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NHS Direct

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases have been dealt with by NHS Direct;

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how many calls have been abandoned; how many call centres are operational, and where they are; what the runnings costs are of each call centre; and if he will make a statement. [72499]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 23 July 2002]: Since its launch in March 1998, NHS Direct has handled 13 million calls. Approximately 7 per cent. of calls made to NHS Direct are abandoned without the caller speaking to a nurse.

There are 22 call centres in operation throughout England. Where they are located and the running costs for each site is outlined in the table.

NHS Direct SiteGeographical CoveragePopulation CoverageRunning Costs 2002–03
AngliaCambridgeshire, Norfolk & Suffolk2,200,000#3,542,000
Avon, Gloucester & WiltshireAvon, Gloucester & Wiltshire2,200,000#4,465,000
Bedfordshire & HertfordshireBedfordshire & Hertfordshire1,700,000#3,580,000
Birmingham, Black Country & SolihullWest Midlands2,400,000#4,041,000
East MidlandsLeicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire3,500,000#5,606,000
EssexEssex, London Borough of Barking & Havering2,037,000#3,815,000
Greater Manchester, Cheshire & WirralCheshire3,900,000#6,137,000
Hampshire & Isle of WightHampshire & Isle of Wight1,800,000#4,384,000
Kent, Surrey & SussexSurrey, Kent & Sussex4,100,000#5,560,000
MidlandshiresStaffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire & Worcester3,000,000#4,073,000
North and Central LondonBarnet, Barking and Havering, Enfield & Haringey, Kensington, Chelsea & Westminster1,600,000#3,121,000
North EastNorthumberland, Tyne & Wear2,000,000#4,693,000
North East LondonEast London & City, Redbridge & Waltham Forest1,100,000#2,370,000
North West CoastLancashire, Merseyside & Cumbria3,000,000#4,976,000
South East LondonLambeth, Southwark and Lewisham1,500,000#3,316,000
South West LondonCroydon, Kingston & Richmond, Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth1,300,000#2,620,000
South Yorkshire & HumberSouth Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire1,700,000#3,150,000
Tees, East & North YorkshireEast Riding, Cleveland & North Yorkshire1,900,000#3,580,000
Thames Valley & NorthamptonshireNorthamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire2,800,000#4,028,000
West CountryCornwall, Devon, Dorset & Somerset2,700,000#4,720,000
West LondonHillingdon, Brent and Harrow, Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow1,350,000#4,196,000
West YorkshireCalderdale & Kirklees, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield & North Yorkshire2,100,000#4,949,000

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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 20 November 2001, Official Report, column 255W, what progress has been made in setting up the NHS Direct performance management framework; and if he will make a statement. [72600]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 23 July 2002]: The first version of the NHS direct performance framework was launched in March 2002. The framework is based on the principle of continuous quality improvement and outlines responsibilities and tools for service delivery and the monitoring of performance and improvement at all levels of the organisation—from the individual to the national service. The framework also outlines a set of key performance targets for NHS Direct, areas for the development of clinical indicators and areas for the development of internal management measures.

Sausage Casings

Mr. Liddington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Natural Sausage Casings Association was first consulted by the Food Standards Agency about its proposed ban on the use of sheep intestines in food. [68501]

Ms Blears [holding answer 9 July 2002]:The Food Standards Agency advise me that the Natural Sausage Casings Association (NSCA) was one of around 1,000 interested parties consulted on the report of the core stakeholder group on BSE and sheep, on 23 May this year. This report, which suggested that the Agency should recommend to the European Commission that intestine from all sheep be added to the current list of specified risk material, was made to the Agency's Board who considered it at their meeting on 13 June. The full detailed response of the NCSA and of their representatives, together with a summary of all the other responses to the consultation was made available to the Board.

Eating Disorders

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his written answer of 13 February 2002, Official Report, column 486W, whether the figures for finished consultant episodes with a primary diagnosis of eating disorder for 2000–01 have been adjusted for shortfalls in data; and if he will make a statement. [68296]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 July 2002:] Pursuant to the written answer of 13 February 2002, Official Report, column 486W, the figures for finished

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consultant episodes with a primary diagnosis of eating disorder for 2000–01 have now been adjusted for the shortfalls.

There were 1973 finished consultant episodes in National Health Service hospitals with a primary diagnosis of eating disorder in 2000–01. This figure does not represent all people with an eating disorder, as many do not require admission to hospital.

Nursing Home Personnel (Information Searches)

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason (a) the DfES, (b) his Department and (c) other relevant information records are searched in addition to the Criminal Records Bureau's under the care standards regulations for checking nursing home owners and managers. [69408]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 July 2002]: Care homes look after some of the most vulnerable people in our society. In the past there have been far too many instances of abuse and neglect in care homes. We believe it is vitally important to ensure that the proprietors and managers of these homes are of good character and able to discharge their responsibilities fully.

The Care Homes Regulations 2001 require a criminal records check through the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for care home owners, managers and staff. As part of its checks the CRB will automatically check the Protection of Children Act register, and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults register once this becomes operational.

People who are unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable adults will not necessarily have committed a criminal offence. Regulations 7, 9 and 19 of the Care Homes Regulations 2001 require that registered providers, manager and staff must be fit people. It is, therefore, necessary for a range of records to be checked in order to ensure the fitness of care home owners and managers and to ensure that care home residents are properly looked after and that they are protected from abuse or neglect.

NHS Leadership Centre

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the cost has been in severance pay and other related costs arising out of the decision of the former Director of the NHS Leadership Centre to step down from her post in December 2001; [71075]

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Mr. Lammy [holding answer 18 July 2002]: The individual concerned was employed by Royal United Hospitals Bath National Health Service Trust. Her secondment to the Department was terminated on 2 May 2002. Her contract of employment with the NHS trust was terminated on the 22 August 2002. She received no severance payment in connection with her decision to stand down from her position as head of the leadership centre nor in connection with the termination of her contract of employment.

Family Doctors

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the amount of general practitioner hours which could be freed up by cutting the amount of paperwork required of family doctors. [71153]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 18 July 2002]: The Department has worked with the Cabinet Office public sector team to achieve the outcomes contained in the joint reports Making a difference: reducing general practitioner (GP) paperwork I and II published in March 2001 and June 2002.

Estimates, based on advice from practising general practitioners (GPs), suggest that if all the outcomes of these two reports are fully implemented the potential annual savings will amount to 10.3 million GP appointments freed, 3.4 additonal hours saved and up to 80,000 additional requests for medical information removed.

Parliamentary Questions

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to Question 59418 from the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham. [71040]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 18 July 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on Wednesday 24 July 2002, Official Report, vol. 389, col. 1423–24W.

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