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Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on clinical negligence claims faced by the NHS; and how many claims there have been in each year since 1995. 
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of medical negligence the NHS Litigation Authority is (a) investigating and (b) defending against compensation claims brought against health authorities by former patients. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The national health service litigation authority is currently handling 1,929 clinical negligence cases brought against health authorities. All of these claims are defended until they are settled or successfully repudiated and it is not possible to show which of these are being investigated.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish the proposed White Paper on clinical negligence indicated in the Department of Health's response to the Kennedy report published in January. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 24 May 2002]: In July 2001 the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) was asked to set up an advisory group to look at the reform of clinical negligence in the national health service. It has not yet been possible to publish proposals for reform, because of the complexity of the issues raised by potential reforms, the need to consult widely (including through the Lord Chancellor's Department on how compensation is paid) and also to consider how potential proposals sit alongside a concurrent review of the NHS complaints procedure. Nevertheless, the CMO has now held the last of his advisory group meetings and will shortly publish the findings along with recommendations for reform.
Ms Blears [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The estimated net value of outstanding clinical negligence claims against the national health service in England at 31 March 2000, as reported in the NHS Summarised Accounts for 19992000 was £2.6 billion.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost to the NHS is of providing a patient with (a) a hearing test and (b) a digital hearing aid; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: Some hearing tests are undertaken in audiological medicine out-patient clinics. The national average cost for a first attendance at these clinics in the financial year 200001 was £123, while the national average cost for a follow up attendance was £98. The
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fitting of hearing aids (which might include a hearing test along with counselling) in the same period cost £171 per person. The average cost to the national health service of a digital hearing aid in that period was £276. Since then the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency has been able to negotiate with several providers to reduce the average cost of those digital aids to £159. An NHS digital hearing aid negotiating team, chaired by James Strachan, Chief Executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, is leading further negotiations to achieve the best possible digital hearing aid price and contract.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money budgeted for repair and maintenance was not spent (a) in each NHS region and (b) in England, in the most recent year for which figures are available, indicating how much was attributable to (i) fire safety and (ii) other safety costs. 
Ms Blears: Money for repair and maintenance is currently derived from block capital allocations provided annually to each national health service trust. The amount budgeted and spent on each element is then determined by each NHS trust. In addition, the major capital investment programme set out in the NHS Plan is making a significant contribution to improving the quality of the NHS estate. Figures are not collected centrally on the amount of block capital sums budgeted and expended against repair and maintenance by each NHS trust.
Mr. Hutton: We do not collect actual hours worked by general practitioners, however we do collect contractual commitments i.e. full time, three quarter time, job share and half time. This information is available in table 3 and 4 of the Statistical Bulletin 'Statistics for General Medical Practitioners in England: 19912001' copies of which are available in the Library.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 29 April, Official Report, column 631W, whether the findings of the Department's policy research programme and the health technology assessment programme will play a part in the criteria in allocating extra GP golden hello funding for local PCTs. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The current list of under-doctored primary care trusts eligible for additional payments under the national health service general practitioner golden hello scheme is based on general medical services census data and comprises the lower 50 per cent. of primary care trusts assessed on the basis of the number of general practitioners per 100,000 weighted head of population.
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what evidence he received of drug trials often not being carried out on older patients so drugs would not be designed to meet their needs, as published on page 6 of the NSF for Older People Interim report on Age Discrimination; and if he will place the evidence in the Library; 
(3) if he will set out the evidence found of areas and services considered to be affected by implicit age discrimination, as set out in table 4, page 7 of the NSF for Older People Interim report on Age Discrimination; 
(4) if he will set out the evidence found of council policies identified in audits that could be age discriminatory, as set out in table 3, page 7 of the NSF for Older People Interim report on Age Discrimination; 
(5) what information he collects and monitors regarding Standard 1 of the NSF for Older People as set out in the NSF for Older People Interim report on Age Discrimination, page 10, paragraph 27. 
Jacqui Smith: Monitoring of the milestones in standard one of the national service framework began with the October 2001 milestone, reported on in an interim report published in April 2002. As part of the monitoring of written age related policies the older people's local implementation teams (LITs) were asked to give examples of any issues of concern in relation to implicit or wider age discrimination that arose during their local scrutiny. All the issues in the questions were reported by various LITs as having being discussed as issues of potential concern. Monitoring information on the progress against the April 2002 milestone will be available in the summer.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what further work his Department is undertaking to ensure that he receives greater detail about individual policy age discrimination, as set out in paragraph 13, page 6 of the NSF for Older People Interim report on Age Discrimination. 
Jacqui Smith: The are no plans to collect more detailed information at a national level. A report of the local audit of written policies and the local plans to address any individual age discriminatory policies found are to be reported within the next published annual reports of local organisations.
Jacqui Smith: The Victoria Climbie inquiry, of which Lord Laming is the chair, is expected to report later this year. The Government will consider the inquiry's recommendations very carefully before responding to them.
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