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A483

Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the projected traffic volumes on the A483 Wrexham bypass at public inquiry stage and the actual levels since the road was opened. [24279]

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Mr. Hain: Records of the projected traffic volumes at the time of the public inquiry held in 1970 are no longer available. Annual average daily flows since the bypass was opened are as follows:

Census yearAnnual average daily flow
199634,796
199336,785
198824,323
198414,562
1974(23)7,900

(23) Based on an average August day.


DUCHY OF LANCASTER

IT Equipment

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is his Department's policy regarding the recycling of information technology equipment within his Department and relevant agencies and to other Government Departments or agencies; and what arrangements have been made in this respect. [23244]

Mr. Peter Kilfoyle: Within my Department and its Agencies, IT equipment which becomes surplus in one area of operations is, whenever possible and cost-effective, re-used elsewhere. Where this cannot be achieved, and subject to the requirements of security, surplus equipment is sold at market value to members of staff, to charitable organisations or to the private sector.

HEALTH

Dental Services

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been (a) the budget for general dental services and (b) its outturn for England for each year since April 1992. [22990]

Mr. Milburn: General Dental Services (GDS) expenditure is not cash limited, so there is no set annual budget. The original vote provision, and final gross net expenditure in the GDS in England for the financial years 1992-93 to 1996-97 is shown in the table.

General Dental Service: Gross expenditure for the financial years 1992-93 to 1996-97
England £ million

Outturn Provision made in main estimate
YearGross expenditureNet expenditureGrossNet
1992-931,305.9911.11,215.2768.6
1993-941,221.7854.71,258.5851.1
1994-951,279.4896.11,324.8926.5
1995-961,289.5908.41,392.0973.4
1996-971,323.1940.11,412.9988.8

Hospital Patients (Telephone Inquiries)

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the average time taken for a telephone inquiry to be

21 Jan 1998 : Column: 595

dealt with in respect of locating a patient (a) for all hospitals in the UK and (b) at Leicester Royal Infirmary; and what steps he proposes to decrease this time. [23192]

Mr. Milburn: Information on telephone inquiries dealt with by hospitals is not collected centrally.

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines exist for dealing with telephone inquiries at (a) all major hospitals and (b) Leicester Royal Infirmary in respect of the locating of patients within hospitals. [23190]

Mr. Milburn: There are no guidelines for dealing with telephone inquiries at all major hospitals. With regards to guidelines for the Leicester Royal Infirmary National Health Service Trust, Professor David Barnett has been asked to write to my hon. Friend with this information as soon as possible.

Leicester Royal Infirmary

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many telephone receptionists there are at Leicester Royal Infirmary; how many receptionists were on duty at Leicester Royal Infirmary on the morning of 6 January; and what computer problems were experienced at Leicester Royal Infirmary on the morning of 6 January; [23189]

Mr. Milburn: This is a matter for Leicester Royal Infirmary National Health Service Trust. We have asked the acting Chairman of Leicester Royal Infirmary NHS Trust, Professor David Barnett, to write to my hon. Friend with this information as soon as possible.

Hormonal Replacement Therapies

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those area health authorities which allow the prescribing of ProGest hormonal replacement therapy cream as a supplement instead of drug-based HRT. [23322]

Mr. Milburn: The information requested is unavailable. National Health Service doctors can arrange for their patients to receive complementary medicine treatment such as ProGest for their patients if they feel that there is a need for such treatment.

ME Association

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support his Department has provided for the ME Association; and what plans he has for future support. [23494]

Mr. Boateng: The Department has funded the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association through the Section 64 scheme of grants £37,000 from 1995-96 to 1997-98 and £94,673 for their Development of Support Services project from 1995-96 to 1997-98. Also, Department of Health officials have recently agreed to a meeting with the ME Association to discuss the Royal Colleges' Report on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME and other concerns.

21 Jan 1998 : Column: 596

Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to implement the Campbell Report on medical manpower. [23365]

Mr. Milburn: The main recommendations of the Third Report of the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee (MWSAC)--the Campbell report--are for the annual intake to UK medical schools to increase by 1,000, a 20 per cent. increase over the target of 4,970 for the year 2000, together with a range of measures to improve the recruitment and retention of doctors.

A number of MWSAC's recommendations coincides with the Government's own thinking and should be welcomed. But the recommendation on increased medical school intake has very significant implications, and will need careful examination.

The Government will announce their decisions on all MWSAC's recommendations in a few months' time in the light of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Psychotherapy Services

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has for reducing the time patients currently have to wait for psychotherapy services; [23466]

Mr. Boateng: The National Health Service Executive review of psychotherapy services published in 1996 contains practical guidance for the health service on the problems of psychotherapy, including local strategy to reduce waiting times.

NHS Doctors

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he intends to take over the predicted shortfall of doctors in the NHS; and how this will be financed. [23467]

Mr. Milburn: The Government are advised by the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee (MWSAC) on the future balance of medical workforce supply and demand in the United Kingdom and on the intake into UK medical schools. Their third report was published recently.

MWSAC's main recommendations are for the annual intake to UK medical schools to increase by 1,000, a 20 per cent. increase over the target of 4,970 for the year 2000, together with a range of measures to improve the recruitment and retention of doctors.

A number of MWSAC's recommendations coincide with the Government's own thinking and should be welcomed. But the recommendation on increased medical school intake has very significant implications, and will need careful examination.

The Government will announce their decision on all of MWSAC's recommendations in a few months' time in the light of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

21 Jan 1998 : Column: 597

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the better utilisation of married women doctors in the NHS, who may be unable to work full-time. [23468]

Mr. Milburn: I announced last September a five point action plan for the National Health Service setting out our human resources strategy for the future of the NHS, based on the underlying values of fairness, efficiency and flexibility. This encompasses family friendly employment policies--flexible working arrangements which allow for greater integration of all members of the workforce both in the primary and secondary care environments. These policies are essential if the NHS is to make the best use of staff and sustain the NHS as an attractive employer to people.

We accept that the number of opportunities for flexible working needs to be maximised in order to minimise potential wastage among those doctors who find traditional working patterns too restricting.

A number of key initiatives are contributing towards the need to develop family-friendly employment policies. These are summarised in the Health Department's written evidence of September 1997 to the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, copies of which have been placed in the Library.


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