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Pancreatic Cancer

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were waiting for pancreatic cancer surgery at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital on 6 March. [7520]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 October 2001]: Patients who need pancreatic cancer surgery at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital are brought in very urgently and do not appear on the trust's waiting list. There were no patients waiting for pancreatic cancer surgery at the end of March 2001, the closest date for which figures are available.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had recently with the BMA on the relationship between the NHS and the private sector. [8573]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 18 October 2001]: Ministers have not had any discussions recently with the British Medical Association on the relationship between the national health service and the private sector.

Care Charges

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to change care charges. [8568]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 October 2001]: We published for consultation draft guidance to local councils on fairer charging policies for non-residential social services on 3 January, and plan to issue final guidance later this year.

Care Direct

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on Care Direct. [8569]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 October 2001]: As announced in the NHS Plan, the Department will pilot Care Direct in six councils in the south-west of England, starting in 2001.

Plymouth and Somerset commenced on 1 October 2001; Gloucestershire and Bournemouth will follow on 22 and 29 October, respectively. Bristol will commence on 1 November and Devon on 1 December.

As announced in February this year, the second phase of pilots, which will start next year, will include the remainder of the councils in the south-west and a small number of additional councils. The Department will announce shortly who these will be.


Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent evidence he has assessed on changes in the nutritional content of vegetables. [4682]

Ms Blears [holding answer 18 October 2001]: The Food Standards Agency collects data on the nutrient content of a wide range of foods, including fruit and vegetables, on a regular basis. A report published last year suggests there has been some decline in the nutrient content of fruit and vegetables. Due to a variety of factors,

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the range of nutrient levels in foods can be very wide and is approximately the same for conventional and organic produce.

The composition of individual foods is less important than the nutrient content and overall balance of the diet. Data show that nutrient intakes for the population as a whole are generally adequate.

Residential Care

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will hold an investigation into the costs of residential care. [9130]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 19 October 2001]: Our response to the Royal Commission on long-term care, as announced in the NHS Plan, has been to introduce a range of measures to ensure the system of funding and charging for residential care is fairer.

We routinely monitor the costs of residential and nursing home care through performance indicators included in the performance assessment framework for personal social services. In addition, we have commissioned research into costs, fees and profitability in the care home sector. Residential care is subject to the best value regime that requires councils to balance costs, outcomes and quality.

Dental Students

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to provide funding support for those students who undertake dental technician courses. [8902]

Ms Blears [holding answer 19 October 2001]: Trainee dental technicians employed by the National Health Service are already eligible to apply for funding support through their employers. However, most trainee dental technicians are employed in privately owned dental laboratories. The Department has funded a project to draw up and define appropriate qualifications for occupational standards for dental technicians. When they are agreed, funding support for these qualifications may be available from a number of sources, including employers.

Health Visitors

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to recognise the work of health visitors in the proposed nursing and midwifery councils; and if he will make a statement. [8914]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 19 October 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 3 July 2001, Official Report, column 150W.

Medicines Control Agency

Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the annual report and accounts of the Medicines Control Agency. [9823]

Ms Blears: We have received the report and copies have today been laid before both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the requirements of sections 5(2) and 5(3) of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1921. Copies have also been placed in the Library.

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Instrumental Music Tuition

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much money has been allocated to each local education authority in order to support instrumental music tuition in the 2001–02 financial year. [8126]

Mr. Timms: Funding for LEAs to maintain and extend their music services is allocated via the music standards fund. This includes the provision of instrumental tuition.

The music standards fund allocation for each LEA in the current financial year is contained in tables, copies of which have been placed in the Library. The figures include both the DFES contribution and any LEA matched funding provided.

Veterinary Medicine

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to increase the number of veterinary schools. [6539]

Margaret Hodge: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)—not the Government—has responsibility for determining the number and location of higher education places, including those for veterinary medicine. The funding council takes demand for veterinary surgeons into account in setting the number of places.

In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the number of students entering veterinary schools, from 430 in 1991 to 660 in 2000, as well as a similar rise in the numbers graduating, from 360 to 560 over the same period.

Further Education

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of further education colleges would be able to pay the full 3.7 per cent. recommended pay rise for the coming year without making cuts in other budget headings. [6673]

Margaret Hodge: This information is not available to the Department. It is for college corporations to determine spending priorities within the overall need to balance their budgets. Colleges' ability to pay the recommended pay rise will depend on their overall financial health, their success in recruiting and retaining students (which will affect the funding they receive from the Learning and Skills Council) and the level of their staff costs in relation to overall college expenditure.

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what factors relating to the responsibilities and duties of teachers in sixth-form colleges underlie the pay differential with further education colleges. [6681]

Margaret Hodge: The pay, terms and conditions of staff in general further education and sixth-form colleges are matters for college corporations and management to determine in consultation with the relevant unions. I understand that over the years since incorporation, sixth-form colleges have sought to mirror pay and conditions arrangements in schools, because staff responsibilities are similar in both. In general FE colleges,

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a wider range of pay and conditions arrangements now exist, reflecting the diverse learning needs of colleges local communities and colleges individual decisions on implementing the nationally recommended pay settlement each year.

In addition, sixth-form colleges have, this year, been given proportionately a larger share of teaching pay initiative (TPI) funding than general FE colleges. This honours a commitment given by the former Secretary of State, identifying the scale of implementation of TPI in sixth-form colleges in 2001. Under TPI, sixth-form colleges should, this year, be able to replicate the £2,000 threshold payments that apply in schools; and in general FE, colleges should be able to pay at least £1,000 and up to £2,000 to eligible staff, with up to £4,000 to a minority of their most able staff.

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Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the ratio of administrative staff to teaching staff in further education colleges for each year since incorporation in 1993. [6682]

Margaret Hodge: The Learning and Skills Council (and formerly the Further Education Funding Council) collects information about teaching and non-teaching staff employed for 15 hours a week or more over a teaching year. Non-teaching staff data are categorised into "supporting teaching and learning" (Support) and "other support" (Other). 1994–95 was the first year data were collected; the last year for which data are currently available is 1999–2000. Details about the number of administrative staff in further education colleges, or about staff employed for less than 15 hours a week, are not collected centrally.

The ratio between teaching and non-teaching staff is shown in the following table:

YearTeaching (thousand)Support (thousand)Other (thousand)Non teaching ie support plus other (thousand)Ratio (Non-teaching/ teaching)

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