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Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) in the last year for which figures are available, how many people in each NHS region who have received heart transplants are aged (a) under 29, (b) 30 to 49, (c) 50 to 59, (d) 60 to 74 and (e) 75 years and over; [103953]

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Mr. Denham: The information requested on the questions has been placed in the Library.

Neurology Treatment

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to provide additional funding to treat people with neurological conditions; and if he will make a statement. [104581]

Mr. Hutton: There are no plans to provide additional funding over and above the extra resources currently being provided to the National Health Service to treat people with neurological conditions.

Under the present system it is, of course, for health authorities and primary care groups to plan and arrange the services to people in their care. They are closest to the patients and best placed to respond sensitively to their needs.

National Beds Inquiry

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish the findings of the National Beds Inquiry; and if he will make a statement. [105064]

Mr. Denham: The National Beds Inquiry is nearing completion. Its findings will be published shortly.

Bed Occupancy

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent guidance he has given to health authorities concerning bed occupancy rates in NHS hospitals. [104900]

Ms Stuart: No specific guidance has been issued. However, an analysis of the research into the relationship between bed occupancy and the management of elective and emergency pressures was set out in the first report of the Emergency Services Action Team in 1997, and referred to in subsequent ESAT reports. The report was published under cover of an Executive Letter (MISC 97/62), which followed the guidance on Access to Secondary Care Services set out in Executive Letter (EL97/42). Copies of the reports and both ELs are in the Library.

Mental Health

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if paragraph 30 of the Local Government Ombudsman's report 98/B/0341 setting out the Department's view in March 1997 on section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 still represents the Department's view; [104988]

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Mr. Hutton: There are no provisions in the Mental Health Act 1983 to charge for after-care services provided under section 117. The Act does not specify which services should be provided for a patient who qualifies for after-care under section 117. In the absence of case law on this subject before the High Court's ruling on 28 July 1999, there has been variation in practice between local authorities on the issue of whether residential care provided for patients who qualify for after-care under section 117 was considered to be provided under section 117 or under other statutes.

The Department has not issued formal guidance on this issue but advice in response to questions on this point has consistently been that, where residential care is provided as part of a package of services under section 117, then it should not be charged for. This is in line with paragraph 30 of the Local Ombudsman's report 98/B/0341 in so far as it deals with not charging for section 117 after-care services. The Department does not have information about which local authorities currently charge for such services.

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate what savings there would be to public funds if those entitled to free residential care under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (a) were disallowed from receiving income support residential allowance and (b) had their benefit income reduced by other means. [104985]

Mr. Bayley: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is not available. The Department does not collect information on the specific legislation under which placements in residential care or nursing home are made.

Internet (Medicinal Drug Sales)

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what initiatives his Department has taken (a) unilaterally and (b) in partnership with other members of the EU to prevent problems arising from the unrestricted sale of medicinal drugs on the Internet. [104825]

Ms Stuart: The Medicine Control Agency investigates cases referred to it of alleged breaches of medicines legislation arising from the internet. It works closely with the European Union and international regulatory and enforcement bodies and will continue to do so. The European Commission has established a group to consider the impact of e-commerce in pharmaceuticals on the existing safeguards to patients. The United Kingdom will be playing an active role in its deliberations.

NHS Beds

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many beds were available for patient care in the NHS on 1 May in (a) 1997, (b) 1998 and (c) 1999; and how many of these were acute beds. [105636]

Ms Stuart: The average daily number of available beds is published annually in "Bed Availability and Occupancy, England", copies of which are in the Library. The latest information is for 1997-98.

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NHS Manpower

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff were employed directly by the NHS in (a) medical positions, (b) administrative positions and (c) in total, as at (i) 1 January 1997 and (ii) 1 January 2000. [105213]

Mr. Denham: Information about numbers of staff employed directly by the National Health Service is not collected in January of each year. Information about numbers of staff employed directly by the National Health Service on 30 September in the last three years for which data are available is shown in the table.

NHS hospital and community health services: all directly employed staff in England as at 30 September for each year
Whole-time equivalents

All directly employed staff761,240758,060765,950
Medical staff51,78054,64056,270
Administration and estates staff167,430166,960167,700


Figures are rounded to the nearest 10

Due to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census

Nursing Homes

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health under what circumstances people who, through ill health, require nursing care have to pay for accommodation in nursing homes. [105565]

Mr. Hutton: Guidance issued by the Department to health authorities in 1995 set out a national framework against which health authorities, in consultation with local authorities, were required to review their existing arrangements for continuing health care and to draw up local policies and eligibility criteria for individual case decisions about the need for National Health Service funded care. This includes the range, location and level of services which will be arranged and funded by the NHS to meet continuing health care needs in their area.

We are currently reviewing continuing care policy with a view to issuing revised guidance later this year.

Local authority social services have always had a very important role in supporting people, either in their own homes or in residential care. Where a person is provided with nursing home or residential care accommodation by a local authority under Part III of the National Assistance Act 1948, section 22 of that Act provides for them to be charged for the accommodation.

The Royal Commission on Long-Term Care recommended changes to the charging system. Decisions on the system of funding long-term care will be taken as part of the current spending review.

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