Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Sarah Olney
(Richmond Park)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Dental Services: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to permit dentists to reopen.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to ensure appropriate services are in place for all who need them.

National Health Service dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each NHS region.

As of 25 May there are currently over 550 UDCs open across England. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The UDCs are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside UDCs will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Q
(Kingston upon Hull North)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Hospitals: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients who have contracted covid-19 as a hospital-acquired infection.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020

Data on the number of patients who contracted COVID-19 as a hospital-acquired infection are not available.

However, estimates from the Department-funded COVID-19 Clinical Information Network (CO-CIN), suggest that between 10-20% of COVID-19 infections treated in hospitals had symptom onset after seven days in hospital between March and April 2020. The most recent available CO-CIN report is available to view at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/886442/s0355-co-cin-report-130520-sage36.pdf

Q
(Sheffield Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the decision not to extend the covid-19 emergency £20 funding for universal credit claimants to those on legacy benefits.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by COVID 19, DWP has made a number of changes to make sure people can self-isolate, and to ensure people who need financial help have access to the benefit system. We have announced measures that benefit those experiencing the most financial disruption and which can be quickly and effectively operationalised, these include:

  • Increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates so that they cover 30% of local market rents – which is on average an additional £600 per year in people’s pockets.

  • Amendments to Housing Benefit so that increases in Working Tax Credits can be disregarded rather than reducing the Housing Benefit award.

  • Treating all ESA claimants who satisfy the conditions of entitlement and are suffering from COVID-19, or who are required to self-isolate in line with government guidance, as having limited capability for work, without the requirement to provide a fit note or to undergo a Work Capability Assessment.

  • Removing waiting days for ESA for those claimants affected by Covid-19, so it will be payable from day one of the claim, subject to the claimant satisfying the normal conditions of entitlement.
Q
(Tooting)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Ambulance Services: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the performance of ambulance response times during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 05 June 2020

Ambulance Quality Indicators, including national response time performance are published monthly by NHS England. This can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ambulance-quality-indicators/

In April, four of the six national response time standards were met for life threatening, emergency, urgent, and non-urgent calls. In March, one standard was met for life threatening calls. Ambulance services received a record number of calls per day to 999, alongside a reduction in patients conveyed to accident and emergency, in order to reduce the increased pressures hospitals are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: East of England
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the official calculation is of the covid-19 R rate in the East of England region as of 19 May 2020.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020

We do not currently publish the R rate in each region. The Government Office for Science currently publishes the latest estimate of the United Kingdom-wide range for R on a weekly basis. The current range is estimated to be 0.7-1.0 and is based on latest data available to determine infection and transmission rates.

The Government is committed to publishing the scientific evidence that has informed the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies advice. These papers are being published in batches. The latest batches were released on 20 March 2020 and 5 May 2020 and the next batch will published in the coming weeks. The full list of papers released to date is available at the following link. This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at recent and future meetings.

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Q
(Kingston upon Hull North)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned timescale is for resuming all NHS cancer screening programmes that have been paused due to the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020

The National Health Service is working to step up non-COVID-19 urgent services as part of the second phase of the NHS response to COVID-19. This includes delivering as much routine and preventative work as possible, including screening.

On 29 April, NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to NHS leaders setting out the second phase of the NHS response to COVID-19. A copy of this letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/second-phase-of-nhs-response-to-covid-19-letter-from-simon-stevens-and-amanda-pritchard/

Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Rehabilitation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure that additional capacity for rehabilitation care is created for patients discharged from hospital after contracting covid-19.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

On 19 March 2020, we published the ‘COVID-19 hospital discharge service requirements.’ This sets out guidance on supporting the safe and rapid discharge of patients who no longer need acute care. It follows the ‘Discharge to Assess’ model; wherever possible, people who are clinically ready will be supported to return to their place of residence, where assessment of longer-term needs will take place.

This guidance provides information to support health and care organisations to ensure we have the capacity to meet the needs of people affected by COVID-19. The Government has also made £1.3 billion funding available to the National Health Service to help patients who no longer need urgent treatment to get home from hospital safely and quickly.

Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Rehabilitation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure that a national patient pathway is created for patients discharged after being hospitalised with covid-19.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

On 19 March 2020, we published the ‘COVID-19 hospital discharge service requirements.’ This sets out guidance on supporting the safe and rapid discharge of patients who no longer need acute care. It follows the ‘Discharge to Assess’ model; wherever possible, people who are clinically ready will be supported to return to their place of residence, where assessment of longer-term needs will take place. This guidance provides information to support health and care organisations to ensure we have the capacity to meet the needs of people affected by COVID-19. The Government has also made £1.3 billion funding available to the National Health Service to help patients who no longer need urgent treatment to get home from hospital safely and quickly.

