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Rural Minds and Diverse Minds Programmes

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received regarding the funding of the rural minds and diverse minds programmes. [7244]

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Jacqui Smith: The Department, through the section 64 General Scheme under the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968, has funded both rural minds and diverse minds for the three years up to end of March 2000. The total amount was £225,960. There have been no further applications to fund these projects.

Civil Servants (Retirement Age)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the compulsory retirement ages which apply to employees of his Department and of executive agencies and other public sector bodies for which it is responsible, broken down by grade or job title. [7234]

Ms Blears: Information on the normal retirement age and on compulsory early retirement or severance for the Department and for the executive agencies and public sector bodies for which it is responsible is as follows:

Regardless of grade or job title the normal age of retirement for all staff is age 60. Some staff who transferred into the Department from the national health service retained the right to retire on NHS terms at age of 65.

Hospital Waiting Times (Essex)

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the most recent figures for the last three months on the total number of people waiting for in-patient treatment in the Mid Essex hospital trust area; and what the most recent figures are for the last two available quarters for out-patient treatment in Mid Essex. [7166]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is given in the tables.

Total number of patients waiting for hospital in-patient treatment at Mid Essex hospital services national health service trust in:

June 20018,850
July 20018,898
August 20018,917


KH07 quarterly return/monthly waiting times collection

Total number of patients waiting 13 weeks or more for an out-patient appointment at Mid Essex hospital services national health service trust in

Quarter 4 2000–01 (March 2001)2,125
Quarter 1 2001–02 (June 2001)2,146


QM08 quarterly return

Patient Security (Medical Devices)

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are being taken in (a) Middlesex and (b) the rest of England to tighten up procedures and security to prevent accidents or sabotage from objects being placed in tubes used in the conduct of operations and to protect patients. [7161]

Mr. Hutton: The incident at Broomfield hospital, and others of a similar nature in other hospitals, are being investigated by the Essex police force. Once the findings

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of those investigations are available, procedures will be reviewed and, if appropriate, additional measures will be implemented.

In the meantime the following actions have been taken:

On 17 August 2001 advice was sent to chief executives of all national health service trusts (England) and chief executives of health authorities (England) reminding them of:

A further Hazard Notice HN 2001 (03) re-emphasising the above has been issued by the MDA in September.

Spinal Injuries

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people attended out-patient clinics at spinal injuries units in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000. [6752]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not collected centrally. We do, however, have some data on the incidence of spinal injury consultations for the national health service as a whole, as shown in the table.

Finished consultant episodes (FCEs)(78) by main diagnosis NHS hospitals England 1995–96 to 1999–2000

YearSpinal cord injuries(78)

(78) An FCE is defined as a period of patient care under one consultant in one health care provider.


Data in this table are grossed for both coverage and unknown/invalid clinical data, except for 1998–99 and 1999–2000 which are ungrossed.

The figures do not represent the number of patients, as one person may have several episodes within a year.

The main diagnosis is the first of seven diagnosis fields in the Hospital Episode Statistics data set, and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital.

Whittington Hospital

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the costs have been of preparing PFI bids for the Whittington hospital redevelopment. [6947]

Mr. Hutton: The costs of preparing the private finance initiative bids for the Whittington hospital redevelopment, have so far been £545,000 of which £252,000 were in-house costs.

Eating Disorders

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines his Department has issued in respect of the treatment of eating disorders. [7798]

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Jacqui Smith: We embarked on a radical programme of modernisation to improve access to effective treatment and care, reduce unfair variation, raise standards, and provide quicker and more convenient services. The mental health National Service Framework published in 1998 draws attention to the needs of people with eating disorders in Standards two and three.

The NSF implementation plan demands that health authorities have protocols for referral in place for those needing psychological therapies, and in February the Department published an evidence-based guideline to assist them. It includes coverage of eating disorders

We have commissioned the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to develop a guideline on eating disorders. It will cover primary and secondary care and children as well as adults. Information about this work is available on the NICE website at


Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average response time has been for him to respond to letters from hon. Members in the last two months. [6729]

Ms Blears: During the period of 23 May to 23 July 2001 the Department replied to 1,679 letters in an average of 15.01 days per case.

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter of the hon. Member for West Derbyshire dated 25 July about the proposed closure of Staunton Harold hall. [7354]

Jacqui Smith: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 8 October 2001.

Nursing Staff

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) qualified and (b) unqualified nursing staff were working in the NHS in each year between 1990 and 2000 who were aged (i) under 25, (ii) 25 to 29, (iii) 30 to 34, (iv) 35 to 39, (v) 40 to 44, (vi) 45 to 49, (vii) 50 to 54, (viii) 55 to 59, (ix) 60 to 64, (x) 65 years plus and (xi) unknown. [7975]

Mr. Hutton: Data showing the number of qualified and unqualified nursing staff working in the national health service in each year between 1990 and 2000, by age-band, are shown in the table.

Age breakdowns for practice nurses are not available.

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NHS hospital and community health service (HCHS): nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff by age band in England as at 30 September each year

All agesUp to 2525 to 2930 to 3435 to 3940 to 4445 to 4950 to 5455 to 5960 to 6465 and overUnknown


A new classification of the non-medical workforce was introduced in 1995. Information based on this classification is not directly comparable with earlier years.

Unqualified figures include 'other' nurses.

Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Owing to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts.

Figures exclude learners and agency staff.


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census

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