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Private Health Care

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital trusts have contracts with private health care providers; and how much has been spent on such contracts in each of the last four years. [7624]

Mr. Hutton: The Department collects information on expenditure of national health service trusts on the purchase of health care from all non-NHS bodies. These figures are not broken down further into trust expenditure on private health care.

Table 1 sets out the expenditure of NHS trusts on purchase of health care from all non-NHS bodies from 1996–97 to 1999–2000, the latest year for which figures are available.

Expenditure on purchase of health care from non-NHS bodies(87) in England 1996–97 to 1999–2000


(87) "Non-NHS bodies" includes:

non-NHS statutory/state sector, including any expenditure on health care with local authorities and at Ministry of Defence hospitals

voluntary (not for profit) sector, including any expenditure on health care with non-profit making voluntary organisations and registered charities. This excludes payments made under joint finance in accordance with section 28A of the NHS Act 1997 and section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968

commercial (for profit) sector, including any expenditure on health care with commercial organisations. Commercial organisations include companies where profits are distributable to shareholders and also organisations owned by the proprietor operating as a sole trader.

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Table 2 sets out the number of NHS trusts reporting purchase of health care from non-NHS bodies from 1996–97 to 1999–2000.

1996–97214 NHS trusts from a total of 402 NHS trusts
1997–98207 NHS trusts from a total of 425 NHS trusts
1998–99205 NHS trusts from a total of 402 NHS trusts
1999–2000192 NHS trusts from a total of 377 NHS trusts

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Hospital Trusts

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those hospital trusts which have gained zero stars in the new rating system where the trust chief executive has been in place for more than 18 months; and if he will name those chief executives. [7596]

Mr. Hutton: The national health service trusts that gained no stars in the NHS performance ratings for acute trusts in 2000–01 are given in the table, along with the names of the chief executives who have been in post for more than 18 months.

NHS trustChief executive in post more than 18 months Name
Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS TrustYesElizabeth Heyer
Brighton Health Care NHS TrustYesStuart Welling
Dartford and Gravesham NHS TrustYesAnne-Marie Dean
East and North Hertfordshire NHS TrustYes(88)Maggie Donovan
Medway NHS TrustYesJan Filochowski
United Bristol Healthcare NHS TrustYesHugh Ross
University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire (formerly Walsgrave Hospitals NHS Trust)YesDavid Loughton
Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS TrustNo
Epsom and St. Helier NHS TrustNo
Oxford Radcliffe Hospital NHS TrustNo
Portsmouth Hospitals NHSTNo
Stoke Mandeville Hospital NHS TrustNo

(88) Appointed 1 April 2000

NHS Budgets

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on inflationary pressures on NHS budgets. [7598]

Mr. Hutton: The level of healthcare cost inflation for the financial year 1999–2000 was 4.5 per cent. The figures are taken from the national health service hospital and community health service (HCHS) pay and price inflation index. The latest year for which data are available is 1999–2000. Assumptions for future years are based on our inflation target and possible recommendations from the pay review bodies.

In comparison, NHS expenditure in England increased by 8.9 per cent. (6.3 per cent. in real terms) in 1999–2000.

Medical Negligence

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been paid out in medical negligence claims in each of the last four years, together with the cost of accompanying legal fees. [7604]

Ms Blears: Figures on the amounts included in the National Audit summarised accounts for clinical negligence expenditure for the latest available years are as follows.

Year£ million


National Health Service summarised accounts for health authorities, NHS trusts and NHS Litigation Authority.

Changes to accounting policies mean that these amounts are not directly comparable.

The summarised accounts do not show, and it is therefore not possible to break down, separately what proportion of theses figures are for compensation payments and legal costs.

Hospital Food

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement regarding recent changes to NHS food menus; and how much has been paid to outside consultants to advise on menus since 1997. [7603]

Ms Blears: The better hospital food programme, announced in the NHS Plan, is designed to improve the quality and availability of food in hospitals. It is a long-term programme, the first stage of which requires hospitals, by 31 December 2001: to ensure that their meal

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services meet or exceed required standards and meet nutritional requirements; to provide a 24-hour catering service so that patients can obtain food when they need it; to adopt the national design for menus; and to provide on their menus dishes designed for the national health service by the team of leading chefs.

£401,334 has been paid to outside organisations in connection with the better hospital food programme. This has covered design costs for the new menu and implementation support pack, the establishment and full nutritional analysis of the NHS dish selector, recipe development and testing work and the development and management of the website. This equates to slightly more than £1,000 per NHS trust, and is a fraction of the NHS budget for catering. Additionally, central arrangement of much of this work will save the costs of duplicating work across the NHS.

Details of any payments made to outside consultants by individual hospitals are not available centrally.

Cancer Treatment (Waiting Times)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time between general practitioner referral and clinical treatment was for (a) breast cancer cases, (b) lung cancer cases and (c) lower gastrointestinal cancer cases in each of the health authorities in England in the last 12 months. [7591]

Jacqui Smith: The information is not collected. Collection of data on waiting times from general practitioner referral to treatment for breast cancer will be rolled out in 2002, as stated in the NHS Cancer Plan. By 2005 full implementation of monitoring will be in place for lung cancer and lower gastrointestinal cancer.

We are determined to reduce waiting times for cancer treatment. By December 2002 there will be a maximum waiting time of two months from urgent GP referral to treatment for breast cancer. This maximum waiting time target will be rolled out to all cancers by December 2005.

Overseas Treatment

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he anticipates issuing guidelines to health authorities and doctors enabling them to sign contracts with providers of medical care in other European Union countries; and what types of establishments in the EU will be considered. [7602]

Mr. Milburn: On 12 July the European Court of Justice ruled on joined cases C-157/99 Geraets-Smits and Peerbooms and case C-368/98 Vanbraekel that some hospital services may fall within European Community single market rules if they are provided for remuneration.

Following this ruling, the Government have announced that National Health Service commissioners will be able to commission care for NHS patients from providers in other member states of the European Union, as part of their wider efforts to reduce waiting times.

The decision to treat NHS patients in mainland Europe will be made locally as part of normal NHS commissioning arrangements. The Department is working closely with NHS managers and clinicians in Portsmouth, East Kent, West Sussex and East Surrey to test systems for offering patients treatment in other European

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countries. Lessons learned from these areas on the legal, clinical and quality issues involved in sending NHS patients abroad for treatment will inform guidance, which will be sent out to the service later this year.

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