Q
Asked by Simon Fell
(Barrow and Furness)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Cumbria
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the reportedly high number of cases of covid-19 in Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakes.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020

Variation in the number of COVID-19 cases is caused by a number of factors including demography, behaviour and rate of testing. The rate of testing in the area has been high due to an early and proactive approach to testing taken by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMB) NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Furness General Hospital, the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and the Westmorland General in Kendal in South Lakeland.

The Trust commenced swabbing of employees and household members who were symptomatic of coronavirus at the end of February 2020. Testing has included UHMB NHS Foundation Trust employees and household members, hospital inpatients, care home residents and staff, and key workers from other organisations and their households.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Emergencies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what long-term plans he has to ensure that the NHS is (a) a resilient and (b) a strategic protective service in order to tackle future health emergencies.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement have a statutory requirement to formally assure their own and the National Health Service in England’s readiness to respond to emergencies on an annual basis. To do this, NHS England and NHS Improvement ask commissioners and providers of NHS-funded care to complete an Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response annual assurance process. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/eprr-annual-assurance-guidance-v2.0.pdf

NHS England also produces an Incident Response Plan (National). This is the overarching generic plan that details how NHS England reviews and responds to any health-related incident or emergency at the national level, there are plans which describe the regional response and each NHS organisation will have its own Incident Response Plan. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NHS-england-incident-response-plan-v3-0.pdf

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Drugs: Palliative Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure stocks of medicines for end of life do not run short.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines, including those used in end of life care. The Department is working closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised clinical commissioning groups to establish local hubs to ensure rapid access to anticipatory medicines. These hubs could be a community pharmacy, primary care network (general practitioner practice), community hospital, acute or other setting where palliative medicines (including controlled drugs) can be safely and legally stored and rapidly released when needed.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have published a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the use of medicines labelled for one patient, who no longer needs them, to be used by another person, in hospices and care homes. This will protect the medicine supply chain and ensure that patients can access critical medicines at end of life. The SOP can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-reuse-of-medicines-in-a-care-home-or-hospice

Q
Asked by Matt Western
(Warwick and Leamington)
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing and Screening: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department used to select (a) Deloitte to lead work on the procurement of personal protective equipment and (b) Sodexo to lead work on the establishment of covid-19 testing centres.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020

Deloitte is providing operational support for the procurement process of personal protective equipment (PPE) from existing and new manufacturers who can assist in scaling-up regulatory-approved PPE resources within the United Kingdom. As an existing professional services provider to the public sector, Deloitte’s expertise is being used to supplement in-house resource to deliver significant programmes of work, which currently includes the national response to COVID-19.

Sodexo are one of a number of facility management companies who are supporting the establishment and running of testing centres across the UK. Officials have worked with various industry providers to understand who has the footprint and ability to establish and run services in all geographical areas within short timescales.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March. Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. We have also made it clear that authorities must continue to achieve value for money for taxpayers, use good commercial judgement and publish the details of any awards made, in line with regulations and Government transparency guidelines.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 19 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Supermarkets
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has been made of the risk of transfer of covid-19 in supermarkets.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

The Government has published evidence on environmental transmission, including indoor and outdoor risks. The two relevant papers are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evidence-of-environmental-dispersion-of-covid-19-for-different-mechanisms-14-april-2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-influence-on-transmission-of-covid-19-28-april-2020

Q
Asked by Saqib Bhatti
(Meriden)
Asked on: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Dental Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) support and (b) guidance is available to patients needing treatment for (i) toothache, (ii) abscesses and (iii) other urgent dental conditions.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020

To meet the Government social distancing measures and to contain the spread of COVID-19 all routine dentistry has currently been suspended.

We expect all National Health Service dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary is available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS 111 into one of the 550 urgent dental care centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Q
Asked by Ian Murray
(Edinburgh South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Nike
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when Public Health England were informed of a covid-19 outbreak at a Nike conference in Scotland; what advice was provided as result; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

Public Health England (PHE) was alerted to a case associated with the Nike Conference in Edinburgh on 2 March 2020. Around 50 individuals who attended this conference lived in England and were identified. PHE followed up these individuals. They were sent text messages informing them of the exposure and asking them to self-isolate for 14 days and contact 111 if they develop symptoms.

