Previous Section Index Home Page

Private Medical Insurance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many employees in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies have had private medical insurance provided for them in each year since 1997–98; what the total cost is; and if he will make a statement. [32321]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 6 February 2002]: No employees 1 of (a) the Department and (b) the Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies have had private medical insurance provided for them since 1997–98.

Home Care Packages

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to increase the number of home care packages for the elderly; and if he will make a statement. [34136]

Jacqui Smith: We are providing increased resources to local councils to fund personal social services, including the promoting independence grant, the carers grant, and the building care capacity grant, which can be used to increase the number of home care packages for older people. The provision of home care is an important element in the assessments of performance made by the social services inspectorate.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many of the extra therapists by 2004 announced in the NHS plan will be physiotherapists; [34022]

Mr. Hutton: The targets to provide 6,500 more therapists and other health professionals and 4,450 more therapist and other key health professional training places by 2004, have not been broken down into the different professions.

Between 1999 and 2001 the number of allied health professionals increased by 3,400. A third (1,140) of this total increase was made up of physiotherapists. We would expect this proportion to remain broadly the same across the rest of the plan period.

Between 1999–2000 and 2000–01 the number of physiotherapy training commissions increased by 127 (9 per cent.) and are projected to rise by a further 91 in 2001–02 (a total increase of 16 per cent. on the 1999–2000 baseline). We are working with work force development confederations to determine the split in the remainder of commissions. Early projections suggest an increase of at least 280 more training commissions for

12 Feb 2002 : Column 336W

physiotherapy by 2003–04 (the largest increase in the professions covered). Recommendations on the final allocation will be made by the work force numbers advisory board later in the year and will take into account supply and demand information for physiotherapy.

Mobile Telephones

Mr. Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the research which he has commissioned into the health effects of mobile telephones includes transmitter masts. [34641]

Yvette Cooper: The mobile telephone health research (MTHR) programme announced recently follows from the publication of a report in May 2000 by an independent expert group on mobile phones under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart FRS, FRSE on "Mobile Phones and Health". Radio signals from handsets were identified as a research priority because local exposures of people using phones are in general appreciably higher than exposures to the whole body from mobile phone masts. In both cases, however, exposures need to comply with exposure guidelines.

The first group of proposals agreed for funding by the programme management committee has generally related to the areas of research identified in the Stewart report. Although the main focus of much of the funded research relates to the use of mobile phones, in practice many of the experimental studies will also be valuable in providing evidence on any possible effects on people of exposures to radiofrequency (RF) radiation from mobile phone masts. The agreed programme includes a study on exposures from the newer types of mobile phone masts that are being introduced in urban areas. Details of research now approved for funding are given on the MTHR website at

A second call for proposals was issued last year with a deadline for submission of outline proposals of 25 January 2002. The aim of this call was to extend the range of research being carried out in the MTHR programme. One aim of this call was to seek further proposals for volunteer studies that will examine possible effects of RF exposure of people. The proposals have yet to be considered but it is expected that some of the proposals will be of direct relevance to exposures to RF radiation from mobile phone masts.


Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for radiotherapy in the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust area on (a) 1 January 1999, (b) 1 January 1997, (c) 1 January 2002 and (d) 1 February 2002; and what was the national average at these times. [34670]

Ms Blears [holding answer 8 February 2002]: The information requested is not collected centrally.

After-surgery Care

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) primary care trusts and (b) acute trusts put in place systems which provide care and support for patients who are discharged from hospital following day surgery. [34072]

12 Feb 2002 : Column 337W

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 7 February 2002]: The professional bodies produce clinical guidelines on the provision of a service. The Royal College of Surgeons' "Guidelines for Day Case Surgery" recognises the importance of post-operative care for day case patients. The guidelines set out the importance of meticulously planned post-operative care from the immediate period after the operation, through discharge, and up to the patient being seen for follow-up in out-patients. This system stresses the importance of patients having a number to call in case of a medical problem, and confirms that good communication between the hospital and the person's general practitioner is vital in monitoring the recovery of the patient.

The departmental adviser on surgery, Professor Ara Darzi of Imperial College, has been asked to examine the use of day surgery over the coming months. Day surgery holds the key to faster, more convenient treatment for patients and less waiting for patients.

Dietary Supplements

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his policy on the European Directive on dietary supplements. [35053]

Yvette Cooper: We are firmly committed to the view that, in the interests of consumer choice, the law should allow food supplements, which are safe and properly labelled to be freely marketed. The proposed directive would establish a framework for harmonised controls on vitamin and mineral content of food supplements and introduce a number of useful labelling measures.

Digital Hearing Aids

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the NHS trusts that will provide digital hearing aids in accordance with his announcement of December 2001. [34999]

Jacqui Smith: Health communities interested in joining the modernising hearing aid services project in 2002–03 are about to be invited to declare their interest. Decisions on the sites which best fulfil the selection criteria will be made quickly thereafter and a list of those sites will be announced at that time.

Medical Education (Investment)

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of each regional NHS budget is earmarked for (a) medical, (b) higher and (c) further education capital investment; what investment in medical education other than new medical schools is being made in England; and if he will make a statement. [35202]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 11 February 2002]: The table shows health authorities' initial revenue resource limit allocations for 2001–02 aggregated on a regional basis. It also shows (a) the revenue sums added to initial allocations to support undergraduate medical education (the Service Increment for Teaching—SIFT) and postgraduate medical education (the Medical and Dental Education Levy—MADEL) and (b) capital made available in 2001–02 to support the increase in medical student numbers recommended by the Medical Workforce

12 Feb 2002 : Column 338W

Advisory Committee in 1997. Medical education at universities is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council.


Region2001–02(55)SIFTMADELSIFT Capital
Northern and Yorkshire4,899,44948,257106,0610
South East6,012,62635,397126,8500
South West3,556,77618,97072,7802,046
West Midlands3,906,08426,42580,0911,731
North West5,259,82063,486104,4321,414

(55) Initial revenue allocation

In 1998 we accepted the main recommendation of the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee that medical school intake should be increased by about 1,000 places per annum. The NHS Plan announced an increase of up to 1,000 further places by 2005. By 2005 the annual intake to medical schools in England is planned to have increased by 2,145 over 1997 levels. Of these new places 1,225 will be situated in existing medical schools and 920 in new medical schools and centres.

Next Section Index Home Page