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Dual X-ray Absorptiometry

Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which health authorities and primary care groups are purchasing bone density measurements by means of dual X-ray absorptiometry for particular clinical indications, as advised in NHS EL (96) 110; [107440]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 28 January 2000]: Information on the number of health authorities and primary care groups purchasing bone density measurements by means of dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for particular clinical indications is not held centrally.

No central assessment has been made of the number of operating hours for DXA equipment per week or the hours they are used for research and National Health Service purposes. Neither has there been any assessment of the efficiency and availability of DXA provision or the availability of full diagnostic osteoporosis services in each health authority.

31 Jan 2000 : Column: 454W

However the Department asked the National Osteoporosis Society to conduct a survey of all units with access to DXA equipment. The results of which were published in an article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Vol.93 January 2000, copies of which are available in the Library.

The launch of the Osteoporosis Strategy in June 1998 at the Sixth Bath Conference has provided evidence-based clinical guidelines for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. These should provide the basis for health authorities wishing to develop local strategies. It is however for local health authorities to decide what services to provide taking into account resources available and the needs of the local population.

Pay Rises

Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS staff will benefit from the 26 per cent. pay rise awarded to scientific staff. [107667]

Mr. Denham: There are an estimated 750 trainee Medical Laboratory Scientific Officers who will benefit from the 26 per cent. pay offer for 1999-2000.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the powered wheel chairs voucher scheme and the level of take-up in each year of its operation since 1996; [107516]

Mr. Hutton: The York Health Economics Consortium prepared an evaluation study of the implementation and operation of the National Health Service powered indoor/outdoor wheelchair scheme and the wheelchair voucher scheme. When I have completed my consideration of the recommendations contained in their report I shall announce my conclusions about the future of the two schemes.

1,158 powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs were issued in 1996-97, 4,581 in 1997-98 and 4,033 in 1998-99. Data for the wheelchair voucher scheme are only held from 1997-98. 660 vouchers were issued in 1997-98 and 5,010 were issued in 1998-99.

Mersey Region Health Trusts

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health trusts in the Mersey Region were in deficit in the last financial year. [107453]

Mr. Denham: No National Health Service trusts in the Merseyside and Cheshire area were in deficit in the last financial year, 1998-99.

NHS Drugs Procurement

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to secure better value in NHS drugs procurement. [106190]

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Ms Stuart: Branded medicines supplied to the National Health Service throughout the United Kingdom are covered by the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS). The PPRS includes a 4.5 per cent. reduction in the price of branded medicines from October 1999. Thereafter, the only changes permitted until 1 January 2001 are cost-neutral modulations, with strict controls on price increases after that date. The Health Act 1999 includes reserve powers to deal with companies which elect not to be scheme members or cease to be scheme members. Regulations have just been laid to ensure that the prices of medicines supplied by companies outside the voluntary scheme may be controlled, and the price reduction implemented where appropriate. At the same time the PPRS contains incentives to companies to develop new medicines, and allowances for the cost of research and development.

Generic medicines are not covered by the PPRS. We have commissioned a fundamental review of arrangements for the supply of generic medicines to the NHS in England to examine whether existing arrangements best serve the health service and to identify possible alternatives. The conclusions of the programme of work are expected in the summer.

The NHS Supplies Authority plays a part in the procurement of medicines for hospitals. The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency will be set up from 1 April to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of purchasing in the NHS in England.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that the NHS drugs bill will not be increased as a result of the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham. [106188]

Ms Stuart: The Director General of Fair Trading will consult interested parties about the proposed merger and will advise the Department of Trade in due course. His advice will take account of any comments from this Department on issues such as any effect of the proposed merger on price and availability of medicines and competition among health service suppliers.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of NHS expenditure in each of the past 10 years was on drugs. [106191]

Ms Stuart: The information requested is provided in the table.

Total NHS drugs bill as a percentage of total NHS expenditure



The 1998-99 data are provisional, but unlikely to change to any significant extent.

