Previous Section Index Home Page

Waiting Lists (Buckinghamshire)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were on the waiting list in Buckinghamshire for hospital treatment in each of the last four years; and if he will make a statement. [11865]

Ms Blears: The numbers of patients waiting for hospital treatment between March 1997 and March 2001 are shown in the table.

6 Nov 2001 : Column: 221W

Inpatient waiting list data for Buckinghamshire health authority

QuarterSize of inpatient waiting list
March 199714,039
June 199714,253
September 199715,276
December 199716,154
March 199816,149
June 199815,706
September 199814,878
December 199814,679
March 199913,069
June 199913,795
September 199914,000
December 199913,854
March 200012,604
June 200012,937
September 200013,252
December 200013,535
March 200113,332
June 200113,604


QF01 quarterly waiting times return, Department of Health.

NHS Plus

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his proposals for NHS Plus with particular reference to (a) income generation, (b) avoiding unfair competition with private sector consultants and (c) improving awareness of occupational health issues among health professionals and private employers. [11310]

Ms Blears [holding answer 31 October 2001]: NHS Plus will be launched on 19 November as a national network of National Health Service Occupational Health Departments who will be selling occupational health services to the private or other parts of the public sector, particularly small and medium sized businesses. Occupational health services are not part of the statutory NHS provision: NHS Plus will be provided as an income generating service. Under the rules of income generation, such services have to recover their full costs as well as making a surplus which is reinvested in the health service. Our aim is that NHS Plus will help to raise awareness of the importance of occupational health to businesses as well as helping to improve the quality of occupational health available to NHS staff themselves.

Social Services (London)

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received that local authority social services provision (a) as a whole and (b) other than those which have been specifically targeted for priority increased provision by his Department, have been disproportionately affected in London; and if he will make a statement. [11845]

Jacqui Smith: The Department receives many representations from various sources and in various forms about the level of funding for social services in London and elsewhere.

Between 1996–97 and 2001–02 total provision made available by the Government for social services in London has increased by 28 per cent., including a 24 per cent. increase in the personal social services standard spending assessment. These substantial increases in provision demonstrate our commitment to London's social services.

6 Nov 2001 : Column: 222W

Health Authorities (Efficiency)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimates he has made of variations in the efficiency of health services across different health authorities; and if he will make a statement. [11067]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 31 October 2001]: The national health service performance indicators were published in July 2000, and can be found on the Department's website: This includes a comparison of the performance of health authorities across a number of different aspects of performance, including efficiency.

The information we have published shows there is variation in performance, including for day case rates, length of stay, and prescribing. Publishing comparative information of this sort is key to both improving performance and strengthening public accountability.

Staff Retention

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve the retention of staff working in the professions allied to medicine. [12157]

Mr. Hutton: "Meeting the Challenge" sets out our plans for developing and supporting allied health professions and the central role they have to play in delivering the NHS plan's key priorities. A copy has been placed in the Library. The NHS plan also introduced the improving working lives standard to ensure that national health service employers create well-managed, flexible working environments that support all NHS staff.


Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of nursing vacancies were filled by nurses trained (a) in the UK, (b) in the remainder of the EU and (c) elsewhere in each of the past five years for which figures are available. [12037]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not available centrally.


Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Derbyshire, dated 11 August, forwarded to him by the Department of Education and Skills on 21 August, and the reminder letters of 20 September, concerning training programmes for the managers of care homes. [11960]

Jacqui Smith: I replied to the hon. Member on 1 November.

Heroin Addicts

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many heroin addicts are receiving their heroin from the NHS; and what percentage that represents of the estimated total of heroin addicts. [12060]

Ms Blears: There are currently no centrally held figures on the number of deaths as a result of heroin abuse.

6 Nov 2001 : Column: 223W

There were 2,943 deaths records in 1999 where drugs were recorded as a primary cause of death. However, the database from which these figures derive cover accidents and suicides involving drugs, as well as poisonings due to drug abuse and drug dependence, but not other adverse effects of drugs. The range of substances these statistics cover are wide, including legal and illegal, prescribed substances and over the counter medications such as paracetamol.

For each death the database includes every mention of a substance recorded on the death certificate or mentioned by the coroner.

The Department is developing a comprehensive strategy to reduce drug-related deaths which is to be launched shortly.

Health Campaigns

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Government campaigns in the past 15 years in reducing the consumption of (a) alcohol and (b) tobacco. [12286]

Ms Blears [holding answer 2 November 2001]: The aim of the Department's health promotion campaigns on alcohol during the period in question has been to encourage sensible drinking and to promote knowledge of the risks of alcohol misuse. Current advice is that men should drink no more than 3–4 units of alcohol per day and women should drink no more than 2–3 units of alcohol per day. There has been a consistent increase in recent years of the proportion of drinkers who were aware of the sensible drinking advice: a rise from 54 per cent. in 1997 to 64 per cent. in 2000.

Our tobacco education campaign, launched in December 1999, is aimed at persuading smokers to give up and non-smokers, particularly children, not to start.

Between October 1992 and May 1994 a prospective controlled trial was conducted in four television regions in central and northern England. Evaluation showed that the campaign was effective in reducing smoking and preventing relapse but as part of a prolonged campaign. We concluded that anti-smoking TV advertising should be undertaken routinely as an essential component of any tobacco reduction strategy.

A number of different measures are in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the "Don't Give Up Giving Up" TV advertising campaign, which has been running since December 1999. Quarterly surveys of smoking attitudes and awareness of the campaign are being carried out and results indicate that the campaign is well recalled and is communicating effectively with the target audience.

There is a clear link between advertising and the number of calls to the helpline. In non-advertising periods there is a background level of around 1,000 calls per week to the helpline, this increases to approximately 4,000 a week when there is advertising activity.

The website "" has had over 4.4 million "hits" since its launch in December 1999.

Earlier this year the World Health Organisation, in partnership with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, published a report entitled "Smoking Media Cessation Campaigns from Around the World". The study

6 Nov 2001 : Column: 224W

evaluated the results of mass media campaigns from nine nations (including England) and six states from the United States of America. The report concluded that comprehensive media campaigns are working and that successful campaigns

Next Section Index Home Page