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Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of adult patients received no help with dental charges under the health benefits scheme in the latest year for which figures are available; 
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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 7 February 2001]: The available information is for courses of treatment in the general dental services. 75 per cent. of adult courses of treatment attracted the full patient charge up to the maximum limit in 1999-2000 in England. The corresponding percentages for (a) patients aged 60 years and over and (b) adults aged under 60 years were 82 per cent. and 73 per cent. respectively.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average charge for a course of dental treatment is for (a) patients aged 60 and over and (b) adult patients aged under 60 years, who do not receive help through the health benefits scheme; 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 7 February 2001]: For patients paying the full patient charge up to the maximum limit for dental treatment in the general dental services, the average charge for a course of treatment was £21.82 in 1999-2000 in England.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many adult patients received courses of treatment for which they met the full charge with no help from the health benefits scheme in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 7 February 2001]: The available information is for courses of treatment in the general dental services. For patients who pay the full patient charge up to the maximum limit, the number of courses of treatment is shown in the table for the years 1991-92 to 1999-2000 for England.
|Year||Courses of treatment(7)|
(7) The number of courses of treatment includes a few correction records.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received from the victims of Richard Neale; and what plans he has to hold a public inquiry into this case. 
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Mr. Hutton: We have received several representations recently requesting a public inquiry into the case of Richard Neale. It is clear that there needs to be a full and independent review to examine past events and ensure that all relevant lessons are learned. I anticipate that this would be led by an independent chairman with appropriately qualified and experienced expert panel members. The panel would hear evidence from a wide range of individuals, including Neale's former patients or their relatives.
However, the Chief Medical Officer is not yet in a position to take this further, until the position on police referral and civil litigation is clearer. In the meantime, the matter is being kept under very active review, and appropriate steps to initiate an independent review will be taken as soon as they can be.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to review the recommended response times of ambulances to different categories of emergency calls; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Stuart: Targets, supported by evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness, have been set for all 999 and urgent ambulance calls. Category A calls which may be immediately life-threatening should be responded to within eight minutes irrespective of location in 75 per cent. of cases by 31 March 2001. All other calls should be responded to within 14 minutes in urban areas and 19 minutes in rural areas in 95 per cent. of cases.
Clinical evidence suggests that achievement of the 75 per cent. milestone could save 1,800 lives each year in people under 75 years of age suffering heart attacks. National Health Service ambulance trusts are improving their response times. We are determined that every NHS ambulance trust must achieve the 75 per cent. milestone as quickly as possible. 75 per cent. is an achievable milestone and further progress will be one of the things considered in the context of future developments in NHS emergency care.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many emergency calls for ambulances were received (a) nationally, (b) in each shire county and (c) in Gloucestershire in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Stuart: Information about emergency calls for each National Health Service ambulance trust and nationally in each of the last five years is contained in Table 3 of the Department of Health Statistical Bulletin "Ambulance Services, England 1999-2000". A copy is in the Library and available at www.doh.gov.uk/public/sb0014.htm.
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Mr. Hutton: The diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome forms part of the training curriculum for all paediatric specialists. Specialists involved in the diagnosis include paediatric endocrinologists and geneticists as well as developmental or neurological specialist paediatricians.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with health authorities about the diagnosis and treatment of children with Prader-Willi syndrome; what NHS funding is available for the diagnosis and treatment of such children; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is usually diagnosed within the community child health services. The process of diagnosis can be a long one, as it may take some time of observation and multidisciplinary assessment to distinguish from other developmental or behavioural problems.
Records of expenditure relating specifically to children suffering from PWS are not available centrally. Packages of care reflecting the child's individual needs are drawn up locally with parents, specialist clinicians and other agencies.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the sickness levels are in the ambulance service in (a) the UK, (b) Gloucestershire and (c) all shire counties; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Stuart: The average sickness absence rate for staff directly employed by national health service ambulance trusts in 1999 was 6.6 per cent. Figures for each individual NHS ambulance trust are shown in the table. We have set national improvement targets for health authorities and NHS trusts to reduce sickness absence rates by 20 per cent. by 2001 and 30 per cent. by 2003.
|NHS Ambulance trust name||Percentage|
|Avon Ambulance Service NHS Trust||7.6|
|Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance and Paramedic NHS Trust||5.5|
|Cumbria Ambulance Service NHS Trust||6.6|
|Dorset Ambulance Service NHS Trust||6.9|
|East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust||8.2|
|East Midlands Ambulance NHS Trust||10.0|
|Essex Ambulance Service NHS Trust||4.3|
|Gloucestershire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||6.9|
|Greater Manchester Ambulance Service NHS Trust||6.0|
|Hampshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||7.8|
|Hereford and Worcester Ambulance Service NHS Trust||5.9|
|Kent Ambulance NHS Trust||7.0|
|Lancashire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||5.0|
|London Ambulance Service NHS Trust||7.8|
|Mersey Regional Ambulance Service NHS Trust||6.6|
|North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust||6.7|
|Oxfordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||3.6|
|Royal Berkshire Ambulance NHS Trust||3.3|
|South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance and Paramedic NHS Trust||8.0|
|Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||7.4|
|Surrey Ambulance Service NHS Trust||7.0|
|Sussex Ambulance Service NHS Trust||7.0|
|The Two Shires Ambulance NHS Trust||5.5|
|Warwickshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||7.3|
|West Country Ambulance Service NHS Trust||6.4|
|West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust||5.8|
|West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service NHS Trust||3.1|
|Wiltshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust||4.1|
Excludes Lincolnshire Ambulance and Health Transport Service and Tees East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS trusts
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