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Free Continuing Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he intends to issue to the new strategic health authorities about eligibility criteria for free continuing care from April 2002. [31152]

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Jacqui Smith: It is not our intention to issue new guidance to strategic health authorities regarding eligibility criteria for free continuing care. The guidance issued in June 2001 (Health Service Circular 2001/015:Local Authority Circular (2001)18) reflects the legal position outlined in ex-parte Coughlan. The legal position has not changed since the guidance was issued.

It was made clear at paragraph 15 of the guidance that as health authorities are replaced by SHAs they should align their inherited continuing and ensure only one set of criteria exist across each SHA.

Lost/Stolen Property

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those items valued at more than £50 which have been stolen or lost from his Department in each of the last four years. [27990]

Ms Blears: The information requested is in the table:

Losses and thefts 2001–02

Item(s)NumberTotal amount (£)
Nokia 8210 mobile phone1241.70
Texas Instruments Extensa Series Laptop11,500.00
Compaq E500 Laptop11,761.20
Motorola Pager1146.88
64 Mb DIMM memory chip161.60
Compaq Armada M700 Laptop12,321.80
Siemens C35 mobile phone1156.66
Scriptor Pager1176.25
Compaq Armada 1110 Laptop12,321.80
Compaq Armada Laptop11,915.25
Compaq M700 Laptop12,321.80
Compaq Spacesaver 866 base unit. keyboard and mouse3821.33
Palm Pilot 31158.63
Compaq Armada M700 Laptop12,184.33
Compaq Laptop12,184.33
Compaq Armada 1750 Laptop12,184.33
Compaq Armada 1592 Laptop11,684.33
Nokia Mobile phone1115.15
Psion MX5 and Vodaphone mobile phone2165.68
HP Colour Laser jet 4550 Printer11,800.10
Compaq Armada M700 Laptop11,995.15
Compaq Laptop11,995.15
Siemens C35i mobile phone1179.66
Compaq Laptop and Psion 5MX series22,367.05
Compaq Armada E500 Laptop11,835.94
Compaq Armada E500 Laptop11,835.94
Compaq Armada 1120 Laptop11,835.94
Nokia mobile phone150.00
Siemens Lifebook Laptop11,630.20
Total to date for 2001–023438,124.43

Bed Blocking

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the problem of bed blocking in hospitals located in the Buckinghamshire health authority. [30055]

Jacqui Smith: On 9 October 2001 we announced additional funding of £300 million to tackle delayed discharges this year and next. Buckinghamshire was recognised as a local authority in need of extra help and was allocated £713,000 of additional funding this year and will receive £1.5 million in 2002–03.

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Quarterly information for Buckinghamshire health authority, on delayed discharges for patients aged 75 and over has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Speech Therapy (Autism)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what measures he is taking to increase the provision of speech therapists dealing with children and adults with autism; [31884]

Mr. Hutton: Speech and language therapists have a broad range of responsibilities and autism is one of the many important disorders with which they can help. The proportion of their time devoted to treatment of people with autism varies according to local needs assessment. So it is not possible to quantify the amount of speech and language therapy that is used to specifically treat autism. As at September 2000 there were 5,343 (headcount) speech and language therapists working in the national health service with 4,070 whole-time equivalents.

Between 1997 and 2000 the number of speech and language therapists working in the national health service has increased by 560 (11 per cent.) and the number of training places available for students has increased by over a hundred since 1998. There will be further increases in the number of students entering training as a result of the NHS Plan commitment to provide 4,450 more training places each year for therapists and other health professionals by 2004. The increased investment in training, work to make the national health service a better employer and investment in return to practice initiatives will result in a continuing increase in the number of speech therapists available to work in the national health service.

It is for health authorities in partnership with primary care groups/trusts and other local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services.

Complaints Investigation

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will announce the names of the chair and panel members for the independent investigation into the handling of complaints against Dr. Kerr and Mr. Haslam. [33722]

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Mr. Milburn: I am pleased to announce that Mr. Nigel Pleming QC has agreed to chair this investigation. Mr. Pleming has considerable experience in health law, including mental health law.

I am also pleased to announce that Ms Ruth Lesirge and Ms Ros Alstead have agreed to be Panel members. Ms Lesirge is Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation. Ms Alstead is Director of Quality and Operations and Nursing at the South Birmingham Mental Health NHS Trust.

Mr. Pleming and the inquiry panel will start work shortly. They will be holding early meetings with those involved to discuss the issues to be covered in the investigation.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the cost of buildings refurbishment carried out by his Department in each of the last four years. [27962]

Ms Blears: The estimate of the cost of buildings refurbishment carried out by the Department, its executive agencies and executive non-departmental public bodies in each of the past four complete financial years is shown in the table.


This does not include refurbishment work carried out within the national health service nor the cost of fitting out of any new properties prior to occupation.

Emergency Calls

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average number of (a) emergency and (b) non-emergency calls per year handled by each ambulance service was in (i) England, (ii) South-west England and (iii) South-east England; and what is the number per thousand population in the last 12 months. [28227]

Ms Blears: Information for all ambulance national health service trusts, by regional office area, about the number of emergency calls received in 2000–01 that resulted in an emergency response arriving at the scene of the incident is shown in the table. The rate per thousand population is also included. Information about non- emergency calls is not available in the form requested.

Emergency calls resulting in an emergency response arriving at the scene of the incident(27)
Ambulance NHS TrustNumberRate per thousand population
Northern and Yorkshire47668
West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance NHS Trust17281
Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance NHS Trust13247
Cumbria Ambulance NHS Trust2438
North East Ambulance NHS Trust148105
South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance NHS Trust8061
Lincolnshire Ambulance NHS Trust5993
East Midlands Ambulance NHS Trust19567
Essex Ambulance NHS Trust11570
East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust11452
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance NHS Trust9961
London Ambulance NHS Trust70095
Royal Berkshire Ambulance NHS Trust4758
Hampshire Ambulance NHS Trust8350
Isle of Wight Ambulance Service (NHS Trust)(28)859
Kent Ambulance NHS Trust9761
Oxfordshire Ambulance NHS Trust2743
Surrey Ambulance NHS Trust7872
Sussex Ambulance NHS Trust11576
The Two Shires Ambulance NHS Trust6852
South West29159
Avon Ambulance NHS Trust6059
Dorset Ambulance NHS Trust5477
Gloucestershire Ambulance NHS Trust2748
West Country Ambulance NHS Trust12258
Wiltshire Ambulance NHS Trust2947
West Midlands36568
Hereford and Worcester Ambulance NHS Trust3448
Shropshire Ambulance Service (NHS Trust)(28)2250
Staffordshire Ambulance NHS Trust6461
Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust2734
West Midlands Metropolitan Ambulance NHS Trust21894
North West54086
Lancashire Ambulance NHS Trust11287
Mersey Regional Ambulance NHS Trust19381
Greater Manchester Ambulance NHS Trust23590

(27) Excludes duplicate calls to the same incidents

(28) Part of a community trust


Office for National Statistics mid-year population estimates for 2000

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Information about non-emergency patient journeys and other requests for transport, together with more detailed information about response times to Government targets for all NHS ambulance trusts are contained in the Department of Health Statistical Bulletin "Ambulance Services, England 2000–01". A copy is in the Library and available on the Department's website at public/sb0115.htm.

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