Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many places there were in the special hospitals at (a) Ashworth, (b) Broadmoor and (c) Rampton (i) in 199697 and (ii) at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not available. The most recent information available is contained in a one-off survey covering the period from January 1999 to March 1999, England only, that was undertaken to provide an up to date and accurate snapshot picture of the use of electro-convulsive treatment (ECT). Prior to this survey, the information previously recorded on ECT did not provide an accurate picture on the use of ECT treatment.
The results of the survey are contained in the Department of Health Statistical bulletin "Electro- convulsive Therapy: Survey covering the period from January 1999 to March 1999, England", a copy of which is in the Library.
The Department is hoping that more useful and reliable information on ECT will be obtained from the mental health minimum data set which is person-centred. It is being implemented across all mental health trusts on a phased basis during 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 but data will not be available until 2003.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the original date was for the introduction of the national standard framework for diabetes; what it is now; and if he will make a statement. 
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Framework Standards this autumn and the Diabetes National Service Framework delivery strategy next summer. This will enable the National Health Service to prepare to plan for implementation from April 2003.
Jacqui Smith: The response was laid before Parliament on 24 July. The response is called, "Government Response to the Health Select Committee: Inquiry into Head Injury Rehabilitation, (Command Paper 5226.)" The response is also on the Department's website at "www.doh.gov.uk/nsf/longterm.htm."
Mr. Hutton: The work force censuses record the net change in the work force taking account of the number who leave and the number who start work, including newly qualified staff, returners and nurses trained outside the United Kingdom. In 1999 there were 329,640 nurses working in the National Health Service and in 2000 there were 335,950.
Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the arrangements to be in place for NHS patients to travel abroad for their operations when they live outside a pilot site. 
Mr. Hutton: Following recent rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) it is clear that National Health Service bodies may commission treatment for NHS patients in other countries in the European Economic Area. However, this does raise a number of clinical, legal and quality issues. Officials are working through these issues with NHS colleagues in three test-bed sites, East Kent, Portsmouth and West Sussex/East Surrey, with the aim, if possible, of sending the first patients overseas for treatment by the end of the year. The Department will publish guidance for the rest of the NHS in England by the end of the year, based on the experience of the test-bed sites.
The Department also intends to establish through an open tendering process a list of approved foreign providers to assist primary care trusts planning to commission treatment abroad. It will take a number of months to put this in place.
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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 1 November 2001]: Following recent rulings of the European Court of Justice it is clear that National Health Service bodies, including primary care trusts, may commission treatment for NHS patients in other countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).
This is a new opportunity and freedom for PCTs. There is no requirement for PCTs to make use of this opportunity and it will remain a matter for local commissioners to decide how to use their budgets.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money is being made available to support the initiative to reduce waiting lists through the funding of operations for UK citizens in other European countries. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 1 November 2001]: Following recent rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) it is clear that National Health Service bodies may commission treatment for NHS patients in other countries in the European Economic Area.
It will be for local commissioners to decide whether or not to contract with health care providers in other EEA countries. Primary care trusts in England will need to meet the costs out of their budgets.
Mr. Hutton: The Department collects information quarterly in regard to the suspension of hospital medical and dental staff and costs incurred, including the cost of locum cover. The most recently available return is for October 2001, and indicates that the North Staffordshire Hospital National Health Service Trust has incurred costs of £284,258 in regard to the suspension of Professor Southall.
Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will extend the guidelines for the referral of patients with suspected cancer for an appointment within two weeks to include patients with atypical symptoms. 
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Mr. Hutton: Cancer referral guidelines were issued in March 2000 to help general practitioners identify possible signs and symptoms of cancer and to refer appropriately. For some cancer types, for example, lung cancer and breast cancer atypical symptoms were included on the advice of the members of the relevant tumour working parties who helped to draw up the guidelines. A review of the guidelines will be undertaken by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. All National Health Service trusts have been encouraged to work with primary care to audit referrals against the guidelines. The Department will shortly be announcing research projects to help inform decision making and the identification of patients with suspected cancer requiring referral.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of the population who regularly visit their general practitioner for each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 31 October 2001]: The information is not collected in the form requested. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes an estimate of the proportion of the population of Great Britain who consult a general practitioner within a 14 day period in their report "Living in BritainResults from the General Household Survey". The table shows the estimate for each year for which figures are available from 1988.
|Percentage consulted GP in last 14 days
ONS "Living in BritainResults from the General Household Survey"