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Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) ambulances and (b) paramedics there were per 1000 population in (i) Staffordshire, (ii) other similar authorities and (iii) England, in each of the last three years for which figures are available. 
Ms Blears: Information on the number of ambulance vehicles in each ambulance service, health authority and nationally is not collected. Information on the number of paramedics per 1,000 per population is shown in the table.
|Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.09||0.09||0.11||0.12||0.13||0.13|
|Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance and Paramedic NHS Trust||0.19||0.19||0.16||0.16||0.17||0.17|
|Royal Berkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.18||0.18||0.17||0.17||0.16||0.16|
|Two ShiresNorthampton and Bucks Ambulance NHS Trust||0.07||0.07||0.08||0.08||0.07||0.07|
|Kent Ambulance NHS Trust||0.13||0.13||0.12||0.12||0.11||0.11|
|Surrey Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.14||0.15||0.13||0.13||0.15||0.15|
|Sussex Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.14||0.14||0.15||0.16||0.15||0.15|
|Essex Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.17||0.18||0.15||0.17||0.15||0.16|
|Mersey Regional Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.13||0.13||0.13||0.13||0.13||0.13|
|East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust||0.14||0.14||0.16||0.16||0.18||0.18|
|Oxfordshire Ambulance NHS Trust||0.12||0.12||0.12||0.12||0.12||0.12|
|East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.08||0.08||0.08||0.08||0.11||0.11|
|South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance and Paramedic NHS Trust||0.06||0.06||0.07||0.07||0.07||0.07|
|Greater Manchester Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.12||0.12||0.12||0.12||0.11||0.11|
|Lancashire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.11||0.11||0.11||0.11||0.10||0.10|
|Hampshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.12||0.12||0.12||0.12||0.11||0.11|
|Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust||0.30||0.31||(25)||(25)||(25)||(25)|
|Wiltshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.19||0.19||0.18||0.19||0.18||0.18|
|Avon Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.18||0.18||0.18||0.18||0.17||0.18|
|North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.11||0.11||0.15||0.15||0.14||0.14|
|Lincolnshire Ambulance and Health Transport Service NHS Trust||0.18||0.18||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.20|
|Cumbria Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.54||0.54||0.54||0.54||0.61||0.62|
|Tees East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0 06||0.06||0.14||0.14||0.16||0.16|
|West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.05||0.06||0.05||0.06||0.11||0.11|
|Westcountry Ambulance Services NHS Trust and South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust||0.20||0.20||0.19||0.19||0.20||0.20|
|Gloucestershire Ambulance Services NHS Trust||0.17||0.17||0.17||0.17||0.16||0.17|
|West Midlands Metropolitan Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.12||0.12||0.14||0.14||0.15||0.15|
|Warwickshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.10||0.10||0.08||0.08||0.09||0.09|
|Hereford and Worcester Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.14||0.14||0.14||0.14||0.14||0.14|
|Dorset Ambulance NHS Trust||0.21||0.21||0.21||0.21||0.22||0.22|
|London Ambulance Service NHS Trust||0.12||0.12||0.11||0.11||0.11||0.11|
(24) wte = whole-time equivalents
(25) hc = headcount
(26) = not available
Figures are rounded to two decimal places
Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census
Office for National Statistics (ONS)
Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to SIs No 3740 and 3742, if it is Government policy to provide for (a) the automatic removal of a general practitioner from a health authority's list after a sentence of imprisonment of more than six months and (b) the absence of any opportunity for the doctor to make a case against removal; and whether it is his intention to impose a ban on such a general practitioner's right to practise without regard to the reasons for that imprisonment. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 19 December 2001]: The regulations provide that the removal of a doctor from, or the refusal to admit a doctor to, a medical or supplementary list after a criminal conviction and a sentence of more than six months imprisonment will
23 Jan 2002 : Column 955W
be automatic. These regulations were introduced after consultation with the British Medical Association.
Our legal system provides that the most serious criminal offences are to be dealt with by a Crown court and those less serious offences by a magistrates court. The threshold laid down in these regulations reflects the respective responsibilities of these courts, in that only a Crown court may impose a custodial sentence of more than six months following a conviction. Given that a magistrates court may not impose such a sentence, our view is that anyone who receives such a sentence, in relation to obviously serious offences, is unsuitable to work in the national health service as a general medical practitioner.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason general practitioners who are on contracts do not receive a (a) full golden hello and (b) sum proportional to their contract or hours worked. 
Mr. Hutton: Golden hello payments are intended to encourage doctors to become and remain national health service general practitioners. New GPs who work exclusively as locums, hold fixed term contracts of two years or less or who have a commitment of less than 25 per cent. do not therefore qualify for a payment until they take on a substantive post with at least 25 per cent. time commitment and a longer contract.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 8 January 2002]: From September 2001 data are being collected quarterly on the lead time for the first available appointment with each general practitioner practice. From the September 2001 survey, results showed that within the London region, 72 per cent. of practices, with appointment systems in place, could offer a patient an appointment with a GP within two working days. 90 per cent. of practices had an appointment system in place to see a GP.
|Region||Chief Executives||Executive Directors||Total|
|Northern and Yorks||1||5||6|
23 Jan 2002 : Column 956W
Jacqui Smith: Information regarding the numbers of children immunised against flu is not routinely collected. The Department collects information on influenza uptake only for people aged 65 and over. As at 31 December 2001, Gateshead and South Tyneside health authority have achieved an uptake of 69.9 per cent. in this age group.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what response he has made to the recommendations of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment on acceptable limits of dioxins in food. 
Yvette Cooper: I am informed by the Food Standards Agency that the recommendation of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) is for a tolerable daily intake (TDI) for dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) of two picogrammes TEQ/kilogramme bodyweight per day (pg TEQ/kg). This is a fifth of the level previously set. A TDI is the amount of a chemical that can be consumed every day without causing harm.
The Food Standards Agency's extensive programme of research and surveys for these contaminants has shown that the average dietary exposure in the United Kingdom is already below the new TDI. However, in common with the United States of America and the European Union, about one-third of the UK population may exceed the TDI from their daily diet. Almost all of these will be below 3.5 pg TEQ/kg, which represents a small erosion of the safety margin that is inherent in the TDI.
The most effective way to reduce exposure to these chemicals through the food supply is to continue to decrease emissions to the environment, from both industrial and non-industrial sources. Measures already taken have resulted in a 70 per cent. decrease in emissions over the last nine years and the agency will continue to work closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency to ensure that emissions are reduced still further.
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