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Access Targets

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what penalties will be imposed on primary care trusts who fail to implement 48-hour access targets by March 2003. [24591]

Mr. Hutton: Primary care trusts will be subject to performance ratings during 2002. Access and primary care will form a key target within this rating system. Rewards, through earned autonomy, targeted support or intervention will be based on performance ratings.

NHS Professionals

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what domestic publications the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency will use to advertise those contracts relating to NHS professionals. [24423]

Mr. Hutton: The National Health Service Purchasing and Supply Agency will advertise the contracts for NHS professionals in domestic publications relevant to the particular staff sector. For instance contracts for nursing staff will be advertised in the Nursing Times and contracts for doctors in the British Medical Journal.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether NHS trusts will be required to use NHS professionals to meet their temporary staffing needs. [24422]

Mr. Hutton: There is an expectation that national health service professionals will be used as the provider of choice within the NHS, supported by tight contracts with our providers in the private sector.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are being taken to inform private nursing agencies about the tendering processes attached to NHS professionals. [24424]

Mr. Hutton: The tenders for the contracts for national health service professionals being carried out by the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency will be advertised in relevant domestic journals and in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency is in consultation with the following trade associations that represent private nursing agencies: the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, the Federation of Independent Nursing Agencies, and the Nursing Agency Association.

10 Jan 2002 : Column: 1005W

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding NHS professionals will receive in financial years (a) 2001–02, (b) 2002–03 and (c) 2003–04. [24421]

Mr. Hutton: National health service professionals received £4 million to support start up, £3 million in the financial year in 2001–02, and £3 million has been identified in 2002–03 to support NHS trusts through the implementation process. The service will be self- sustaining in the long-term and recoup costs directly from the NHS organisations using NHS professionals on a non-profit making basis.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency will use the Official Journal of the European Community to advertise the regional contracts it is negotiating on behalf of NHS professionals. [24420]

Mr. Hutton: Yes.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the tendering process inviting private nursing agencies to agree their terms and conditions of supply to NHS professionals will be launched in the (a) Trent, (b) south east, (c) south west, (d) eastern, (e) north west and (f) northern and Yorkshire regions; and what nursing services will be covered. [24426]

Mr. Hutton: The timetable for tendering for agency staff has not yet been finalised. It is expected that the projects for nursing staff in the south west, the south east, and the north west of England will be launched in early January and the end of February this year. Projects for the remaining regions will begin at a later date that is yet to be decided.

The contracts will cover all grades of nurses, midwives and operating department practitioners.

Orthopaedic Surgeons

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average mean waiting times were (a) to see an orthopaedic surgeon and (b) between seeing an orthopaedic surgeon and having an operation where that was necessary in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [24740]

Mr. Hutton: The mean average waiting times for orthopaedic patients waiting for in-patient and out-patient treatment are given in the table. Data collected on waiting times by specialty are collected quarterly. The data given are for the latest available quarter, September 2001.

Mean average waiting time for first out-patient appointment/in-patient treatment, trauma and orthopaedics speciality, England

Health authority basedAverage (mean) waiting time
Quarter: September 2001
Out-patient appointment(29) (weeks)14.35
In-patient treatment(30) (months)5.15


(29) Department of Health form QM08R

(30) Department of Health form QF01

10 Jan 2002 : Column: 1006W

Racist Attacks

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many racist attacks have taken place in English (a) NHS hospitals and (b) other medical facilities, broken down by health authority in each of the last three years. [25231]

Mr. Hutton: Information about racist attacks on staff working in the national health service is not collected centrally, but may be held at a local level by national health service employers.

The Department conducted a survey of national health service trusts in England in 1998–99. The survey found that, on average, seven violent incidents were recorded each month per 1,000 staff. This is equivalent to approximately 65,000 violent incidents against NHS trust staff each year. Details of the survey can be found in Health Service Circular 1999/229: "Managing Violence, Accidents and Sickness Absence in the NHS", a copy of which is in the Library.

Figures for recorded violent incidents in 2000–01 are currently being analysed by the Department.

Whittington Hospital

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evaluation he has made of the costs of the proposed PFI for the Whittington hospital compared to direct Government funding; and if he will publish the information on which this analysis is made. [25235]

Mr. Hutton: The evaluation of the proposed private finance initiative funding of the redevelopment of the Whittington hospital national health service trust compared to direct Government funding is currently being prepared by the trust and its advisers as part of the preparation of the full business case for the scheme and is not yet complete.

All information relevant to this analysis, and the final decision to fund the project under PFI or direct Government funding, will be included within the trust's full business case. This will be made publicly available within one month of the final approval of the case, which is currently planned to be in April 2002. Only information which may breach personal privacy or is judged to be genuinely commercially sensitive will be omitted.

Copies of the case will be provided at the trust's premises, with the chair of the Trades Unions representing staff at the trust, the local Community Health Council, the local authority, the local main public library and the Library. The trust will also place an advertisement in the local paper at the time of publication explaining that the documents are available and where they have been placed.

This is in line with the code of practice on openness in the NHS introduced by this Government.

Head Injury Specialists

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many head injury specialists have been recruited to the NHS in each year since 1997. [24352]

10 Jan 2002 : Column: 1007W

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 8 January 2002]: Neurosurgeons and neurologists deal with head injuries as part of their wider responsibilities. The table shows the number of hospital medical neuro-surgery and neurology staff, including consultants, employed by the national health service within the specified years.

Hospital medical neurosurgery and neurology staff, England
as at 30 September

All neurosurgery staff360370370410
of which:
All neurology staff640640660690
of which:


Department of Health medical and dental Workforce Census

Doctors (Disciplinary Action)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors have been (a) disciplined and (b) sacked for (i) drug-taking offences and (ii) stealing medical drugs in each year since 1997. [24305]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 8 January 2002]: The Department does not routinely collect information regarding the disciplinary proceedings carried out in national health service organisations. Disciplinary action is a matter for local employers. NHS employers have a responsibility to investigate alleged breaches of acceptable standards by staff, and to consider whether any disciplinary action is required as a result of such allegations.

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