§ Sandra Gidley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women in England were prescribed hormone replacement therapy, broken down by drug type, in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
We do not know how many women in England are prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The information that is available is on the number of prescription items of HRT that are dispensed in the community in England. This is shown in the table.
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
[holding answers 15 March 2004]: The Department recognises how important it is that national health service staff are sensitive to the needs of people who die in hospital and the relatives of dying or deceased patients. Guidance to the NHS on the need to ensure this (HSG(92)8, "Patients who die in hospital" and its supplementary guidance HSG(97)43) was published in 1992 and 1997, respectively.
However, the law governing the disposal of bodies is complex. When a patient dies in hospital, the trust chief executive has lawful possession1 of the body until 599W someone with better title claims the body. This can include a coroner, whose powers can override the right of the next of kin to call for possession of the body. Hospital authorities must, therefore, ensure that a body is not, and will not be, the subject of a coroner's inquiry before releasing it.
Additionally, any death in England and Wales must be reported to the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths for the sub-district in which the death occurred2. The person registering the death receives the Registrar's Certificate of Burial or Cremation (commonly known as the "Green Form"), which authorises disposal of a body, so that it can then be given to the person disposing of the body (usually, but not necessarily, the undertaker).
National guidance therefore highlights the need for NHS trusts to document the movement of, and identify, bodies correctly before transferring them to relatives or undertakers. This guidance is currently being updated following the Chief Medical Officer's recommendation in his report, "The Removal, Retention and Use of Human Organs and Tissue from Post-Mortem Examination" (2001).
In line with "Shifting the Balance of Power", it is the responsibility of the NHS to interpret how best to follow such guidance, in accordance with local circumstances.
1Section 1 (7) of the Human Tissue Act 1961.
2 Section 15, Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 and Regulation 41 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations 1987.