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Delayed Discharges

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out the numbers of people awaiting delayed discharge (a) by region, (b) by health authority and (c) by trust in (i) numbers and (ii) percentage terms for (A) Q2 2001–02 and (B) the most recent figures available; what the reasons for delayed discharge were; and how many people were waiting (1) 0 to eight (2) eight to 14, (3) 14 to 21, (4) 21 to 28, (5) 28 to 35, (6) 35 to 42, (7) 42 to 49 and (8) 49 to 56 days. [28815]

Jacqui Smith: Information from Quarter 2 of 2001–02 on the numbers and percentage of delayed discharges at regional and health authority level, together with the reasons for delay and the numbers of people waiting one to eight days, eight to 14 days, 14 to 28 days and over 28 days has been placed in the Library. The other information requested is not available centrally. The data for the third quarter of 2001–02 will be available in mid-February.

Mortality Rates

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to monitor the mortality rate for those re-admitted over 75 years of age (a) in re-admission and (b) within 30 days of re-admission; and if he will make a statement. [28814]

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Jacqui Smith: Information is collected on mortality in hospital and within 30 days of discharge, but not separately following re-admission to hospital.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many psychogeriatricians (a) there were in England

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by region in the last five years and (b) he estimates there will be in post in the next five years. [28880]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is in the table.

Latest projections suggest that by 2006 there will be an additional 143 trained specialists available to work within the specialty.

Hospital medical staff within the old age psychiatry speciality by region
As at 30 September   Number

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
All staffConsultantAll staffConsultantAll staffConsultantAll staffConsultantAll staffConsultant
North West60206020703090408040
Northern and Yorkshire904010050120601507013060
South East1304014040150401605017060
South Eastern60206020602070207020
West Midlands70308030703080408040


Where regions are shown, staff holding appointments in more than one region are included separately in each region. The sum of regional totals therefore differs slightly from the England total and a direct comparison between England totals is not advised.


Department of Health medical and dental work force census

Hospital Practitioners

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how long investigations into allegations of professional misconduct for hospital practitioners and the final judgment have taken for the last five years; and what the status is of the person under investigation while the complaint is being processed. [28319]

Mr. Hutton: The General Medical Council does not collect data showing the time taken to conclude cases. Each case varies in complexity and length.

Unless an order has been made by the Interim Orders Committee, a doctor under investigation is free to practise pending conclusion of the case. However, after the screening decision to proceed with an investigation, the GMC notifies the doctor's employer who may take steps in relation to the doctor's continued employment.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what powers the General Medical Council has to discipline hospital practitioners who are found to have been guilty of (a) serious professional misconduct and (b) other less serious misconduct charges. [28317]

Mr. Hutton: When the General Medical Council's Professional Conduct Committee has found a doctor guilty of serious professional misconduct, it can issue a reprimand to the doctor, impose conditions on a doctor's practice for up to three years, suspend the doctor's registration for up to 12 months, which may be renewed, or erase the doctor's name from the register. At present the Professional Conduct Committee has no other powers. The GMC has made proposals for dealing with less serious charges and the Government will be considering how these might be implemented.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints about the conduct of hospital practitioners have been received in each year from 1997. [28318]

Mr. Hutton: National data collection on complaints includes data on the number of complaints made by profession, and separately on the subject of complaint.

The table shows the total number of complaints, complaints against medical staff, and what percentage of the total the latter represents. The complaints against medical staff cover a range of issues and not only questions of conduct.

Hospital and community health services

Total number of complaints95,99486,53686,01388,757
Complaints against medical staff43,93038,26137,38236,883
Percentage of total45.744.243.441.5

The number of complaints received by the GMC about doctor's conduct are as follows:


The figures for 2001 are not yet published but the indications are that the 2001 figure is similar to the 2000 figure.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures have been introduced since 1997 (a) to speed up the complaints process against hospital practitioners and (b) to increase the powers of the General Medical Council. [28320]

Mr. Hutton: In August 2000 the Medical Practitioners Act 1978 was amended to widen the General Medical Council's powers to act swiftly and effectively when a

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doctor's fitness to practise is first called into question. It introduced a minimum five-year period before a doctor who has been struck off the register may apply for restoration. It also enabled the GMC to co-opt non- members of the Council to any of its committees chiefly to help tackle the backlog of cases.

The GMC have committed themselves to new service standards including that by May 2002, except in exceptional circumstances, cases are to be heard by the Professional Conduct Committee within a year of referral by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what regulations are in use to discipline hospital medical practitioners. [28316]

Mr. Hutton: The Department issued (Disciplinary Procedures for Hospital and Community Medical and Dental Staff) Health Circular(90)9 in 1990, a copy of which is in the Library. This sets out the procedures for handling disciplinary issues for medical and dental staff on nationally negotiated terms and conditions of service. These arrangements are now under review to make sure they meet the needs of the modern national health service.


Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of registrars in the NHS went into full-time general practice in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [28870]

Mr. Hutton: The information is not available in the form requested.

Analysis of recent information on new entrants suggests that around two thirds of general practice registrars take up a permanent appointment in general practice within five years of qualifying.

Private Sector Nursing Homes

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is in relation to the level of fees paid by

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the public sector to private sector nursing homes for care of the elderly; and if he will make a statement. [28869]

Jacqui Smith: In our recently published agreement with the statutory and the independent social care, health care and housing sectors—"Building Capacity and Partnership in Care"—we make clear that contract fees should not be set mechanistically but should take into account the legitimate current and future costs faced by providers as well as the planned outcomes for people using services.

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