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19 Sept 2002 : Column 375Wcontinued
19 Sept 2002 : Column 376W
Report, column 846W, on doctors (suspensions), what data is available for the four years preceding 1 January 2000; what conclusions he has drawn as to the reasons for the increase in costs between the first quarter of 2000 and the first quarter of 2002; and what the total cumulative costs of suspensions lasting over six months was for each quarter of (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002 in (i) England and (ii) each region. 
Mr. Hutton: The data collected prior to January 2000 is not considered comparable or reliable. The way in which information was collected regionally varied and often the data was incomplete or inaccurate. Following the publication of the document Supporting Doctors, Protecting Patients in 1999 we have improved the accuracy and reliability of information on suspensions.
The quarterly figures include the cumulative costs of individual cases that may span a number of quarters. When a doctor is no longer suspended, the next quarterly report will cease to reflect the cost of that case. Where the suspension was prolonged, the reduction from one quarter to the next may be quite substantial.
|N West||Northern and Yorks||W. Mids||Eastern||Trent||S. East||S. West||London||England||20|
The Department is supporting the managers who are dealing with individual cases. It has seconded a former NHS Trust Human Resources Director to assist employers find ways to ending suspensions as quickly as possible.
The estimated total cost of hospital medical and community dental staff suspended for more than six months for the year 2001 is £5 million. This is based on costs reported as part of the Department's quarterly data collection exercise. The figure includes some legal and locum fees as well as salary costs.
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Mr. Hutton: The Government are committed to increasing the National Health Service workforce, getting more doctors and nurses into the areas that need them most. We are providing financial and other incentives to support this. These include Golden Hello payments of up to £10,000 to general practitioners (GPs) new to the NHS in under-doctored areas, more flexible employment arrangements through personal medicial services (PMS) and a £55 million package to improve primary care premises in deprived parts of the country.
In London we have established the pan London action group involving all the key stakeholders with regard to the recruitment and retention of GPs in London. This group is overseeing and monitoring the plans which the workforce development confederations have developed in order to recruit and retain the additional GPs we need.
The south east workforce development confederation's plan, which incorporates the London Borough of Lewisham, incorporates all of the above and builds on particular successes in terms of international recruitment and PMS pilots.
Mr. Hutton: We announced the framework for the new consultant contract on 12 June. The new contract will help contribute to increases in National Health Service productivity. It will increase the proportion of time consultants spend on direct clinical care, make job planning an integral part of the relationship between managers and consultants and give greater rewards to those consultants who contribute most to the NHS.
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Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many vacancies there are for (a) nurses and (b) doctors ranked according to health authority (i) at the most recent date and (ii) 12 months ago. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 4 July 2002, Official Report, column 516W, on health professionals, what information is collected on the number of applications to train as (a) GPs, (b) social workers, (c) physiotherapists and (d) special therapists in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 22 July 2002]: Information on the number of applicants for general practitioner (GP) register training places has only been collected from 2001. In 2001 the number of applications for GP register training was 2,239.
Information on applications for social worker training is not collected centrally. However, a recent social care recruitment campaign is hoping to raise the number of people applying for social work training by 5,000 by 2004. The courses will start in autumn this year and the social work admissions service will publish figures in December.
|Year||Number of applicants|
Options for Change will propose that new approaches are tested, assessed and fine tuned at a local level through demonstration sites to provide a better deal for patients, dentists and the NHS before any national decision are made. Demonstration sites will be run through the Modernisation Agency who will be inviting formal expressions of interests following the publication of the Options for Change report.
Plans to reform general practice are set out in the new general medical service contract framework, which has been negotiated by the NHS Confederation and the British Medical Association, and accepted by the profession. The Government are committed to investment in return for reform that delivers higher quality and a wider range of primary care services.
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The total number of registrations on the GDC register is shown in the table together with the number of dentists working in the National Health Service, in the UK for the five years 199798 to 200102. The table gives NHS dentists as a percentage of GDC registrations.
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|Total number of dentists registered 1 with the General Dental Council (GDC)||Total number of NHS dentists 2 , 3||NHS dentists as percentage of GDC registrations|
1. Dentists registered at 31 December each year.
2. Number of dentists at 30 September each year.
3. Data includes all dentists in the General Dental Service, Personal Dental Service, Community and Hospital Dental Services and salaried dentists.
Equivalent information about general practitioners is not available. All doctors working in the UK must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). Their names then appear on the GMC's Medical Register. However the Medical Register does not differentiate between NHS general practitioners and any other doctors. The Register may also include retired doctors, doctors taking career breaks and doctors currently working overseas. The GMC Register is not compiled on a regional basis.
|Year||Northern and Yorkshire||Trent||Eastern||London||South Eastern||South Western||West Midlands||North West||England Total|
1. Registered GPs include General Medical Services unrestricted Principals, GMS restricted Principals.
Personal Medical Services contracted GPs, and PMS salaried GPs
2. Data is as at 1 October for 1997 to 1999, and 30 September for 2000 to 2001
3. Data has been converted to match NHS regional structures for 2001
4. Source: Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics
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