|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mr. Sackville: Five parliamentary questions were referred to agency chief executives in the 1992-93 parliamentary Session. Two parliamentary questions were referred to chief executives in 1993 94 and so far in 1994 95 one parliamentary question has been referred.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will set out for each of the next steps agencies in her Department, whether they have acquired their own headquarters buildings and, if so, at what purchase cost or annual rental; how many support staff they have required who were not required when their operations were within her Department; how many of them publish periodical journals and at what annual cost; how many have fleets of executive cars or single executive cars and at what annual cost; how many have specially designed logos and at what cost; how many have corporate clothing and at what cost; and what is the cost of specially designed and printed corporate stationery.
Medicines Control Agency
Medical Devices Agency
National Health Service Estates
National Health Service Pensions Agency
I have asked the chief executive of each of them to reply to the right hon. Member in respect of their own agency.
Column 717Agencies operate within the framework of demanding quality standards and tight financial control of civil service running costs and other financial targets, set out in the White Paper "The Civil Service, Continuity and Change", Cm 2627. In the usual way their expenditure is subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Staff in agencies remain civil servants, but total civil service manpower in my Department has reduced at the same time as my Department's next steps agencies have established. Improvements in efficiency or effectiveness brought about by my Department's agencies are a matter of record.
Letter from A. F. Cowen to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 26 January 1995:
The Secretary of State for Health has asked me to reply to your question in so far as it relates to the NHS Pensions Agency. The NHS Superannuation Scheme became an Executive Agency of the Department of Health from 20 November 1992 and continued in it existing premises (Hesketh House) at Fleetwood which are leased via Property Holdings from the Co-operative Society. The acquisition of a separate Headquarters was not necessary. At launch the Agency had some 650 staff. It currently employs 494 whole-time equivalent staff which includes 4 staff recruited on contracts to support the Agency's development--the Chief Executive; a professionally qualified accountant; a human resources professional; and an information technology specialist. Our corporate objective is to secure a running cost reduction of 20 per cent. below the 1992 93 baseline whilst measurably improving our service to customers.
We do not publish periodical journals, we are required to publish our statutory Annual Report and Accounts. With regard to vehicles, the Agency has continued to use the Private Use Scheme run by the Department of Social Security. There are currently six vehicles available to regular travellers. The annual stationery budget pre and post Agency status remains at £110,000 per annum. The Agency does not have a corporate clothing policy but on launch 22 messengerial staff were provided with replacement uniforms needed because of the nature of their work. This is a continuation of pre Agency practice.
Letter from Alan Kent to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated
26 January 1995:
The Secretary of State for Health has asked me to reply to your recent question insofar as it relates to the Medical Devices Agency. The Medical Devices Agency was established in September 1994 with the primary purpose of protecting the public health and safeguarding the interests of patients and users by ensuring that medical devices meet appropriate standards of safety, quality and performance.
The Agency remains in the same premises it occupied as the Medical Devices Directorate of the Department of Health. In May 1995 we will move to another building on the civil estate, sharing facilities with other staff of the Department of Health and making an estimated saving on Departmental budgets of about £4.5 million over the four years to 1998 99.
The Agency employs the same number of support staff now as before its establishment. We have accommodated within existing resources work on personnel and finance services previously provided centrally by the Department.
The Agency does not publish periodical journals and has neither executive cars nor corporate clothing.
The Agency logo and stationery were designed together at a cost of just over £12,000. The extra cost of printing the stationery was just under £6,000. The new logo and stationery have improved our communication with manufacturers and users of medical devices and so contributed to the Agency's primary purpose of safeguarding public health.
Column 718Letter from Dr. K. H. Jones to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 24 January 1995:
The Secretary of State has asked me to respond to the points of detail in your Parliamentary Question with respect to Medicines Control Agency (MCA).
You may be aware that the MCA has been fully funded by fees from the pharmaceutical industry since it became a Next Steps agency in July 1991.
We have remained in our original accommodation on the civil estate. No additional support staff have been employed other than those required to handle functions conducted now by MCA that were previously the responsibility of the Department of Health or to service the Agency's growing workload from the pharmaceutical industry.
We publish a bi-monthly newsletter, MAIL, which has been in publication since June 1973. The annual cost is £18,000 and, while it is supplied free of charge to all licence holders, a small annual fee is paid by subscribers who are not licence holders and who are not directly involved in regulatory affairs. The Agency also publishes, three or four times a year, "Current Problems", first produced in 1975, which is a newsletter to all doctors and pharmacists in the UK, updating them on issues in the field of drug safety. The cost of each bulletin is £55,000, the bulk of which relates to distribution costs. Like MAIL and all MCA activities, it is fully funded by fees from the pharmaceutical industry.
The Agency has no executive cars or corporate clothing. Our logo was designed in-house by a member of staff at no additional cost and our stationery is of a similar weight and quality to that used by other parts of the Department of Health.
