§ Mr. Chaytor
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the increase in admissions to hospital for cold-related illnesses during the winter months and the effect of this on the availability of hospital beds. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The National Health Service came under intense pressure over the Christmas and New Year period as a result of flu and flu-like illness and respiratory disease. The Emergency Services Action Team will be identifying lessons to be learned for next winter and also feeding these into the National Beds Inquiry we have set up within the Department.529W
§ Mr. Chaytor
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the costs to the National Health Service of treating cold-related illnesses; and what measures he is taking to reduce these costs. 
§ Mr. Hutton
Information is not collected on the cost to the National Health Service of treating cold-related illnesses. Information on treatments and costs are based on the treatment undertaken and not on the range of causes of the illness or disease.
The Department supports campaigns aimed at reducing the incidence of illness. One project which is related to cold conditions is "Keep Warm, Keep Well". As there are many influences on cold-related illness, this programme also involves the Departments of Social Security and the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The campaign is backed by Age Concern, England, Help the Aged and Neighbourhood Energy Action.
§ Mr. Chaytor
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what(a) support and (b) advice his Department has offered to health authorities in respect of treating illnesses caused by cold and damp conditions in the home; 
(2) what analysis his Department has made of (a) the extent of illness caused by cold and damp housing and (b) the cost to his Department of treating such illness. 
§ Ms Jowell
The introduction of Health Improvement Programmes, through the White Paper "The new NHS", will bring all local players together to develop cross cutting plans to tackle the whole range of factors that cause ill health, of which cold and damp conditions in the home is one. These proposals encourage health authorities to take an overarching approach to addressing the health needs of their populations and are designed to produce overall improvements in health and reductions in inequalities.
The Government recognise that cold and damp housing and poor housing conditions generally can contribute to ill health. However, poor health can be influenced by a large number of causes other than housing. Poverty, unemployment and unhealthy lifestyles are examples of interacting factors that can have at least as great an effect. Therefore, it is not possible to establish or quantify links between specific housing conditions and ill health. As a result, nor is it possible to make estimates of National Health Service expenditure on ill health related to specific housing conditions.
Web site Department1 MDA MCA NHSPA NHS Estates Setup costs (£000) 8 2 — 32 — Operation costs 1998–99 (£000) 210 2— 5 14 0.5 Average monthly hits 1,011,300 24,800 2,200 31,100 25,000 Estimated expenditure 1999–2001 (£000) 410 — — 20 — Estimated expenditure 2000–01 (£000) 11 — — 14.5 — Estimated expenditure 2001–02 (£000) 12 — — 14.5 — 1 The central Department internet site home page address is www.doh.gov.uk; the MDA is www.medical-devices.gov.uk; the MCA is www.open.gov.uk/mca/mcahome.htm; the NHSPA is www.nhspa.gov.uk 2 This excludes the cost of the Department's CCTA foundation membership which partly covers web hotelling costs for the Department and MDA as well as other services 3 The NHSPA internet site was launched on 23 December 1998, and this figure only reflects the first month of operation 4 This is an estimated figure and may be amended in the light of Modern Government and Freedom of Information proposals in the future