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National Insurance

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the policy since 1989 on writing annually to those of his Department's staff who are paying reduced

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rates of National Insurance contributions, reminding them of the rules governing the payment of reduced rates, as recommended in the Inland Revenue guidance note on reduced rate National Insurance contributions for married women. [129486]

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Mr. Denham: The Department employs a small minority of women who pay reduced rate National Insurance contributions. The Department writes periodically to these staff reminding them of the rules governing the payment of reduced rates and whom they need to notify if their circumstances have changed.

Hernia Operations

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hernia operations have taken place in NHS hospitals in the Greater London area in the last 12 months. [129791]

Mr. Denham: The London Region was created on 1 January 1999 and the latest available data are for 1998-99 when London was covered by the North Thames and South Thames Regions. The numbers of hernia operations performed in National Health Service trusts in these regions are shown in the table for 1998-99.

Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs) by primary operations performed by NHS trust, England 1998-99

North and South ThamesHernia operations T19-T21 (OPCS4)
RA1 Epsom Health Care NHS Trust227
RA2 Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust297
RAJ Southend Hospital NHS Trust511
RAL The Royal Free Hampstead Hospital272
RAP North Middlesex Hospital NHS Trust241
RAQ North Hertfordshire NHS Trust349
RAS The Hillingdon Hospital NHS Trust247
RAU Central Middlesex Hospital NHS Trust218
RAX Kingston Hospital NHS Trust205
RAZ St. Helier NHS Trust470
RC3 Ealing Hospital NHS Trust210
RC4 East Hertfordshire NHS Trust368
RDC Wellhouse NHS Trust483
RDD Basildon and Thurrock General Hospital501
RDE Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust587
RDF Forest Healthcare NHS Trust332
RDL Eastbourne Hospitals NHS Trust343
RDM Hastings and Rother NHS Trust324
RDU Frimley Park Hospital NHS Trust446
RFW West Middlesex University NHS Trust284
RFZ Northwick Park and St. Marks NHS Trust473
RG1 Mid Kent Healthcare NHS Trust382
RG2 Greenwich Healthcare NHS Trust366
RG3 Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust363
RG4 Redbridge Health Care NHS Trust411
RG7 Havering Hospitals NHS Trust565
RG9 Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust244
RGU Brighton Health Care NHS Trust599
RGV Thanet Healthcare NHS Trust325
RGW Kent and Canterbury Hospitals NHS Trust429
RGX Eastbourne and County Healthcare NHS Trust22
RGZ Queen Mary's Sidcup NHS Trust285
RHE Crawley Horsham NHS Trust265
RHG Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton NHS Trust87
RHH East Surrey Hospital and Community NHS Trust173
RJ1 Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Trust528
RJ2 Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust582
RJ5 St. Mary's Hospital NHS Trust370
RJ6 Mayday Healthcare NHS Trust417
RJ7 St. George's Healthcare NHS Trust562
RJZ King's Healthcare NHS Trust376
RKE Whittington Hospital NHS Trust322
RN7 Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust313
RNH Newham Healthcare NHS Trust218
RNJ The Royal Hospitals NHS Trust457
RP4 The Great Ormond Street Hospital106
RPA Medway NHS Trust486
RPC The Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Trust15
RPD Kent and Sussex Weald NHS Trust332
RPF South Kent Hospitals NHS Trust418
RPL Worthing and Southlands Hospital363
RPR The Royal West Sussex NHS Trust300
RPS Mid Sussex NHS Trust145
RPW St. Albans and Hemel Hempstead NHS Trust228
RPY The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust3
RQ8 Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust588
RQL Mount Vernon and Watford Hospitals NHS Trust315
RQM Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust255
RQN The Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust330
RQW The Princess Alexandra Hospital370
RQX Homerton Hospital NHS Trust218
RRV University College London Hospital230
RT3 Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust0
RTK Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals454
RTL Thames and Gateway NHS Trust0
North and South Thames21,205


1. The figures for 1998-99 are provisional, no adjustment has as yet been made for shortfalls in data (ie the data are ungrossed).

2. An FCE is defined as a period of patient care under one consultant in one health care provider. The figures do not represent the number of patients, as one person may have several episodes within the year.

