Previous Section Index Home Page

Mental Health

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the occupancy rate of beds is in acute mental health wards in each London hospital in respect of (a) detained patients and (b) voluntary patients. [16624]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 5 November 2001, Official Report, columns 101–02W.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in the mapping of local mental health services; and if he will publish the results. [16622]

Jacqui Smith: The results of the comprehensive mapping of mental health services conducted in autumn 2000 were made available to local implementation teams (LIT) in January 2001 and have been available on a Durham University website in July 2001. This contains all data supplied by each LIT for the 2000 Mapping. The database will remain available to LITs for their continued use for local planning and monitoring purposes.

22 Nov 2001 : Column: 421W

As part of the comprehensive review process between April and October 2001 the Mapping has been updated to provide a picture of service provision as of 30 September 2001. Reports based on analysis and summary of the data in the form of tables and maps will be available by the end of January 2002.

The data provided by the Mapping 2001 will be published in the form of an atlas and will also be available to the public on the Department's website at

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to commission the development of a tool kit to support mental health services in promoting mental health for people from ethnic minority communities; and if he will make a statement on (a) the work so far and (b) the cost. [17089]

Jacqui Smith: Work on developing the tool kit will be taken forward under the auspices of the National Institute for Mental Health in its 2002–03 work programme.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health at what age mental health services users are transferred from adolescent to adult services. [16612]

Jacqui Smith: This is an area in which local practice varies quite widely at present.

The National Service Framework for Mental Health specified that local arrangements (including service protocols) should be in place to ensure clarity in the handling of referrals of young people in the borderline ages (for example, 16 to 21 years) to ensure that no young person's mental health needs remain unmet.

Earlier this year, Ministers announced that child and adolescent mental health services will form part of the planned Children's National Service Framework, alongside maternity and hospital and social services for children. The Children's National Service Framework will be based on key NHS Plan values including the integration of services, partnership working and breaking down professional barriers. The question of unifying transfer ages between services will be fully considered in the context of developing standards and good practice guidance for this new and important service framework.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) medium and (b) low secure beds there are for mental health patients. [16611]

Jacqui Smith: Returns indicate that at April 2001, the latest date for which information is currently available, there were 2,231 medium secure beds and 1,353 other secure beds for mental health patients.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average annual cost is per patient to the NHS of a person with a diagnosis of severe mental illness. [17221]

Jacqui Smith: People with severe mental illness may access a range of National Health Service services at various times and in no predictable way and it is not possible from the information held centrally to disaggregate the costs of different services to enable the calculation of an average annual cost to the NHS per severely mentally ill patient.

22 Nov 2001 : Column: 422W

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures are in place, and what changes are planned, to ensure that mental health-related calls to NHS Direct are handled in such a way that those contemplating suicide receive the treatment they need. [17223]

Jacqui Smith: NHS Direct nurse advisers use formalised computer based clinical assessment systems to enable them to offer appropriate support and advice to callers who may be contemplating suicide. In addition they receive specific training to assist them in undertaking a risk assessment which includes the assessment of potential deliberate self-harm. Links have been made and protocols are in place to enable nurse advisers to refer callers to local specialist mental health crisis services and to appropriate mental health helplines.

Student Nurses

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many student nurses received (a) hardship loans and (b) NHS hardship grants in each of the last three years, and how many have been made in the current year. [17219]

Mr. Hutton: The hardship loans that student nurses in receipt of the means tested national health service bursary are eligible to apply for, are funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) through the allocations made to higher education institutions by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. NHS education and training commissioners (work force development confederations) are required to allocate funds for the purpose of providing NHS hardship grants for students experiencing financial difficulties and who have exhausted all other sources of support.

The Department does not routinely monitor take-up of either form of hardship support. However, evidence from the DfES 1998–99 student income and expenditure survey indicated around 2 per cent. of NHS students claiming access/hardship support. These data are supported by information the Department gathered during 1999, which reported a total of 105 payments of NHS hardship grants (that is to say payments to fewer than 1 per cent. of eligible students).

NHS-funded Students

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timetable is for the review of student funding policy in relation to NHS-funded students. [17220]

Mr. Hutton: On 3 October my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Department for Education and Skills announced plans for a fundamental review of DfES student support arrangements. The new arrangements will be introduced from autumn 2003 at the earliest. The Department will be working with DfES to ensure that the needs of health professional students are taken fully into account in the design of the new arrangements, and will consider carefully what implications the changes have for the support which the national health service provides directly through the NHS bursary scheme.

22 Nov 2001 : Column: 423W

National Health Service Reform and

Health Care Professions Bill

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he intends to table amendments to the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Bill; and if he will make a statement. [16623]

Mr. Hutton: At this stage, as with any Bill of this size and complexity, there may be a need for some minor or consequential amendments. The scrutiny of the Bill during its passage may highlight areas where improvements could be made, and where an amendment might therefore be required.

Patient Priority

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department gives to clinicians for the purposes of determining the priority of patients to be treated. [14281]

Mr. Hutton: We have made it clear that patients must be treated according to their clinical need and priority. In July 1997 an Executive Letter (EL (97) 42) was issued to the national health service about access to secondary care services. It stated that

Since then, additional forms of guidance from the Department on waiting list management and clinical priority have been given to the NHS. "Getting Patients Treated—The Waiting List Action Team Handbook" was issued to all NHS trust chief executives in August 1999 and advises on the order in which patients should be treated.

Recently, the NHS was instructed to use guidance drawn up by the NHS Modernisation Agency called the "Primary Targeting Lists Approach" to assist them in treating patients within the shorter maximum waiting times targets for 2001–02. The guidance states that patients with greatest clinical priority must be treated first and gives NHS organisations the practical advice to treat patients in the right order within the maximum waiting times targets.

The guidance can be found at the following websites:

Name of guidance issuedWebsite address
Executive Letter 1997–
Getting Patients Treated—The Waiting List Action Team team.htm
Primary Targeting Lists

Next Section Index Home Page