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Palliative Care

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money has been (a) allocated and (b) spent on

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palliative care in (i) each of the financial years since 1990 and (ii) future years for which budgets have been set, broken down by regional health authority. [23383]

Yvette Cooper: Between 1990 and 1994 funding was allocated to the health authorities in England specifically to support hospices and similar organisations. Funding allocated between 1990 and 1994 was as follows:


The breakdown by regional health authority was as follows:

Amount (£000)

Regional health authority1991–921992–931993–941994–95
Northern1,1242,0522,0902,308
Yorkshire2,2762,4092,4542,710
Trent1,6033,1093,1673,498
East Anglian6721,4911,5201,679
NW Thames1,2632,0942,1352,358
NE Thames1,4782,3322,3762,624
SE Thames1,3952,5822,6312,906
SW Thames1,1022,0462,0862,304
Wessex9792,1572,1972,426
Oxford7741,4621,4911,646
South Western1,1282,4932,5402,805
West Midlands1,7983,3533,4163,772
Mersey8901,5511,5821,747
North Western1,4782,5922,6412,917

Since 1994 these resources have been built into general national health service allocations.NHS investment in specialist palliative care during 1999–2000 and 2000–01 was estimated at around £130 million per annum. We plan to invest an additional £50 million per annum by 2003–04. This total amount will match, on a national basis, the investment from the voluntary sector. The additional investment for specialist palliative care will be included in the overall increased investment for implementing the NHS Cancer Plan and will, therefore, be found from within health authority allocations. We will be monitoring the information from financial frameworks and cancer network service delivery plans to ensure that this investment occurs.

Mixed-sex Wards

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many mixed sex wards there are in NHS hospitals in each English region. [23806]

Ms Blears: The majority of hospital wards are mixed-sex wards, however these wards are usually subdivided into bays which are designated as male or female. Depending on the case mix and local need, the exact proportion of male to female bays will vary. It is therefore not possible to provide information at the level of the individual ward.

Guidance on maintaining privacy and dignity was first issued to the service in 1997 and since then trusts have been working towards clear targets to promote privacy and dignity in hospital wards.

These targets include the abolition of nightingale wards for older people and £120 million has been allocated over the next three years to make progress towards this.

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Schemes to modify 233 wards have already been approved to commence work this year and further schemes will begin in the next two years.

Dentistry

Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investment has been made to improve access to NHS dentists in Staffordshire since 1997. [24072]

Yvette Cooper: The table shows the expenditure on initiatives to improve access to national health service dentistry in the areas covered by North Staffordshire health authority and South Staffordshire health authority. Over £3 million has been invested in NHS dentistry since 1997–98 in both health authority areas, which includes the establishment of dental access centres.

Expenditure on initiatives to improve access to NHS dentistry 1997–98 to 2001–02
£

North StaffordshireSouth StaffordshireTotal
Investing in Dentistry granted 1997–98 to 2000–01328,800107,700436,500
Dental Care Development Fund 2000–0180,00050,000130,000
Modernisation Fund 2001–02336,200364,100700,300
Personal Dental Services 2000–01 to 2001–02
Capital1,028,000630,0001,658,000
Preparation55,00028,00083,000
Total for PDS1,083,000658,0001,741,000
Overall Total1,828,0001,179,8003,007,800

Source:

Department of Health Statistics


Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether referrals of NHS patients to the Dental Examination Board are based on the potential cost of the treatment. [22661]

Ms Blears: Currently, prior approvals are required from the Dental Practice Board, which was previously called the Dental Estimates Board, for proposed treatments costing in excess of £260. These arrangements are currently under review.

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many NHS patients were referred to the Dental Examination Board (a) in the UK and (b) in each nation and region in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [22506]

Ms Blears: In England and Wales 638,000 new referrals were made to the Dental Practice Board together with 77,000 re-submissions in the year ending March 2001. Separate figures for England are not available. Of these 33,948 were examined by dental reference officers, previously known as regional dental officers.

The distribution between nations was:



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Information for Scotland is a matter for the devolved Administration.

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the average cost incurred by the NHS while the Dental Examination Board was considering a case which had been referred to them (a) in the UK and (b) in each nation and region of the UK in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [22503]

Ms Blears: There are no costs involved for the dentist while prior approval is being considered by the Dental Practice Board, formally known as the Dental Estimates Board. Should the patient's condition be such that urgent attention is required then the dentist can provide that treatment, before receiving prior approval.

Information on costs of prior approvals work at the Dental Practice Board is not available as the work of dealing with prior approval applications is not accounted for separately from the other work of the Dental Practice Board.

The Dental Practice Board acts for England and Wales; therefore the information for Wales is also not available.

Information for Scotland is a matter for the devolved Administration.

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the average length of time NHS patients waited before their treatment resumed following their case being referred to the Dental Examination Board (a) in the UK and (b) in each nation and region over the last 12 months for which figures are available. [22504]

Ms Blears: 93 per cent. of cases referred to the Dental Practice Board, previously known as the Dental Estimates Board, are approved for treatment without examination. The average length of time taken for such approvals is 3.7 days. For those patients examined by the Dental Reference Service, for the Dental Practice Board, before approval is given, the average time taken is 82 days.

Information for Wales and Scotland are matters for the devolved Administrations.

Eye Tests (Burton)

Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many free eye tests were undertaken in Burton in each year since 1995. [24063]

Yvette Cooper: The table shows the number of national health service sight tests paid for in Staffordshire Family health service authority (FHSA) for 1995 and 1996 and in South Staffordshire health authority in the years 1997 to 2001. Figures for the number of sight tests in particular areas are not collected centrally.

We extended eligibility for NHS sight tests to everyone aged 60 and over from 1 April 1999. There was an increase of 27,790 in sight tests for the year 2000 and a further 4,440 in the year 2001. It is fair to assume that the majority of these increases were due to newly eligible people aged 60 or over obtaining NHS sight test.

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General ophthalmic services: Number of sight tests paid for in Staffordshire FHSA for the years ending 1995 and 1996; and South Staffordshire HA for the years ending 1997 to 2001

Total sight tests
1994–95126,240
1995–96125,530
1996–9779,030
1997–9883,940
1998–9984,370
1999–2000112,150
2000–01116,590

Note:

Family health service authorities were re-organised into health authorities on 1 April 1996



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