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8 Jan 2002 : Column: 674W
According to data collected from independent healthcare providers by the Independent Healthcare Association, since November 2000 at least 75,000 patients have been treated in the independent sector, paid for by the NHS. This figure includes out-patient appointments, day cases and in-patient treatment. A breakdown by type of operation will shortly be placed in the Library. The IHA does not collect cost information.
The Department has recently surveyed health authorities and trusts on the amount of activity they are purchasing for NHS patients within the private sector and will make available key results in due course. The Department is also currently reviewing its information needs as far as NHS-funded activity in the private sector is concerned.
The challenge remains to put NHS use of private sector capacity on a planned footing. Some health authorities and primary care trusts have made particular progress on this front, but overall the picture is still generally one of "spot" purchasing.
The Department has recently announced a five point plan for expanding the role of non-NHS providers in the NHS, including up to £40 million for NHS-funded operations this winter, a national contract framework between the NHS and the private sector, inviting private companies to build and run diagnostic and treatment centres, dedicating existing private hospitals to NHS work and using overseas providers.
Mr. Hutton: Arrangements between the national health service and the independent sector under the concordat for the treatment of NHS patients are made locally. This information is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|London Regional Office Area||780||780|
|South East Regional Office Area||1,050||1,060|
|West Sussex HA||230||230|
|East Sussex, Brighton and Hove HA(36)|
(36) East Sussex, Brighton and Hove HA provide ambulance staff for the whole of Sussex, therefore, staff working within the West Sussex HA area cannot be separately identified.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10
Department of Health non-medical workforce census
8 Jan 2002 : Column: 675W
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many paramedics retired from the service in 2001 (a) in England, (b) from the London ambulance service and (c) from the Sussex ambulance service. 
8 Jan 2002 : Column: 676W
|All staffwhole-time equivalents||48,930||49,430||50,810||52,080||53,530|
|Other community nursing||25,290||26,270||27,680||28,890||30,590|
|Community learning difficulties||3,000||3,130||3,210||3,410||3,550|
|Other community nursing||32,290||33,910||36,320||37,970||40,240|
|Community learning difficulties||3,320||3,440||3,590||3,770||3,990|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Figures exclude learners and agency staff.
3. Due to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts.
Department of Health non-medical work force census
NHS Staff CensusNational Assembly for Wales
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what choices for alternative treatment locations there are for patients whose local hospital has been given zero stars under the Government's hospital star rating scheme. 
Mr. Hutton: We have made it clear that the ratings are not primarily about the quality of clinical care. They do not mean that a poorly performing hospital has low standards, is unsafe or does not contain some very good clinical services. Staff are often doing a good job but the assessments show that organisational performance does need to improve.
Our new proposals on patient choice mean that from July 2002, if a patient with coronary heart disease has been on an in-patient waiting list for over six months, they will be able to seek swifter treatment in either the private sector, in another European Union country or in a different national health service hospital. This option is available regardless of a trust's performance rating and will be extended across England throughout 200203.
8 Jan 2002 : Column: 677W
Jacqui Smith: We welcome initiatives which aim to improve our knowledge and understanding of autism. Autism awareness year is seeking to raise awareness, through voluntary sector partnerships, of the issues surrounding autism and to influence and inspire action to facilitate the changes needed to services and attitudes to autism. I was delighted to accept an invitation to speak at an autism awareness year conference to be held on 14 February.
We will listen carefully to the messages which emerge from this and other current and recently completed initiatives in this field. These include the independent "National Initiative on Autism: Screening and Assessment" and the two reports commissioned by the Department of Healthfrom Dr. Tony Holland on Asperger's Syndrome and from the Medical Research Council on the epidemiology and causes of autism.
Mr. Hutton: The national health service has for many years worked closely with private sector providers of pathology equipment, consumables, IT and transport. There are no centrally held statistical data on these arrangements.
Two private sector companies are currently known to have contracts to provide laboratory medicine services to the national health service. These are Quest Diagnostics Ltd. at West Middlesex NHS Trust and The Doctors Laboratory at Ealing NHS Trust. Both of these are still in operation. Omnilabs had a contract at the Lister Hospital, Stevenage but this has recently expired.
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