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NHS Staff

Mr. Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) nurses and (b) doctors were employed by the National Health Service (i) in May 1997 and (ii) at the latest date for which figures are available. [107856]

Mr. Denham: Information about numbers of nurses and doctors employed by the National Health Service is collected as at 30 September each year. Latest figures are as at 30 September 1998. The information is shown in the tables.

NHS hospital and community health services: nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff. England as at 30 September

Numbers (headcount)417,570421,750
Whole-time equivalents330,620332,200


Figures are rounded to the nearest ten

Figures exclude agency staff and learners

Medical staff (doctors) employed by the NHS. England as at 30 September

Hospital doctors(28) 59,86061,650
Public health medicine and community health medicine3,4103,210
All doctors63,27064,860

(28) Hospital medical staff.


Figures rounded to the nearest 10

Totals may not equal sum of components due to rounding


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census


Honorary Consuls

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the former honorary consuls who have served since 1990 who were British citizens, giving (a) the posts in which they served, (b) the length of time they served and (c) the honours that have been awarded to them for such service. [105894]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 20 January 2000]: Information distinguishing length of time served and whether individuals are current or former Honorary British Consuls could be provided only at disproportionate cost. British nationals who have served since at least 1990 who have received honours, and with details of their awards, are as follows:

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    MBE--Alexander Leonard Frank Bessey

    Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

    MBE--Roger Arthur Gough

    Belo Horizonte, Brazil

    MBE--Chasser Robertson Jessop

    Bamako, Mali

    MBE--Major Norman John Lister

    Trieste, Italy


    MBE--George John Anthony Akras

    Aleppo, Syria

    MBE--Richard Francis Blandy

    Madeira, Portugal

    MBE--Frederick William Matheson

    Punta Arenas, Chile


    MBE--Mrs. Glenys Helen Hulse

    Arica, Chile


    MBE--Geoffrey Parker Knowles

    Port Elizabeth, South Africa

    MBE--John Anthony Perry

    Pointe Noire, Congo


    MBE--Roger Harry Virnuls

    Toulouse, France

    BD 1994



    MBE--Kenneth Ronald Dagnall

    Le Havre, France

    MBE--Mrs. Fay Miriam Morris

    Eilat, Israel


    OBE--Dr. Ian Court

    Puerto Rico, United States

    MBE--Frank Molesworth Hope

    Biarritz, France


    OBE--Leslie Straughan

    Halifax, Canada

    OBE--Mrs. Maureen Tejeda, MBE

    Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

    MBE--John Christopher Shaw

    Chiangmai, Thailand


    MBE--Simon Cohen

    Guadalajara, Mexico

    MBE--Ian Bennett Gibson

    Kiel, Germany

    MBE--Zbigniew George Podolecki

    Maracaibo, Venezuela

    MBE--Graeme Neville Robinson

    Christchurch, New Zealand


    MBE--Christopher Rodney Baker

    Dunkirk, France

    MBE--Mrs. Valerie Treitlein

    Conakry, Guinea


    MBE--Mrs. Sandra Lynn Darra

    Montreux, Switzerland

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    MBE--David Elliot Balfour

    Galapagos, Ecuador

    MBE--Frederick Gentle

    Brindisi, Italy

    MBE--David Harwood

    Libreville, Gabon

    MBE--John Mitchell Inglis

    Calais, France


    MBE--Peter Gwylym, LEE

    Pointe Noire, Congo

    MBE--Joseph Reginald Willilam Roberts

    Arequipa, Peru


    MBE--Mrs. Nancy Abeiderrahmane

    Nouakchott, Mauritania

    MBE--Stephen Burges

    Asmara, Eritrea

    MBE--Richard Trevor Robinson

    Tamale, Ghana


    OBE--Frank Parton Barber, MBE

    San Pedro Sula, Honduras

    MBE--Gerard Barron

    Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

    MBE--Andrew Martin Graham

    Cagliari, Italy

    MBE--Christopher Avison Milne

    Surabaya, Indonesia


    BD = [Queen's] Birthday Honours List (with last two figures of the year)

    NY = New Year Honours List (with the last two figures of the year)

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