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Care Workers

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will establish a national register for (a) care workers and (b) care assistants dealing with the elderly. [98513]

Mr. Hutton: We will establish the General Social Care Council by statute. We intend that the Council will be able to register social care staff on the basis of their having successfully completed a period of approved training and other evidence of their fitness to work with the general public.

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints his Department has received in the last five years about (a) care workers, (b) care assistants and (c) registered nurses dealing with the elderly. [98472]

Mr. Hutton: The Department receives a few letters each year complaining about people who care for the elderly. Responsibility for investigating complaints rests with the relevant regulatory authority and complaints received by the Department are referred to them. The Department does not, therefore, maintain a database of complaints.

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However, the Registration and Inspection Survey for 1996-97 is able to provide some information about the number of complaints about adult residential care for the local authority and independent sector. There were a total of 4,249 complaints--3,133 of these required substantial investigation.

The United Kingdom Central Council publishes information about complaints about nurses in its annual reports.

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) professional care workers, (b) care assistants and (c) registered nurses there are in England who are exclusively occupied with the elderly. [98470]

Mr. Hutton: Information on the number of care and nursing staff exclusively occupied with the elderly in England is not held centrally. In 1998, the latest year for which information is available, there was a total of 33,000 directly-employed local authority care workers (including care assistants) in England mainly caring for elderly people in residential and day care settings. The whole time equivalent number of staff was 21,400. In addition, the table shows the information available from National Health Service hospital and community health services.

NHS Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): All acute, elderly and general care assistants and qualified nurses, in England as at 30 September 1998

Whole time equivalent staffNumber of staff
Health care assistants11,89014,020
Support worker11,76016,810
Total Qualified Nursing staff131,270161,980
Registered Sick children's nurse460600
Other 1st level113,980139,070
Other 2nd level14,51019,870


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest ten

2. Due to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts

3. Figures exclude learners and agency staff


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census

Mortality Rates

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the mortality rates for each category of operations at each NHS hospital in the latest year for which figures are available. [98498]

Mr. Denham: Earlier this year the Department published a range of clinical indicators including hospital death rates, with the aim of allowing National Health Service organisations to explore their position relative to other similar organisations and investigate differences.

Recommendations for potential future indicators have been made in a recent series of commissioned Health Outcome Indicator reports, including some further mortality indicators. The Public Health Development Unit of the NHS Executive is now discussing these recommendations with policy colleagues, and hopes to publish further operation specific indicators in the next publication, due in spring/summer 2000.

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Subject to consultation and approval these operation specific indicators may include further mortality rate indicators, than those already published in June 1999. However this may not be possible until the 2000-01 publication.

Copies of the clinical indicators are available in the Library and on the internet.

Mixed Sex Wards

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many psychiatric units in the Greater London area have mixed sex wards. [98452]

Mr. Hutton: The information is not available in the format requested because data are collected by health authorities.

The results of the latest monitoring report (as at September 1998) on our commitment to working towards the elimination of mixed sex accommodation indicate that the following percentages of health authorities in the London region expect to have achieved our objective of providing safe facilities for the mentally ill by these dates:

    73 per cent. of health authorities by the end of 2000;

    100 per cent. of health authorities by the end of 2002.

Care Costs

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the cumulative annual savings in publicly provided formal care if morbidity rates are reduced by (a) 0.25 per cent. per annum, (b) 0.5 per cent. per annum, (c) 0.75 per cent. per annum and (d) 1 per cent. per annum by (i) 2005, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2021 and (iv) 2031. [98509]

Mr. Hutton: The Department does not make estimates of savings that may arise if morbidity rates decline. The Department commissioned the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics to conduct a study of future demand for long-term care for elderly people. The research team has made projections of expenditure on long-term care for elderly people under different assumptions about future trends in dependency. These can be found in the report of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care and in a report by the PSSRU on Demand for Long-Term Care, copies of which are available in the Library.

Insulin (Drivers)

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what evidence the Government have based their conclusion that drivers using insulin are less safe than others. [98828]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 22 November 1999]: I have been asked to reply.

The driving licence treatment of those with diabetes treated by insulin is based primarily on European legislation--the Second Driving Licence Directive (91/439/EEC). This provided for licensing restrictions on those with insulin-treated diabetes, in particular in respect of driving heavier vehicles, based on risks associated with insulin treatment. This can lead to a hypoglycaemic attack which in turn can lead to loss of consciousness without warning. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

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receive information from the police and other sources each month, about, on average, 10 collapses at the wheel attributable to a hypoglycaemic attack. The Advisory Panel on Diabetes and Driving have indicated that the risk of loss of consciousness without warning in any one individual cannot be predicted. They have therefore consistently advised against granting licences to drive the largest vehicles to insulin-treated diabetics. There has been a bar on granting licences to drive large lorries and buses since 1991; this bar was extended to small lorries and minibuses in 1997 on implementation of the Second Driving Licence Directive, as a result of aligning the licensing of such vehicles with the requirements of the Directive.


Child Abduction

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the most recent meeting of the Parent/Carer Child Abduction Co-ordinating Group took place; and what subjects were discussed. [98730]

Jane Kennedy: The Parent/Carer Child Abduction Coordinating Group met on 19 October 1999. Subjects discussed were: embarkation control; endorsement of passports; child abduction prevention packs; and legal aid.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the consideration being given to the Parent/Carer Child Abduction Co-ordinating Group to the question of what information should be included on children's passports. [98731]

Jane Kennedy: No. The endorsement of passports is receiving consideration by the Parent/Carer Child Abduction Coordinating Group. The Group will provide advice to the relevant Ministers on the subject as and when appropriate.

Target Setting

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many targets have been agreed between the Lord Chancellor's Department and (i) local authorities and (ii) other bodies apart from the Lord Chancellor's Department's own agencies and non-departmental bodies since May 1997. [99477]

Mr. Lock: (i) None (ii) Six targets have been set for Magistrates' Court Committees for the 1999-2000 financial year and further targets will be set for 2000-01. The Law Society and the Legal Services Ombudsman have one and two targets respectively.

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