PHE did not have direct contact with conference organisers in Edinburgh or Nike in Edinburgh. Health Protection Scotland had direct contact with the conference organisers as the lead organisation in the incident response.

Grouped Questions: 49654
Q
Asked by Ian Murray
(Edinburgh South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Nike
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on whether Public Health England was informed by Nike that it was (a) closing and (b) disinfecting its stores in Edinburgh as a result of a suspected outbreak of covid-19 at the Nike international conference on 26 and 27 February 2020.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

Public Health England (PHE) was alerted to a case associated with the Nike Conference in Edinburgh on 2 March 2020. Around 50 individuals who attended this conference lived in England and were identified. PHE followed up these individuals. They were sent text messages informing them of the exposure and asking them to self-isolate for 14 days and contact 111 if they develop symptoms.

PHE did not have direct contact with conference organisers in Edinburgh or Nike in Edinburgh. Health Protection Scotland had direct contact with the conference organisers as the lead organisation in the incident response.

Grouped Questions: 49653
Q
Asked by Ian Murray
(Edinburgh South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's criteria are for deciding when to inform the public of the outbreak of an infections disease in a specific (a) local and (b) regional location.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

Local outbreaks are usually managed by a multi-agency Outbreak Control Team (OCT). Member organisations will be appropriate to each situation but an OCT will usually be chaired by either a Public Health Consultant from Public Health England (PHE) or the Local Authority Director of Public Health and will include experts from PHE, the local authority, the local National Health Service, the setting concerned and other wider partners. Each OCT considers the response required to each outbreak on its own merits. Informing the public about the outbreak is a key decision which is discussed and agreed by all the members of an OCT when an outbreak is considered to pose an ongoing risk to the wider public who need to be alerted to measures they need to take in order to protect their health.

Use of communication through the media may be a valuable part of the control strategy of an outbreak and the OCT will consider the risks and benefits of proactive versus reactive media engagement in any outbreak.

Further information is available in the PHE Communicable Disease Outbreak Operational Guidance at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/communicable-disease-outbreak-management-operational-guidance

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Vaccination: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the delivery of child vaccination programmes.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

Public Health England (PHE) has recently published a study on the early impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures on routine childhood vaccinations in England. General practice data indicates there has not been a significant reduction in the number of primary immunisation doses administered compared to the previous year, though there is some indication of a decrease in the first dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations, although this appears to be recovering. PHE continues to monitor the situation closely. Further information can be found at the following link:

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.19.2000848

Programmes delivered through schools are currently on hold and will be rescheduled when schools reopen.

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Vaccination: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure children receive all due vaccinations during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regional commissioners to ensure routine childhood immunisations continue to be delivered in primary care settings. Programmes delivered through schools are currently on hold and will be rescheduled as schools open.

PHE recently worked with NHS England and NHS Improvement to generate national news coverage to make people aware that National Health Service immunisations are still available, and the importance of keeping up to date with routine childhood immunisations during the pandemic. They have also produced resources for hospitals, general practices, pharmacies and other NHS settings. These have been shared across the health system, including local authorities and local NHS trusts to help them disseminate this messaging and are available at the following link:

https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/nhs-resources-facilities/resources/

PHE has also produced new immunisation social media cards to help to promote these messages which are available at the following link:

https://www.healthpublications.gov.uk/ViewArticle.html?sp=Scovid19promotingimmunisationsocialmediacards

The Government’s Coronavirus Action Plan has stated that everyone should ensure that they and their family’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan/coronavirus-action-plan-a-guide-to-what-you-can-expect-across-the-uk

Q
(South West Wiltshire)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons Public Health England has not incorporated in its advice to (a) care homes and (b) general practices (i) Resuscitation Council and (ii) WHO guidance on provision of Level 3 personal protective equipment in settings where cardiac arrest is likely.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

The United Kingdom’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidance continues to recommend the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care teams treating COVID-19 patients. It is crucial that everyone that needs it has access to the right protective equipment.

The Department’s, New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) recently reviewed the evidence and has maintained this position, stating that they do “not consider that the evidence supports chest compressions or defibrillation being procedures that are associated with a significantly increased risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections”. Further information is available at the following link:

https://app.box.com/s/3lkcbxepqixkg4mv640dpvvg978ixjtf/file/657486851975

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