid-19.

Answered by Maggie Throup

On 29 November 2021, the Government accepted advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in response to the Omicron variant. This stated that that severely immunosuppressed individuals who have completed the course of three primary doses should be offered a booster vaccination, with a minimum of three months between the third primary and booster dose. Those who have not yet received their third dose may receive this immediately with a booster dose given in three months.

On 22 December 2021, the JCVI further advised that those aged 16 to 17 years old, those aged 12 to 15 years old who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed and 12 to 15 year olds in a clinical risk group, should be offered a booster dose no sooner than three months after completion of their primary course. It also advised that children aged five to 11 years old who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed and those in a clinical risk group should be offered two doses of the vaccine.

Immunocompromised individuals are also a priority cohort for research into therapeutic and prophylaxis treatments such as monoclonal antibody therapies, novel antivirals and repurposed compounds. The highest risk cohort of non-hospitalised patients, including those who are immunocompromised, can access treatments from COVID Medicines Delivery Units, if clinically eligible. These treatments include molnupiravir, an antiviral drug, and sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody infusion. Another monoclonal antibody treatment, ronapreve, is available to treat the most vulnerable hospitalised patients in the United Kingdom where genotyping shows they are not infected with the Omicron variant. Vulnerable patients with hospital-onset infection with the Omicron variant may be eligible to receive sotrovimab.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Munira Wilson (LDEM - Twickenham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department is taking to ensure that (a) people with poorly controlled asthma are invited to receive their covid-19 booster jabs on time and (b) the evidence for changes to the vaccine prioritisation list are clearly communicated to asthma sufferers.

Answered by Maggie Throup

Every eligible adult in England has now been offered a COVID-19 booster vaccination, including those with poorly controlled asthma.

On 16 September 2021, the UK Health Security Agency’s Green Book definition of asthma was updated to state that with ‘poorly controlled asthma’ would be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. This definition includes individuals who have had two or more courses of oral corticosteroids in the preceding 24 months; or are on maintenance oral corticosteroids; or have had one or more hospital admission(s) for asthma in the preceding 24 months. This followed a systematic review of the evidence on asthma severity, control and COVID-19 hospitalisations by the British Thoracic Society. The British Thoracic Society’s guidance for those with poorly controlled asthma is available at the following link:

https://www.brit-thoracic.org.uk/covid-19/covid-19-information-for-the-respiratory-community/

On 29 November 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that all those aged 18 years old and over, including those with poorly controlled asthma, and those individuals with severe immunosuppression who have had three primary doses are eligible for a booster vaccination from a minimum of three months after completion of their primary course.


Written Question
Abortion
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bob Blackman (CON - Harrow East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to review the current upper gestational limit on abortion of 24 weeks in response to the latest advancements in perinatal medicine showing fetal viability from 22 weeks, and given that the median time limit in other European countries is 12 weeks gestation.

Answered by Maggie Throup

It would be a matter for Parliament to determine whether changes to the law on abortion should be made. As with other matters of conscience, abortion is an issue on which the Government adopts a neutral stance and allows hon. Members to vote according to their moral, ethical or religious beliefs.


Written Question
Genetics: Screening
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Anne Marie Morris (IND - Newton Abbot)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of variability in success-rate of testing across England’s seven Genomic Laboratory Hubs.

Answered by Maggie Throup

The performance of the Genomic Laboratory Hubs is monitored quarterly through an assurance framework, which ensures all Hubs are operating to national quality standards. This identifies and minimises any potential variability in the success rate of testing.


Written Question

Question Link

21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher (LAB - Coventry North East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to speed up the delivery of care packages for people waiting to be discharged from hospital in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

We have provided £3.3 billion to the National Health Service to facilitate timely hospital discharges, including £478 million this winter. We have established a national discharge taskforce, with local and national government and the NHS. The taskforce works with NHS England’s regional teams to support hospital discharge in local areas, including in Coventry, the West Midlands and England.

We have provided an additional £462.5 million for the recruitment and retention of social care workers to support the hospital discharge process, expanded the Health and Care Visa to include care workers and launched the Made with Care national recruitment campaign running until March 2022.


Written Question

Question Link

21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher (LAB - Coventry North East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure patients in hospitals in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England are allowed safe and regular visits from family members.

Answered by Edward Argar

National guidance on how National Health Service hospitals may facilitate visits was in place during the pandemic. However, visiting policies have now returned to the discretion of local NHS trusts and other NHS bodies in England, based on national principles, to make an assessment of the appropriate visiting arrangements given local prevalence of COVID-19 and the design of facilities.


Written Question

Question Link

21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Mary Kelly Foy (LAB - City of Durham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 September 2021 to Question 43668 on Disability: Finance, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Education to improve the provision of disabled children’s health and care services.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

We are working with the Department for Education on health and care’s role in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) system through the SEND Review. This includes how we can improve the provision of health and care services to disabled children.


Written Question

Question Link

21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Angela Rayner (LAB - Ashton-under-Lyne)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2022 to Question 103559 on Protective Clothing: Coronavirus, how many other suppliers awarded contracts for personal protective equipment through the high-priority lane are in mediation with his Department as of 18 January 2022.

Answered by Edward Argar

The Department is currently engaged in a mediation process with one other supplier.


Written Question
Dental Services: Coronavirus
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (LAB - Slough)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 December 2021 to Question 85353 on Dental Services: Coronavirus, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the dental industry on the impact of covid-19 on dentists and dental practices.

Answered by Maria Caulfield

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.


Written Question
Dental Services: Coronavirus
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (LAB - Slough)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 December 2021 to Question 85353 on Dental Services: Coronavirus, whether he plans to make an assessment of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of dental practices and dentists.

Answered by Maria Caulfield

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.


Written Question
Social Services: Coronavirus
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Wes Streeting (LAB - Ilford North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of workers who have left the social care sector in England as a result of making vaccination for covid-19 a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.


Written Question
Mental Health Services: Coronavirus
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Alex Cunningham (LAB - Stockton North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the 14 day covid-19 isolation period operating within children’s mental health units.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Andrew Gwynne (LAB - Denton and Reddish)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that covid-19 vaccines are utilised prior to reaching their expiry date.

Answered by Maggie Throup

Robust mitigations have been put in place to reduce wastage. Stock levels have been closely monitored at a regional, system and site level with deliveries adjusted accordingly. This includes keeping stock back in the supply chain and encouraging sites to reallocate stock at a local level, rather than draw from central stores. Vaccine deliveries have been carefully managed in line with site capacity, population density and available supply, to ensure that any vaccine being delivered would be used within as short a timeframe as possible.

Following recent discussions with Pfizer and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to healthcare providers on 17 January 2022 setting out that certain unpunctured and undamaged Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines’ post thaw shelf-life has been extended from 31 days to 45 days.