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Audiology Services

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made by the review into hearing aid and audiology services; and when he will receive the report of the review. [101142]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 2 December 1999]: The National Health Service Executive established a working group to take a closer look at hearing aid services and the part they play in a modern NHS. Ways of developing hearing aid services are currently being considered.

Childline

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Childline; and if he will make a statement. [100945]

Mr. Hutton: The Department is committed to ensuring that voluntary organisations in receipt of section 64 funding gain maximum benefit from this financial support. The Department constantly keeps under review grants awarded, to check that the voluntary organisations such as Childline are performing effectively and the grants continue to take forward departmental policy priorities and objectives.

As part of this process, during the autumn of 1997, Childline had a routine but in depth inspection by the Department. The report was extremely positive, describing Childline as a significant national organisation. The monitoring, evaluation and review arrangements attached to grants received by voluntary organisations such as Childline, requires them to provide us with an annual report on the way the Department's funding has been used. The report gives a detailed account of what has been achieved during the preceding financial year.

Over its 10-year existence, Childline's achievements have been considerable. In particular, the agency has identified a previously largely unrecognised need; established a unique non-statutory service shaped from the start by children themselves in the way they used the service and the needs they expressed; built a good reputation becoming well respected and credible in the field; and maintained a very clear image to the public through the purity and consistency of its focus.

Cancer Treatment

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the (a) number of patients to be

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treated, (b) number of beds, (c) number of consultant surgeons and (d) revenue budget for the financial year 2000-01 for (i) the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and (ii) the Christie Hospital in Manchester. [101492]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not yet available. The National Health Service trusts responsible for the Royal Marsden and the Christie Hospitals are currently developing plans but are unable to give estimates due to the number of variable factors which will affect forecasts this far in advance.

Long-term Care

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish the Government's response to the report of the Royal Commission on long-term care. [101351]

Mr. Hutton: I refer my hon. Friend to the announcement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to the House on 2 December 1999, Official Report, columns 444-54.

Nurses

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS trusts have awarded the 12 per cent. pay rise to newly qualified nurses. [101355]

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

All National Health Service bodies employing nurses on national contracts should have implemented the pay scales set out in Advance Letter (NM) 1/99 issued to the service on the 8 April 1999.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial incentives he has evaluated for E-grade nurses, ward sisters and charge nurses. [101356]

Mr. Denham: This year nurses got their biggest real terms pay rise for 10 years, and for the first time in five years the award is being paid in full without staging. Most E grade nurses, ward sisters and charge nurses received a 4.7 per cent. increase in basic pay.

Our proposals for modernising the National Health Service pay system were outlined in "Agenda for Change" published on 15 February 1999. Our aim is for a new pay system which properly rewards responsibility, competence and performance. For nurses these changes will mean a new career structure to replace the current clinical grades, which will provide better career progression and fairer rewards for developing new skills, taking on extended roles and team working. This is under active discussion with the trades unions.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he will take to stop experienced nurses from leaving the NHS. [101357]

Mr. Denham: The human resources framework "Working Together" sets out the Government's determination to improve the quality of working lives for all staff in the National Health Service and requires NHS employers to improve retention rates for all health professional staff. "Making A Difference" sets out a new

6 Dec 1999 : Column: 445W

vision for the future of nursing in the new NHS to ensure that nurses are able to develop satisfying and rewarding careers, including the introduction of nurse consultant posts. Significant progress has already been made to improve pay, tackle racism and inequality and create safe and healthy work places.

In September this year, Ministers launched a £1 million campaign called "Improving Working Lives in the NHS" as part of our wider agenda on supporting the family. Each region has appointed a high profile champion to lead a multi disciplinary task force to introduce more flexible and family friendly policies in the NHS. The "Improving Working Lives Champion" for Chorley is Kath Holbourn, Director of Nursing, Leighton Hospital, Middlewich Road, Crewe and can be contacted on 01270 612 351.

Medicines

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he intends to take in order to stop the practice of making medicines available by postcode area. [101358]

Mr. Denham: We have said many times we recognise and will tackle unacceptable variations in access to care and treatment. That is why we have set up the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE will reduce post-code variations by issuing authoritative national guidance based on evidence of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of treatments.

Primary Care

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he will issue guidelines setting out which services primary care trusts will manage; [101411]

Mr. Denham: Only Level 4 primary care trusts will be permitted to directly provide primary health care services. The range and nature of these services will be defined individually, by the outcome of local consultation. PCTs will not be able to provide acute services; however, a key part of their role will be to commission these services from a secondary care provider. As existing guidance ("Primary Care Trusts: Establishing Better Services") states, PCTs will adopt the commissioning role previously employed by Health Authorities.

Guidance on the establishment, preparatory period and functions of PCTs is currently being prepared and will be issued in late December. This will further outline the PCT role in commissioning and developing community health services.

Care Homes

Mr. Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were employed in England's care homes and day centres (a) in each of the past 20 years, (b) on 1 May 1997, (c) on 9 March 1998 and (d) on the most recent date for which figures are available. [101310]

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Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not available centrally. Information is available on people employed by local authority social services care homes and day centres. The table sets out the whole time equivalent for staff employed in England's care homes and day centres on 30 September of each year since 1979.

Local authority personal social services staff employed in day centres and residential care homes on 30 September, 1979 to 1998
England Whole time equivalents

Staff of day centresStaff of residential care homes
197911,35680,734
198012,10382,516
198112,78183,117
198213,52283,611
198314,46885,413
198415,03585,058
198515,68085,456
198616,38386,694
198717,76688,242
198818,44088,496
198919,42388,285
199019,72087,858
199120,22083,001
199220,86478,918
199321,59174,048
199422,50472,155
199522,48868,650
199623,13967,973
199723,09265,422
199823,17062,146

Source:

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