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Patient Transfers

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patient transfers there were from (a) the private sector to the NHS and (b) the NHS to the private sector in each year for the last 20 years. [108164]

Ms Stuart: The information in the table covers the period 1989-90 until 1997-98. Figures were not collected for earlier years.

Admission from non-NHS institution (12)Discharge destination to non-NHS institutionAdmission from non-NHS run hospital (13)Discharge destination to non-NHS run hospital

(12) Up to 1995-96 the code for "non-NHS institution" included non-NHS hospitals, nursing homes, health care and residential institutions. In 1996-97 the category was sub-divided so that admissions from non-NHS hospitals formed a single classification.

(13) The definition of "non-NHS run hospital" includes hospices. We cannot disaggregate these data, but it seems probable that a high proportion of the discharges are to hospices.

(14) Figures for 1997-98 are provisional and no adjustments have been made for shortfalls in data.

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Waiting Lists

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the Government's commitments on changes in out-patient and in-patient waiting list numbers and waiting times. [108160]

Mr. Denham: We are determined to reduce in-patient and out-patient waiting lists and times. The waiting list is now 87,000 below the level inherited. We remain on track to achieve our manifesto commitment to reduce waiting lists by 100,000 from the level inherited. As waiting lists have fallen, so have waiting times. The average waiting time of those on the list was 12 weeks at the end of November 1999--three weeks less than at June 1998.

We are taking action to reduce out-patient waiting times. Patients referred urgently with suspected breast cancer can now be reassured they will not wait longer than two weeks for an out-patient appointment. We are also determined to cut the number of patients waiting over 13 weeks for a first out-patient appointment.


Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the National Institute for Clinical Excellence is investigating the inappropriate prescribing on a long-term basis of steroidal drugs. [108609]

Mr. Denham: This topic is not included in the current work programme for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

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Shipman Inquiry

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will ask the public inquiry into the Shipman case to look at the practicalities of tracking controlled drugs, from all points of purchase to all points of use, including use (a) in hospitals and hospices and (b) in the community; [108615]

Mr. Denham: The terms of reference for the inquiry into the issues raised by the case of Dr. Shipman are broad. The inquiry is invited to examine the role and conduct of the statutory bodies and authorities concerned, and to consider the appropriateness of the response of these organisations to the information available about Harold Shipman's clinical practice. They are further invited to make recommendations for safeguarding patients and on any related matter which the public interest may require.

Copies of the terms of reference of the inquiry are available in the Library.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients are waiting for cardiothoracic surgery in (a) Birmingham, (b) the West Midlands, (c) England and Wales and (d) the United Kingdom; what are the average numbers of operations carried out; what are the average waiting times for such surgery in each of these areas; and if he will make a statement on action being taken to increase capacity in each area. [108863]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is given in the table.

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Birmingham Health Authority areaWest MidlandsEngland
Patients waiting for cardiothoracic surgery at September 1999.4681,94814,889
Total finished consultant episodes where an operation was recorded and main specialty was cardiothoracic surgery in 1997-98.3,7306,49752,358
Average waiting time of patients admitted for cardiothoracic surgery in the quarter July to September 1999 (days)81.589.6118.1

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There has been major investment to provide additional cardiac surgery capacity in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

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On 18 October 1999, the Secretary of State announced that £50 million will be made available nationally to increase heart operations by 10 per cent. over the next

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two years. The extra money will pay for additional bypass graft procedures and angioplasties by March 2002. This investment will enable more patients with heart disease to get easier and faster access to treatment.

The National Service Framework on Coronary Heart Disease is due to be published shortly. This will be the first comprehensive plan to deal with all aspects of CHD and will set out an ambitious 10-year strategy to provide a modern service with fair and fast access to high quality services.

Matters for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are for their respective administrations.

Primary Care Groups

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the circumstances surrounding the establishment by Southend Primary Care Group of a Primary Care Trust with special reference to the recent ballot of general practitioners in the area. [108871]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 7 February 2000]: As indicated in national guidance, the application to establish a Primary Care Trust (PCT) in Southend was considered against national criteria. Local consultation was carried out by South Essex Health Authority in accordance with the requirements set out in the Primary Care Trusts (Consultation on Establishment, Dissolution and Transfer of Staff) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999-2337). The resulting consultation report indicated that broad local support was evident for the Southend PCT application.

A recent letter, which approves the establishment of Southend PCT, clearly sets out an expectation that the PCT will be able to demonstrate an increased level of support and commitment from local general practitioners before becoming operational this April. In addition, all PCTs are expected to ensure that GPs, nurses and other front-line staff are fully engaged and committed to delivering the service improvements that PCT status will attain for their communities.

Royal Marsden and Christie Hospitals

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 2 February 2000, Official Report, column 629W, concerning funding of the Christie Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital, if he will provide a breakdown of the other sources mentioned in his answer. [109219]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 8 February 2000]: The breakdown of the "other sources" is as follows:

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