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Food Supplements

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what impact the proposed EU directive on food supplements will have on the availability of (a) herbal and vitamin remedies and (b) information about the properties of such remedies; and if he will make a statement. [157774]

Ms Stuart: The draft directive would not change the status of products which are regulated by medicines legislation. Its purpose is to establish a framework for regulation of supplements, including those containing herbal substances and vitamins, sold under food law.

Our view is that, in the interests of consumer choice, the market should be open to all products which are safe and properly labelled. The Food Standards Agency, which is representing us in discussions on the proposal, is pressing this case in negotiations.

NHS Pension Scheme

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to compensate present and former part-time employees of the NHS who were excluded from the NHS Pension Scheme; and on what date part-time employees were accepted into the scheme. [157955]

Mr. Denham: There are no proposals to make compensation payments. Part-time National Health Service employees, who become entitled to backdated membership of the NHS pension scheme, will be expected to pay their share of the arrears of scheme contributions.

Between 1 April 1973 and 31 March 1991, part-time employees, working at least half the standard number of whole-time hours for their grade, were entitled to scheme membership. From 1 April 1991, all part-time employees have been able to join the scheme, irrespective of the number of hours worked.

GP Services

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he has issued on the ability of GPs to charge residential care and nursing homes for GP services; and if he has that guidance under review. [157104]

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Mr. Denham [holding answer 9 April 2001]: General practitioner services are, and must be, free for patients, including residents of nursing homes. All patients in nursing homes should be registered with a GP practice.

GPs sometimes contract with nursing homes to provide additional services, for example, training for staff. That is different from individual, direct patient services, for which GPs should not be charging their registered patients.

We will investigate any allegations of abuse within the system.

Child Protection

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into any association there is between drug use and misuse by those with the care of children and the placing of children on (i) risk of neglect and (ii) child protection registers. [157836]

Mr. Hutton: "Children's needs--parenting capacity", published by the Department in 1999, draws on a wide range of research, and examines how factors such as drug misuse may impact on children and may affect parental capacity to respond to children's needs.

In addition, a number of studies in the programme of research on the Children Act 1989 have explored the link between drug misuse by those caring for children and the risk of abuse and neglect, in particular "Family support in cases of emotional maltreatment and neglect" and "Making care orders work: A study of their implementation". These two studies will be summarised in a forthcoming Department overview of contemporary research, entitled "The Children Act now: Messages from research". They are being used to inform our key initiatives to improve children's services, in particular quality protects.

We have also recently commissioned research to explore the reasons why increased numbers of children are being looked after by local authorities. This study will provide an opportunity to explore in greater depth the link between drug misuse by those with the care of children and children experiencing neglect and entering local authority care. It is about to start and plans to report by the end of the year.

District Nurses

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will review the mileage allowances paid to district nurses; and if he will make a statement. [157822]

Mr. Denham: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Dr. Stoate) on 5 February 2001, Official Report, column 396W.

Hearing Aids

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) 5 March 2001, Official Report, column 115W, on digital hearing aids, when the proposed modernising hearing aid services project will commence. [157950]

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Mr. Hutton: The timing to roll-out the "modernising NHS hearing aid services" project and announcements on funding are being kept under review until the results of the Institute of Hearing Research evaluation of the project can start to be taken into account. The Department anticipates £25 million will be available for National Health Service hearing aid services in 2003-04.

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that audiology departments are implementing the NICE guidance on hearing aids. [157949]

Mr. Hutton: All National Health Service bodies and clinicians are expected to give due weight to guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and to the evidence on which it is based. Initial monitoring of the implementation of NICE's guidance will take place through the established Quarterly Monitoring Review, supplemented through other data sources available to the Department. We will be looking to the Commission for Health Improvement to provide some authoritative information in due course.

NHS Administration

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many managers and administrators were employed by the NHS in each of the last five years; at what cost; what the total cost to the NHS was of management and administration in each of those years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [157322]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The available information is contained in the tables.

Numbers of managers and administrators: National Health Service Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): Managers within the administration and estates staff group in England as at 30 September each year

Senior ManagerManager

The apparent increase is partly accounted for by the fact that managers in primary care groups and primary care teams were not previously recorded in the figures when working for general practitioner fundholders. Even so, nursing numbers have increased by far more than these figures. Costs

Paybill costs of staff in senior management, management and administrative and clerical grades are not a reliable indicator of overall administration costs because for example, they do not include the non-staff costs of management, such as health authority accommodation.

Expenditure against the published definition of NHS management costs is the most reliable indicator of the cost of management and administration in the NHS. The

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definition of management costs includes the staff costs of managers in health authorities, Primary Care Groups and NHS Trusts, as well as non-staff costs of HAs and PCGs.

Management costs at 1999-2000 prices

£ million

(85) Rebased


The definition of management costs was revised for 1998-99 to capture some management activity previously excluded, mainly related to NHS Trusts purchasing private sector support services. To provide a consistent time series, the 1997-98 figure was rebased on the new definition.


Health authority and NHS trust annual accounts

Shared Clinical Services

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if shared clinical services can continue between two NHS trusts; [157455]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The overarching requirement in providing services is to ensure that they are configured to meet the needs of the local population. The Chorley and South Ribble National Health Service Trust and Preston Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have an excellent record of providing a range of acute services to their locality. However, it is recognised that there is a need for more specialised services to be provided to a larger population through managed clinical networks. Organisational arrangements must reflect the most effective way of providing access to the full range of acute services. Sharing and integrating the services of the two trusts should be encouraged and built upon.

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