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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 24 October]: Departmental officials currently working on policy development for National Health Service foundation trusts are required to co-ordinate and produce detailed proposals for a new form of NHS organisation in order to meet Government objectives to devolve operational control of the most successful NHS trusts whilst enhancing accountability to local stakeholders. At this stage their usual work primarily includes researching and drafting papers for Ministers on specific policy issues; preparing for the necessary legislation; consulting with key stakeholders; and, handling parliamentary business and ministerial correspondence.
Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 17 October 2002, Official Report, column 922W, what the usual work is of each of the nine staff of his Department working full-time on foundation trusts. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 24 October 2002]: Departmental officials currently working on policy development for national health service foundation trusts are required to co-ordinate and produce detailed proposals for a new form of NHS organisation in order to meet Government objectives to devolve operational control of the most successful NHS trusts while enhancing accountability to local stakeholders. At this stage their usual work primarily includes researching and drafting papers for Ministers on specific policy issues; preparing for the necessary legislation; consulting with key stakeholders; and, handling parliamentary business and ministerial correspondence.
There are now 42 such centres and the independent national evaluation concluded that they were making a valuable contribution to improving primary care access. Walk-in centres and services therefore have an important and continuing role in securing local delivery of NHS Plan targets for access and emergency care. We are currently considering how best to ensure that primary care trust exploits this potential.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were waiting for in-patient treatment in the Mid-Essex Hospital Trust on 31 March 1997; and how many months between 31 March 1997 and the latest available date the number has been below that level. 
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Source: Department of Health form KHO7 and Monthly Monitoring
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Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the National Health Service Trusts management structures and patient organisations in Essex with specific reference to (a) mental health, (b) dental care, (c) hospital trusts, (d) chiropody, (e) ambulance services, and (f) strategic management; how many (i) managers and (ii) administrative staff are in each category; and if he will make a statement on the reporting structure for national health care in Essex. 
Mr. Lammy: The information requested has been placed in the Library. It is not possible to separately identify those medical and dental staff who are managers. Essex Strategic Health Authority is the headquarters for national health service services in the Essex area. The health authority is accountable to the Department and is responsible for supporting local NHS organisations in delivering the NHS Plan, building capacity and supporting performance improvement across all local health agencies.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what procedures are in place to monitor the number of patients and the related cost associated with NICE approved treatments that enable comparisons with the pre-approval phase of the treatment and ensure that NICE guidance is being acted on; 
Mr. Lammy: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has commissioned a research project through the national health service research and development methodology programme to evaluate the impact of its guidance on clinical and managerial practice. Preliminary results are expected in December 2002.
The Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection will be the principal external inspector of the implementation of NICE guidance, and details of this inspection are currently being agreed between the Commission and the Department.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all patients have access to testing to ascertain whether they would benefit from a NICE-approved treatment. 
Mr. Lammy: None. The responsibility for arranging tests and deciding what treatment is best for the patient rests with the clinicians concerned. This is done in consultation with the patient, fully taking into account National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidance and informed by the patient's clinical history.
Mr. David Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the number of people who die prematurely in the UK each year (a) while waiting for NHS treatment and (b) as a consequence of negligent treatment within the NHS; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Hutton: The Department does not collect statistics on the number of people who have died while on the waiting list for treatment. Data are collected on how many patients are removed from the waiting list without being treated but these are not broken down into specific categories.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations his Department has received concerning (a) the harmful effect on patients of being treated by surgeons and physicians who are not specialists in their field and (b) the chances of such patients making a full recovery; 
Mr. Hutton: None. All doctors must work within the limits of their professional competence, as required by General Medical Council (GMC) guidance, Good Medical Practice. Doctors should not, therefore, be given or take on responsibility for patients if they are not competent to do so. This is to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care and have the best chances of making a full recovery.
Nevertheless all National Health Service patients in hospital are likely to have some contact with a doctor who is not a fully trained specialist. The NHS in England employs about 31,700 doctors, not yet qualified to work independently, in training grades and about 11,800 staff grade doctors, some of whom are trained specialists. 24,400 NHS consultants supervise the work of all of these doctors and are responsible for the care patients receive. Consultants are all trained specialists included on the specialist register held by the GMC.
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