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NHS Estates

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list all those NHS hospital sites being considered for sale by NHS Estates and their respective bed capacities when last fully utilised. [7601]

Mr. Hutton: [holding answer 15 October 2001]: National Health Service Estates is responsible for disposing of surplus NHS property owned by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health. During the last five years these disposals have generated over £1.15 billion for reinvestment in the NHS.

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Details of whole or substantial parts of hospital site disposals proposed for 2001–02 and those being considered for disposal thereafter, following review with appropriate health bodies, are outlined in a table which will be placed in the Library.

The NHS Plan provides for an extra 7,000 beds by 2004, with the biggest hospital building programme in the history of the NHS already under way. The disposal of properties that need to be replaced due to their age, condition or unsuitability to provide modern healthcare will continue to generate cash for reinvestment in NHS modernisation.

Due to the considerable elapse of time since many of the sites were last operated at full utilisation, following changing models of delivering patient services, details of bed capacities at that point are not readily available.

Hospital Doctors

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital doctors have been (a) recruited and (b) left the NHS in England in each year since 1990. [7594]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 15 October 2001]: The Department does not routinely collect data on the number of joiners and leavers from the medical and dental grades. The annual medical and dental workforce census contains details of individual doctors working in the national health service on 30 September each year. Figures are shown in the table.

Headcount of hospital medical staff, England at 30 September



Department of Health medical workforce census

It is possible to link together files from consecutive years using the doctors' General Medical Council number, to see how many doctors are present one year and not the next, and vice versa. This provides a reliable general indication of turnover, which is used in workforce models, but does not provide reliable separate figures for leavers and joiners. The main reasons for this are:

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Renewable Energy

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the policy of the NHS is for purchasing of energy from renewable sources. [7616]

Ms Blears [holding answer 15 October 2001]: The national health service complies with Government policy as determined by the Office of Government Commerce which requires that all public procurement of goods and services is based upon value for money, having due regard to propriety and regularity.

The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency negotiated a national contract for purchasing electricity from renewable sources which was an option to the NHS from April 2000. However, it attracted an average 5 per cent. price premium. Therefore, no NHS bodies took up this option.

In the recent October/November 2001 contract round, electricity from renewable resources has been secured without a price premium. This should provide approximately 16 per cent. of the total NHS demand for electricity in the next 12 months.

National Beds Inquiry

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will made a statement on the implications of the national bed survey for Worcestershire. [8042]

Jacqui Smith: The report of our National Beds Inquiry (NBI) was published for consultation in February 2000. The facts revealed by the NBI supported the concept of building a new bridge of national health service care for older people between hospital and home, and supported the first national strategy for providing NHS beds in 30 years.

Worcestershire health authority is currently modelling bed numbers and capacity for the year ahead. The health authority's modelling work on bed numbers will take into account the NBI.

The NHS plan took forward the findings of the NBI report by proposing action to increase bed numbers. The Department subsequently published new long-term planning guidance in February 2001 to implement NHS plan bed increases. This guidance will help local health economies ensure that they have the right number and mix of beds in place.

Nursing Home Beds

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nursing home beds have been lost since June, (a) nationally, (b) in the City of York and (c) in the North Yorkshire county council area in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [8052]

Jacqui Smith: The table shows the number of registered nursing 1 beds in 1999 and 2000, together with the absolute and percentage change in numbers for England, Northern and Yorkshire Regional Office and North Yorkshire health authority. Information is not available for the City of York.

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Number of registered nursing care beds

Year ending 31 March
19992000Absolute changePercentage change
Northern and Yorkshire Regional Office30,60028,500-2,100-6.8
North Yorkshire Health Authority4,4504,320-130-3.0


Numbers and percentages are rounded.


Source: Department of Health Annual Returns

NHS Dentistry (Swadlincote)

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the availability of NHS dentistry in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. [8058]

Ms Blears: In September 1999, we gave a commitment that, within two years, everyone would be able to access National Health Service dentistry if, and when they wanted it, via NHS Direct. All health authorities in England now have in place dentistry action plans to ensure that everyone in their local area can access NHS dentistry if they want it, within a reasonable time and distance. These plans identify shortfalls in service provision and ways of tackling unmet demand.

Southern Derbyshire Health Authority has recently been allocated £35,000 from the Dental Care Development Fund to support the development of a new practice in this area. Discussions are taking place with a dentist who has expressed an interest in practising in Swadlincote. If an agreement can be reached with the dentist concerned, this will ensure the availability of NHS services at the new practice for five years.

Delayed Discharge

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital patients are subject to delayed discharge in (a) Brighton, Hove and East Sussex and (b) Eastbourne district general hospital. [7662]

Ms Blears: Quarterly information for East Sussex, Brighton and Hove Health Authority, for patients aged 75 and over, has been placed in the Library.

Information on delayed discharges is not available centrally for patients under 75 and individual hospitals. Further information may be obtained from the Chairmen of East Sussex, Brighton and Hove Health Authority and Eastbourne Hospitals NHS Trust.

Ministerial Travel

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list all official overseas visits undertaken by Ministers in his Department in each year since May 1997, indicating (a) the cost in (i) cash and (ii) real terms, (b) the number and grade of (i) civil servants and (ii) special advisers accompanying Ministers and (c) the number of official engagements or meetings undertaken on each visit; and if he will make a statement; [6899]

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Ms Blears: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) on 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 823W.

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