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Health Care (Purchase)

29. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the volume of health care

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being purchased by the NHS from private hospitals and the criteria employed in making a decision to outsource health care. [151978]

Mr. Denham: The most recent figures for 1999-2000 indicate that £1.41 billion or 5.0 per cent. of total NHS expenditure on hospital and community services was spent with the private sector. It is for local commissioners and providers to confirm for themselves that the services provided by the private sector are of sufficiently high quality and cost-effective.

NHS Plan (Birmingham)

30. Mr. Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the implementation of the NHS plan in Birmingham. [151979]

Yvette Cooper: Birmingham health authority, working with National Health Service trusts, primary care groups, primary care trusts and the local authority, is on course to implement and resource the radical programme of change over the next 10 years as set out in the NHS Plan.

As a result we expect to see improvements in tackling heart disease, in the delivery of cancer services and further improvements in mental health services in line with the NHS frameworks. In addition, there will be further modernisation of hospital facilities in Birmingham following my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's recent approval for a major new hospital development in South Birmingham and the development of an ambulatory care and diagnostic centre on the City Hospital site.

Rural Hospitals

31. Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the future of small acute general hospitals in remote rural areas. [151980]

Mr. Denham: The National Beds Inquiry (NBI) was set up to review long-term assumptions about the volume of general and acute health services and their implications for the whole system of care. It focused on the needs of older people and considered the scope for alternative models of care. The consultation on the NBI report demonstrated overwhelming support for "care closer to home" and the development of intermediate care services. The NHS Plan set a target of 5,000 extra intermediate care beds by 2004, some of which will be in community hospitals. In the light of the NBI report and consultation and the NHS Plan, clear policy guidance was published on 15 February. This provides tools to help health authorities to benchmark their performance against comparable authorities and to assess future requirements for beds and services to meet the needs of local people in all areas, and requires them to develop action plans as part of a wider review of services to be undertaken in the summer. The guidance (HSC 2001/03:LAC (2001)4 "Implementing the NHS Plan: Developing services following the National Beds Inquiry") is in the Library.


33. Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the treatment of diabetes. [151982]

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Mr. Denham: The Government are developing a National Service Framework for diabetes, for publication later this year. The Framework will set clear standards for diabetes services, to improve health outcomes for people with diabetes.

Waiting Lists (Essex)

34. Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the present level of waiting lists in Essex. [151983]

Mr. Denham: Both North Essex health authority and South Essex health authority have been making steady progress in relation to reducing waiting lists. Through the winter period, they have experienced more emergency admissions than expected but continue to reduce waiting lists.

Waiting Times (South Swindon)

35. Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to reduce waiting times for patients in South Swindon. [151984]

Mr. Denham: Since 1998 we have given substantial additional funding to Wiltshire health authority to reduce waiting lists as detailed in the table:

Waiting list and times related funding allocated to Wiltshire

Waiting lists included in general cash uplift--2,8372,8374,643
Waiting list performance fund346327327(30)--
Waiting list beacon--30--(30)--
Waiting list addition3,164----(30)--
Waiting list booked admission programme--182302(30)--
Waiting list cancer out-patient waits--25131(30)--

(29) Estimated pro rata share of £423 million hypothecated fund

(30) Not yet known

At the Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust this has been used to fund a variety of schemes which by the end of January this year had led to a fall of 1,334 (20.2 per cent.) in the number of patients waiting for in-patient and daycare treatment since 1 April 1996.

Testicular Cancer

36. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received on the provision of health care relating to testicular cancer. [151985]

Yvette Cooper: Most recently, I and members of the Health Select Committee were involved with the Imperial Cancer Research Funds campaign to raise awareness of men's cancers--particularly testicular and prostate cancers.

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Patients Complaints

37. Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he takes to ensure that patients complaints can be dealt with immediately and remedied without delay. [151986]

Ms Stuart: The current National Health Service complaints procedure places the emphasis on resolving complaints as quickly as possible, and at a local level. However, the procedure has been subject to a two-year evaluation which is now complete. We have made it clear in the NHS Plan that we would act on the evaluation and reform the NHS complaints procedure to make it more independent and responsive to the needs of patients. This will include setting up patient Advocacy Liaison Services and Independent Advisory Services as part of a new system for better patient and public involvement.

Bed Blocking

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he proposes to end bed blocking in acute hospitals. [151972]

Mr. Hutton: We are providing new intermediate care services, which will enable patients who are ready to be discharged to move on from hospital. Additionally, further resources of £103 million have been made available this winter to enable the National Health Service and social services to expand capacity and reduce delayed discharges. This will enable the current downward trend in delayed discharges to continue.

Private Sector Health Care

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what meetings he has held since June 2000 with private sector health care providers; and which other Government Ministers attended. [145304]

Ms Stuart: I hold regular meetings and visits with a variety of health care providers, including occasionally with private sector or independent health care providers.

The table shows ministerial meetings with the private and voluntary health care sector between June 2000 and 19 February 2001.

Secretary of State31 October 2000Launch of the Concordat between the NHS and the private and voluntary health care sector with the Independent Healthcare Association
Minister of State, the right hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham)13 September 2000Meeting with Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Dr. Korlipara, Chairman of Bolton District Medical Services, to discuss smart card technology
16 November 2000Attended a presentation by Shaw Homes Ltd. about public and private partnerships in Ledbury
Minister of State, the hon. Member for Barrow and Furness (Mr. Hutton)25 October 2000Meeting with BUPA Westminster Healthcare Ltd., Idun Healthcare Ltd., Southern Cross Healthcare Ltd. and 4 Seasons Healthcare Ltd.
26 October 2000Meeting with British Foundation of Care Home Proprietors, The Care Forum, Federation of Small Businesses, National Care Homes Association and Registered Nursing Home Association
30 January 2001Meeting with Rescare
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health20 June 2000Meeting with Norwich Union
13 July 2000Meeting with the Consumers Association
Meeting with General Healthcare Group/BMI Healthcare
5 September 2000Meeting with Macmillan Cancer Relief
4 October 2000Meeting with Russell, Jones and Walker to discuss clinical negligence
9 November 2000Meeting with British Pregnancy Advisory Service
24 January 2001Meeting with BUPA

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