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Digital Hearing Aids

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations his Department has received relating to the provision of digital hearing aids. [24397]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 8 January 2002]: The Department has received numerous letters and postcards on the subject of digital hearing aids. In addition a number of related questions have been answered and two early day motions have been tabled on the subject.

Our substantial investment of £20 million for 2002–03 will mean that by the end of that year almost a third of England will have access to digital hearing aids.

Worcestershire Hospital

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review the adequacy of the proposed arrangements for car parking at the new Worcestershire hospital; and if he will make a statement. [26221]

Yvette Cooper: The car park requirements for the new Worcestershire hospital have been prepared by traffic consultants for the trust, using planning standards. Both Worcester city and Worcestershire county planning and highways officers have agreed the car park calculations for the site.

At a meeting on 10 January 2002 the Worcester city council planning sub-committee approved the provision of 337 additional car parking spaces, bringing the total of available spaces on site to 1,322.

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has made for the storage of patients' clinical records in the new hospital in Worcestershire. [26220]

Yvette Cooper: Arrangements have been made for storage of patients' clinical records at the new Worcestershire hospital as follows:


Charging

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to extend charging for (a) clinical and (b) non-clinical NHS services; and if he will make a statement. [26912]

Mr. Hutton: There are no plans to extend charging for clinical and non-clinical national health service services.

Children's Services

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to support the cost of local authority children's services in (a) Manchester and (b) the UK. [25778]

Jacqui Smith: [holding answer 11 January 2002]: Local authorities use their personal social services standard spending assessment (PSS SSA) funding to support children's social services as well as certain grants made available by the Department specifically for these services.

Total Government funding for social services will be £11.2 billion in 2002–03, which is an increase of 6.5 per cent. Since 1996–97 total funding has increased by 20.7 per cent. in real terms which is an average of 3.2 per cent. a year.

Manchester's PSS SSA increased from £111 million in 2001–02 to £114 million in 2002–03. It will also receive substantial increases in grants for social services from the Department for 2002–03, in particular, its children's services grant will increase by 11 per cent. to over £8 million following a 27 per cent. increase in 2001–02.

Social Services

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from the Local Government Association regarding financial pressures on social services. [25781]

Jacqui Smith: [holding answer 11 January 2002]: We have regular dialogues and meetings with representatives from the Local Government Association.

16 Jan 2002 : Column 403W

I met the Local Government Association on 9 and 10 January to discuss the draft settlement paper which has been submitted by the Local Government Association.

MMR Vaccine

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of infants received the MMR vaccine in the last 12 months. [26721]

Yvette Cooper: The information available about children immunised with measles, mumps and rubella is contained in the Statistical Bulletin "NHS Immunisation Statistics, England: 2000–01". A copy of the bulletin is in the Library and can also be found on the Department's website www.doh.gov.uk/public/sb0121.htm.

Health Action Zones

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the level of funding for health action zones will be in financial years (a) 2002–03 and (b) 2003–04. [21989]

Ms Blears [holding answer 12 December 2001]: The total health action zone budget for 2002–03 is £51.586 million, an increase of 2.5 per cent. on the last financial year. Of this £43.625 million is for programme and development funding and £7.078 million for specific innovation fund and employment pilot work, with the balance held for central support work. In addition HAZs will receive £10 million for national health service smoking cessation services and health authorities in HAZ areas will receive £111 million of the £148 million health inequalities adjustment funding. Decisions on funding for 2003–04 will be made as part of the Department's work on the 2002 spending review.

Hospital Patients (Children)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many school-age children were resident in hospitals in each of the past five years in (a) the UK, (b) Teesside and (c) the constituency of Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East; and if he will make a statement. [22491]

Jacqui Smith: The table shows the number of admissions to hospital (excluding day cases) of children aged 5 to 17 inclusive in England and in Tees health authority area. The same child may be admitted on more than one occasion and lengths of residence will vary. Figures are not available for the constituency of Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East, since some hospital trusts located in the area additionally admit patients to hospital sites outside the area.

EnglandTees health authority
1996–97496,8779,708
1997–98506,69610,258
1998–99491,3459,907
1999–2000486,55210,138
2000–01481,8749,683

Source:

Hospital Episodes Statistics


16 Jan 2002 : Column 404W

Social Workers

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures his Department intends to introduce to recruit more social workers. [27235]

Jacqui Smith: On 19 October 2001, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a £1.5 million recruitment campaign which is designed to increase the number of people interested in careers in social work and social care work. The first phase of the campaign was very successful—with over 14,000 calls to the help line and over 11,000 visitors to the website. We are now working on the second phase of the campaign.

As well as this action to tackle recruitment problems, the Department is also working with the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Social Services to help employers implement policies to improve recruitment and retention of staff.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures exist to allow his Department to (a) monitor and (b) appraise the work of social workers. [27237]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not monitor or appraise the work of social workers. Responsibility for this rests with individual employers.

Contingency Fund

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what moneys are available in 2001–02 under his Department's contingency fund; how much has been (a) spent and (b) allocated; and for what purposes. [27015]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 14 January 2002]: The departmental unallocated provision for the national health service in 2001–02 was £350 million. Of this £300 million was additional money for the NHS announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his 2001 Budget. This money was made available specifically for boosting recruitment and retention, primary care incentives, capital investment in the modernisation of nightingale wards and maternity services and in NHS trusts local modernisation funds. The remaining £50 million departmental unallocated provision was to cover new priorities and pressures requiring capital investment.

All of the departmental unallocated provision will be allocated in 2001–02. Draw down of the funds will be reported to Parliament in winter and spring supplementary estimates.


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