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Mr. Hutton: Providing free dental treatment for people aged 75 and over would result in an annual reduction in patient charge revenue of about £30 million within the General Dental Service, in England.
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Mr. Hutton: The Department is working with key organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatry and the Royal College of Nursing on a consultative document making recommendations in this area. The document will be published in the spring. In the meantime National Health Service trusts are expected to ensure safe systems of care in line with established good practice and provide adequate training on the recognition, prevention and management of aggression and how to assess and respond to respiratory distress.
Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines he issues on the timescale of completion of expert medical reports in relation to deaths being investigated by the police and for coroner's inquests. 
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he issues on best practice to encourage patients to keep their appointments with hospital consultants; and what steps NHS trusts take to ensure that patients attend such appointments. 
"Getting Patients Treated: The Waiting List Action Team Handbook" was published by the Waiting List Action Team in August 1999. This can be found at www.doh.gov.uk/wtactionteam.htm. It proposed the use of a "fail safe appointment system" to improve communication with patients before their appointment was due.
"Variations in NHS Outpatient Performance" was published in November 1999. "A step by step guide to improving outpatient services" was published in July 2000. Both can be found at www.doh.gov.uk/pspp. These publications advised National Health Service trusts, health authorities and primary care groups/trusts to implement outpatient partial booking systems. These systems have been shown to reduce the number of DNAs. They enable patients and NHS trusts to agree a mutually convenient date and time for appointments. All NHS trusts have been asked to introduce partial booking systems in outpatient clinics with waiting times in excess of 13 weeks.
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NHS trusts are implementing this guidance. Individual NHS trusts also take additional steps, such as writing to remind patients of their appointments and providing patients with a central telephone number for changing or cancelling appointments.
In addition, as part of the national booked admissions programme, every acute NHS trust will offer booked appointments to at least some patients by the end of March 2001. Development of the national booked admissions programme is being supported at individual project level by the National Patients Access Team.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 14 December 2000]: At 31 March 1997 there were 328 approved places in local authority secure accommodation in England. A further 113 approved places have since been provided. Of these 113 places, five were planned since 1 May 1997 and a further eight more places are due to become operational in the new year.
(11) Source of population data is the Office of National Statistics. Finance data is derived from revenue outturn figures supplied by local authorities on form RO3 (1999-2000 finance data is derived from the Key Statistics return made to the Department by local authorities and must be regarded as provisional until confirmed by revenue outturn figures).
(12) Including Peterborough. Peterborough became a separate unitary local authority from April 1998. Therefore, the amounts shown for 1998-99 and 1999-2000 which include Peterborough are those directly comparable with the previous years.
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Mr. Denham: We are committed to developing 500 one stop primary care centres in England by 2004. As part of this development, over 100 primary care centres or mobile service units will provide better access to services for the majority of rural people. The final location of the centres/units will be determined by local service planning with national guidance and support.
Ms Stuart [holding answer 15 December 2000]: The latest available figures on the costs of National Health Service prescription items for Relenza and Lysovir dispensed in the community in England are shown in the table. Information is not available for prescriptions dispensed in National Health Service hospitals.
|Drug||Net ingredient cost|
1. The data are from the Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) systems and are based on a full analysis of all prescriptions dispensed in the community, i.e. by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England. Total prescriptions include not only prescriptions originating from general practices in England but also from nurses, hospital doctors and dentists provided they were dispensed in the community. Also included are prescriptions written in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man but dispensed in England. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospitals or private prescriptions.
2. The net ingredient cost (NIC) is the basic cost of a drug and does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income.
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