Previous Section Index Home Page


6 Nov 2002 : Column 439W—continued

Care Homes

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. [77959]

Jacqui Smith: The number of residential and nursing care home places in Hillingdon is shown in the table at 31 March for the years 1999 to 2001. Data for 2002 is not yet available.

Forecasts of the number of care home places are not made.

Number of Residential and Nursing Care Home Places in Hillingdon at 31 March, 1999 to 2001

As at 31 MarchResidentialNursingTotalChange Over Previous Year (%)
19998204601,270
20009604101,3607%
20019204901,4003%

Note:

1. Residential data refer to Hillingdon Local Authority; nursing data refer to Hillingdon Health Authority.


GP Recruitment

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to increase the number of GPs in the NHS. [77511]

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

6 Nov 2002 : Column 440W

doctors who are not currently working in National Health Service general practice who return to take up a NHS post.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make a statement on progress made in GP recruitment in the last 12 months. [77144]

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.

Competition Commission

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. [78416]

Jacqui Smith: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) on 30 October 2002.

Learning Difficulties

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. [78370]

Jacqui Smith: This information is not collected centrally.

Fragile-X Syndrome

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. [78368]

Jacqui Smith: This information is not collected centrally. Studies have indicated that fragile-X syndrome has an incidence of about 1:4,500 in males and 1:8,000 in females.

Community Equipment Services

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional resources have been allocated in this financial year for community equipment services; and how this has been allocated. [78572]

6 Nov 2002 : Column 441W

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.

Nurse Retention

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what determinants of job satisfaction are employed in assessing nurse retention policies. [78928]

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.

Asthma Deaths

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if his Department will ask primary care trusts to introduce enquiries into asthma deaths as a matter of course; [78624]

Jacqui Smith: There are currently no plans to require primary care trusts to introduce enquiries into asthma deaths or to extend the range of confidential enquiries to include asthma deaths.

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 will—via the National Health Service—provide 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.

6 Nov 2002 : Column 442W

Barnet Hospital

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on progress on visiting times for accident and emergency services at Barnet Hospital. [78901]

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 Service—waiting 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.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans there are to discontinue services provided at Barnet Hospital; and if he will make a statement. [78899]

Mr. Hutton: There are no plans to discontinue services provided at Barnet hospital.

Quality Protects Programme

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on progress of the Quality Protects Programme. [78974]

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 popular—with local government, with the voluntary sector and with children and young people themselves—and has led to new and improved services for children across the country.

There is real evidence that it is beginning to improve children's lives. For example, since Quality Protects began we have seen:









6 Nov 2002 : Column 443W

We shall shortly be publishing an overview report of councils' fourth annual management action plans, which set out their progress in and future plans for implementing Quality Protects.


Next Section Index Home Page