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Hospital Beds (Leicestershire)

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the number of hospital beds in Leicestershire. [149981]

Yvette Cooper: The NHS plan provides for a total of 7,000 extra beds nationally by 2004, including 2,100 on general and acute wards--the first increase of its kind for 30 years--and around 5,000 extra intermediate care beds. Within this expanded bedstock, there will also be a 30 per cent. increase in adult critical care beds over the next three years.

In 2000, Leicestershire health and social care community received an additional £2.7 million, specifically to help ease winter pressures. As a direct result, Leicestershire now has an additional 21 general and acute beds, 21 more intermediate care beds and four extra critical care beds compared with this time last year.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in the House on 15 February that Leicestershire's strategic outline case for the reconfiguration of its acute services had been given the go-ahead. This £286 million capital scheme will provide a further 320 beds in Leicestershire by 2009, making a total of 2,545. This figure is in line with recommendations in the national beds inquiry.

Hospital Treatments (Leicestershire)

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) in-patients and (b) out-patients were treated in Leicestershire in each year between 1992-93 and the most recent year for which figures are available. [149979]

Yvette Cooper: The tables show the total number of finished consultant in-patient episodes (FCEs) for patients treated in Leicestershire health authority for each year between 1992-93 and 1999-2000 and also the total

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number of outpatient attendances and first outpatient attendances for patients in Leicestershire health authority for each of the same years.

Table 1



1. Figures for 1992-93 to 1996-97 are grossed for coverage.

2. 1997-98 to 1999-2000 figures are ungrossed.

An FCE is defined as a period of patient care under one consultant in one health care provider. The figures do not represent the number of patients, as one person may have several episodes within the year.


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health

Table 2

Year Total attendancesTotal first attendances


Figures are taken from the annual Korner return KH09 'Consultant outpatient attendance activity'

"Outpatients and ward attenders for England", a copy of which is placed in the Library, contains information for individual NHS trusts along with summary tables for England. The returns are made on a financial year basis and the latest year for which data are available is 1999-2000.

Policy and Strategy Units

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his strategic planning unit was established; which of its reports are placed in the public domain; how many departmental or non-departmental special advisers participate in its work; how many regular (a) non- departmental and (b) departmental staff participate in its work; and how many of these work for the unit on a full-time basis. [150372]

Ms Stuart: The strategy unit was established in February 2000. It works with Ministers, special advisers and officials to produce internal policy advice. It has six full-time staff, four of whom are permanent civil servants and two who were recruited externally. Special advisers participate in the work of the Department in line with the model contract for special advisers.

Christchurch Health Centre

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 29 January 2001, Official Report, column 50W, on Christchurch Health Centre, if there was a

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reserve placed upon the value of the long lease when it was offered at auction; and if he will give instructions for the lease to be sold without reserve. [151517]

Ms Stuart: A reserve price was placed on the property when it was offered for sale by auction.

Due to the nature of the property and the restrictive leasehold terms on which it is held, the professional advisers have recommended that terms should be negotiated for the release of the restrictions and then the property marketed by private treaty rather than by auction.

Children's Hospices

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Government's commitment of an additional £50 million funding for palliative care by 2004 will include taxpayers' support to children's hospices. [150728]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 26 February 2001]: An additional £50 million of national health service money is to be invested in adult hospices and specialist palliative care services. Children's hospices will continue to have access to funding through the NHS. In addition, we will shortly announce funding specifically for children's palliative care services, including those provided by children's hospices. This funding will be available through the new opportunities fund.

vCJD-Infected Blood

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his Department's policy is on informing individuals that they have received blood from a donor infected with vCJD; and what assessment he made of compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998 in formulating his policy; [151309]

Mr. Denham: The Government's CJD clinical incident panel is currently addressing these issues taking into account the Human Rights Act 1998. The panel's guidelines should be made available for public consultation later this year.

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the NHS has identified individuals who have received blood from a donor infected with vCJD. [151308]

Mr. Denham: The study which the National Blood Service and the CJD surveillance unit are carrying out has indicated that 23 people have received blood transfusions from donors who went on to develop variant CJD.

Gateshead and South Tyneside Health Authority

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many referrals from the Gateshead and South Tyneside health authority area have been refused by health trusts in the Northern Area in the last year for which figures are available. [151007]

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Mr. Hutton: Figures on referrals that are returned by health trusts are not collected centrally. I understand, however, that a small percentage of referrals from the Gateshead and South Tyneside health authority area have been returned by the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals national health service trust. The vast majority of these related to a planned service change in dermatology where, due to the anticipated cessation of a service level agreement on 31 March 2001, the trust would accept no further referrals after 1 January 2001. I further understand that, following discussions between the trust and the health authority, the trust is once again accepting referrals for this service.

Mobile Phones and Health

Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the work of the task force led by Sir William Stewart and announced on 8 December 2000 to carry out research into the effects of mobile phone technology on health. [151009]

Yvette Cooper: The new research programme announced on 8 December 2000 was launched at a scientific workshop in London on Friday 9 February 2001, when the first call for proposals was issued. The research will be undertaken under the direction of an independent programme management committee chaired by Sir William Stewart. Details of the membership of the new committee and the call for proposals can be found on the website

Ms Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research is being undertaken to assess the safety of radiation levels from telecommunication masts. [151628]

Yvette Cooper: The Stewart report on mobile phones and health provided a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of existing research and considered the possible effects on health of mobile phones and base stations (masts). The report concluded that the balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to health of people living near base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of guidelines. However, in view of the concerns expressed by residents near base stations and the indirect effect on people's health, the report made a number a recommendations aimed at improving the public consultation and the availability of information about the siting of base stations.

In its summary, the Stewart group commented that the upsurge of mobile phone technology should be matched by good quality research. We have responded by setting up a new programme. This joint Government and industry initiative was launched at a scientific workshop in London on Friday 9 February when the first call for proposals was issued.

The Department is also continuing to provide financial support for the World Health Organisation international electromagnetic fields (EMF) project which is comprehensively reviewing EMF effects, including those of radio waves.

In addition to research programmes, the Radiocommunications Agency is currently undertaking an audit of radio emissions from cellular base stations. The results from this audit will be made available on the RA website at ""

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