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10 Mar 2004 : Column 1601Wcontinued
Ms Rosie Winterton: Free national health service prescriptions are available to everyone under 16. Free NHS dental treatment is available to everyone under 18. Free NHS prescriptions and free NHS dental treatment are available to everyone up to their nineteenth birthday if they are in full-time education. People who have children, or who are disabled and have low earnings may receive tax credits and a tax credit exemption certificate entitling them to free NHS prescriptions and free NHS dental treatment automatically. Otherwise, anyone can apply for help with their health costs
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through the NHS low income scheme. The extent of any help is based on a comparison between the claimant's weekly income and requirements at the date the claim is received. We have no plans to change the current arrangements.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) principals and (b) non-principals were in general practice in each year since 1990 in terms of (i) whole time equivalents and (ii) total employed. 
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners were appointed in (a) Greater London and (b) each London borough in the last 12 months; how many vacancies there were in that period; and how many general practitioners are in practice in (i) Greater London and (ii) each London borough. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 3 March 2004]: Information on general practitioner vacancies and appointments is not collected at London borough level. Information for the five London strategic health authorities has been placed in the Library.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set up an inquiry into Great Ormond Street Hospital's (a) treatment of junior doctors' pay obligations while on rotation and (b) handling of junior doctors' working hours.[R] 
Mr. Hutton: It is for local national health service trusts to implement national policy by ensuring they have appropriate arrangements in place for dealing with grievances/complaints, in line with national guidance, as part of good employment practice.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many junior doctors' rotas at Great Ormond Street Hospital are non-compliant with (a) the New Deal and (b) the EU Working Time Directive; and if he will make a statement.[R] 
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the robustness of the health resource group for specialist services, in advance of the implementation of these groups as a basis for the financial flows reforms. 
Mr. Hutton: The Department is carrying out a review of specialised services so as to ensure that providers of these services are fairly reimbursed under the financial flows reforms. We recognise that, for some of these services, case mix adjustment based on current health care resource group classifications (HRGs) may not, by itself, provide sufficient reimbursement to specialised providers. Work is under way to refine HRGs to overcome this problem. We are also looking at other options such as adjustments to tariff for patients who have an exceptionally long stay in hospital. We shall be consulting widely with providers and commissioners of these services to make sure that we find the best way forward for each service.
Data on patients waiting for trauma and orthopaedic elective admission at Barts and the London National Health Service Trust, of which the Royal London Hospital is a part, as at 31 December 2003 (the latest data available), is shown in the table.
|Patients waiting for admission by months waiting|
|Less than 3 months||582|
|3 to 5 months||402|
|6 to 8 months||237|
|9 to 11 months||76|
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to the NHS in respect of (a) medical negligence cases and (b) other legal claims was in each year since 1992; and what estimate he has made of the potential costs arising from outstanding cases. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer on 8 March 2004]: Payments made for medical negligence and other legal claims in each year since 1996 are shown in the table. Information for the period 1992 to 1995 cannot be separately identified.
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|Medical negligence in year payments||Other legal claims in year payments/receipts|
Changes to accounting policies imposed by the HM Treasury over the years mean that these amounts are not directly comparable.
Estimates of potential costs of outstanding cases:
(i) The estimated cost of settling all actual clinical negligence claims and incidents that have occurred but may not necessarily result in claims is £5.25 billion as at 31 March 2002.
(ii) The estimated cost of settling all other legal claims is £113 million as at 31 March 2002.
NHS (England) Summarised Accounts 199697 to 200102 (the latest year published, the report for 20022003 is yet to be published)
Other legal claims
Health authority audited accounts 199697 to 199899
Health authority audited summarisation forms 19992000 to 200102
Primary care trust audited summarisation schedules 200001 to 200102
NHS trust audited summarisation schedules 199697 to 200102
Mr. Hutton: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) uses public funds to finance the net costs of its work on medical devices. The MHRA's work on medicines is funded by fees from users, principally pharmaceutical companies, as has been the case for more than ten years.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to develop the evidence base required for health practitioners to improve the health of men most at risk of (a) heart disease, (b) cancer and (c) obesity following the cancellation of the Health Development Agency's men's health work programme. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The evidence base on coronary heart disease (CHD), cancer and obesity has been and continues to be extensively developed by the Health Development Agency (HDA) for both men and women. In particular, in 200204 the HDA published evidence briefings on obesity, physical activity, smoking cessation and alcohol. Furthermore, the HDA produced guidance on CHD and cancer in response to and support of the national service frameworks.
In 200405, the HDA will be commissioning a consortium of the University of Oxford, the University of Loughborough and the South East Public Health Observatory, as an evidence and guidance collaborating
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centre, on physical activity. The HDA is currently involved in producing guidance on the treatment and prevention of obesity in conjunction with the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.
Specifically in relation to men's health, the HDA will be taking men's health forward as a cross-cutting issue. As a result of the work it has undertaken, the HDA will be producing a database of intervention and prevention strategies related to men's health. There are two pieces of commissioned work on the research priorities and a mapping exercise of published and on-going research in the field of men's health.
The HDA is focusing on the complete range of social diversity in the population, including, gender, as well as age, geography, socio-economic grouping and ethnicity. This is consistent with the Wanless II Report, published in February. The range of social diversity is reflected in all aspects of programme development and implementation across the HDA.
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