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

Questioner: Derek Thomas

Question

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

Answer (Jo Churchill)

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

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


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

Questioner: Rehman Chishti

Question

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

Answer (Jo Churchill)

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

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

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


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

Questioner: Alex Sobel

Question

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

Answer (Edward Argar)

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

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


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

Questioner: Rosie Cooper

Question

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

Answer (Jo Churchill)

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

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


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
23 Oct 2020, 2:39 p.m.

Questioner: Rosie Cooper

Question

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.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

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


Written Question
Obesity: Health Services
23 Oct 2020, 1:57 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Virendra Sharma

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average patient waiting times are for GP-led referrals for NHS specialist weight management services.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published in July, we are committed to looking at what further action can be taken to improve weight management services to better support people living with obesity to achieve a healthier weight.

The Department does not hold information on patient waiting times for general practitioner-led referrals to National Health Service specialist weight management services.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives


Written Question
Obesity: Health Services
23 Oct 2020, 1:57 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Virendra Sharma

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of NHS specialist weight management services.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published in July, we are committed to looking at what further action can be taken to improve weight management services to better support people living with obesity to achieve a healthier weight.

The Department does not hold information on patient waiting times for general practitioner-led referrals to National Health Service specialist weight management services.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives


Written Question
Obesity
23 Oct 2020, 1:48 p.m.

Questioner: Stuart Anderson

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 September 2020 to Question 83952 on Obesity, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating funding to local groups tackling obesity.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

There has been no central assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding to local groups, small businesses or voluntary groups as part of the Government's strategy to reduce obesity. We have invested £3.279 billion in local authority public health services through the Public Health Grant in 2020/21, in addition to what the National Health Service spent on preventative interventions such as our world-class immunisation and screening programmes.


Written Question
Ayanda Capital: Protective Clothing
23 Oct 2020, 1:34 p.m.

Questioner: Sir Mark Hendrick

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 September to Question 81545, what checks were made prior to direct awarding Ayanda Capital Limited a contract for providing PPE to the NHS.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 Ayanda Capital was evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product, service and technical specifications and ability to perform the contract. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer in line with Departmental terms and conditions.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
23 Oct 2020, 1:32 p.m.

Questioner: Rachael Maskell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what level of personal protective clothing staff working in covid-19 testing centres should have.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

In line with the national Public Health England guidance, there are different personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements dependent on the role test site staff take within the testing sites. In the case of the walk-in local testing sites (LTS) the PPE requirements are set out in the LTS Standard Operating Procedure. Test operatives (for Tester Assisted testing) are required to wear disposable gloves; a disposable plastic apron; a Fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical mask; and reusable eye protection.


Written Question
Tranexamic Acid
23 Oct 2020, 10:56 a.m.

Questioner: Jim Shannon

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether tranexamic acid is used for accident victims to help control bleeding.

Answer (Edward Argar)

Tranexamic acid was introduced in all ambulance services in England for the management of traumatic bleeding and it forms part of the United Kingdom Clinical Practice Guidance for ambulance services. It is administered to patients with time critical injuries where significant internal/external haemorrhage is suspected and as part of the major trauma triage protocol.


Written Question
Accident and Emergency Departments: Coronavirus
23 Oct 2020, 10:53 a.m.

Questioner: Dame Diana Johnson

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the introduction of video triage at A&Es during the covid-19 outbreak; and what plans he has to promote that policy beyond the outbreak.

Answer (Edward Argar)

Video consultations are used primarily for elective and outpatient care rather than accident and emergency (A&E). However, Moorfields Hospital has successfully used video consultations for eye emergencies only.

The National Integrated Care and COVID Hospital Team is not aware of any assessment of the effectiveness of video consultation in A&E. The Improvement Directorate has been leading on video consultation work, but this is primarily within elective care.


Written Question
Clinical Trials
23 Oct 2020, 10:49 a.m.

Questioner: Chi Onwurah

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the speed at which clinical trials for medical research can be conducted.

