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Beta Interferon

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his written answer of 15 October 2001, Official Report, columns 1027–28W, on beta interferon, what estimate he has made of the annual additional cost of prescribing beta interferon to 12 per cent. of British sufferers from multiple sclerosis. [9923]

Ms Blears: We have made no such estimate.

Waiting Times

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in England have been waiting more than (a) six, (b) 12, (c) 18 and (d) 24 months for an (i) out-patient and (ii) in-patient appointment for each reporting period since 1995; and if he will make a statement. [8926]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 25 October 2001]: The information requested is given in the tables.

A proportion of patients who have waited over 18 and 24 months are awaiting tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy procedures. This is because the National Health Service has been advised only to carry out these procedures (when routine) using single-use supply instruments, due to the theoretical risk of contracting vCJD. There are now sufficient supplies of these instruments; therefore, patients awaiting these procedures should not be waiting as long in the coming months.

Two NHS trusts were responsible for the number of patients waiting over 24 months during the quarters ending March and June 2001. Appropriate corrective action is in place to ensure these patients are treated.

We are determined to reduce waiting times through implementing shorter maximum waiting times. By the end of March 2002, the maximum in-patient waiting time will be 15 months and the maximum waiting time for a first out-patient appointment will be six months.

In-patient waiting times data for England, March 1995 to present

Of those on the list, number who have waited:
QuarterSize of in-patientMore than 6 monthsMore than 12 monthsMore than 18 monthsMore than 24 months
March 19951,044,051241,21832,194280121
June 19951,052,958244,36032,7591180
September 19951,040,152243,98727,938430
December 19951,054,948229,65920,48820
March 19961,048,029208,4844,576140
June 19961,056,122223,41210,39991
September 19961,061,557239,69014,993251
December 19961,104,983255,48222,1611231
March 19971,158,004289,57431,2081501
June 19971,189,962318,02446,68438513
September 19971,207,515337,73957,6667947
December 19971,261,915367,55868,33297258
March 19981,297,662382,43268,02340
June 19981,287,543381,93772,74600
September 19981,213,839347,75763,48000
December 19981,173,598315,72456,09400
March 19991,072,860279,62747,30400
June 19991,094,251279,11849,44210
September 19991,084,157280,77550,801993
December 19991,108,006285,44052,14710548
March 20001,037,066268,27549,04671
June 20001,047,890273,02351,38110
September 20001,031,824275,20451,11520
December 20001,034,381267,12749,215100
March 20011,006,727245,99142,15821754
March 2001(33)840
June 20011,037,875267,16046,68935610
June 2001(33)2050

(33) Number of T&As


KH07 quarterly waiting times return. Department of Health

30 Oct 2001 : Column: 651W

30 Oct 2001 : Column: 652W

Out-patient waiting times data for England, March 1995 to present

Of those still waiting at quarter end for a first out-patient appointment following GP referral, number who have waited:
QuarterMore than 6 monthsMore than 12 monthsMore than 18 monthsMore than 24 months
March 1995n/an/an/an/a
June 199587,398n/an/an/a
September 199572,667n/an/an/a
December 199560,894n/an/an/a
March 199658,503n/an/an/a
June 199652,382n/an/an/a
September 199661,936n/an/an/a
December 199668,495n/an/an/a
March 199770,689n/an/an/a
June 199784,983n/an/an/a
September 199790,112n/an/an/a
December 1997106,961n/an/an/a
March 1998112,250n/an/an/a
June 1998108,684n/an/an/a
September 1998126,312n/an/an/a
December 1998144,404n/an/an/a
March 1999152,787n/an/an/a
June 1999145,896n/an/an/a
September 1999149,247n/an/an/a
December 1999159,211n/an/an/a
March 2000132,223n/an/an/a
June 2000130,335n/an/an/a
September 2000125,840n/an/an/a
December 2000113,618n/an/an/a
March 200181,847n/an/an/a
June 200185,099n/an/an/a


QM08 quarterly waiting times return. Department of Health

Ambulance Services

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) ambulances, (b) paramedics and (c) ambulance medical technicians there were in Sussex in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [10397]

Ms Blears: Figures for the number of ambulances and ambulance medical technicians are not collected centrally.

The number of ambulance staff in Sussex for each year at 30 September are in the table.

YearParamedicsOther ambulance personnel


Department of Health Non-medical work force census

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reason ambulance services in Hampshire are to be reorganised; [10572]

30 Oct 2001 : Column: 653W

Ms Blears: Over 100 bodies and individuals responded to the consultation proposals. The South East Regional Office of the Department will make a detailed summary to Ministers shortly.


Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has concerning the possible continuing incidence of anthrax at the former Thanet Isolation (Haine) hospital; and if he will make a statement on possible long-term contamination of the burial grounds. [11142]

Ms Blears: I have been advised by the Director of Public Health at East Kent health authority that there is no risk of anthrax from this site to the general public or anyone working at the Haine hospital site.

In the event of graves being excavated, workers should be advised to take normal precautions to prevent infection from pathogens in soil; namely the use of protective gloves and washable or disposable overalls.

NHS Boards (Disabilities)

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the chairs and non-executive directors of NHS boards have a disability. [11415]

Ms Blears: The proportion of those appointed to National Health Service boards who identify themselves as being disabled is shown in the tables.

Disabled candidates appointed to National Health Service Boards at 29 October 2001

TotalNumber disabledPer cent. disabled
Health authorities9022.2
NHS trusts30420.7
Primary care trusts16684.8
Special health authorities1600
Non-executives (NEDs)
Health authorities480183.8
NHS trusts1,547452.9
Primary care trusts773496.3
Special health authorities274114.0
Total chairs and NEDs3.6411353.7

NHS Appointments Commission

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the names of the chair and

30 Oct 2001 : Column: 654W

members of the new Independent NHS Appointments Commission and indicate how they were (a) selected and (b) appointed. [11251]

Ms Blears: The membership of the National Health Service Appointments Commission is as follows:

The posts were advertised nationally and the appointments procedures followed were in line with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, involving interview panels including an independent assessor. A copy of the information pack sent to all candidates is in the Library. This includes the job descriptions and the qualities required of the chair and commissioners.

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