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Mr. Hutton: Draft new guidance on planning services for vulnerable children was issued for consultation in April 2000. The broad thrust of the guidance that planning for vulnerable children should be conducted by the whole Council with Health and other partners was welcomed. We are now working with the Children and Young People's Unit and others to produce non-statutory "good practice" guidance on planning children's services as soon as possible.
Mr. Denham: We expect that National Health Service employers will be exempt from the requirement to provide Stakeholder Pensions. The NHS already has an excellent occupational pension scheme. However, scheme members, earning £30,000 or less, will be eligible to make concurrent contributions to both the NHS pension scheme
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Yvette Cooper: This information is not collected centrally. However, research shows that virtually all young heroin users have used other drugs earlier in their lives. Research also shows that almost all young heroin users have been regular heavy smokers.
Mr. Denham: At the moment, information on which hospitals in England have eliminated mixed sex accommodation is not available, as data are collected on a health authority basis. However, the National Health Service Executive is currently undertaking a monitoring exercise to find out which NHS trusts have achieved our objectives in this area and what remains to be done in those places which have not. The results of the monitoring results will be available in due course.
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Mr. Denham: Each hospital development is unique, reflecting local requirements and circumstances. We are therefore unable to give an average overall cost. The capital value would be dependent on many factors, such as location, with the land and construction costs varying considerably, with inner London prices at over 25 per cent. higher than in many other parts of the country. Other factors include the geography and nature of the site chosen, and whether it is new build on an existing hospital site, a greenfield site or a major refurbishment project.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the reduction of burdens on other parts of the National Health Service since the introduction of National Health Service Direct. 
Ms Stuart: NHS Direct has not been set up to merely reduce demand on other health services. It is about making sure that patients get to the right service at the right time, and giving people re-assuring clinical advice so that they can look after themselves if that is the appropriate thing to do.
Sheffield University's 2nd independent report on NHS Direct reconfirmed the levels of patient satisfaction and suggested that the introduction of NHS Direct was associated with halting an upward trend in demand for out-of-hours general practice.
Data from those NHS Direct sites that handle calls on behalf of a general practitioner co-operatives also show that NHS Direct has been able to reduce demand on out-of-hours services. NHS Direct routinely handles 50 per cent. of calls to GP Co-operatives without the need to refer patients to the out-of-hours doctor.
Ms Stuart: The Feeding Stuffs Regulations 2000 for England have been made and came into force on 29 October 2000. The Regulations incorporate a number of European Commission Directives covering the labelling of feed materials and feed additives and improved procedures for the authorisation of new additives. The status of additives, such as vitamins and trace elements, used outside of feeding stuffs has not been changed by this legislation. Discussions are currently taking place with the European Commission on the best way to control this long standing practice, which occurs in all member states, without adversely affecting the welfare of farm animals.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the implications for hospital services in the county of the projected overspend of Worcestershire County Council's Social Services Department. 
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Yvette Cooper [holding answer 26 October 2000]: Worcestershire Health Authority, Acute Trust and Social Services Department are working hard to address any potential risks to hospital services arising from the social services overspend.
The acute trust has reported that there are currently fewer patients awaiting discharge than earlier in the year as a result of improved use of community beds and social services support. Health and social services are working together on any residual risk to ensure their winter plans meet demand over the winter. Social services have reinstated a number of care packages for the elderly.
£1 million was transferred from county council to the adult services budget following committee approval in September, to reduce hospital delayed transfers. Additional winter funding of £550,000 has been allocated to Worcestershire Health Authority, and is also targeted at delayed transfers.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what sanctions are available under the prescribing incentive scheme for use against a practice which fails to meet the budget for prescribing set by the Primary Care Group; and what rights of appeal there are against such sanctions. 
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will set out in respect of each general practitioner practice within the North East Dorset Primary Care Group (a) the prescribing budget, (b) the indicative amount for prescribing under section 18(1) of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 and (c) the target budget for prescribing calculated in accordance with the prescribing incentive schemes directions 1998 and 2000 for the years (i) 1998-99, (ii) 1999-2000 and (iii) 2000-01; 
(3) what payments have been made to practices within the Christchurch and North East Dorset primary care groups under prescribing incentive schemes. 
Mr. Denham: The information requested is not collected by the Department. The hon. Member may wish to contact Major General Richard Keightley CB, Chair of Dorset Health Authority for information on this subject.
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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients were registered in (a) 1998-99, (b) 1999-2000 and (c) 2000-01 with each GP practice within the North East Dorset Primary Care Group; and what proportion of patients are of pensionable age in each case; 
Mr. Denham: The number of patients registered with general practitioner practices in Dorset Health Authority in 1998-99 and in Christchurch and North East Dorset Primary Care Groups in 2000 is shown in the table. It is not possible to provide the information on an individual partnership basis or to identify the number of female patients aged 60 to 65.
|Total||Aged 65 plus|
|Dorset Health Authority||707,128||155,219|
|Number of partnerships in Dorset HA||108||--|
|Dorset Health Authority||701,763||153,540|
|Number of partnerships in Dorset HA||110||--|
|1999--Primary Care Groups|
|North East Dorset PCG||64,389||16,398|
|Number of partnerships:|
|North East Dorset PCG||10||--|
(4) UPEs include Unrestricted Principals, PMS Contracted GPs and PMS Salaried GPs.
Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.
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