Answer (Edward Argar)

This Government is committed to supporting a vibrant clinical research environment. We need to make clinical trials faster, more efficient and more innovative and we need to further develop digital tools and infrastructure to support clinical research. Crucially, we need to ensure that patients and the public are engaged and involved in clinical trials so that research meets their needs. The Department and the Office for Life Sciences are working to develop a vision which will realise these goals, liaising with a range of health and care stakeholders.

The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network supports the set-up and timely delivery of commercial and non-commercial studies across England. This includes advice and support for study feasibility, streamlined National Health Service permissions and effective patient recruitment.


Written Question
Influenza: Vaccination
23 Oct 2020, 10:39 a.m.

Questioner: Jim Shannon

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure availability of seasonal flu vaccinations through GP surgeries in Winter 2020.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

General practitioners (GPs) and pharmacies are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local areas to ensure that local providers are supported to meet increased demand for the flu vaccination this winter. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has granted dispensation to allow the movement of vaccines locally this season, to address local shortages. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of adult seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available from November. Guidance for pharmacists will be released soon. Guidance for GPs on accessing the additional stock is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accessing-government-secured-flu-vaccines-guidance-for-gps


Written Question
Influenza: Vaccination
23 Oct 2020, 10:39 a.m.

Questioner: Jim Shannon

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the availability of the flu vaccine at pharmacies and chemists.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

General practitioners (GPs) and pharmacies are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local areas to ensure that local providers are supported to meet increased demand for the flu vaccination this winter. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has granted dispensation to allow the movement of vaccines locally this season, to address local shortages. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of adult seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available from November. Guidance for pharmacists will be released soon. Guidance for GPs on accessing the additional stock is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accessing-government-secured-flu-vaccines-guidance-for-gps


Written Question
Coronavirus: Mortality Rates
23 Oct 2020, 10:34 a.m.

Questioner: Dr Ben Spencer

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the infection fatality rate of covid-19 is in the UK (a) overall and (b) by (i) age group, (ii) gender and (iii) ethnic background.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Public Health England does not publish data on the infection fatality rate or the case fatality rate of COVID-19.


Written Question
Health Services: Coronavirus
23 Oct 2020, 10:32 a.m.

Questioner: Felicity Buchan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the tiered system of covid-19 alert levels on the work of (a) Alcoholics Anonymous, (b) Narcotics Anonymous and (c) other support groups in areas of different levels of risk.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

The Government’s COVID-19 guidance makes it clear that support groups for mutual aid, including people recovering from addictions, are able to meet in groups up to 15 people. The guidance can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Public Health England published guidance outlining COVID-19 advice for commissioners and service providers involved in assisting people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol or both. It can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-commissioners-and-providers-of-services-for-people-who-use-drugs-or-alcohol.

The guidance includes advice about meetings of mutual aid and other support groups.


Written Question
Mental Health Services
23 Oct 2020, 10:03 a.m.

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of people (i) seeking and (ii) qualifying for mental health support through the NHS in the latest period for which figures are available.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

The information is not collected in the format requested.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Funerals and Marriage
23 Oct 2020, 10:01 a.m.

Questioner: Charlotte Nichols

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the evidential basis for the Government's decision to allow (a) 30 people to attend a funeral and (b) 15 people to attend a wedding.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

We recognise that both weddings and funerals are significant events for people, and that their importance is perhaps more to the fore in difficult times. Allowing attendance at weddings of up to 15, and at funerals of up to 30, goes some way towards meeting the participants’ understandable wishes, while at the same time minimising the spread of the virus.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. We continue to keep these restrictions under constant review and will ensure they remain proportionate to the threat to public health posed by COVID-19.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Funerals and Marriage
23 Oct 2020, 9:59 a.m.

Questioner: Sir Mark Hendrick

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific basis is for the imposition of different attendance restrictions between weddings and funerals during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

The Government recognises the significance of life events, particularly funerals and treat them with sufficient sensitivity, which is why there are different exemptions to the rule of six for weddings and funerals. Allowing attendance at weddings of up to 15, and at funerals of up to 30, goes some way towards meeting the participants’ understandable wishes, while at the same time minimising the spread of the virus.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. Although gathering in larger groups does increase the risk of transmission, but we have been clear that people should follow social distancing rules when gathering with people they do not live with. We continue to keep these restrictions under constant review and will ensure they remain proportionate to the threat to public health posed by COVID-19.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Gyms
23 Oct 2020, 9:56 a.m.