3. Hernia has been defined as OPCS codes T19-T21 inclusive.


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health

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Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received regarding the use of Ritalin. [129960]

Ms Stuart: We have received a number of representations, mainly from parents, expressing concern over the clinical evidence for using Ritalin. I am pleased that given this concern the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is appraising the drug as part of its 2000 work programme. It will issue authoritative advice, which should ensure that professionals treating children and adolescents with emotional and behavioural disorders have an evidence-based approach to using Ritalin. NICE is scheduled to report its findings in October.

Continence Services

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people receive continence pads through the NHS. [130093]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 10 November 1999, Official Report, column 654W.

Circular Implementation

Mrs. Ann Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reports he has received from the Social Services Inspectorate about the implementation of Circular HSC1999/162:LAC(99)28; and how many of them indicate that the circular is not being properly implemented. [130403]

Mr. Hutton: No formal reports have been received. However, the Social Services Inspectorate regularly undertakes detailed assessment of local social service

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authorities' performance including services for learning disabled people. In addition a survey of the use of the Direction on Choice to which the circular refers was carried out in 1998 and this was followed up by a series of regional seminars in the summer of 1999 to disseminate the lessons learnt. We are also developing a national learning disability strategy to be launched later this year which will aim to eliminate inconsistencies in service delivery.


Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the meeting between the Minister of State and the hon. Member for Linlithgow on 19 June, what discussion he has had with EU trade organisations concerning the labelling of medicines tested on animals. [128966]

Yvette Cooper: Pursuant to the meeting between the Minister for Trade and my hon. Friend, I can confirm that I have held no discussions with European Union trade associations concerning the labelling of medicines tested on animals.

Beta Interferon

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many EU countries do not publicly fund the treatment by beta interferon of people with MS. [128938]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not available centrally.

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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the UK with MS currently receive beta interferon; what this represents as a percentage of MS sufferers; and what the equivalent figure is in (a) France, (b) Germany and (c) the US. [128939]

Mr. Denham: We estimate that between 1,700 and 1,800 people in England are currently receiving beta interferon on the National Health Service, equivalent to around 3 per cent. of all patients with multiple sclerosis in England.

We understand that the percentage of patients with multiple sclerosis receiving beta interferon in France and Germany respectively is 12 per cent. and 13 per cent.

We do not held information for the United States of America.

PFI Contracts

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average length of time is between (a) the completion of the outline business case and the signing of the final contract and (b) the publication in the Official Journal of the European Community and the signing of the final contract, where applicable, of private finance initiative contracts for hospitals. [130254]

Mr. Denham: The dates for approval of the outline business case, the notice in the Official Journal of the European Community and the signing of the final contract for the major private finance initiative hospital schemes (capital value over £25 million) are shown in the table.

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NHS trustOBC approval dateOJEC notice dateSigning of final contract
BromleyMarch 1995September 1995November 1998
Norfolk and NorwichJanuary 1995February 1995January 1998
HerefordJanuary 1995June 1995April 1999
GreenwichApril 1995March 1995July 1998
South ManchesterMarch 1994April 1995December 1998
Barnet and Chase Farm (Wellhouse)December 1995February 1995February 1999
CarlisleJanuary 1994January 1996November 1997
CalderdaleDecember 1994July 1995July 1998
Dartford and GraveshamMarch 1995September 1995July 1997
South BuckinghamshireSeptember 1994January 1995December 1997
North DurhamJanuary 1994December 1994March 1998
South TeesOctober 1994March 1995August 1998
South Durham (Bishop Auckland)January 1994December 1994May 1999
WorcesterJune 1995July 1995March 1999
Swindon and MarlboroughDecember 1993October 1994October 1999
King'sJuly 1995September 1995December 1999
St. George'sDecember 1995March 1996March 2000
Leeds CommunityJanuary 1996October 1996March 2000

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Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if private finance initiative was considered for the Rochdale, Royal Berkshire, Central Sheffield and the Guys and St. Thomas hospital projects. [130249]

Mr. Denham: The private finance initiative was considered for each of the above hospital projects. In each case it was found that the publicly funded option offered the better solution.

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