Previous Section Index Home Page

Dispensing Fees

36. Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on dispensing fees for pharmacists. [52807]

Ms Blears: The current basic dispensing fee is 94.6 pence per prescription item.

Maternity Statistics

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what maternity statistics the Government plan to publish; and by what means and when user organisations will be involved in discussions on this. [38776]

Yvette Cooper: The third in the series of statistical bulletins "NHS Maternity Statistics, England", covering data for the years 1998–99 to 2000–01, was published in April 2002. This contained similar information to that in the second bulletin, "NHS Maternity Statistics, England", 1995–96 to 1997–98, which is available in the Library and also on the website at public/sb0114.htm.

Following publication it is planned to consult the health statistics users' group regarding the content of future bulletins.

The NHS Maternity Statistics bulletin is produced by the Department and summarises information from the Hospital Episodes (HES) System relating to NHS maternities in England. It contains information such as labour onset method and delivery method, including caesarean rates, at hospital/trust level. It also has regional information about the place of delivery, length of stay in hospital, use of episiotomy, type of anaesthetic used, and national information for numbers of singleton and multiple deliveries by birthweight and gestation and day of week of delivery. Tables also show percentages of pregnancies and deliveries with antenatal and postnatal problems by diagnosis and delivery method and similar tables for problems with the newborn.

The first bulletin was published in December 1997 and covered the first six years of maternity HES 1989–90 to 1994–95. The second bulletin published in June 2001 covered data for the next three years 1995–96 to 1997–98. Data for 1998–99 to 2000–01 was published in April 2002. It is expected that the bulletin will then be published annually.

Variant CJD

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has assessed the costs to the NHS of instruments destroyed following the CJD incident panel consultation report. [41803]

Ms Blears: The CJD Incident Panel consultation is not yet complete. An open meeting is planned on 17 April 2002 to discuss the results of the public consultation process.

7 May 2002 : Column 101W

Information on national health service instruments destroyed or removed from general circulation is not routinely collected. Nevertheless, based on Panel advice to date, the Department is aware of the destruction of three pairs of NHS forceps, together valued at approximately £100. This does not take account of action taken by individual trusts on their own initiative in cases where the panel's advice has not been formally sought.

Health Checks (Over-75s)

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve take-up of over-75 health checks. [42087]

Jacqui Smith: The Department will review the effectiveness of the over-75 health check, and the relationship to the single assessment process for older people, in the light of results from comprehensive research commissioned by the Department and the Medical Research Council. Findings will be reported in 2003.

Cataract Operations

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reduction in waiting times for cataract operations there has been in South Staffordshire since 1997. [42509]

Yvette Cooper: The table shows information on ophthalmology in-patient waiting times for South Staffordshire health authority. (Ophthalmology data include cataract operations).

Ophthalmology waiting lists for South Staffordshire health authority

Over 18 monthsOver 15 monthsOver 12 months
Reduction on 1997 (percentage)100


Department of Health

Medical Services

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve access to medical services for individuals whose first language is not English. [42406]

Ms Blears: The NHS Plan recognises that we live in a diverse society and sets out as core principles that the national health service will shape its services around the needs of the patient, be responsive to the needs of different groups and individuals within society and challenge discrimination on the grounds of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability and sexuality.

7 May 2002 : Column 102W

The NHS Plan sets out a target of having translation and interpreting services available throughout the country by 2003. The Department has designated NHS Direct as the gateway to the whole NHS for those whose first language is not English by 2003. These services will be a pivotal building block in achieving the patient-centred services envisaged in the NHS Plan and the targets set in the national service frameworks. The development of telephone based support via NHS Direct and organisations such as language line (used in the NHS walk-in centres) offer alternatives to help with the delivery of languages needed in a co-ordinated way.

The vital connection also sets out the need for local health and other organisations to develop integrated communication strategies as part of the health improvement and modernisation plans.

Also, the NHS Plan includes a commitment that from 2002 it will be a pre-condition of qualification to delivering care in the NHS, that an individual has demonstrated competence in communications with patients. Plans to deliver on this target include the development of core curriculum in communication skills.

It is the responsibility of primary care trusts to ensure that the local health service reflects the needs of local communities.

Accident Response Times

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average response times were for the medical services to reach an accident on (a) a motorway and (b) an A-road in each of the last three years. [42785]

Ms Blears: I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave her on 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 456W.

Departmental Functions

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the functions of his Department that have been (a) market tested and (b) outsourced in each of the last five years, specifying the (i) money saving and (ii) percentage saving in each case. [42998]

Ms Blears: The Department ran market-testing programmes in 1995 and 1997, which generated substantial savings.

Market testing was subsequently replaced by Better Quality Services (BQS) initiative in July 1998, which was introduced to ensure that all services provided by central Government are regularly reviewed and that action is taken to achieve improvements.

Hospital Admissions

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many in-patient admissions there were to Shropshire hospitals in (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000 and (d) 2000–01. [44679]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 21 March 2002]: The information requested is shown in the table.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital NHS Trust50,94753,61153,84554,489
Princess Royal Hospital NHS Trust23,28824,31125,66026,418
Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust7,1488,4318,8329,307
Shropshire Community and Mental Health Services NHS Trust1,6804,4494,2974,301

7 May 2002 : Column 103W

Child and Family Support Service

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are employed in the Child and Family Support Service. [45486]

Jacqui Smith: Information on the whole-time equivalent number of staff employed by councils with social services responsibilities in England in relation to child and family support services at 30 September 2001 is shown in the table. These figures exclude central and strategic staff and certain other categories of staff who provide more generic services across the range of council responsibilities. No information is available centrally on the numbers of people in the private and voluntary sectors who are providing services to children and families on behalf of councils with social services responsibilities.

Staff employed by councils with social services responsibilities in England on child and family support services—whole time equivalent at 30 September 2001

Type of staffNumber
Area office staff (including social work staff)21,380
Day care staff
Family centres3,715
Nurseries and play groups2,260
Residential care staff
Children with learning disabilities2,045
Community homes for children looked after8,685
Occupational therapists105


Form SSDS001, annual return of staff employed in social services departments made by local authorities to the Department of Health.

Next Section Index Home Page