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NHS Appointments

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the occasions on which (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have met the Commissioner for Public Appointments in the last year to discuss her recommendations for the reform of appointments to NHS trusts, primary care trusts and health authorities. [159011]

Ms Stuart: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State did not meet the Commissioner for Public Appointments in the course of the last year. I met the commissioner on 29 November 2000 specifically to discuss her recommendations on appointments to National Health Service boards. Officials met the commissioner on numerous occasions during the year in the course of which her recommendations were discussed.

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what undertakings he has given to the Commissioner for Public Appointments regarding appointments to NHS trusts, primary care trusts and health authorities. [159015]

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Ms Stuart: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State informed the Commissioner for Public Appointments in July 2000 of his intention to establish an independent appointments commission with responsibility for all non-executive appointments to National Health Service boards. The National Health Service Appointments Commission was established on 1 April 2001 under the chairmanship of Sir William Wells, and will begin to make appointments shortly.

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the occasions in the last year on which hon. Members have made representations on particular appointments to (a) NHS trusts, (b) primary care trusts and (c) health authorities, giving in each case the date the representation was received, the name of the hon. Member and the name of the candidate. [159016]

Ms Stuart: Until last year the practice followed by the Government and under the previous Administration was that hon. Members were automatically consulted by the regional chair on all non-executive appointments to National Health Service boards before recommendations were made to Ministers. In response to the recommendations contained in the report of the Commissioner for Public Appointments on appointments to National Health Service boards, the practice of consulting hon. Members was discontinued in September 2001.

Doctors' Public Statements

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines he has issued to NHS trust chief executives in respect of public statements by doctors working for trusts. [157904]

Mr. Denham: On 25 September 1997, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, then Minister of State for Health, wrote to National Health Service trusts and health authorities reinforcing guidance issued in Executive Letter (93)51--"Guidance for staff on relations with the public and the media". In his letter my right hon. Friend said that he wanted to ensure that any member of staff working in the NHS feels able to raise concerns about health care matters in a responsible manner without fear of victimisation.

The Department of Health issued further guidance to all NHS trusts and health authorities on 27 August 1999, following the coming into force of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. Health Service Circular 1999/198--"The Public Interest Disclosure Act"--states that every NHS trust and health authority should have in place policies and procedures which comply with the provisions of the Act. A copy of HSC 1999-198 is available in the Library.

Independent Living Fund

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will issue a definition of reasonable charges in respect of local authorities and home care for persons in receipt of moneys from the Independent Living Fund. [158979]

Mr. Hutton: The Department's draft guidance 'Fairer Charges for Home Care and other Non-Residential Social Services', was issued for consultation on 3 January. It includes proposed guidance on assessment of charges for

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people receiving care jointly agreed by local councils and the independent living funds. Final guidance will be issued in the summer.

My Department is working closely with the Department of Social Security in developing proposals for the future of the independent living funds following the end of the consultation period for the quinquennial review.

Departmental Policies (Hull, North)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Hull, North constituency, the effects on Hull, North of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [150619]

Mr. Hutton [pursuant to his reply, 6 April 2001, c. 333-34W]: Detailed information on the impact of Department of Health policies nationally is set out in the Department of Health Annual reports "Department of Health--Government Expenditure Plans 2000-01". A copy of the most recent report is available in the Library and on the Department of Health website at www.doh.gov.uk/dhreport.

The impact of policies are not examined by constituency and statistics collected centrally by the Department are not collected on a constituency basis.

My hon. Friend's constituency falls within the geographical area covered by East Riding and Hull health authority and Kingston-upon-Hull social services authority.

Increases in allocations between 1996-97 and 2001-02 for East Riding and Hull health authority are shown in the table.

Increases in allocations between 1996-97 and 2001-02

Increase
£ million (cash)113.3
£ million (real terms)72.6
Percentage (cash)38.73
Percentage (real terms)22.92

Note:

Increases for 1999-2000 onwards are for unified allocations which cover hospital and community health services, prescribing and discretionary family health services. Those for previous years cover hospital and community health services only.


East Riding and Hull health authority has also received additional funding for certain policies. This includes: £1.06 million for accident and emergency modernisation in 2000-01; £114,000, £225,000, £338,000 and £127,000 for improving cancer services (breast, colorectal, lung and cancer outpatients) in 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01 respectively; £333,000 to reduce waiting lists and times in 2000-01; £5.48 million to expand critical care services in 2000-01; £666,000 to deal with winter pressures in 2000-01 and £1.6 million, £2.06 million in 1997-98 and 1998-99 respectively; £1.08 million for heart disease services in 2000-01; £445,000 invested into dentistry in 2000-01.

In addition, my hon. Friend's constituents will benefit from the new £26 million major hospital development being developed at Hull Royal infirmary and the new £39 million major hospital development being developed at Castle Hill Hospital.

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Kingston-upon-Hull local authority's personal social services standard spending assessment for 2001-02 compared with 1996-97 is set out in the table.

Percentage increase
£ millionRealCash
1996-9746.297----
2001-0258.15311.225.6

In addition to the SSAs referred to, Kingston-upon-Hull local authority received additional funding in the form of a number of special and specific grants as set out in the table.

£000

1998-991999-20002000-012001-02
Special Transitional Grant(6)2,333------
Partnership grant(7)--1,6511,399 1,896
Prevention grant(7)--126189
Carers grant(8)--127323446
Children's grant(8)--5007951,980
Mental Health Core grant329556642(9)1,059
Training Support Grant304274267(9)279

(6) The special transitional grant ended in 1998-99

(7) The partnership and prevention grants have been combined in 2001-02 and called the promoting independence grant

(8) The carers' and children's grants were introduced in 1999-2000

(9) Indicative allocation


North Bristol NHS Trust

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the average hours worked by the NHS nursing staff at North Bristol NHS Trust in each of the last six months; and if he will make a statement on the trust's policy of encouraging nursing staff to work additional shifts. [158945]

Ms Stuart: Information on the hours worked by nursing staff is not collected centrally.

The Department has always encouraged all National Health Service trusts to comply fully with the requirements of the Working Time Regulations including ensuring staff conform with the 48-hour weekly limit. However, there is provision in the regulations for staff to voluntarily sign an individual waiver form if they are content to work additional hours. Of course, the trust is still bound by the employer's duty of care to both the health and safety of both the employee and the patient.


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