Questioner: Ian Byrne

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what impact assessment has been undertaken on the potential effect of gym closures in tier 3 covid-19 areas on (a) health and wellbeing and (b) mental health and wellbeing.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

In areas in local COVID alert level Very High, due to the impact of these new measures, we will work with local authorities to shape the set of restrictions that apply. In the case of Liverpool City Region, local leadership and the Government decided that leisure venues, such as leisure centres and gyms, should be closed in order to control the spread of COVID-19. This was considered a proportionate and necessary response given the rate of infection in the region.

We realise the impacts that these regulations have on people’s health and wellbeing and we aim to minimise the impact wherever possible and noting that these restrictions are time limited. The Government have published guidance on mental health and wellbeing which includes guidance on looking after physical wellbeing at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19#what-can-help-your-mental-health-and-wellbeing


Written Question
Autism: Mental Health Services
23 Oct 2020, 9:51 a.m.

Questioner: Cat Smith

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many autistic (a) children and (b) adults have contacted mental health services since 23 March 2020.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

The data is not available in the format requested.


Written Question
Autism: Telephone Services
23 Oct 2020, 9:49 a.m.

Questioner: Cat Smith

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that new NHS 24/7 mental health support lines are (a) accessible to autistic people and (b) are staffed with advisers that have received autism training.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

NHS England and NHS Improvement encourages National Health Service 24 hours per day, seven days a week mental health support line services to be universal and inclusive of people with co-existing conditions, including by making appropriate adjustments to support autistic people. This message has been reinforced through a series of webinars and various tools aimed at newly established local open-access crisis services.

In addition to existing training, the NHS England and NHS Improvement Learning Disability and Autism Programme commissioned Autistica to prepare a resource to help new crisis lines adapt to the needs of autistic children and young people, as well as the needs of parents. The resource is being finalised and there will shortly be two webinars to brief and support crisis line staff, managers and commissioners.


Written Question
Mental Health Services: Children and Young People
23 Oct 2020, 9:47 a.m.

Questioner: Laura Farris

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in West Berkshire.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

Expanding access to children’s mental health services nationally is a priority for this Government, and it is a core part of the NHS Long Term Plan. The National Health Service has set an ambitious goal of an extra 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 receiving support via NHS-funded mental health services and schools-based mental health support teams (MHSTs) by 2023/24.

MHSTs are a proposal of our Green Paper on improving children and young people’s mental health provision. We are trialling the proposals in trailblazer areas. The first 25 areas, announced in December 2018, are running the first wave of 59 MHSTs. West Berkshire is one of those 25 areas.

Twelve of the first trailblazer areas have also been chosen to pilot a four-week waiting time.

West Berkshire, Reading and Wokingham co-operate at local leadership level to support a shared children’s mental health Local Transformation Plan, which promotes resilience, and good mental health and wellbeing. It can be found at the following link:

www.berkshirewestccg.nhs.uk/about-us/how-we-work-with-others/the-local-transformation-plan


Written Question
Maternity Services
22 Oct 2020, 3:55 p.m.

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve (a) antenatal and (b) postnatal care.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

Evidence suggests that continuity of carer can significantly improve outcomes for women and their babies. The commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan, for women to receive continuity of carer during pregnancy, during birth and postnatally, will ensure that women receive safer and more personalised maternity care, improving outcomes for both mother and baby.

It is now also a contractual requirement for general practitioners (GPs) to offer a maternal postnatal consultation at six to eight weeks after birth, as an addition to the six to eight week baby check. £12 million of new funding has been invested through the GP Contract to support all practices to deliver this. The maternal postnatal consultation should focus on a review of the mother’s physical and mental health and general wellbeing, using open questioning.