Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the level of incidence of liver diseases in children; what proposals he has to incorporate hepatitis B vaccination in the immunisation programme; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Sir John Wheeler
Information on the incidence of liver disease is not available. However, 43 cases involving persons aged under 16 years were treated in hospital for liver conditions during the year 1995–96. Current policy is to recommend immunisation against hepatitis B in individuals who are at increased risk of hepatitis B because of their lifestyle, occupation or other factors such as close contact with a case or carrier. Any changes in this policy would depend on the advice of the joint298W committee on vaccination and immunisation which advises all four UK health Departments on matters concerning immunisation.