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Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many care home places are available in the London Borough of Hillingdon; what percentage change this represents on figures for each of the last three years; and what the forecast is for care home places for the coming year. 
|As at 31 March||Residential||Nursing||Total||Change Over Previous Year (%)|
1. Residential data refer to Hillingdon Local Authority; nursing data refer to Hillingdon Health Authority.
Mr. Hutton: A range of recruitment and retention initiatives are currently in place or being developed to help increase the number of general practitioners (GPs), including: international recruitment, promoting improving working lives initiative in primary care, the delayed retirement scheme, more flexible employment arrangements through personal medical services, the recently announced extension to the flexible careers scheme to include GPs and the golden hello scheme which will shortly be extended to include qualified
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doctors who are not currently working in National Health Service general practice who return to take up a NHS post.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 November 2002]: Between 30 September 2000 and 30 September 2001, the number of general practitioners (GPs), including unrestricted principals and equivalents, restricted principals, assistants, GP registrars, salaried doctors (para. 52 SFA), personal medical services others and GP retainers working in the National Health Service increased by 466. A spring census was carried out on 31 March 2002, which shows a further increase of 176.
The government has introduced and is developing a significant number of initiatives to boost the recruitment and retention of GPs. These include golden hellos to new and returning GPs, delayed retirement payments, flexible career scheme, extension of the improving working lives initiative to primary care and international recruitment.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the long-term implications of public spending of the recent judgment on Bettercare by the Competition Commission. 
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many children in Surrey aged (a) 0 to five, (b) five to 11, (c) 11 to 16 and (d) 16 to 18 years have been diagnosed as having (i) severe learning difficulties and (ii) moderate learning difficulties at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children aged (a) 0 to five, (b) five to 11, (c) 11 to 16 and (d) 16 to 18 years have been diagnosed with fragile-X syndrome at the latest date for which figures are available. 
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Jacqui Smith: In this financial year #28 million was allocated to health authorities to help them to meet the NHS Plan targets for community equipment services. That funding has now been distributed to primary care trusts. In addition, funding was allocated to local councils for the same purpose via the personal social services settlement. For both sets of organisations the funding was apportioned and distributed as part of their baseline funding allocations.
Mr. Hutton: The Human Resources in the NHS Plan underpins all staff retention policies. It sets out how the National Health Service should become a model employer, that values its staff and improves their working life and how it should offer a model career that gives greater access to personal development underpinned by a fairer pay system. All of the measures contained in the Human Resources in the NHS Plan will help to improve the job satisfaction and morale of all of the staff employed in the NHS.
Management of asthma mainly takes place in primary care. The chronic disease management programme, introduced in July 1993, provides arrangements for health promotion under the general medical services national contract for general practitioners. People with asthma will also benefit from the emerging expert patients programme which willvia the National Health Serviceprovide training in self-management skills for people with long term chronic conditions.
The Medical Research Council, which is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, funds medical research as part of the Government's funding of the research base. The Department of Health spend on directly commissioned research projects on asthma since 1997 is an estimated #7.24 million.
The number of deaths from asthma is gradually declining. The Office of National Statistics report that the International Classification of Disease, ICD9 493 (Asthma) recorded for England and Wales that in 1998 there were 1366 deaths caused by asthma and by 2000 that had fallen to 1272 deaths.
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Mr. Hutton: Improving patients experience of emergency care is essential. In light of this, Reforming Emergency Care was launched in October 2001, supported by a #118 million investment. It sets a long term programme of reform supported by extra investment and new capacity to address one of the public's key concerns about the National Health Servicewaiting in accident and emergency (A&E).
A&E waiting times at Barnet General Hospital have improved steadily through the year from an average of only 45 per cent. of patients being seen within four hours in the quarter ending 30 June 2002 to over 70 per cent. being seen within four hours during October 2002.
Jacqui Smith: Quality Protects is the Government's five-year programme to ensure that children in need, including looked after children, receive the care, safety, security and chances in life that all children deserve. We are currently in the fourth year of the programme. It has been popularwith local government, with the voluntary sector and with children and young people themselvesand has led to new and improved services for children across the country.
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