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Bed Blocking

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many delayed discharges there were in North Yorkshire in the last month for which figures are available. [26455]

Jacqui Smith: During the four week period ending 30 December 2001 North Yorkshire health authority reported an average of 78 delayed discharges a week.

Sunderland Health Authority

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the real terms increase in budget allocated to Sunderland health authority has been for each year from 1997 inclusive; and what the projected increase is in each of the next three years. [26122]

Jacqui Smith: The real terms increase in budget allocated to Sunderland health authority for each year from 1997 inclusive is shown in the table. From 1 April 2002 the Sunderland health authority will be absorbed into the Northumberland and Tyne and Wear health authority.

Sunderland HA real terms revenue increase



Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to reply to the hon. Member of Colchester's letters to him of 2 October and 30 November 2001 on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Brookes and their son Peter. [25962]

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Ms Blears: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 9 January.

Medical Intervention Costs

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessments his Department has carried out in the last two years into the relative costs of medical interventions in the UK public and private health systems; if he will publish the results; if he will summarise the key conclusions; and if he will make a statement. [26911]

Mr. Hutton: The Department has recently conducted a survey of health authorities, primary care trusts and acute trusts on the levels of activity being commissioned in the private sector and the accompanying costs. The survey returns from the national health service are being validated and analysed. We expect to be able to share key findings shortly.

The Department does not collect information about the cost of medical interventions in private hospitals for non-NHS patients.

Care Home Beds (Wiltshire)

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the change in the number of care home beds in (a) west Wiltshire district and (b) Salisbury district since 1997. [26734]

Jacqui Smith: Information for West Wiltshire and Salisbury districts is not collected separately. The table shows the number of places in residential care homes and registered beds in nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics in the Wiltshire area in 1997 and 2001.

Residential places(41) and registered nursing beds in the Wiltshire(42) area in 1997 and 2001, as at 31 March

Places in residential care homes4,5133,991
Registered nursing beds in nursing homes(43),(44)2,2342,057
Total care beds6,7576,048

(41) Excludes places in children's homes.

(42) Information is presented for the area represented by the county of Wiltshire prior to local government re-organisation on 1 April 1997. Figures for 2001 relate to the unitary authority of Swindon and the reduced shire county area of Wiltshire. For both years, information on nursing beds relates to Wiltshire health authority (which equates to the former county of Wiltshire prior to local government re-organisation).

(43) Registered beds in general and mental nursing homes, hospitals and clinics.

(44) Information for registered nursing beds 1997 relates to the period 1 October 1996 to 31 March 1997.


Department of Health's annual returns

Hospital Beds (Buckinghamshire)

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many of the patients awaiting discharge in inappropriately occupied beds in Wycombe and Amersham hospitals will have their future care practice funded by (a) the health authority, (b) the county social services department and (c) a combination of both; and what the equivalent figures were in January (i) 2001, (ii) 1999, (iii) 1998 and (iv) 1997. [27120]

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Jacqui Smith: Information is not collected centrally in the format requested.

Quarterly information for Buckinghamshire health authority, for patients aged 75 and over is available in the Library.

Hospital Car Parking Fees

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent guidance his Department has given NHS trusts with regard to car parking fees at hospitals. [26858]

Mr. Hutton: Guidance on car parking charges was issued to national health service hospitals in March 1996. It is a matter for individual hospitals to decide whether or not to charge for car parking and the cost of such charges in the light of local circumstances. Where charges are introduced, patients who are eligible to claim reimbursement of travelling expenses under the Hospital Travel Costs Scheme may have the charges reimbursed.


Joyce Quin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the incidence of children with autism was in each district health authority in England in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [26884]

Jacqui Smith: The figures requested are not available. The Medical Research Council's recently completed review of the Epidemiology and Causes of Autism notes that differences in definitions used in the past make comparisons problematic. The review states that there is fairly good agreement in recent studies that autism spectrum disorders affect about 60 per 10,000 children under eight and more narrowly defined autism between 10 and 30 per 10,000.

We are investigating ways of improving our data on autism. The Children in Need census issued in September/October 2001 is collecting data on the numbers of autistic children known to social services departments in England, who will be an important group within the overall total.

In June 2001 the Department for Education and Skills carried out a pilot exercise on data collection on a broad range of types of Special Educational Needs involving 200 schools and is now considering introducing a requirement for schools and local education authorities to provide this information from 2003 or 2004. This is likely to include data on pupils with autism.

Funding Resources/Initiatives

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list all (a) funding resources and (b) initiatives sponsored by his Department for (i) the private sector, (ii) the voluntary sector and (iii) local authorities. [26849]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Learning Difficulties

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will discuss with MENCAP access to services by persons with learning difficulties. [27847]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 January 2002]: Our strategy for improving services for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers is set out in the white paper "Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century" published in March last year. MENCAP contributed to the development of the White Paper and is involved with the implementation of some of its proposals. The chief executive of MENCAP is a member of the Learning Disability Task Force, set up to oversee the implementation of "Valuing People".

Ministers and departmental officials have met representatives of MENCAP on several occasions since "Valuing People" was published; I hope to meet them on 5 March.

Children's Rights Director

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will consult on establishing a children's rights director; and if he will make a statement. [27432]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 January 2002]: Draft Children's Rights Director Regulations were issued on 17 January for public consultation. It is envisaged that these regulations will establish the parameters of the children's rights director's initial role and functions. The consultation period will last for 12 weeks, to give enough time for interested parties to read and comment on the proposed draft regulations. Responses should be returned to the Department by 11 April 2002.

The children's rights director will be a senior officer of the National Care Standards Commission, an independent, non-governmental public body established under the Care Standards Act 2000 to regulate social and health care services previously regulated by local councils and health authorities. The post-holder, Roger Morgan, will have a national overview of the rights of children receiving services regulated by the NCSC.

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