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Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will answer the question tabled by the hon. Member for Yeovil on 20 July [ref. 428]. [9961]

Jane Kennedy: I answered these questions today.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many PFI transactions have been overseen by his Department in each of the last 10 years; what his estimate is of the cost savings made in each of these transactions in comparison with the public sector alternative; what are the outstanding payments to be made in relation to these transactions for each of the next 15 years; and if he will make a statement; [5720]

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Jane Kennedy: The NIO has had no involvement with PFI projects over the last 10 years.


Spinal Injuries

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the spinal injuries units in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. [6751]

Ms Blears [holding answer 15 October 2001]: There are eight units in England as follows:

On 28 February 2001 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced that a National Service Framework would be developed for long term conditions, and that this would have a particular focus on the needs of people with neurological disease and brain and spinal injury.

Issues relating to Wales are matters for the devolved Assembly.

Maternity Services

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when information will be provided on the criteria and deadline for applications to the maternity services capital fund; if funds from the fund can be used to create midwifery-led birth centres in existing maternity centres; and if funding will be approved for the creation of (a) stand-alone birth centres and (b) birth centres within a community and cottage hospital. [7072]

Ms Blears: Letters inviting applications for the maternity service capital funds, including the criteria, were issued to the regions on 11 July 2001, copies of

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which have been placed in the Library. The funding allocations for each unit were announced on 11 October 2001.

This capital investment of £100 million is to modernise and upgrade facilities in maternity units to improve the environment in which care is provided and not primarily for the redesigning of maternity services. Each existing maternity unit and/or trust decided their own priorities for using the capital fund after consultation with local health communities, staff and service users.

The National Health Service provides a variety of types of care for women during pregnancy and childbirth including care in midwife-led birth. We expect this variety to continue and it is important that decisions about service provision are made at a local level.


Siobhain McDonagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps the Government are taking to speed up the assessment periods for Herceptin; and if he will make a statement; [7078]

Ms Blears: The assessment report for the appraisal on Herceptin was extended following consultation in order to consider additional clinical data. While it is regrettable that the National Institute for Clinical Excellence's guidance should be delayed, it is in the interests of all concerned that NICE's authoritative guidance should be soundly based and fair.

NICE's appraisal committee will meet again on 25 October 2001 and, if there are no appeals, guidance is expected in December 2001.

Viagra has not been referred to NICE for appraisal as regulations regarding the availability of Viagra and other specified drug treatments for impotence have been in place since July 1999.


Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what chemical agents are being used within the NHS to combat MRSA. [8722]

Mr. Hutton: The following chemical agents that are active against methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus are currently in use in the national health service:

Chemical agentComposition/ingredients
All purpose cleaner/sanitiser for hard surface cleaning five litre: Brand D102-Aminoethanol (OES)
Nonionic surfactant
Cationic surfactant
Surface sanitiser for hard surfaces 3 per cent. available chlorine 10 kilogramme: Brand D4BXChlorinated trisodium phosphate
Powder surface sanitiser 2 per cent. available chlorine 500 gram: Brand Titan Sodium silicate
SanitiserAnionic surfactant
Sodium dichlorolsocyanurate dihydrate
Detergent liquid general purpose neutral 5 litre: Brand HospecAqueous solution of anionic/nonionic surfactants, salts and preservatives

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Although the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency has national contracts for the items listed, individual NHS trusts may buy other products containing agents that combat MRSA.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in each health authority contracted MRSA in each of the years 1995 to 2000. [9238]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 24 October 2001]: Aggregate data on numbers of incidents of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) voluntarily submitted by national health service trusts for specialist microbiological tests since 1995 are shown in the table. These data are routinely available on a regional basis only. Data on staphylococcus aureus bacteraemias (blood infections) showing the proportion resistant to methicillin in England and Wales are published quarterly by the Public Health Laboratory Service in the Communicable Disease Report. Copies of these are available in the Library. More comprehensive information about bacteraemias, including MRSA, has been collected from all acute trusts since 1 April 2001 and these data will be published from 1 April 2002.

