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Mr. Hutton: We are implementing a range of measures to improve recruitment and retention of all staff, including radiographers. Examples include an increase in pay, encouraging the national health service to become a better employer through the "Improving Working Lives and Positively Diverse" programmes, increasing training commissions, reducing student attrition, running national and local recruitment and return to practice campaigns, and supporting international recruitment where appropriate. Further information on Improving Working Lives is available at www.doh.gov.uk/iwl.
The Department has been working very closely with the Society of Radiographers to implement these measures. Initiatives include a letter sent to former radiographers inviting them to consider returning to the NHS, radiography awareness weeks and conferences to share good practice.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the suspension from hospital waiting lists of patients who are prepared to consent to suspension in order to be treated by a named consultant. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 9 January 2002]: Patients who consent to be treated by a named consultant other than by the consultant they were originally referred to should not be suspended from the waiting list.
Except where the change of consultant involves moving to a different trust, patients should continue to remain on the active list and should be treated within the maximum waiting time applicable at the time. Patients who move to a different trust would have their waiting time recalculated to the date they were put on the new consultant's list, although trusts are encouraged to take account of elapsed wait when prioritising them for treatment.
To reduce variations in waiting times, we are encouraging the pooling of referrals. Pooled referrals are being tested as part of the "Action On Programme". The programme is being run by the national health service Modernisation Agency and aims to tackle those specialties with typically the longest waiting times: ophthalmology; dermatology; ear, nose and throat; and orthopaedics.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 9 January 2002]: Patient surveys identify ready access to primary care as a key issue and the NHS Plan sets targets that by 2004 all patients will be able to see a primary care professional within 24 hours and a general practitioner within 48 hours. Health authorities and primary care trusts have
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been working with GPs and others to secure delivery of these targets. In doing so they are supported by the work of the National Primary Care Development Team and by resources from the PCT primary care access fund. In-year monitoring indicates that the interim milestone for April 2002 of 60 per cent. compliance will be achieved. Further progress towards these targets will be supported in 200203 by an earmarked increase of £83.5 million in the PCT primary care access fund to £168 million.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information he collates on the number of elderly people in each local authority (a) resident in care houses and (b) receiving domiciliary care (i) paid for privately and (ii) paid for by the local authority; 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 9 January 2002]: The Department collects information from each council with social services responsibility on the number of elderly people assessed by social services and on the numbers of elderly people receiving residential care, nursing care or community based services, including domiciliary care, as part of the annual Referrals, Assessments and Packages of Care (RAP) data collection. National figures were published on 6 December 2001 for the year to 31 March 2001 in "Community Care Statistics 200001, Referrals, Assessments and Packages of Care for Adults", a copy of which is in the Library. This information relates to services funded wholly or in part by councils with social services responsibilities. Information is not collected centrally on the number of elderly people who pay privately the full cost of their residential, nursing or community based care.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many registrations there were in England in each year from 1996 to 2001 of nursing and residential places for older people in (a) local authority residential, (b) independent residential, (c) national health services geriatric and psychogeriatric and (d) independent nursing; 
Jacqui Smith: Information on places for older people in residential care homes in England are available in the Statistical Bulletins "Community Care Statistics 2001: Residential Personal Social services for adults" and "Community Care Statistics 2000: Residential Personal Social services for adults". The publications show the number of residential places for older people in local authority staffed homes and independent residential homes for the years 1996 to 2001. Details of the number of registered beds for older people in nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics in England, for the years 2000 and 2001 are also given in these publications. Copies of the publications are in the Library.
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Details on the number of available beds in national health service facilities are collected on the departmental statistical returnKH03. Bed data can be found in the annual publication "Bed availability and occupancyEngland: Each Financial Year to 19992000", copies of which are available in the Library.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 1037W, on free nursing care, if he will make a statement as to why, from Q1 200001, reasons for delay were only collected on the basis of patients of all ages and not by (a) age group and (b) reason for delay; and if he will publish the figures he has collated for this period. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The breakdown of reasons for delay is now collected for patients of all ages, rather than just for those over 75, to give a more comprehensive picture of the reasons for delayed discharges. The information requested has been placed in the Library.
Information from the Referrals, Assessments and Packages of Care data collection is not currently published for each council. Information on the numbers of elderly people in residential and nursing care at 31 March 2001 whose care is paid for in whole or in part by the local council (supported residents) is available and published in Table S4 of "Community Care Statistics 2001, Residential Personal Social Services for Adults", a copy of which is in the Library.
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 January 2002]: We are providing an additional £680 million to councils next year for social services in England, which is an increase of 6.5 per cent. Manchester will receive its share of this extra money. Councils can decide on how to make best use of these extra resources, including how much to make available for extra residential and home care.
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£784,534. On 8 January, we announced that Manchester would get £1.9 million of the £190 million available nationally for 200203.
Using this additional funding Manchester council has reduced delayed discharges locally since November. This is part of a national reduction in delayed discharges by 10 per cent. since September 2001.
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