Letter from J. Locke to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 27 January 1995:
Further to the Secretary for States written answer to you on the 24th January 1995, I detail below the information requested: NHS Estates was established as a Next Steps Agency on the 1st April 1991. From that date until the 28th March 1993 its staff were mainly based in London using existing Department of Health accommodation. The notional cost of the accommodation was £1,617,000. From the 1st April 1993 the Agency moved to offices in Trevelyan Square Leeds for which the Agency pays a current annual rent of £370, 000.
Currently the Agency has 9 support staff who were not required when the Agency was part of the Department. These generally represent Finance and Personnel functions taken over from the Department. The total cost of services provided by the Department to the Agency has dropped from £999,000 in 1991 92 to £347,000 in 1994 95.
We publish one periodical every quarter known as "Newslink", a review of the latest developments affecting the healthcare estate. In 1994 95 its production costs were £18,786. Prior to this the Department published "Health Service Estate", a more substantial and expensive publication, until April 1991.
We do not provide a fleet of executive or individual cars. Providing they meet the normal Government usage criteria, our staff may apply for vehicles provided by the Department's transport section.
The Agency has a logo that was designed in parallel with the NHS Management Executive logo, before it was established in 1991. The costs of producing the logo were paid by the Department.
The only item of corporate clothing commissioned by the Agency was a bulk purchase of specially designed ties at a cost of £931. Our stationery incorporates the Agency logo and office address details to a similar specification and cost as the Department of Health. No extra costs are incurred by their inclusion.
I hope this answer provides you with the information requested.
Mr. Sackville: Information on bed closures is not available centrally. The latest information on the average number of available national health service beds is published in "Beds availability for England, Financial Year 1993 94", copies of which are available in the Library.
Mr. Jack Thompson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence her Department has of the effect of the use of the benzodiazepine group of tranquillisers upon patients to whom they have been prescribed by their general practitioner.
Mr. Bowis: The effects of benzodiazepines on patients are described in the British National Formulary, a copy of which is available in the Library, which is issued by the Department to all general practitioners free of charge. The main effects include reduction in anxiety and induction of sleep. The British National Formulary also gives details of the side effects which some patients may experience from using benzodiazepines.
Mr. Bowis: None. We are seeking to reduce tranquilliser dependency by encouraging general practitioners to review use of benzodiazepines and replace them, as necessary, with behavioural, cognitive and other psychotherapeutic methods of treatment and, if appropriate, antidepressants. Family health services authorities have been asked to discuss with GPs local targets for reductions in benzodiazepine prescribing. To assist with this process, the Department has distributed copies of the Mental Health Foundation's booklet "Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Benzodiazepine Dependence" to every family health services authority, copies of which are available in the Library.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list for each regional health authority, the number of patients diagnosed as suffering from an allergy to air fresheners for the latest year she has figures; and what were the figures (a) five and (b) 10 years ago.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the correlation between specialties that have the longest waiting lists in the NHS and the level of private sector earnings of the consultant concerned.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of private patients see an orthopaedic surgeon in under a month; what is the figure for NHS patients; and what assessment she has made of the reason.
Mr. Malone: Waiting times for private patients are not identifiable from information available centrally. In the quarter ended 30 September 1994 approximately 44 per cent. of patients seen in the trauma and orthopaedics specialty, which includes orthopaedic surgery, were seen within four weeks of written referral by a general practitioner.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list those NHS trusts where over the past 12 months patients have reportedly been kept waiting on a trolley for longer than two hours.
Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the cost to public funds of the production, printing, distribution and advertising of the patients charter when launched (a) in 1991 and (b) in 1995; and how many copies were printed in each case.
Mr. Malone: The cost of producing, printing, distributing and advertising the original patients charter when launched was just over £2.8 million. Twenty three million copies of a summary version were printed, and half a million copies of the full charter. The cost of launching the new charter is estimated as £535,000 and 3.25 million copies have been printed.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions she has had with the National Blood Authority regarding the future of regional blood transfusion centres; (2) what response she has made to the Keith Jerrome report on the future of the national blood transfusion centres; and what plans she has for implementing its recommendations.
Mr. Sackville: The National Blood Authority has undertaken a thorough and widespread consultation on its proposals for reorganisation. It is currently considering the comments received during the consultation, including those received from trades unions. The authority has announced the establishment of an independent panel which will ensure that the comments received during the consultation have received full and objective consideration. The authority hopes to produce final proposals in around three months.
(2) whether possible links between central heating and long-term illness and disability have been taken into account in setting "The Health of the Nation" targets.
Mr. Bowis: The relationship between central heating and health is complex. For this reason no account was taken of such a postulated link in setting "The Health of the Nation" targets. The Department has no plans to commission research specifically on central heating and long-term illness and disability.
Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions and in what circumstances in the last five years advertisements have been placed in newspapers or periodicals which have been described as being issued by or on behalf of Ministers in her Department rather than on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.
Mr. Bowis: We have made substantial improvements to services for elderly people and will continue to do so. The priorities and planning guidance for the NHS: 1995 96 requires authorities to identify needs and put specific actions in hand to ensure further improvements, and to secure care in the community, including continuing health care, in effective collaboration with local authorities and other agencies.
