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NHS Pensions Agency

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will state the total lump sum cash payment received by the NHS Pension Agency from transfers back into the scheme as a result of the outcome of private pensions mis-selling; and if he will estimate the sums still to be received. [12654]

Mr. Hutton: In the period 1 October 1996 to 31 October 2001, the National Health Service Pensions Agency received cash payments totalling £753,915,089 in respect of transfers back into the NHS Pension Scheme arising from the review of private pensions mis-selling. The NHS Pensions Agency forecasts receipts to the scheme of a further £95,000,000 over the course of the next two financial years.

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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what long-term measures there are to encourage midwives to return to work in the NHS apart from the existing one-off incentive payment; and under what circumstances they would be eligible to receive assistance with child care. [12402]

Mr. Hutton: The Department is working closely with the Royal College of Midwives to encourage and support returning midwives. The National Health Service now offers all midwives improved pay, more supportive and family friendly working and training conditions, better access to continuing professional development and a better career structure. Applications for midwifery diploma courses are 63 per cent. higher than they were in

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1997–98. In 2000–01 there were 14 per cent. more training places for midwives than there were in 1996–97. Since February 1999, 299 midwives have already returned to the NHS with another 170 in the pipeline.

Returning midwives receive £1,500 financial support and generous assistance with child care support is available while retraining. All midwives will have access to the benefits offered by the Department's child care strategy. For example, access to on-site nurseries, offering flexible opening and subsidised places, together with access to child care co-ordinators who will help midwives meet other child care needs. Over 60 new NHS nurseries are currently being built, providing an additional 2,500 places.

The amount of child care assistance received will be determined by whether or not the returner is employed while retraining. For parents who are not employed while retraining, assistance with child care costs incurred while attending refresher training and associated clinical placements should be provided up to Working Families Tax Credit levels.

For parents who are employed while retraining, employers and local child care co-ordinators should help returners access suitable, affordable child care, including access to the child care support available through the Working Families Tax Credit, where applicable.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many tonsil operations have been cancelled in the last 12 months; how many patients are waiting for tonsil operations; what the average waiting time is for tonsil operations; if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of single-use tonsillectomy instruments in the NHS; and what supplies of single-use tonsillectomy instruments are held by the NHS and how widely they are distributed. [12601]

Mr. Hutton: The number of cancellations by procedure is not collected.

Data are collected on the number of patients waiting for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomies, but tonsillectomies cannot be identified separately. The following table shows the number of patients waiting for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy operations at the end of August 2001.

6–8 7,299
9–11 4,078
12–14 1,854
15–17 710
Total waiting44,576


Department of Health waiting list statistics.

The average waiting times in national service hospitals in England for tonsillectomies are given in the table.

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YearMedian days


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health

All surgical instruments used in tonsillectomy operations are Conformitte Europeane marked under the provisions of the Medical Devices Regulations and as such are considered fit for their intended purpose. Any breach of these Regulations would be investigated by the Medial Devices Agency's Compliance Unit and action taken as needed. During the summer there were reports of an increase in the rates of secondary haemorrhage at a number of centres following tonsil and adenoid surgery. This was investigated by the MDA who found that in some cases the diathermy used to close the wound was set at too high a power setting, and the instruments being used were in some cases inappropriate for this site. On 10 October the MDA issued advice to the health service to address these problems.

The NHS Logistics Authority holds sufficient stock to deliver enough single use instruments to perform 10,000 tonsil and adenoid operations each month. 5,000 equivalent operations were performed in October 2000. Any NHS Trust in England can order the single use instruments from the NHS Logistics Authority. The lead-time for delivery is 48 hours for standard service. Faster delivery can be arranged if required.

NHS Priority Care

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on giving priority to NHS patients over private health policy holders for operations in NHS hospitals. [12605]

Mr. Hutton: The overwhelming majority of elective operations carried out in National Health Service trusts are performed on NHS patients. Although NHS trusts are permitted to generate income from providing facilities and staff to operate on private health policy-holders and self-pay patients, trusts must ensure that this private activity is not at the expense of their NHS work.

General Practioner Appraisers

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the number of general practitioners who have come forward to act as general practitioner appraisers. [12597]

Mr. Hutton: We are pleased with the progress being made towards introduction of appraisal for general practitioners from 1 April 2002. The Department has asked primary care trusts and primary care groups to identify at least three suitable GPs to train as an appraiser. Most have now replied putting forward at least the three nominations requested.

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Beta Interferon

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to initiate further trials into the effectiveness of beta interferon; and if he will make a statement. [12366]

Mr. Hutton: We are currently holding discussions with the manufacturers to consider a range of options under which drugs for multiple sclerosis might be made available under the National Health Service. One option is a 'risk-sharing' scheme and until these discussions are concluded we cannot provide the information requested.

Strategic Outline Cases

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason his Department will not accept strategic outline cases for future hospital projects; and if he will make a statement. [12369]

Mr. Hutton: Strategic outline cases for major capital projects are accepted in specific rounds by the capital prioritisation advisory group (CPAG) which advises

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Ministers on each scheme's viability. Ministers can consider cases outside of the CPAG where there is an urgent need. The eventual treatment of such cases will depend on the progress and priority of those schemes already approved to commence their procurements, and the number of schemes waiting to go to tender, so as to ensure optimal value for money.

29 major hospital projects were announced in February 2001, which should be released to the market over the next 36 months.

Hospital Building

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was (a) the original tender price, (b) final cost, (c) projected time for construction and (d) actual time for construction for each of the last 20 new build hospital schemes under traditional public sector funding. [12250]

Mr. Hutton: The details for each of the last 20 new build hospital schemes under traditional public sector funding are shown in the table.

(£ million) (Months)
NHS TrustOriginal construction tender priceFinal construction costProjected construction timeActual construction time
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals16.318.423.025.2
Blackpool Victoria Hospital14.414.423.928.2
City Hospitals Sunderland15.215.622.024.0
Homerton Hospital13.514.924.024.6
Brighton Healthcare27.527.531.035.2
Mid Essex Hospital Services17.619.822.125.8
Birmingham Childrens Hospital23.730.914.723.1
West Dorset24.626.724.634.4
Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals17.821.923.823.8
Worthing and Southlands Hospitals26.628.735.942.4
Royal West Sussex20.320.724.526.9
Lewisham Hospital10.411.112.416.9
Bolton Hospitals21.421.636.033.2
East Kent Hospitals12.913.524.024.3
Salford Royal Hospitals10.912.336.041.2
Northumbria Healthcare12.513.328.128.1
Morecambe Bay13.414.739.040.8
Royal Devon and Exeter21.623.835.836.9
Southend Hospital10.911.324.024.2

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