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Digital Hearing Aids

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what interim measures he plans to take to ensure continuity of service for those who have benefited from digital hearing aids in the 20 trial hospitals while awaiting the evaluation report from the Institute of Hearing Research. [19536]

Jacqui Smith: Patients who have been fitted with digital hearing aids as part of the pilot project will be followed up. This is an important part of the modernised service specification. Decisions about funding for a continued digital hearing aid service in these sites will be made in enough time to enable providers to plan services effectively for the next financial year.

Ambulance Trusts

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice his Department issues to ambulance trusts on the need to ensure interoperability of radio systems with other emergency services. [19703]

Ms Blears: It is our intention to nationally procure a digital radio network for all national health service ambulance trusts in England. A fundamental requirement of the new radio network will be the fullest possible operational interoperability between the emergency services.

Overseas NHS Workers

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will rank in terms of (a) numbers and (b) as a percentage of the total those countries whose citizens are employed by the NHS as (i) nurses, (ii) doctors and (iii) other professional clinical staff in the most recent years for which figures are available. [19601]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested for nurses and other professional clinical staff is not collected centrally. Validated information for doctors is available only for United Kingdom/European Economic Area/other. This is shown in the table.

All doctors—England

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
All doctors
All countries of qualification86,58010089,62010091,84010093,98010096,320100
United Kingdom61,24070.762,0070.264,47070.265,81070.067,15069.7
Rest of EEA4,5905.34,7005.24,6905.14,8905.24,7904.97
of which:
General practitioners (excluding GP Retainers)(57),(58)
All countries of qualification29,12010029,39010029,70010029,99010030,250100
United Kingdom23,41080.423,56080.223,86080.324,11080.424,33080.4
Rest of EEA9303.21,0003.41,0203.41,1003.71,1703.9
HCHS medical and dental staff
All countries of qualification57,47010060,23010062,14010063,99010066,070100
United Kingdom37,83065.839,35065.340,61065.441,69065.242,82064.8
Rest of EEA3,6606.43,7006.13,6705.93,7805.93,6205.5

(57) All practitioners (excluding GP Retainers) includes GMS Unrestricted Principals, PMS Contract GPs, PMS Salaried GPs, Restricted Principals, Assistants, GP Registrars, Salaried Doctors (Para. 52 SFA), and PMS Others. GP Retainers were collected for the first time in the 1999 census; for comparability purposes they have been excluded.

(58) The 1996 figures include estimates for 179 Assistants whose first country of qualification is unknown.


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10

2. Percentages are calculated using unrounded figures


Department of Health medical and dental work force census as at 30 September

Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics as at 30 September 2000 and 1 October in previous years

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 723W

National Specialist Commissioning

Advisory Group

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the (a) membership and (b) remit of the National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group. [19923]

Mr. Hutton: The National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group (NSCAG) is chaired by Dr. Mike Gill, the Regional Director of Public Health for South East Region.

The current membership of the National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group is as follows:

NSCAG was established in 1996 to advise Ministers on the identification and funding of services where central intervention into local commissioning of patient services is necessary for reasons of clinical effectiveness, equity of access and/or economic viability. It superseded the Supra Regional Services Advisory Group (SRSAG).

The terms of reference of NSCAG are as follows:

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 724W


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how may psycho-geriatricians there were in England and Wales at the last date for which figures are available. [19924]

Mr. Hutton: The data collected for England are shown in the table. The information relating to Wales is a matter for the devolved Administration.

Hospital medical staff within the old age psychiatry specialty

England at 30 September 2000Number
All staff860
of which:


Figures rounded to the nearest 10.


Department of Health 2000 medical and dental workforce census.


Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the 10 largest hospitals in the United Kingdom, by number of beds. [20245]

Mr. Hutton: The 10 largest hospitals in the United Kingdom, by bed numbers are:

HospitalActual beds
Queen's Medical Centre UHN NHS Trust, Nottingham1,366
Leicester Royal Infirmary1,172
St. James's University Hospital, Leeds1,157
Leeds General Infirmary1,135
Northern General Hospital, Sheffield1,100
Southampton General Hospital1,088
Nottingham City Hospital NHS Trust1,050
The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London1,008
Derriford Hospital, Plymouth975
University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff960

NHS Morale

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on morale in the national health service. [20268]

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 725W

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on morale in the health service. [19968]

Mr. Hutton: We recognise that staff work hard for the national health service, often in challenging environments, and we are committed to ensuring that staff feel properly valued. We have initiated a wide range of initiatives to improve the working lives of all staff in the NHS which are outlined in the NHS Plan.

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