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Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many persons died primarily as a result of the use of alcohol in the last year for which figures are available. [54214]

Ms Blears: Information collected centrally about the cause of deaths does not systematically record whether a death is attributable to alcohol misuse. A number of health and lifestyle factors can contribute to diseases such as cancer, stroke and coronary heart disease, and it can be difficult to isolate alcohol consumption as the most important of these factors.

A research review commissioned by the Department in 1997 concluded that between 5,000 and 40,000 deaths are attributable to alcohol misuse each year in England and Wales.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have been treated by the NHS for alcohol-related illness in (a) England and (b) each region in each of the last five years. [54215]

Ms Blears: The number of admissions for alcohol- related illnesses in England and the regions are shown in the table.

Admissions for alcohol-related disorders (ICD10 codes F10, K70, T51) by regional office of treatment, NHS hospitals, England 1996–97 to 2000–01

Regional officeNumber
Northern and Yorkshire7,286
Anglia and Oxford2,712
North Thames4,561
South Thames5,437
South and West4,594
West Midlands5,519
Northern and Yorkshire 7,234
Anglia and Oxford3,025
North Thames5,516
South Thames6,240
South and West4,742
West Midlands5,710
Not known7
Northern and Yorkshire7,023
Anglia and Oxford2,916
North Thames5,394
South Thames5,842
South and West4,918
West Midlands5,160
Northern and Yorkshire7,006
West Midlands5,200
Northern and Yorkshire6,413
West Midlands4,671


Data in this table are adjusted for both coverage and unknown/invalid clinical data, except for 2000–01 which are not yet adjusted for shortfalls.


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health

16 May 2002 : Column 868W

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the cost to the NHS of treating alcohol-related illness in each of the last five years. [54191]

Ms Blears: The information available is shown in the table.

Estimated cost of alcohol misuse to the NHS in England and Wales, 1999

£ million
In-patient costs—direct alcohol diagnosis52
In-patient costs—other alcohol related diagnosis152
General practice costs4


Godfrey, C., Harman, G.: Changing the social costs of alcohol. Final report to the AERC. York: Centre for Health Economics, university of York, 1994 (updated by Department of Health (EOR)).

16 May 2002 : Column 869W

Portsmouth Hospital Trust

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the new system of management at Portsmouth hospital trust will be in place; what other assistance the Department is giving to the trust; and if he will make a statement. [54250]

Ms Blears: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 8 May 2002 that the franchise for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust had been awarded to Mr. Alan Bedford. The Department is supporting the trust through the franchising process.

Operating Theatres

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to require existing hospitals with only one operating theatre to upgrade by the addition of extra theatres; and if he will make a statement. [54809]

Mr. Hutton: We have no plans to require all national health service hospitals with only one operating theatre to purchase additional theatre space. Capacity planning is a matter for local resolution.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints he has received in the latest 12 months for which figures are available from medically qualified NHS personnel concerning the cleanliness of operating theatres; and if he will make a statement. [51305]

Ms Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Consultant Surgeons

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the position of consultant surgeons on 10/11 contracts with the NHS; and what the average time is they spend personally undertaking operations and supervising others in undertaking this work. [54713]

Mr. Hutton: Currently a consultant on a maximum part-time contract foregoes one eleventh of national health service salary in return for the lifting of restriction on private practice earnings.

The Department does not collect data on the amount of time consultants spend undertaking operations or supervising others in doing that work. The annual job planning review provides the basis for the framework of contractual obligations. Job plans cover all aspects of a consultant's practice in the NHS and set out clearly the consultant's time and service commitments. Within the consultant contract negotiations we are seeking to provide a clearer framework in which decisions can be made and agreement reached between consultants and employers about the time to be spent on different categories of activity.

Treatment Abroad

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have been treated overseas at the expense of the NHS in the past six months. [54895]

16 May 2002 : Column 870W

Mr. Hutton: 190 national health service patients have travelled overseas to receive treatment since January 18 under the pilot scheme to refer NHS patients overseas.

Between 1 November 2001 and 30 April 2002, 534 applications were approved for referral of patients specifically for treatment in another European Economic Area member state of pre-existing conditions under the E112 arrangements contained in regulation (EEC) 1408/71. This regulation also allows treatments to be provided in other member states at UK expense in other circumstances, e.g. immediately necessary care for temporary visitors. Numbers of treatments so provided are not available but the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), gave information on costs in her reply to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) on 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 966W.


Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Wiggin) will receive a response to his letter of 24 January, about the distribution of funds raised from the sale of surplus hospital sites. [54582]

Ms Blears: The Department has no record of receiving this correspondence. The Department's ministerial correspondence unit has contacted the hon. Member's office for a copy of this correspondence.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter of 24 October 2001 from the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) concerning Mr. Stubbins and pneumococcal vaccination (ref: POH (3)5499/13); when he received (a) a second copy of the correspondence which was faxed to his Department on 17 January and (b) a reminder letter which was sent to his Department on 28 March; and if he will make a statement as to the cause of the delay. [56496]

Yvette Cooper: A reply was sent on 15 May. In my letter to the hon. Member, I apologised for the delay in responding. The delay was affected by clarification that I had asked from officials on the timing of consideration by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Criminal Offences

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many criminal offences have been (a) created and (b) abolished by his Department since 1997. [55422]

Ms Blears: In relation to countering fraud in the national health service, section 39 of the Health Act 1999 introduced a new specific criminal offence for evasion of NHS charges. The offence attracts a fine, on conviction of up to £2,500. This is the first time that legislation has been introduced to create a criminal offence for people who fail to pay any amount in respect of NHS charges or receive a payment or benefit towards the cost of NHS charges or services to which they are not entitled.

No offences in relation to countering fraud in the NHS have been abolished.

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