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Health Services (Somerset and Dorset)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to establish a new, unified health authority for Somerset and Dorset; what plans he has to site the headquarters of the new health authority in Yeovil; and if he will make a statement. [11036]

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Ms Blears [holding answer 31 October 2001]: Public consultation on the boundaries of a proposed new health authority for Somerset and Dorset is under way and will finish on 30 November 2001. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will decide the boundaries for the new health authority in the light of the comments received during the consultation.

Decisions on the management arrangements, including the location of the headquarters, for the proposed Somerset and Dorset health authority have not been taken yet. It will be the responsibility of the new health authority, when established, to make these decisions.

NHS Funding Mechanisms

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has commissioned into alternative funding mechanisms for the national health service; if he will publish this research; and if he will make a statement. [10744]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 31 October 2001]: In March 2001 my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that Derek Wanless, former group chief executive of Nat West bank, would be leading a review to provide a long-term assessment of the technological, demographic and medical trends over the next two decades that will affect the health service.

In the light of these trends, the review will identify the key factors which will determine the financial and other resources required to ensure that the national health service can provide a publicly funded, comprehensive, high quality service available on the basis of clinical need and not ability to pay. The review will report to my right hon. Friend by April 2002.

Surgical Procedures (Cost)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research his Department has undertaken into the relative cost differences between surgical procedures carried out in the public and private sectors; and if he will make a statement. [11035]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 31 October 2001]: The Department has recently conducted a survey of health authorities, primary care trusts and acute trusts on the levels of activity being commissioned in the private sector and the accompanying costs. Analysis is not yet complete.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many asylum-seeking children were supported under (a) section 17 and (b) section 20 of the Children's Act 1989 in the year to June 2001; [10810]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 31 October 2001]: The information is not collected centrally in the form requested.

The Department is currently conducting a children in need census with local authorities which covers the activity in a "typical" week in September or October 2001

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selected by the authority. This census, for the first time, includes a question on asylum-seeking children. These data will not be available until some time in 2002.

The Home Office administers the grant to local authorities for those unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who are supported under the Children Act. Such children receive a needs assessment from their social services department. This should look at children's cases on an individual basis but it is likely that those children under 16 will be assessed as needing to be taken into care under section 20 of the Children Act. Older children may be assessed as needing the less intensive support available under section 17. As at 26 January 2001, local authorities were claiming grant for

For the financial year 2000–01, local authorities claimed grant for the following number of support weeks:

These figures cannot be simply converted into numbers of young people.

Beta Interferon

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 17 October 2001, Official Report, column 1240W, on beta interferon (No. 7427), what assessment he has made of the cost of beta interferon (a) in the UK and (b) in other countries; and if he will make a statement. [9795]

Ms Blears: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Appraisal Committee further considered the evidence on the use of beta interferon and glatiramer acetate for multiple sclerosis sufferers on 25 September 2001. NICE has subsequently issued a provisional appraisal determination (PAD) to interested parties for comment.

The institute has stated that, to allow sufficient time to take proper account of the extensive comments received on the PAD, it issued the final appraisal determination to consultees on 30 October.

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Knee Replacement Operations

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the average waiting times in each English hospital trust for knee replacement operations in each of the last three years. [11811]

Mr. Hutton: The average median waiting times in each English hospital trust for knee replacement in each of the last three years 1997–98,1998–99 and 1999–2000 have been placed in the Library.

As part of the NHS Plan, the maximum waiting time for in-patient treatment will be cut from 18 months now to six months by the end of 2005. As a first step towards this reduction, the maximum wait for a national health service operation will be cut to 15 months by the end of March 2002.

Operation Waiting Lists

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been waiting for (a) in-patient and (b) out-patient operations for each reporting period over the last 20 years; what proportion of these people have been waiting for (i) more than two years, (ii) more than 18 months, (iii) more than one year, (iv) more than nine months and (v) more than six months; and if he will make a statement. [10808]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 31 October 2001]: The information requested is in the tables.

As part of the NHS Plan, the national health service is working towards reducing the current maximum in-patient wait of 18 months to 15 months by March 2002, 12 months by March 2003, nine months by March 2004 and finally six months by the end of 2005. The maximum out-patient waiting time will fall from over six months today to six months by March 2002 and three months by 2005. No specific targets have been set within the NHS Plan for further reducing waiting lists but modelling suggests that as waiting times fall so waiting lists will shorten.

In January 2001, the British Association of Otorhinolaryngologists released guidance on the use of single-use instruments for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy operations due to the theoretical risk of contracting vCJD. This had an effect on in-patient waiting lists due to the number of patients waiting for these types of operations.

