Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors have been prevented from prescribing to long-term chemically dependent patients by the Interim Orders Committee of the General Medical Council; and how many are awaiting hearings. 
Mr. Denham: There are currently 14 doctors with conditions imposed on their registration by the General Medical Council (GMC) which relate to the drugs which they can prescribe, or which prevent them from treating chemically-dependent patients. On 10 April 2001 there were two cases awaiting hearing by the GMC's Interim Orders Committee which involved issues relating to prescribing.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what alternative procedures he has put in place to provide treatment for long-term chemically-dependent patients whose doctor is prevented from prescribing to them by the Interim Orders Committee of the General Medical Council. 
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Mr. Denham: It is the responsibility of health authorities to assess the health care needs of their population, to draw up strategies and commissioning plans in collaboration with local people and other organisations, and to secure a range of health services to meet those needs, with contingency planning and alternative operational procedures where necessary.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that community drug teams and drug dependency units are capable of coping with a substantial and sudden influx of patients. 
Ms Stuart: We have set up a new national treatment agency to set standards for the provision of drug treatment services in England. The performance of local agencies will be monitored against these standards, and we expect that contingency planning for variations in demand would be one measurement of their efficiency.
Mr. Hutton: The Department collects information on the number of operations cancelled at the last minute for non-medical reasons, and breaches of the standard to readmit patients within one month following such cancellations. This information is collected on a quarterly basis at health authority level only and the results are routinely placed in the Library. The latest figures cover the five quarters up to Quarter three (October to December 2000) of the 2000-01 financial year.
The expenditure per weighted head figures in the table do not reflect real changes in the resources available for spend on healthcare locally over the period or provide robust comparisons between health authorities.
The accounts of health authorities for 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99.
The summarisation schedules of health authorities 1999-2000.
Weighted population estimates for 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000.
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|Average GP (full and part-time)
|Average GP (full-time)
(86) Not available.
(87) The 1996-97 pay award was staged. The figure shown is the weighted average for the year.
Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many hours per week on average consultants who work both in the NHS and the private health sector spend on (a) NHS work and (b) private work; 
Ms Stuart: Information is not held centrally on the number of hours worked by consultants' in either the National Health Service or for the private sector. Information on the types of contract held by consultants is available and is set out in the table.
|Percentage of all consultant contract
Department of Health 2000 medical and dental workforce census
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Mr. Hutton: When assessing a person's ability to pay for residential or nursing home accommodation, councils are required to ensure that they retain an amount for personal expenses. The current amount allowed is £16.05 per week.
Mr. Hutton: The Department has recently issued guidance to health professionals on the legal and good practice requirements for seeking valid consent from patients for proposed examinations or treatment "Reference Guide to Consent for Examination or Treatment". Where an adult patient is mentally able to give or withhold consent to proposed treatment, consent must always be sought directly from the patient himself or herself. It is good practice to involve those close to the patient, such as family, carers and friends, in the decision-making process if the patient wishes for such involvement.
In some cases, patients may be so severely disabled that they are not able to give, or withhold, consent for a proposed examination or treatment. In such cases, health professionals may legally provide the treatment if it is in the patient's best interests to receive it. Although the health professional concerned is ultimately responsible for the decision as to whether or not treatment is in the patient's best interests, those close to the patient (parents, carers and others) should be fully involved in any discussions, unless the patient has made clear that particular individuals should not be involved in their care.
Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not held centrally. We recognise that in the past women with a learning disability may not have had the information and support they needed to decide whether or not to attend for breast or cervical screening. This is why the Department published good practice guidance for women and their families, supporters and health care professionals. The guidance was developed in consultation with women with a learning disability and was published in November 2000.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many day centres for people with learning difficulties have been closed in (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99, (c) 1999-2000 and (d) 2000-01. 
Mr. Hutton: Information on closures of day centres is not collected centrally. Set out in the table are the numbers of day centres for people with learning disabilities during a survey week in September for 1995 to 1998 for England. Collection of data on numbers of day care centres ceased in 1998.
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|Day centres for people with learning disabilities
(88) For 1998 the figures also include the number of residential care homes which provide day care to non-residents.
DH form DC3
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies have been undertaken on the assistance that people with severe learning difficulties and their carers receive in order to take short-term breaks. 
The White Paper "Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability in the 21st Century", published on 20 March, confirmed that the Department will be funding a £2 million research initiative, "People With Learning Disabilities: Services, Inclusion, and Partnerships" starting later this year and lasting for four years. Research proposals are currently being considered; support for carers is a possible area of research.
Mr. Hutton: Approximately 1,500 learning disabled people remain in long stay-places. Our recent White Paper "Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century" includes a commitment to enable all people currently living in long-stay hospitals to move into more appropriate accommodation in the community by April 2004.
Mr. Hutton: Information about the precise number of people with severe learning disabilities who live with their families is not held centrally. It is estimated that some 60 per cent. of all adults with learning disabilities live with their parents.
During 2001-02, the Department will commission a national survey of people with learning disabilities in contact with social services to improve our knowledge and provide a stronger baseline against which to evaluate the impact of the recently published White Paper, "Valuing people, a new strategy for learning disability for the 21st century".
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Mr. Hutton: Information about the proportion of people with learning disabilities that have been sexually abused is not held centrally. The White Paper, "Valuing People, A new Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century" says that local councils will need to ensure that learning disability services are represented on the local adult protection management committees, and that information about incidents of abuse of people with learning disabilities is gathered and recorded. This will improve our knowledge about the incidence of abuse.
Mr. Hutton: Information about the precise number of parents over the age of 60 who care for their sons and daughters with severe learning disabilities is not held centrally. It is estimated that a third of people with learning disabilities living in the family home are living with an older carer (aged 70 or over).
In the recently published White Paper, "Valuing people, a new strategy for learning disability for the 21 century" we announced our intention to introduce a performance indicator, percentage of carers aged 70 or over for whom a person centred plan, which has been agreed. This will be monitored as part of the arrangements for monitoring the White Paper.