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22 Oct 2002 : Column 265W—continued

Food Labelling

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the reform of labelling requirements for food products. [72343]

Ms Blears [holding answer 17 October 2002]: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has adopted a wide-ranging action plan to tackle the issues consumers have identified as priorities for improving food labelling. The FSA is pressing for changes to European law and international standards and has established a number of working groups to explore the potential for voluntary improvements.

Non English-Speaking Medical Staff

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of NHS

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medical staff who are not English-speaking; and what provision is made for linguistic tuition for non-English speaking NHS medical staff. [74931]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 21 October 2002]: All medical staff employed in the National Health Service are English-speaking. Doctors are not permitted to work in the NHS until they are able to demonstrate that they possess good English language skills. Medical staff from outside the European Economic Area are required to pass the international English language testing system examination before they are eligible for registration with the General Medical Council and work in the UK. European Economic Area nationals are not required to take the international English language testing system examination to register with the General Medical Council. They are required, however, to demonstrate their language competency to their employer. The procedures for this are set out in guidance for NHS employers: Health Service Circular 1999/137.

Training courses in English language are available throughout the UK at further education colleges. There are also special training courses to prepare doctors for the international English language testing system examination, most of which are provided free of charge to students.

Overseas Medical Staff

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of NHS consultants, doctors and nurses who will be employed from (a) the EU and (b) outside the EU over the next five years. [74932]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 21 October 2002]: The following table shows the number of doctors, general practitioners (GPs) and consultants who qualified in the United Kingdom, within the rest of the European Economic Area and elsewhere.

All NHS Doctors by country of qualification

England at 30 September 2001(36)numbers (headcount)
All countries of qualification United KingdomRest of EEAElsewhere
All Doctors of which100,32069,9504,87025,500


(36) 2001 is the most recent data available which details all NHS doctors.

(37) All Practitioners includes GMS Unrestricted Principals, PMS Contracted GPs, PMS Salaried GPs, Restricted Principals, Assistants, GP Registrars, Salaried Doctors (para 52 SFA), PMS Other and GP Retainers.

(38) HCHS shows Hospital, Public Health medicine and Community Health Services (HCHS) staff excluding medical hospital practitioners and medical clinical assistants, most of whom are also GPs working part time in hospitals.

Figures are rounded to the nearest ten

Due to rounding, totals may not equal the sum of component parts


Department of Health 2000 medical and dental workforce census

Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics

Delivering the NHS Plan, published in April 2002, provides the latest forecasts for growth in the National Health Service workforce. By 2008, we expect the NHS to have net increases over the September 2001 staff census of at least 15,000 consultants and GPs. We anticipate that international recruitment will contribute towards this figure and our international recruitment assumption for consultants and GPs is 1,000 by 2005. We anticipate that by 2005, compared to 1999, up to 35,000 extra nurses may be working in the NHS, who have been trained overseas.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors from abroad started work in the NHS in the last year; and how many of them have subsequently ceased working. [75516]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 21 October 2002]: Information on the number of doctors from abroad who join and leave the National Health Service is not available.

Public Health Laboratory

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from health professionals regarding the transfer of the Public Health Laboratory to the NHS. [75506]

Ms Blears [holding answer 21 October 2002]: A number of representations were received, both welcoming the proposals and raising concerns, which we sought to address in the final decisions on which laboratories would transfer to the National Health Service. This was announced on 3 September 2002.

Doctor Training

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of medical training courses for doctors in the UK deals with ICT in the NHS. [75510]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 21 October 2002]: Individual university medical schools determine their own undergraduate medical curriculum in the light of recommendations from the General Medical Council's (GMC) education committee, which has the statutory responsibility to determine the extent and knowledge and skill required for the granting of primary medical qualifications in the United Kingdom.

The education committee's most recent recommendations on undergraduate medical education are contained in Tomorrow's Doctors, which was published in July 2002.

The GMC's recommendations on general clinical training in the pre registration house officer (PRHO) year cover medical informatics, including how to use information storage and retrieval systems effectively. As part of their in-service training PRHOs are expected to

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become familiar with the information technology facilities of the hospital or health centre in which they are training.

The content and standard of postgraduate medical training is the responsibility of the UK competent authorities, the Specialist Training Authority for specialist medicine and for general practice, the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice. These bodies have a vested interest in ensuring that doctors are prepared for practice—both in hospital and in general practice—including proficiency in the use of information and communication technology in the National Health Service.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) children and (b) adults suffer from eczema; and what plans he has to tackle this. [75566]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 21 October 2002]: Eczema is a very common condition, with prevalence estimated as eight to twenty per cent. for children and two to ten per cent. for adults: one to two and a half million and one to four million respectively in England and Wales. Most cases in children are of mild to moderate severity but eczema can, in some circumstances, cause severe morbidity in adults.

The action on dermatology programme (AoD) has been looking at how services are organised and the resources used and this should help in the management of eczema. It is expected that the dermatology guidance will be published soon. Around #35 million has been awarded for AoD capital projects.

Operation Costs

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost to the NHS is of (a) hip replacements, (b) knee replacements, (c) heart bypass surgery and (d) cataracts performed by the Worthing and Southlands Hospital Trust. [75741]

Ms Blears [holding answer 21 October 2002]: The information requested is shown in the table.

RPL: Worthing & Southland Hospitals NHS Trust

Day CaseElective InpatientNon-Elective Inpatient
HRG CodeHRG LabelMean Average
Unit Cost #
Mean Average
Unit Cost #
Mean Average
Unit Cost #
B02Phakoemulsification cataract extraction
with lens implant9391,0861,687
B03Other cataract extraction with lens implant719866N/A
E04Coronary bypassN/AN/AN/A
H02Primary hip replacementN/A4,4576,577
H04Primary knee replacementN/A4,9896,474


1 The following information was submitted by Worthing & Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust as part of their 2001 submission for reference costs. The figures relate to the financial year 2000–01.

2 Some procedures can be undertaken as a day case and / or inpatient, e.g. cataracts. Both have different costs, as shown above.

3 This Trust did not report any activity for coronary artery bypass grafts in 2000–01.

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