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Personal Medical Services

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the cost of the pilot Personal Medical Service scheme in (a) 1998, (b) 1999 and (c) 2000. [16959]

Mr. Hutton: The costs of running personal medical services pilots were £38.2 million in 1998, £70.8 million in 1999, and £153.4 million in 2000.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of general practitioners work under Personal Medical Services; and what the intended proportion is by April 2002. [20865]

Mr. Hutton: With the implementation of the third wave of personal medical services pilots in October 2001, some 18 per cent. of general practitioners are now working under PMS arrangements nationally. Applications for the fourth wave of pilots (starting in April 2002) are still being submitted.

Birth Certificates

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the cost to public funds of the fraudulent use of birth certificates in each of the last four years. [17323]

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Mr. Hutton: Birth certificates are the responsibility of the Office for National Statistics.

There are no figures currently available to indicate the level of losses to the national health service as a result of the fraudulent use of birth certificates.

Hospital Waiting Times

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the South Cheshire health authority waited (a) more than three months for an in-patient operation, (b) more than six months for an in-patient operation, (c) more than one year for an in-patient operation, (d) more than three months for an out-patient appointment, (e) more than six months for an out- patient appointment and (f) more than one year for an out-patient appointment in each of the last 10 years. [18437]

Mr. Hutton: The figures for in-patient and out-patient waiting times in south Cheshire health authority for the past six years (since the creation of the health authority) are shown in the tables.

South Cheshire health authority in-patient waiting times

Waiting time1997(41)1998(41)1999(41)2000(41)2001(41)
3–6 months3,5773,9193,2713,5013,339
6–12 months3,6554,9093,3963,1872,899
Over 12 months336239270459602

(41) As at March each year

South Cheshire health authority out-patient waiting times

Waiting times1998(42)1999(42)2000(42)2001(42)2001(43)
13–25 weeks3,3093,8743,3162,6324,437
26+ weeks3512,0561,1471,0071,470
Total 13+ weeks waiters3,6605,9304,4633,6395,907
Full year GP referrals108,802112,308114,966119,44362,289
Percentage year on year increase3.

(42) As at March each year

(43) As at September—only five months' data


Based on FOT of 124578

Illegal Meat Imports

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussion he has had with colleagues in other Government Departments on (a) the level of illegal meat imports into the UK and (b) the effectiveness of controls and enforcement measures at (i) ports, (ii) airports and (iii) elsewhere to tackle illegal meat imports; and what assessment he has made of the need for further action. [19305]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 29 November 2001]: The Food Standards Agency, which is responsible for public health issues relating to food safety, is taking an active role in an interdepartmental review led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs aimed at co-ordinating action across Government to ensure that rules governing imports of products of animal origin are enforced effectively.

The board of the Food Standards Agency discussed the issue of food import controls on 22 October 2001. The board approved a report containing a set of proposals aimed at improving the co-ordination of controls and the effectiveness of inspection of food imports. FSA officials are exploring these proposals further and will report back to the board.

Adoption and Children Bill

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is the intention of clause 2 of the Adoption and Children Bill for the review panel to have power to recover the (a) whole or (b) part of the costs of the review panel from the relevant adoption agency. [19762]

Jacqui Smith: The White Paper "Adoption—a new approach" committed the Government to provide an independent review where an adoption agency intends to turn down a prospective adopter's application. A copy of

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the White Paper has been placed in the Library. The Bill includes powers enabling the appropriate Minister to establish a mechanism, which may be run by an independent body, to review qualifying adoption agency determinations. The cost of establishing the independent review mechanism will be met centrally from the extra £66 million for adoption announced in the Adoption White Paper. We have promised to consult on the detail of how the independent review mechanism will operate, including any charges to be imposed on adoption agencies.

Competitive Bidding

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the schemes administered by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies where funds are allocated by a competitive bidding process; and what was the amount of money allocated to each scheme. [19733]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 3 December 2001]: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost. The Department does not keep central records of budgets or schemes where, specifically, competitive bidding processes are used. Officials estimate that there might be hundreds of such budgets across the Department covering administration, executive agencies and programme funding.

Primary Care Trusts

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many primary care trusts he expects to create under the NHS Reform Bill. [20896]

Mr. Hutton: None. The National Health Service Reform Bill will not create any further primary care trusts but will enable increased functions to be devolved from health authorities in line with the principles of Shifting the Balance of Power.

The power to create PCTs is contained in the National Health Service (Primary Care) Act, 1997. There are currently 164 PCTs in operation with a further 23 having been approved in October 2001 to become operational in April 2002. Approximately 130 further PCTs are hoping to become operational from 1 April 2002. The estimated total of PCTs operating from 1 April 2002 is expected to be over 300.

NHS Patients (Private Health Care)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of surgical procedures on NHS patients in Worcestershire were carried out in private sector hospitals, in the most recent period of which figures are available; what plans he has to increase the use of the private sector in the county; and if he will make a statement. [23087]

Yvette Cooper: Information relating to surgical procedures carried out in private sector hospitals on national health service patients is not currently available. However, we have commissioned a report to assess the

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scale of independent sector usage at national and regional level which is due out next year. This survey does not allow analysis at a local level and consequently data specifically on Worcestershire will not be available. However, Worcestershire health authority advises that they are investing £1.2 million on transferring 200 orthopaedic patients to the private sector.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently announced a patient choice package which includes increasing use of the private sector. From July 2002, if a patient with coronary heart disease has been on an in-patient waiting list for over six months, they will be able to seek swifter treatment in either the private sector, in another European Union country or in a different NHS hospital.

From October 2002, the same option of seeking treatment elsewhere at the six month in-patient waiting list stage, will also apply to anyone living in the London area. The option will be further extended to all patients across England throughout 2002–03 and beyond in the form of pilot sites. By the end of 2005, all patients in any part of the country will be able to choose where their treatment takes place, and book their appointment at a convenient time through an electronic booking system.

Any decision to use private sector providers will be made on the basis of value for money, clinical need and all appropriate clinical standards must be maintained.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS patients were treated in the private sector for each quarter of the last two years. [20861]

Mr. Hutton: Activity information collected from health authorities in the common information core includes in-patient, out-patient and residential care activity commissioned in the commercial, voluntary and non-national health service statutory sectors. This total cannot be separated into totals for the private sector only.

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