MP quizzes Government ministers on a range of subjects including domestic violence, dementia, glue traps…and a shortage of blood test bottles in the NHS

 Improving protections for the victims of domestic violence and abuse, research into new treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the shortage of blood test sample bottles in the NHS and action to prevent the use of glue traps in pest control are among the latest subjects covered in a swathe of Commons written questions put by Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes to ministers. 

Questions on the subjects appear in the following order below:

  • 40,000 staff potentially leaving their jobs in the health sector in the next 16 weeks;
  • Gaps in the regulation of supported housing for adults with autism and/or learning difficulties;
  • Assessment of the risk covid-19 poses to unvaccinated pregnant women;
  • Research into new treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Expanding 30 hours free childcare for three- and four-year-olds to all low-income families;
  • Action to prevent the use of glue traps in pest control;
  • The shortage of blood test sample bottles in the NHS;
  • Improving waiting times for children and young people to be referred for urgent and routine eating disorder treatment;
  • Ensuring students can continue to study BTEC qualifications in the future;
  • Improve protections for the victims of domestic violence and abuse; and
  • The EU settlement scheme.

Written Answers — Department of Health and Social Care: Coronavirus: Vaccination (10 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the analysis in the Statement of impact – The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 updated on 19 July 2021, stating that potentially 40,000 staff will leave both their jobs and the sector in the next 16 weeks, what steps the Government plans to take to encourage the recruitment of new care and support workers into the care sector.

Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

We are working with Skills for Care to ensure that resources are available to support providers and local authorities with capacity, workforce planning, recruitment, and well-being.

We ran a national recruitment campaign across broadcast, digital and social media, highlighting the vital work care workers do. We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to promote adult social care careers to jobseekers. We are continuing to work closely with the sector to understand how we can further support recruitment to the sector.

Written Answers — Department of Health and Social Care: Autism and Learning Disability: Supported Housing (10 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to address gaps in the regulation of supported housing for adults with autism and/or learning difficulties, with particular reference to the quality of provision and the rights of residents and their families to seek remedy and redress in the event of poor care or safety breaches.

Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are currently reviewing their existing methodology for the regulation of supported housing services. The Department and the CQC are discussing potential changes to the regulations as part of post-implementation review of the CQC’s regulated activities to widen its scope to users of supported housing services.

Written Answers — Department of Health and Social Care: Pregnancy: Coronavirus (10 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the risk covid-19 poses to unvaccinated pregnant women; and what steps he is taking to ensure pregnant women receive both doses of the vaccine before their third trimester.

Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Although the overall risk from COVID-19 in pregnant women is low, in later pregnancy some women may become seriously unwell and need hospital treatment. Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant. Women with COVID-19 disease are also 2-3 times more likely to have their babies early than women without COVID-19. Pregnant women with underlying clinical conditions are at even higher risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19.

Currently, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends an interval of 8 weeks between doses of all the available COVID-19 vaccines; this includes pregnant women. It is important to note that current evidence shows that a longer dose interval produces a better immune response. The JCVI regularly reviews its advice in relation to COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, taking into account new data and evidence on the effectiveness of the programme and epidemiological situation.

We are working hard to drive uptake in pregnant women, to ensure that as many pregnant women take up the offer of vaccination as soon as possible so that they are protected throughout their pregnancy. It is understood that pregnant women may prefer to wait to be vaccinated until after they have given birth. It is important for pregnant women to discuss their offer of vaccination with a healthcare professional in relation to the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

Written Answers — Department of Health and Social Care: Dementia: Research (10 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to invest in and encourage research into new treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

United Kingdom (UK) researchers are at the forefront of global efforts to find a cure or a disease-modifying treatment by 2025. The 2020 Dementia Challenge commitment to spend £300 million on dementia research over five years, was delivered a year early with £344 million spent by 2019. Further research includes the £190 million UK Dementia Research Institute with a focus on basic science, the £43 million Dementias Platform UK supporting experimental medicine studies and the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Dementia Translational Research Collaboration, which brings together industry, academia and charities to deliver research.

