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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the NHS pilot procurement initiative ProCure21 in the north-west and the midlands; and what the time-frame is for the initiative to be taken up by all regions of the UK. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 28 February 2002]: NHS ProCure 21 aims to deliver better capital procurement in the national health service, through programmes on better design, enabling the NHS to be a better client, performance management and partnering. The first three elements apply to all capital schemes in the NHS. Partnering is currently being piloted in the north-west and west midlands regions. The selection of Principal Supply Chain Partners is currently in progress, and an evaluation will be made once the partnering programme is under way and a decision taken on how quickly we will be able to roll it out nationally.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures have been put in place to ensure an increase in the number of vocational training places for general practice; how many places have been available in each of the last 10 years; and what estimate he has made of the number of places available in each of the next three years. the Minister of State, Department of Health, 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 28 February 2002]: We do not have data available centrally on the number of vocational training scheme places. Doctors on vocational training schemes represent only a proportion of those training for general practice, as there are other training routes.
All doctors training for a career in general practice must undertake a period training as a General Practice Registrar. We have a target to increase General Practice Registrar numbers by 550 by 2004. To accommodate these increases, we are investing significant resources in the general practice training infrastructure (£9 million over three years) and in developing training practice premises (£30 million over the same period). We also removed, last November, the outdated restrictions that had previously prevented overseas doctors receiving NHS funding when undertaking General Practice Registrar training.
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Recruitment to General Practice Registrar training is healthy. Numbers have risen, year on year, for the last five years. The attached table shows the figures for the last 10 years. Last year numbers increased by 224 on the previous year, exceeding our target increase of 150. As a result of the measures we have put in place, we expect growth to continue.
Department of Health Personal Medical Services Statistics
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Yvette Cooper [holding answer 1 March 2002]: Under the pilot scheme to send national health service patients abroad currently under way in south-east England 18 patients travelled in January and 41 in February. 12 patients are due to travel on Friday 1 March. We expect up to 200 patients to travel overseas for treatment as part of the pilot.
The Department has authorised a total of 327 E112 applications since the beginning of November 2001, permitting patients to receive treatment, maternity care or continuing care in other countries of the European Economic Area, funded by the NHS. 85 applications were authorised in November, 72 in December, 94 in January and 76 have so far been authorised in February. (These figures are GB figures, as the Department administers this scheme on behalf of Scotland and Wales.) However, the fact that a given number of forms were authorised in a given period does not necessarily mean that the same number of patients actually received treatment overseas in that period.