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Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the Suicide and Injury of Undetermined Intent Mortality Rate indicator was withdrawn; and what assessment he has made of the effect of its withdrawal on the anti-suicide strategy. (269104)

The 2008-09 National Health Service Operating Framework includes a measure for strategic health authorities (SHAs) to reduce the death rate from injury and undetermined death by at least 20 per cent. from a 1995-97 baseline figure by 2010. SHAs are expected to have plans in place with the Department to achieve this reduction.

However, as primary care trusts (PCTs) do not have equivalent plans, the Healthcare Commission (now Care Quality Commission) agreed to withdraw this indicator from 2008-09 national priorities for PCTs. PCTs are expected to support SHAs in delivery on their agreed priorities, and their suicide rates are monitored as part of the Vital Signs set.

Progress with implementation of the suicide prevention strategy and the target is published in the departmental report each year, and also in the Suicide Prevention Strategy annual report. The overall rate of suicide amongst the general population is at the lowest rate on record and among the lowest in Europe.