The Department is a founding partner of the international Dementia Discovery Fund, backing commercial ventures trying innovative new approaches to dementia. In March 2021, the NIHR launched a highlight notice on dementia which invited proposals for research, including meeting the needs of underserved communities.

Written Answers — Department of Health and Social Care: Dementia: Health Services and Research (10 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding allocated to (a) research into dementia treatment and (b) dementia care.

Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

There has not been a recent assessment of funding allocated to research into dementia or dementia care. The Government remains strongly committed to supporting research into dementia and we are currently working on ways to significantly boost further research on dementia at all stages on the translation pathway. The Department funds research on health and social care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The usual practice of NIHR is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health including dementia.

Services for dementia are the responsibility of local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). However, NHS England would expect CCGs to commission services based on local population needs and taking account of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines.

Written Answers — Department for Education: Children: Day Care (10 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential developmental benefits of expanding 30 hours free childcare for three- and four-year-olds to all low-income families.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle the educational gap between children of three and four years from low income families in receipt of 15 hours free childcare and those in receipt of 30 hours free childcare.

Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

(Responding to the two questions above): All 3 and 4- year-olds are entitled to 15 hours free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education. Eligible working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds are eligible for an additional 15 hours (30 hours) to help them with the additional costs associated with childcare.

The Effective pre-school, primary and secondary education project suggested there was no evidence that full-time provision (of 10 sessions per week) resulted in better outcomes for children than part-time provision (for example, 5 sessions per week). Findings suggest that an extended period of pre-school experience on a part-time basis is likely to be more advantageous than a shorter period of full-time provision. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eppse-3-to-14-years.

The 2017 Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) report showed mixed outcomes at age 3 from childcare used at ages 2 to 3. Some measures showed some improvement with additional hours of childcare (such as cognitive outcomes, socio-emotional outcomes and peer problems) but some measures showed detrimental outcomes (such as emotional self-regulation). Further information can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/627098/SEED_ECEC_impact_at_age_3.pdf.

The 2018 SEED Report concerned the impact of early education at ages 2 to 4 on child outcomes at age 4, and the importance of the early years home environment. The report suggested that outcomes were more strongly associated with demographics and the home environment than time spent in childcare. It did not find that the amount of childcare per week had any greater effect on the most disadvantaged children, although on one outcome, it had a greater effect on moderately disadvantaged children. The report can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/738725/SEED_Impact_Age_4_Report_September_2018.pdf.

When 5-year-olds were assessed in 2019, nearly three-quarters of the country’s youngest children had achieved a good level of development. This is a substantial improvement, when around half of children achieved that same level of development in 2013, when comparable data is first available.

As part of the COVID-19 education recovery strategy we have invested £17 million on the delivery of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention – improving the language skills of reception age children who need it most during the outbreak. Two-thirds of eligible mainstream primary schools have signed up for this programme, the majority of these have free school meal rates above the national average. We estimate 90,000 reception age children will get extra support with their speech and language development.

In June 2021 we also announced an additional £1.4 billion to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges and early years settings, including £153 million which will provide the opportunity for evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners. This includes new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development.

Written Answers — Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Trapping (10 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the use of glue traps in pest control.

Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, published in May this year, we announced that we would look to restrict the use of glue traps as a means of pest control. Accordingly, we are supporting the hon. Member for Wolverhampton North East’s Glue Traps (Offences) Private Members Bill, which proposes to ban the use of glue traps for catching rodents. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 16 June, and we will work closely with her over the coming months as the Bill progresses through Parliament.

Written Answers — Department of Health and Social Care: Blood Tests: Bottles (9 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the shortage of blood test sample bottles in the NHS.

Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

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 Answers — Department of Health and Social Care: Eating Disorders: Mental Health Services (9 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve waiting times for children and young people to be referred for urgent and routine eating disorder treatment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the change in the number of children and young people referred for eating disorder treatments during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to tackle the causes of such referrals.

Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

(Responding to the two questions above) The number of children and young people entering urgent treatment for an eating disorder increased by 73% in financial year 2020/21 compared to 2019/20 according to NHS England data. We have created the first waiting time standard for children and young people eating disorder services so to ensure that 95% of children with an eating disorder will receive treatment within one week for urgent cases and within four weeks for routine cases.  While performance has been affected due to increased demand, in quarter 1 of 2021/22, 61% of young people who started treatment for an urgent case were seen within one week, and 72.7% of young people who started treatment for routine care were seen within four weeks.

We are investing an additional £79 million in 2021/22 to significantly expand children’s mental health services, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also announced a further £40 million in 2021/22 to address the pandemic’s impact on children and young people’s mental health, including eating disorders.

The Government is funding an eating disorder study via the National Institute for Health Research jointly led with Kings College London and eating disorder charity, Beat. The study aims to better understand what may lead to an eating disorder as well as how best we provide more effective treatment. UK Research and Innovation has recently announced an extra £3.8 million on a research project on eating disorders to inform prevention and early intervention in young people.

Written Answers — Department for Education: Vocational Education: Qualifications (9 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students can continue to study BTEC qualifications in the future.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on students of his Department’s decision to remove funding for BTEC qualifications.

(Editor’s note: Two questions on BTEC also posed by Andrew Rosindell (Con, Romford).

Gillian Keegan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

(Responding to the two questions above): Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that technical education closes the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels, developed with 250 leading employers, and reviewing the wider post-16 qualifications system at level 3 and below.

The department’s plans for reform of level 3 qualifications were published on 14 July 2021. We will continue to fund high quality qualifications that can be taken alongside or as alternatives to T Levels and A levels where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. This may include some Pearson BTECs, provided they meet the new quality criteria for funding approval.

The impact assessment published alongside the consultation response recognised that some students may find it more difficult to achieve level 3 qualifications in future. However, the assessment stated that the changes will generally be positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment. The assessment acknowledged that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to take qualifications that could have their funding approval removed. These students should gain the most from these changes because they are the most likely to be taking qualifications that do not deliver the skills employers need. We are committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to all young people and have introduced flexibilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The T Level Transition Programme will support young people who are not yet ready to progress to a T Level but have the potential to succeed on it after some further preparation.

All qualifications will need to meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding in future. Technical qualifications will need to be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) in order to be considered for funding approval. For academic qualifications, the department will set criteria to ensure all qualifications approved for funding are necessary alongside A levels. Ofqual will provide advice about quality to both the Institute and the department. This will ensure that all qualifications are high quality and provide the skills needed to support progression either into skilled employment or further study.

Alongside our reforms to level 3 qualifications, the department wants to improve study at level 2 and below, which has been neglected for too long. Improving level 2 and below is key to making sure that every student has a clear progression route – whether that is to high quality level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships, traineeships, or directly into skilled employment at level 2. The department is considering feedback to the call for evidence, which ran from 10 November 2020 to 14 February 2021, and there will be consultation on reform proposals later this year.

Written Answers — Home Office: Domestic Abuse: Victims (9 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the HMICFRS report, entitled A duty to protect: Police use of protective measures in cases involving violence against women and girls, published on 24 August 2021, what steps she is taking to improve protections for the victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office 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 Answers — Home Office: Domestic Abuse: Greater London (9 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the Metropolitan Police’s use of (a) pre-charge bail conditions, (b) arrest for breach of non-molestation orders, (c) Domestic Violence Protection Notices and (d) restraining orders in cases of domestic violence and abuse.

Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department

Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime and this Government fully recognises the devastating impact it can have on victims. This Government is committed to taking action to keep all victims of domestic abuse safe, working in partnership with police forces across England and Wales, including the Metropolitan Police.

a) Pre-charge bail

The Government commissioned a public consultation in early 2020 which looked at the wider use of pre-charge bail. In their recent super-complaint response, HMICFRS considered information from 37 forces, including the Metropolitan Police, and drew broad recommendations about pre-charge bail conditions and their use. The Government is making changes to the pre-charge bail system through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and will consider what further analysis is needed once these reforms have been embedded.

b) Arrest for breach of Non-Molestation Orders (NMOs)

In their super-complaint response, HMICFRS identified that police forces across England and Wales have a good understanding of NMOs, though there is scope for improvement of NMO usage across the criminal justice system. The Home Office does not publish arrest data for breaches of NMOs but collates this information and will further explore its quality and coverage to assess whether more detailed statistics can be published.

c) Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs)

Effective use of Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Domestic Violence Protection Orders is extremely important. The Government has made a commitment in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to launch new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Orders, to support the police and courts in acting earlier and more effectively to protect victims.

HMICFRS collects data on domestic violence protection notices (DVPNs) and domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs). DVPN and DVPO data is published as part of the ONS Domestic Abuse Annual Publication. Not all forces can provide HMICFRS a full picture of their DVPN or DVPO usage, and for those that do there are issues of comparability and consistency.

The number of DVPNs and DVPOs published to year ending March 2019 and March 2018 can be found here:

2018/19 – Domestic abuse and the criminal justice system – Appendix tables – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab) , Table 2

2017/18 – Domestic abuse in England and Wales – Appendix tables – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab) , Table 25

You will see that the Metropolitan Police along with forces across the country are making use of DVPNs. The Metropolitan Police specifically increased the number of DVPNs granted from the year ending March 2018 to 2019.

d) Restraining orders

The Home Office does not hold force-level data on restraining orders.

The effective implementation of restraining orders requires the collective cooperation of police, prosecutors, and the courts. Like all legislative measures, the Government continues to keep the law under review and where there is evidence of a significant problem, that is to say that the law is not working, then the Government will investigate any serious concerns and seek to make any change considered necessary to ensure the law works in practice.

Written Answers — Home Office: Immigration: EU Nationals (9 Sep 2021)

Helen Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many residents in Dulwich and West Norwood constituency applied to the EU Settlement Scheme before it closed on the 30 June 2021; and how many of those applicants were granted (a) settled and (b) pre-settled status through the scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many residents applied to the EU Settlement Scheme before it closed on 30 June 2021 in (a) Lambeth, (b) Southwark and (c) London; and how many of those applications were granted (i) settled and (ii) pre-settled status through the scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the proportion of eligible people in the cohort aged 65 and above who have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

(Responding to the three questions above): The Home Office publishes data on the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’.

The latest published information on EUSS applications received and applications concluded to 31 March 2021, by Local Authority can be found in tables EUSS_LA_01, EUSS_LA_02 and EUSS_LA_03 available at: EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, March 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

These tables, updated to 30 June 2021, will be published on 16 September 2021.

Published EUSS figures refer specifically to applications made to the EUSS and cannot be directly compared with estimates of the resident population of EU/EEA nationals in the UK.

The published figures include non-EEA national family members, Irish nationals and eligible EEA nationals not resident in the UK, none of whom are usually included in estimates of the resident EU/EEA population.

Furthermore, the population estimates do not take account of people’s migration intentions and will include people who have come to the UK for a range of purposes, including some who have no intention to settle in the UK.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published a blog on 2 July 2021, further discussing the differences and their plans for future population estimates:

Are there really 6m EU citizens living in the UK? | National Statistical (ons.gov.uk)

The Office for National Statistics are currently transforming their population and migration statistics to put administrative data at the core of what they do. The latest information on their work programme and longer term plans to transform migration and population statistics was published on 16 April 2021:

Population and migration statistics system transformation – overview – Office for National Statistics

(All sources: TheyWorkForYou)

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