Previous Section Index Home Page

Kashmiri Refugees (Pakistan)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department provides for Kashmiri refugees in Pakistan. [102495]

Clare Short: We are not currently providing any assistance for these refugees, but would be willing to consider doing so if a suitable channel for our funds could be identified. At present, neither the UN High Commissioner for Refugees nor the International Committee of the Red Cross is operating on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control.

So far as bilateral assistance is concerned, our freedom and ability to operate effectively is constrained by the difficult security and other circumstances which prevail there. However, two British non-governmental organisations have been assessing the humanitarian needs in the region, and we await their reports.


National Burn Care Review

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the terms of reference are of the National Burn Care Review. [100497]

Mr. Denham: This is a professionally led review being carried out by the British Burn Association. Copies of the terms of reference have been placed in the Library.

Primary Care

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he will give to primary care groups to ensure that they apply a policy of equal opportunities in their planning and service delivery. [101612]

Mr. Denham: As sub-committees of a health authority, primary care groups are bound to follow the guidelines and legislation set out in respect to equal opportunities. Existing health authority guidance states that services must be equitable, both in terms of accessibility and range, in order to ensure that high standards of care exist across the entire National Health Service.

13 Dec 1999 : Column: 51W

Primary care trust guidance will be issued shortly, which emphasises PCTs' responsibility to promote equality of opportunity in their treatment of staff and the provision of services to the whole community.

Nursing Vacancies

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) nursing vacancies and (b) hard to fill nursing vacancies there are, broken down by region. [101611]

Mr. Denham: The available information is contained in the table.

Department of Health recruitment, retention and vacancies survey Vacancies in NHS Trusts by region; all nursing staff, including midwifery, as at 31 March 1999
whole time equivalents

Qualified nurses
Total vacancies (11)3 month vacancies (12)
England total14,9506,820
Northern and Yorkshire1,040390
West Midlands1,530700
North West1,640680
South East2,6201,450
South West1,020350

whole time equivalents

Unqualified nurses
Total vacancies (11)3 month vacancies (12)
England total1,170360
Northern and Yorkshire12040
West Midlands12030
North West12030
South East300130
South West10020

whole time equivalents

All nurses
Total vacancies (11)3 month vacancies (12)
England total16,1207,180
Northern and Yorkshire1,170420
West Midlands1,650740
North West1,760710
South East2,9101,570
South West1,120360

(11) Posts that Trusts were actively trying to fill at 31 March 1999.

(12) Posts that had been vacant for 3 months or more at 31 March 1999.


Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.


Department of Health Recruitment, Retention and Vacancies Survey 1999

13 Dec 1999 : Column: 52W

Hospital Beds

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was (a) the minimum and (b) the maximum occupancy of intensive care and high dependency beds (i) at the Royal Bolton Hospital and (ii) in each region of England during the winter months of 1998-99. [101676]

Mr. Denham: Available information is the average daily number of available and occupied beds by ward type for each National Health Service Trust. This is published annually in "Bed Availability and Occupancy, England", copies of which are available in the Library. However, as wards classified as "intensive care" may contain high dependency beds and general beds, we have piloted a new census focusing specifically on adult intensive care and high dependency beds. We expect to publish the results shortly.

Runwell Medium Secure Unit

Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to close Runwell Medium Secure Unit, Essex; and if he will make a statement. [101734]

Mr. Hutton: Southend Community Care Services National Health Service trust is preparing plans for the reprovision of all services currently on the Runwell Hospital site, including the Medium Secure Unit.

Care Homes

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many professional care workers, care assistants and registered nurses there are in England caring for the elderly outside the NHS. [101897]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not available centrally. For directly employed local authority care workers, I refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 24 November 1999, Official Report, column 144W. Information is not available on staff working in the independent and voluntary sector or on nursing staff employed by local authorities.


Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many registered nurses practising outside the NHS have been struck off the national register held by the UK Central Council for Nurses and Midwives and have subsequently been reinstated; and in what time period this reinstatement occurred since the creation of the UK Central Council for Nurses and Midwives for all disciplinary issues and cases involving care of the elderly. [101902]

Mr. Denham: The national register held by the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting does not distinguish between those nurses practising outside the National Health Service and those practising within it.

Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the Government's policy towards treatment for Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy. [102093]

13 Dec 1999 : Column: 53W

Mr. Hutton: Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP), also known as Factitious Illness by Proxy, is a form of abuse, usually perpetrated against a child. The term refers to a complex range of behaviours in which a person deliberately produces or feigns physical or psychological symptoms in another person who is under the individual's care. Typically the victim is a young child and the perpetrator is the child's mother.

We recognise that suspected cases of MSBP are among the most difficult and demanding areas of activity for paediatricians and other professional groups devoted to child care and protection.

The professionals involved are best placed to decide on the most appropriate means of determining whether MSBP is at issue and, if so, how to act in the best interests of the child and the carer throughout any intervention.

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients in the Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust area have waited more than 18 months for treatment; [101941]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 9 December 1999]: As a result of work carried out to review waiting lists and tighten procedures, a number of patients at Mid Essex Hospital Services National Health Service Trust have been identified as waiting over 18 months for treatment as at the end of November 1999.

The figures for November 1999 are not due to be published until the week commencing 10 January 2000. However, Mid Essex Hospital Services National Health Service Trust, in conjunction with the North Essex Health Authority and the Eastern Regional Office, are taking steps to ensure that patients identified as waiting over 18 months are treated as soon as possible.

Next Section Index Home Page