Mr. Sackville: At 30 September 1993 there were 10,460 state registered physiotherapists practising in the national health service in England. Legislation provides that for direct employment in the NHS and local authorities, practitioners must be "state registered". No figures are available centrally on the number of physiotherapists practising in the private sector.
Information relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Figure rounded to the nearest 10 whole-time equivalents.
Column 722Control Agency, (b) National Health Service Estates, (c) the NHS Pensions Agency and (d) her Department.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many parliamentary answers have been refused on the grounds of disproportionate cost or information not being held centrally (a) as a total and (b) as a percentage of all answers in each of the last five years.
Mr. Sackville: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) and the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett) on 12 December 1994, Official Report , columns 470-71 for information on replies stating that information is not held centrally for the 1989 90 to 1993 94 sessions. A search on POLIS has shown that, up to 26 January, 50 questions have been replied to in this form which is 3.7 per cent. of replies given so far in the 1994 95 Session.
Information on disproportionate costs replies is shown in the table.
|Percentage of Session |Number |total answered ------------------------------------------------------------ 1989-90 |11 |0.24 1990-91 |21 |0.68 1991-92 |5 |0.33 1992-93 |38 |0.64 1993-94 |42 |0.83 1994-95<1> |7 |0.52 Source: POLIS. <1>To 26 January 1995.
Mr. David Young: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on whom do the costs fall when a long-stay stroke patient is transferred from a hospital bed to a nursing home but requires continued nursing.
(2) if Hulton hospital is planned to continue as a hospital for the long- stay elderly;
(3) what plans there are to close Hulton hospital without replacement.
Mr. Bowis: The provision of health services in Bolton is a matter for Wigan and Bolton health authority, and the hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman for details of hospital services for the elderly and its plans for the future.
Mr. David Young: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will make a statement on the position of the spouse of an elderly person contributing to nursing home care whose sole asset is part ownership with the spouse of the marital home in respect of continued residence in that home;
(2) if she will make it her policy that in no case the spouse of an elderly person contributing to nursing home care whose sole asset is part ownership of the marital home will have to leave that home against his or her wish.
Mr. Bowis: When assessing a resident's ability to contribute towards the costs of nursing home care, the legislation already requires local authorities to ignore the value of property when the spouse continues to live there.
Mr. Sackville [holding answer 13 January 1995]: Information is provided in the table on the average daily number of available designated intensive therapy beds for England, excluding neonatal intensive care, and for each regional health authority area, in the years 1989 90 to 1993 94. However, in addition to these services provided in units designated as intensive therapy units, intensive therapy can also be delivered in a variety of hospital departments, such as neonatal intensive care, coronary care units, accident and emergency departments, renal units and high dependency units. It is for each purchasing authority to determine the appropriate level and type of provision of intensive therapy based on an assessment of the needs of their population, taking account of local priorities.
|1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- England |2,517 |2,483 |2,475 |2,525 |2,606 Northern and Yorkshire |351 |353 |333 |346 |388 Trent |272 |262 |255 |250 |265 Anglia and Oxford |170 |192 |198 |184 |183 North Thames |398 |392 |370 |401 |369 South Thames |323 |314 |340 |335 |355 South and West |304 |312 |336 |315 |320 West Midlands |251 |259 |244 |263 |260 North West |386 |352 |347 |380 |405 Special Health Authorities |56 |48 |52 |53 |60 Source: KH03 returns.
Mr. Robin Squire: The average premises-related cost of maintaining a surplus place is estimated to be £182 a year for a primary school and £303 a year for a secondary school at 1995 96 prices. The actual cost and the scope for realising savings from removal of surplus places in practice will depend on local circumstances.
Mr. Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) if she will list for each subject on the national curriculum, except English, history and mathematics, the publications, guidance and teaching material which has been sent to schools since 1988; if she will give the cost for each subject; and whether the publications are pertinent to the revised national curriculum;
(2) pursuant to her answer on 24 January, Official Report , columns 169 72 , if she will list for each of (a) English, (b) mathematics and (c) history which publications, guidance and teaching material sent to schools are pertinent to the revised national curriculum.
Column 724requirements of the current or previous national curriculum for English, mathematics and history; and the curriculum guidance listed under heading 3a related to these requirements. The current requirements will be superseded by those of the revised national curriculum as set out in the documents listed under the second heading, but the guidance listed under heading 3a will continue to be relevant to the revised national curriculum in as much as this is essentially a slimmed down version of the existing curriculum. The documents listed under heading 3b are in the main annual publications relating to each year's assessment arrangements and are directly relevant therefore only to the year to which they relate, though teachers may use a previous year's tests in their teaching and, as with the curriculum materials, the content remains relevant because the tests assess core elements of the curriculum which are largely unchanged.
The following list shows the publications relating to national curriculum subjects other than English, mathematics and history, arranged under similar headings to those used in the answer of 24 January. The separate costs of the documents listed under the second heading cannot be disaggregated for the reason given in the answer of 24 January, but the total costs of the revised national curriculum documents were included in that answer. I will write the hon. Member as soon as possible with the costs of the documents listed under the third and fourth headings. The relevance of the documents listed to the revised national curriculum is as explained above.