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Health Care Professions (Discipline)

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the bodies responsible for disciplinary matters in the (a) medical profession, (b) nursing profession and (c) other professions allied to medicine or associated with healthcare. [15049]

Mr. Hutton: Disciplinary matters in the national health service are dealt with by managers at a local level in the first instance. Some consultant doctors have a right of appeal to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State against dismissal; the NHS Plan made a commitment to remove this. General practitioners can appeal to a Family Health Services Appeal Authority (FHSAA) against a decision that they have breached their terms of service. A separate NHS Tribunal decides if a GP can be suspended or disqualified. The NHS Tribunal will be abolished later this year and its powers transferred to health authorities, with a right of appeal to an independent FHSAA.

If a person's fitness to practise their profession is called into question, this will be dealt with by the regulatory body responsible for regulation of that profession.

The eight regulatory bodies responsible for regulation of healthcare professionals are:

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NHS Staff (Pay)

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to move away from annual pay rounds for health service staff. [15048]

Mr. Hutton: There are no current plans to move away from the annual pay round. We are keeping under review the possibility of longer-term pay deals where these would be of benefit to the national health service.

Regulatory Bodies

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the regulatory bodies in the (a) NHS social care and (b) private health social care spheres. [15274]

Mr. Hutton: Local authorities are responsible for the regulation of residential care homes provided by national health service trusts. Both local authorities and health authorities are currently responsible for the regulation of private health social care services depending on whether personal care, nursing care or both are provided in such settings. This responsibility will be taken over by the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) from 1 April 2002. NHS care homes providing nursing come within the scope of the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI). We expect the NCSC and CHI to work together to ensure that consistent standards are applied across these services.

Waiting Times

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which trusts have achieved (a) the six month, (b) the 12 month and (c) the 15 month in-patient waiting targets. [15063]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS Plan, published in July 2000, sets out our plans to reduce maximum in-patient waiting times from 18 months now to 15 months by March 2002. Maximum in-patient waiting times will continue to fall to six months by March 2005.

The trusts with no in-patients waiting over six, 12 and 15 months at 30 September 2001 are given in the tables, copies of which are in the Library.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list in (a) rank and (b) alphabetical order of NHS trust in London region, the (i) proportion and (ii) number of patients waiting (A) over 12 months and (B) over 18 months or more for in-patient treatment (1) at the latest available date, (2) in March 1997 and (3) in June 1997. [15286]

Mr. Hutton: Since the start of the waiting list initiative in 1998 London has made very significant progress. In-patient waiting lists have fallen by a quarter from 216,000 to 159,000. This marks the largest reduction in the country.

Furthermore, since March 1998 the number of patients in London waiting over 12 months for treatment has reduced by nearly half from 17,500 to 9,500 and, before the end of March 2002 no patient should be waiting over 15 months for treatment.

The information requested has been placed in the Library.

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Outcome Indicators

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent discussions he has had with European Health Ministers on ways to develop common sets of outcome indicators; [15060]

Mr. Hutton: The Department participates in the following initiatives involving the European Community which look at the quality of healthcare:

Inter-consultant Referrals

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients there are waiting on out-patient lists as result of inter-consultant referrals. [15059]

Mr. Hutton: Data are not collected on the number of out-patients waiting as a result of inter-consultant referrals. Data are collected only on the number of first out-patient referrals from general practitioners.

Government Statistical Service

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which health Minister is responsible for checking statistics issued by the Government Statistical Service. [15183]

Mr. Hutton: Department of Health statistics are prepared by the Government Statistical Service and issued on the authority of the Director of Statistics.

NHS Leadership Agency

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will outline the senior management structure of the NHS Leadership Centre. [15278]

Mr. Hutton: The national health service Leadership Centre forms part of the NHS Modernisation Agency which was established in April 2001. Barbara Harris is the Director of the Leadership Centre and is accountable to David Fillingham, Director of the NHS Modernisation Agency who in turn is accountable to Nigel Crisp, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health and Chief Executive of the NHS.

An interim senior management structure is in place for the Leadership Centre comprising staff from the pre-existing NHS Leadership Programme, and clinicians and managers on secondment from the NHS and the Department of Health. A permanent structure will be finalised early in 2002.

Operation Cancellations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) geographical, (b) financial and (c) provider restrictions

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there are on the range of hospitals patients can choose to utilise, should their operations be cancelled at the last minute and not rescheduled within 28 days. [15050]

Mr. Hutton: From April 2002, when a patient's operation is cancelled by the hospital on the day of surgery for non-clinical reasons, the hospital will have to offer another binding date within a maximum of the next 28 days or fund the patient's treatment at the time and the hospital of the patient's choice. Patients may choose national health service or private treatment and the NHS will fund the operation. Trusts will met the cost from their existing budgets.

Ward Beds

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which trusts have not conformed to the standard of four beds per ward. [15047]

Mr. Hutton: There is no absolute standard that states that trusts must have a maximum of four beds in a ward bay. National Health Service Estates issues guidance on design of wards and departments, and this suggests a number of possible configurations, including multi-bed bays and single rooms. Health Building Note 4 states

A variety of factors govern the layout of any particular ward, including patient preference and clinical caseload and mix. Whatever the layout, it is important that privacy and dignity are maintained. The Department has issued guidance in this area, including "Essence of Care" benchmarks which support staff in developing best practice in fundamental nursing care. Privacy and dignity is one of these benchmarks.

We have issued £40 million this year to help eliminate Nightingale wards for older people. This will involve refurbishment of existing wards to smaller bed bays, with a number of single rooms.

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