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Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much his Department spent on the treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications in each of the last three years, expressed (a) in absolute terms and (b) as a proportion of the total NHS budget; [102575]

Mr. Denham: We do not collect data in a way that enables us to distinguish the amount spent on the treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications. Owing to the complications, acute and chronic, which may arise

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from diabetes, it would be a very complex task to derive the precise expenditure for diabetes. Nor do we currently collect information that would enable us to compare the performance of diabetic clinics.

As part of our programme to build a fairer and more modern National Health Service, we have launched national service frameworks to drive up quality, and reduce unacceptable variations in key service areas. My noble Friend the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath announced last week the commencement of work on a national service framework for diabetes. We would expect that the issues relating to the costs, and to the cost-effectiveness, of care provision for diabetes and its complications will become clearer as part of this work.

We shall publish the diabetes national service framework in 2001. It will set national standards, define service models and put in place strategies to support implementation, delivery and monitoring of performance.

Prescription Pricing Authority

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the Prescription Pricing Authority will resume paying actual prices of drugs to pharmacies; [102641]

Ms Stuart: The Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA) is due to finish processing September dispensed prescriptions by 5 January 2000. At that point the backlog will consist of October and November dispensing--around 88 million prescriptions.

Pharmacies are being reimbursed the appropriate amount by the PPA, but to a later timetable than normal. In the interim, pharmacies are paid an estimated amount each month at the time they would normally have been paid.

The PPA has increased overtime working, recruited additional staff and re-engineered computer systems to speed up the data entry process. All these actions are helping to alleviate the problem, but more needs to be done. We are currently looking at a range of options to enable the PPA to return to its normal timescales of processing prescriptions and to deal with the backlog of prescriptions.

GPs (Bolton, South-East)

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners have (a) practised, (b) retired and (c) been appointed in the Bolton, South-East constituency in each of the last three years; and how many of them worked in single doctor practices. [102763]

Mr. Denham: The published data relate to the number of unrestricted principals and equivalents in Wigan and Bolton Health Authority. However, they do not separately identify the constituency of Bolton, South-East.

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The information relating to Wigan and Bolton is as follows:

Unrestricted Principals and Equivalents (UPES)287290290
UPEs in single handed practices605957
Newly appointed UPEs13118
Newly appointed UPEs in single handed practices300


1. There are no figures available for the number of UPEs retiring.

2. UPEs includes restricted principals, PMS Contracted GPs and PMS salaried GPs.

3. Figures relate to UPEs in post at 1 October each year. Newly appointed UPEs are those appointed since 1 October of the previous year to the list of the health authority.

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 13 December 1999, Official Report, column 53W, on Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust, for what reason he was unable to specify the exact number of patients who had waited more than 18 months for treatment in the Middlesex Hospital Trust area on 9 December. [103117]

Mr. Denham: The last published figures for waiting times are those for October 1999. These show that, at the end of October 1999, no patients waited over 18 months for treatment at Mid Essex Hospital Services National Health Services Trust.

The next published figures will be those for November 1999, due to be published in the week commencing 10 January 2000. Until these figures are published, no centrally collected and validated figures are available.

Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to publish the third report to Parliament on the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. [103540]

Ms Stuart: The Third Report to Parliament on the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) was published today. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

The PPRS: Third Report to Parliament covers both the operation of the 1993 PPRS until it ended in September 1999, and the introduction of the new scheme from October 1999. It provides an insight into the running of the PPRS; reports on considerations taken into account by the Government in formulating the 1999 PPRS; and describes the principal features of the new scheme, including the benefits expected to arise from it for the National Health Service and the British pharmaceutical industry.

Physiotherapists and Physical Therapists

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received concerning protection of the job titles of physiotherapist and physical therapist; and if he will make a statement. [103230]

Mr. Denham: Since 21 September 1999, my right hon. Friend the Secretary for State has received 50 representations about the protection of the job titles of physiotherapist and physical therapist.

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We have accepted the recommendations of an independent review of The Professions Supplementary to Medicine Legislation, including that common titles should be protected. The titles to be protected will be the subject of consultation.


Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire will receive a substantive reply to his letter of 4 November. [103088]

Ms Stuart: My right hon. Friend will reply as soon as possible.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire's letters of 23 August regarding Mrs. G. Hague, and 29 September regarding Mr. P. Hodgson. [102798]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 14 December 1999]: I replied to the hon. Member's letter of 23 August regarding his constituent, Mrs. Hague, on 14 December. I replied to the hon. Member's letter of 29 September regarding his constituent Mr. P Hodson on 16 December.

CE Marking

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that local government social services departments establish traceability systems for medical devices registered for CE marking. [R] [103094]

Mr. Hutton: All medical devices when first placed on the market have to be CE marked by the manufacturer or supplier to demonstrate they are safe to use and conform with the requirements of the Medical Devices Regulations. These Regulations are enforced by the Medical Devices Agency (MDA). The MDA distributed the good practice guide "Medical Device and Equipment Management for Hospital and Community-based Organisations" to the National Health Service and social services in January 1998. This included guidance on record-keeping for good equipment management, including the tracing of products. This guidance was referred to in the later publication "Good Practice in Disability Equipment Services", which was commissioned by the Department from the Disabled Living Centres Council and distributed to the NHS and to social services in October 1998.


Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses employed in the NHS have their salary paid for by (a) a commercial organisation and (b) sponsorship. [R] [103091]

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

Patient Policing

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to allow doctors and hospitals to withdraw life-sustaining food and water from patients; and if he will make a statement. [103599]

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Ms Stuart: Food and fluids should always be offered to patients who are capable of swallowing them. Where nutrition and hydration have to be provided by artificial means, their possible withdrawal is in all cases a matter of clinical judgment which is undertaken in accordance with professional advice provided by a responsible and recognised body of medical opinion and the general law.

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