Of those on in-patient waiting list, percentage who have waited:
QuarterSize of in-patient waiting listMore than 6 monthsMore than 9 monthsMore than 12 monthsMore than 18 monthsMore than 24 months
March 1981628,333n/an/a28.8n/an/a
June 1981n/an/an/an/an/an/a
September 1981619,393n/an/a29.2n/an/a
December 1981n/an/an/an/an/an/a
March 1982622,480n/an/a28.2n/an/a
June 1982n/an/an/an/an/an/a
September 1982725,865n/an/a26.6n/an/a
December 1982n/an/an/an/an/an/a
March 1983726,186n/an/a27.3n/an/a
June 1983n/an/an/an/an/an/a
September 1983703,755n/an/a29.3n/an/a
December 1983n/an/an/an/an/an/a
March 1984692,945n/an/a28.1n/an/a
June 1984n/an/an/an/an/an/a
September 1984682,599n/an/a27.8n/an/a
December 1984n/an/an/an/an/an/a
March 1985674,453n/an/a25.4n/an/a
June 1985n/an/an/an/an/an/a
September 1985661,249n/an/a24.2n/an/a
December 1985n/an/an/an/an/an/a
March 1986673,107n/an/a24.0n/an/a
June 1986n/an/an/an/an/an/a
September 1986681,901n/an/a24.2n/an/a
December 1986n/an/an/an/an/an/a
March 1987687,945n/an/a23.6n/an/a
June 1987n/an/an/an/an/an/a
September 1987848,02245.032.824.7n/a10.7
December 1987873,13044.132.224.1n/a10.5
March 1988876,24643.532.423.7n/a10.0
June 1988878,30644.133.224.2n/a10.1
September 1988900,05144.733.524.4n/a10.2
December 1988931,49544.332.024.0n/a9.9
March 1989922,67644.331.724.2n/a10.0
June 1989922,87743.531.723.6n/a9.6
September 1989929,05643.431.823.5n/a9.5
December 1989971,84542.529.422.5n/a8.9
March 1990958,97641.829.721.7n/a8.4
June 1990955,78641.729.321.6n/a7.9
September 1990957,53341.728.021.2n/a7.4
December 1990965,52039.925.819.5n/a6.4
March 1991948,24339.026.817.9n/a5.4
June 1991964,05039.024.617.8n/a5.3
September 1991947,84237.521.716.7n/a4.6
December 1991950,09834.116.113.7n/a3.2
March 1992917,71729.526.8.8n/a0.2
June 1992937,05429.917.
September 1992939,74030.516.
December 1992977,18928.915.
March 1993994,97427.413.
June 19931,019,34129.
September 19931,032,03830.515.
December 19931,065,78230.
March 19941,065,36928.514.
June 19941,077,49728.314.
September 19941,071,10128.513.
December 19941,070,49226.713.
March 19951,044,05123.
June 19951,052,95823.
September 19951,040,15223.
December 19951,054,94821.
March 19961,048,02919.
June 19961,056,12221.
September 19961,061,55722.
December 19961,104,98323.
March 19971,158,00425.
June 19971,189,96226.712.
September 19971,207,51528.
December 19971,261,91529.
March 19981,297,66229.514.
June 19981,287,54329.714.
September 19981,213,83928.613.
December 19981,173,59826.913.
March 19991,072,86026.
June 19991,094,25125.512.
September 19991,084,15725.912.
December 19991,108,00625.812.
March 20001,037,06625.912.
June 20001,047,89026.
September 20001,031,82426.712.
December 20001,034,38125.812.
March 20011,006,72724.411.
June 20011,037,87525.712.


Before September 1987 figures relate to ordinary (overnight) admissions. Number of people waiting for day cases were not collected before this date.


KH07 quarterly return

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Of those on out-patient waiting list, number who have waited:
QuarterSize of out-patient waiting list3 to 6 monthsmore than 6 monthsmore than 9 monthsmore than 12 monthsmore than 18 monthsmore than 24 months
June 1955n/a214,16587,436n/an/an/an/a
September 1995n/a218,33972,688n/an/an/an/a
December 1995n/a185,88760,906n/an/an/an/a
March 1996n/a157,63358,501n/an/an/an/a
June 1996n/a168,79252,385n/an/an/an/a
September 1996n/a201,58661,952n/an/an/an/a
December 1996n/a188,64468,512n/an/an/an/a
March 1997n/a176,79970,689n/an/an/an/a
June 1997n/a210,07584,997n/an/an/an/a
September 1997n/a253,05190,123n/an/an/an/a
December 1997n/a249,039106,961n/an/an/an/a
March 1998n/a221,732112,250n/an/an/an/a
June 1998n/a269,013108,684n/an/an/an/a
September 1998n/a310,863126,312n/an/an/an/a
December 1998n/a323,218144,404n/an/an/an/a
March 1999n/a303,246152,787n/an/an/an/a
June 1999n/a338,752145,896n/an/an/an/a
September 1999n/a362,794149,247n/an/an/an/a
December 1999n/a336,457159,211n/an/an/an/a
March 2000n/a269,385132,223n/an/an/an/a
June 2000n/a314,157130,335n/an/an/an/a
September 2000n/a309,928125,840n/an/an/an/a
December 2000n/a285,519113,618n/an/an/an/a
March 2001n/a201,98181,847n/an/an/an/a
June 2001n/a274,42185,099n/an/an/an/a


Out-patient data not available prior to June 1995.

Data on the total number of patients on out-patient waiting list is not collected.

Data on the number of out-patients waiting over nine, over 12, over 18 and over 24 months

is not collected.


QM08 quarterly return

1 Nov 2001 : Column: 835W

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