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Children's Services

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish new guidance for planning children's services. [134402]

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.

Stakeholder Pensions

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to offer NHS employees a stakeholder pension. [134373]

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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and a stakeholder pension scheme of their choice. We will encourage NHS employers to facilitate this through payroll deductions.

Drug Users

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the proportion of hard-drug users who began by using soft drugs. [134956]

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.

Mixed-sex Wards

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list the hospitals in England and Wales which have eliminated mixed-sex wards since May 1997; [134952]

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.

Matters for Wales are for the devolved administration.

Hospitals (Building Costs)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average overall cost is of building (a) a community hospital and (b) a general hospital. [134955]

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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.

NHS Direct

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. [134958]

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.

Feeding Stuffs Regulations

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the new feeding stuffs regulations. [134787]

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.

Hospital Services (Worcestershire)

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. [134476]

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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.

Prescriptions

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. [135729]

Mr. Denham: The Statutory arrangements for prescribing incentive schemes make no provision for imposing 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; [135707]

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.

Primary Care Investment Plans

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library copies of the current primary care investment plans for each primary care group in Dorset. [135708]

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Mr. Denham: The information requested will be placed in the Library.

Primary Care Groups

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; [135726]

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.

Patients of Unrestricted Principals and Equivalents(4) aged 65 plus within Dorset HA for 1 October 1998 and 1999 and selected Primary Care Groups at 1 October 1999

TotalAged 65 plus
1998
Dorset Health Authority707,128155,219
Number of partnerships in Dorset HA108--
1999
Dorset Health Authority701,763153,540
Number of partnerships in Dorset HA110--
1999--Primary Care Groups
Christchurch PCG50,98514,409
North East Dorset PCG64,38916,398
Number of partnerships:
Christchurch PCG8--
North East Dorset PCG10--

(4) UPEs include Unrestricted Principals, PMS Contracted GPs and PMS Salaried GPs.

Source:

Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.



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