Incidents of MRSA: 1995–98

Anglia and Oxford142237297223
North Thames566539544289
North West65176259215
Northern and Yorkshire90150224202
South and West80206254101
South Thames377421385220
West Midlands12812110269


1. Population estimates are mid-year estimates based on 1991 census data.

2. For 1995 and 1996 and the first half of 1997 data have been amalgamated to the approximate boundaries of the new regional office areas. This allows for comparison with subsequent years.

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Incidents of MRSA: 1999–2000

Northern and Yorkshire17070
North West18090
South East170100
South West4010
West Midlands3050


1. Data for 2000 are complete.

2. An incident is three or more patients infected or colonised by the same strain of MRSA in the same month from the same hospital.

3. The criteria for submission of isolates of MRSA (and other isolates of staphylococcus aureus) to the Public Health Laboratory Service for specialist tests have been revised twice since 1996 (in January 1998 and in January 2000).

4. These revised criteria have led to a fall in the number of incidents of MRSA that were reported to the PHLS.

Job Vacancies

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish figures giving job vacancy percentages by health authority for (a) radiographers, (b) radiation physicists and (c) radiography technicians. [9094]

Mr. Hutton: Figures for diagnostic and therapeutic radiographer vacancies are in the tables. The Department does not collect vacancy information for radiation physicists or radiography technicians.

Department of Health vacancies survey, March 2001 vacancies in NHS trusts by region and health authority areas(12), radiographer three month vacancy rates(13),(14) and staff in post

Staff in post (wte) Three month vacancy rates (Percentage)
Diagnostic radiographersTherapeutic radiographersDiagnostic radiographersTherapeutic radiographers
England total9,1651,3094.48.0
Northern and Yorkshire1,3231542.510.4
Bradford HA114(15)0.0n/a
Calderdale and Kirklees HA102(15)0.0n/a
County Durham and Darlington HA80(15)0.0n/a
East Riding and Hull HA94145.027.0
Gateshead and South Tyneside HA68(15)1.5n/a
Leeds HA273563.518.2
Newcastle and North Tyneside HA119441.21.1
North Cumbria HA5186.60.0
North Yorkshire HA12313.10.0
Northumberland HA48(15)0.6n/a
Sunderland HA56(15)3.4n/a
Tees HA134321.50.0
Wakefield HA60(15)7.6n/a
Barnsley HA32(15)0.0n/a
Doncaster HA55(15)0.0n/a
Leicestershire HA127230.04.3
Lincolnshire HA96310.00.0
North Derbyshire HA3170.00.0
North Nottinghamshire HA57(15)1.4n/a
Nottingham HA131295.10.0
Rotherham HA36(15)0.0n/a
Sheffield HA124350.00.0
South Humber HA4979.30.0
Southern Derbyshire HA78239.38.1
West Midlands912845.515.1
Birmingham HA261327.315.9
Coventry HA881312.113.7
Dudley HA53(15)1.9n/a
Herefordshire HA24(15)0.0n/a
North Staffordshire HA93132.10.0
Sandwell HA28(15)0.0n/a
Shropshire HA79112.78.6
Solihull HA(15)(15)n/an/a
South Staffordshire HA77(15)4.0n/a
Walsall HA38(15)9.9n/a
Warwickshire HA53(15)0.0n/a
Wolverhampton HA45175.726.2
Worcestershire HA73(15)6.4n/a
North West1,4811503.83.8
Bury and Rochdale HA4590.00.0
East Lancashire HA98(15)8.4n/a
Liverpool HA149(15)5.2n/a
Manchester HA203535.710.1
Morecambe Bay HA69(15)0.0n/a
North Cheshire HA72(15)8.3n/a
North West Lancashire HA132270.00.0
Salford and Trafford HA94(15)5.6n/a
Sefton HA11014.20.0
South Cheshire HA103(15)0.0n/a
South Lancashire HA28(15)0.0n/a
St. Helens and Knowsley HA53(15)10.2n/a
Stockport HA43(15)7.7n/a
West Pennine HA78(15)0.0n/a
Wigan and Bolton HA108(15)0.0n/a
Wirral HA97603.00.0
Bedfordshire HA97(15)5.8n/a
Cambridgeshire HA170410.610.9
East and North Hertfordshire HA54115.00.0
Norfolk HA152293.20.0
North Essex HA120202.40.0
South Essex HA100(15)6.5n/a
Suffolk HA95140.00.0
West Hertfordshire HA88328.58.5
Barking and Havering HA57165.010.9
Barnet HA64(15)14.2n/a
Bexley and Greenwich HA62(15)6.1n/a
Brent and Harrow HA9023.20.0
Bromley HA30(15)6.2n/a
Camden and Islington HA246435.44.4
Croydon HA30(15)0.0n/a
Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow HA1173211.325.4
East London and The City HA155346.00.0
Enfield and Haringey HA40174.80.0
Hillingdon HA37(15)7.5n/a
Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster HA151557.913.4
Kingston and Richmond HA48(15)0.7n/a
Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham HA206411.92.4
Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth HA146(15)15.60.0
Redbridge and Waltham Forest HA56511.10.0
South East1,3002145.113.1
Berkshire HA111173.55.5
Buckinghamshire HA94(15)2.1n/a
East Kent HA9914.50.0
East Surrey HA43(15)22.0n/a
East Sussex, Brighton and Hove HA130134.419.2
Isle of Wight HA19(15)15.9n/a
North and Mid Hampshire HA58(15)0.9n/a
Northamptonshire HA76230.00.0
Oxfordshire HA1262711.525.5
Portsmouth and South East Hampshire HA78290.06.5
Southampton and South West Hampshire HA112303.521.1
West Kent HA137406.86.9
West Surrey HA128350.82.8
West Sussex HA90(15)5.5n/a
South West9211703.02.9
Avon HA265545.16.8
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly HA8672.30.0
Dorset HA145260.00.0
Gloucestershire HA97280.00.0
North East and Devon HA71230.00.0
Somerset HA6912.80.0
South and West Devon HA119314.03.4
Wiltshire HA69(15)6.7n/a
Special health authorities1(15)0.0n/a

