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30 Oct 2003 : Column 359W—continued

Medical Staff

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) medical and clinical staff and (b) other types of staff were employed in the NHS in London in the most recently available survey of staffing. [133740]

Mr. Hutton: The number of medical and clinical and other types of staff employed in the national health service in London at the latest available date is shown in the table.

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Hospital, Public Health Medicine, Community Health Services (HCHS) and General and Personal Medical Services: Medical and professionally qualified clinical staff and all other types of staff in the London(16) area

England at 30 September 2002Number (headcount)
All London staff (16)186,755
All Doctors (17)19,990
Other Professionally qualified clinical staff82,093
Other staff84,672

(16) Figures for London based on the North West London, North Central London, North East London, South East London, and South West London Strategic Health Authority areas and the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

(17) Excludes medical Hospital Practitioners and medical Clinical Assistants, most of whom are GPs working part time in hospitals.


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census

Medicines (Printed Information)

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that patients are provided with printed information on medicines dispensed to them. [132492]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There is a legal obligation on dispensing doctors and pharmacists to supply appropriate information to patients when dispensing medicines in the form of patient information leaflets or information included on the packaging itself. Since 1 January 1999, all licensed medicines in the United Kingdom have approved leaflets and labels and there has been a range of developments in recent years which have helped to ensure patients receive appropriate information. These include guidance for hospitals on dispensing medicines in original packs at the outset of a patient's stay that will be sufficient for discharge.

Also, in August 2002, the Medicines Control Agency, which was the predecessor to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, and the Department issued joint guidance on how compliance with the requirement to include appropriate written information to patients may be achieved.

Multiple Sclerosis

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish an update of the information supplied to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam by the Sheffield University School of Health Related Research concerning the implementation of the risk sharing scheme for MS sufferers. [134065]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 27 October 2003]: Latest returns show that around 6,300 patients are currently receiving treatment with a disease modifying treatment for their multiple sclerosis. Around 300 patients each month are starting treatment.

NHS Treatment (Non-UK Nationals)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the number of non-UK nationals treated by the NHS in London each year since 1997; [133736]

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Mr. Hutton: The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989, as amended, places a duty on national health service trusts to establish whether a patient is eligible for free NHS hospital treatment and if not to levy a charge for any treatment provided. Trusts are not required to submit data on the numbers of overseas visitors treated or the costs of doing so, not least because overseas visitors, as defined by the charging regulations, are not automatically "health tourists".

Northwick Park Hospital

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the 2003–04 budget is for Northwick Park Hospital, Kenton; what the level of staffing is at the intensive therapy unit at the hospital; how many respiratory consultants there are at the hospital; how many patients have died in the ITU at Northwick Park hospital since 1 January; and what plans there are to move the high dependency unit closer to the ITU at Northwick Park Hospital. [133483]

Mr. Hutton: Northwick Park is one of the hospital units that form North West London Hospitals National Health Service Trust. The Trust's baseline budget for 2003–04 is £239 million.

Information on the level of staffing at the intensive therapy unit at Northwick Park Hospital is not collected centrally. Information from North West London Hospitals NHS Trust is that the intensive treatment unit (ITU) at Northwick park has nine nurses, one outreach nurse, an ITU junior doctor on call at all times (six on full shift rota, comprising four clinical fellows), one anaesthetic senior house officer, one anaesthetic specialist registrar. One additional anaesthetic resident registrar covers obstetrics, theatres and intensive care unit. One anaesthetic consultant is dedicated to intensive care unit cover.

In addition, physiotherapists are on call at all times. A daily dietetics ward round is carried out and speech and language therapists are available if necessary.

Information on medical staff within respiratory medicine is collected by NHS trust rather than by individual hospital unit and is shown in the table.

Hospital medical staff within the respiratory medicine specialty at North West London Hospitals NHS Trust
Numbers (headcount)

September 2002June 2003
All staff 20(18)
of which

(18) denotes not applicable. June 2003 data is taken from the mini census which collected consultants only.


Data as at 30 September or 30 June.


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census

Information from North West London Hospitals NHS Trust is that there have been 73 deaths in the ITU since January 2003. There are no current plans to move the high dependency unit closer to the ITU at Northwick Park.

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Post-operative Deaths

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been carried out into comparative post-operative death rates between England and other OECD countries. [129651]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 19 September 2003]: Although full international comparisons of health status and health outcomes are well developed in many areas, such as cancer and coronary heart disease mortality, there has been almost nothing equivalent on the subject of post-operative mortality. There are occasionally specific studies comparing individual hospitals, but the Department of Health is not aware of any systematic studies comparing post-operative mortality rates between countries.

Riversdale Hospital

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Commission for Health Improvement will visit Riversdale Hospital in High Wycombe; when the Commission will report on its findings; and if he will make a statement. [135033]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 28 October 2003]: Riversdale Hospital is part of Buckinghamshire Mental Health National Health Service Trust. The Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) is currently conducting a clinical governance review of the trust.

CHI is scheduled to publish its report by the end of the year.


Humanities Teaching

16. Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the teaching of humanities in schools. [135247]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: In schools, humanities are normally taught through the separate subjects of geography and history. These are compulsory for all pupils aged 5 to 14. After the age of 14 they are optional but we are introducing a statutory entitlement at KS4 (ages 14 to 16) for all pupils to study a course in the humanities.

Drugs Education

17. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent guidance his Department has issued to schools on drugs education. [135248]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Department is currently updating its guidance to schools on all matters relating to drugs with a view to issuing new guidance in February 2004. This document will revise and consolidate existing guidance from the Department, specifically "Circular 4/95: Drug Prevention and Schools" and "Protecting Young People: Good practice in drug education in schools and the youth service" which was published in 1998.

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Tuition Fees

18. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on proposals to introduce top-up fees for university courses. [135249]

Alan Johnson: From 2006/07, we are proposing to allow higher education institutions to charge variable fees of between £0 and £3,000 per year per course, subject to their having an Access Agreement approved by the Office for Fair Access. We intend to abolish up-front fees in 2006: instead students can defer paying their fees until after they graduate. Graduates will only start making repayments on their student loan once they are earning over £15,000, and then at a rate linked to their income.

We will continue to provide a means-tested grant to cover the standard tuition fee (£1,125 in 2003/04), and propose to introduce from 2004 a new additional grant of up to £1,000, as part of a package of measures to ensure that more young people continue to take up higher education opportunities. Access Agreements will focus on what institutions are doing to encourage more people from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply: they will be required to say how they will recycle a proportion of their additional fee income into bursaries and other financial support to students from poorer families.

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