(12) Health authorities figures are based on trusts, and do not necessarily reflect the geographical provision of healthcare

(13) Three month vacancies are vacancies as at 31 March 2001 which trusts are actively trying to fill, which had lasted for three months or more (whole time equivalents)

(14) Three month vacancy rates are three month vacancies expressed as a percentage of three month vacancies plus staff in post from the non-medical workforce census (whole time equivalent)

(15) Trust does not employ these staff


1. Percentages rounded to one decimal place

2. Numbers rounded to the nearest whole number


Department of Health Vacancies Survey 2001

Non-Medical Workforce Census, September 2000

Department of Health Vacancies Survey, March 2001

Vacancies in NHS trusts by region and Radiographers

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wte wte Percentages
Staff in post Number of three month vacancies Three month vacancy rates
Diagnostic radiographersTherapeutic radiographersDiagnostic radiographersTherapeutic radiographersDiagnostic radiographersTherapeutic radiographers
England total9,1701,3104201104.48.0
Northern and Yorkshire1,32315430202.510.4
West Midlands9128450205.515.1
North West1,48115060103.83.8
South East1,30021470305.113.1
South West92117030103.02.9
Special health authorities1(16)000.0n/a

(16) Means no staff


1. Three month vacancies are vacancies as at 31 March 2001 which trusts are actively trying to fill, which had lasted for three months or more (whole time equivalents)

2. Three month vacancy rates are three month vacancies expressed as a percentage of three month vacancies plus staff in post from the September 2000 medical and dental and non-medical workforce census (whole time equivalent)

3. Health authority figures are based on trusts, and do not necessarily reflect the geographical provision of healthcare

4. Percentages rounded to one decimal place

5. Numbers rounded to the nearest 10 for three month vacancies and to the nearest one for staff in post

25 Oct 2001 : Column: 349W

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