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Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the saving to public funds in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02 is from the abolition of 14 administrative forms, referred to on page 17 of the 2001 departmental report. [14910]

Mr. Hutton: The Department does not hold information on the savings to public funds from this measure. The 14 forms abolished were administrative forms which the Department issued in respect of applications for grants, licences, registration etc. These forms were abolished in pursuance of Government policy to reduce regulatory burdens on business, charities and voluntary organisations including reducing the burdens of form filling where this can be done without removing the necessary controls.

NHS Pensions Agency

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the cost in 2001–02 of the NHS Pensions Agency. [16938]

Mr. Hutton: The total costs of the national health service Pensions Agency for 2001–02 are estimated to be £16,743,000.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the performance of NHS trusts in meeting the external financing limits set by his Department. [16947]

Mr. Hutton: The performance of national health service trusts against 2000–01 external financing limits is shown in the table.

2000–01 trust external financing limitsNumber Percentage
Total NHS trusts meeting EFL34396
Total NHS trusts meeting EFL after £10,000 de minimus applied35098


The data are taken from the 2000–01 NHS Trust Summarised Accounts. The data remain provisional, and are subject to continuing audit by the National Audit.

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what performance indicators NHS trusts are required to publish regularly. [31727]

Mr. Hutton: In the past we published a number of clinical indicators at national health service trust level. The national figures for the first full set of NHS trust performance indicators were published on 1 February 2002. The indicators for each NHS trust will be published

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shortly. The set of indicators will develop over time as more data become available, and will in future be published by the Commission for Health Improvement.

In addition, NHS trusts are required to publish an annual report, which must include financial information and information on the number of complaints received. It is also recommended that the report include information on waiting times and cancelled operations.


Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action the Government are taking to recruit more (a) nurses, (b) physiotherapists, (c) occupational therapists and (d) GPs in the North East; and if he will make a statement. [17406]

Mr. Hutton: The Government's plans for modernising the national health service work force are set out in the document "Investment and reform for NHS staff—Taking forward the NHS plan" published on 15 February 2001. This details activity in hand to modernise work force planning including the establishment of work force development confederations at local level. These bring together NHS and non-NHS employers to plan the healthcare work force. They will work with health authorities (HAs) to produce an integrated work force plan which underpins the service plans set out in their Health Improvement Programme (HimP).

The Northern Workforce Development Confederation is engaged in a number of initiatives to recruit more nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists in the north-east. The confederation is running four return-to- practice nursing courses and in-house returner training for some physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Study courses for nursing assistants to train to access pre-registration nursing courses are being run and two trusts are seconding nursing assistants onto nurse training.

Individual trusts in the north-east are recruiting nurses from the Philippines and holding fast track recruitment days for all professions. Open days at hospitals are being held emphasising family friendly working and support groups. The confederation and three trusts were represented at the Evening Chronicle Jobs Event at the Telewest Arena in Newcastle on 23 and 24 November. One trust is recruiting newly qualified nurses over establishment for expansion plans.

The confederation is also giving presentations to schools and colleges, careers fairs and recruitment days; placing posters/leaflets in various public places such as libraries, sports centres, general practitioners surgeries, village halls, and running an advertising campaign on the back of buses until the end of December for general recruitment in all careers and for return to practice advertisements.

We are committed to boosting GP numbers and have already introduced a number of measures to encourage more doctors into primary care. These include a "Golden Hello" scheme which will give £5,000 to every GP who joins the NHS, with an extra payment of up to £5,000 if they work in an under-doctored area and a new £22 million GP training package whereby new GPs will be eligible for additional training of up to 20 days a year. We have also given a commitment to ensure trainee GPs'

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pay is increased in line with that of junior hospital doctors in the future and increased funding for locum cover for family doctors on maternity, paternity and adoptive leave.

The Northern Workforce Development Confederation has allocated £12,000 to fund recruitment and retention initiatives within primary care in the North East. The flexibilities afforded by the Personal Medical Services pilots allow opportunities for further GP recruitment, particularly as employees rather than independent contractors. Sunderland, which has the highest average GP patient list sizes in England, has been particularly successful in boosting its GP numbers through this scheme.

The measures announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 5 November to improve the quality of, and expand, GP premises, especially in under-doctored areas, are likely to act as a lever in boosting GP recruitment to hitherto difficult to recruit areas. The north- east health authorities have, in the two years to September 2001, increased GP numbers by over 90 additional GPs, representing an increase of seven per cent. in the GP work force.

Walk-in Centres

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what level of funding will be available in the NHS Plan for the future funding of walk-in centres in England. [18477]

Mr. Hutton: NHS walk-in centres are being piloted as a new initiative to offer convenient access to primary care services. 42 centres are now open. As pilots, they are being independently evaluated, and are funded in part locally and in part by the Department. Decisions on their future development and funding will be informed by the independent evaluation and by the outcome of the current spending review.

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Hospital Waiting Times

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were waiting (a) more than six months and (b) more than 12 months for in-patient treatment in the South Cheshire health authority in (i) March 1997 and (ii) September 1997 and in each reporting period in between. [16532]

Mr. Hutton: The number of residents of South Cheshire health authority recorded as waiting more than six months and 12 months for in-patient and day case treatment at the 31 March, 30 June and 30 September 1997 is shown in the table.

Over 6 monthsOver 12 months
March 19974,043338
June 19975,126978
September 19975,148914

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the 10 health authorities with the (a) highest and (b) lowest expenditure by weighted head; and if he will estimate the number of people waiting for more than six months in each of these health authority areas for (i) in-patient treatment and (ii) out-patient treatment; and if he will make a statement. [32561]

Mr. Hutton: For the reasons set out in the notes to the table, expenditure per head cannot be reliably compared between health authorities, nor necessarily be correlated with waiting times information.

The 10 health authorities with the highest and lowest expenditure per weighted head of population in 2000–01 are shown in the table. The numbers of people waiting for more than six months for in-patient and for out-patient treatment are shown both as total numbers waiting and also as the numbers waiting per 1,000 head of weighted population.

Number of patients waiting over 6 months Number of patients waiting over 26 weeks (= 6 months)
Health authorityExpenditure per weighted head of population (£) For in-patient treatmentFor in-patient treatment per 1,000 head of weighted populationFor 1st out-patient appointment following GP referralFor 1st out-patient appointment following GP referral per 1,000 head of weighted population
10 health authorities with highest expenditure per weighted head
Morecambe Bay1,346.041,0853.47222.3
Camden and Islington1,067.881,1472.38211.6
Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster1,011.248381.73240.6
East Surrey958.663,0097.91840.5
10 health authorities with lowest expenditure per weighted head
St. Helens and Knowsley749.061,7824.71,1403.0
West Pennine746.221,9394.04490.9
North Derbyshire744.331,6494.52210.6
East Lancashire740.662,4054.36131.1
County Durham and Darlington738.321,8522.84410.7
Wigan and Bolton732.652,6384.31,6012.6


1. In many health authorities there are factors which distort the expenditure per head. These include:

the health authority acting in a lead capacity to commission healthcare or fund training on behalf of other health bodies;

asset revaluations in NHS Trusts being funded through health authorities; and

some double counting of expenditure between health authorities and primary care trusts within the health authority area.

Allocations per weighted head of population provide a much more reliable measure to identify differences between funding of health authorities.

2. Expenditure is taken from health authority and primary care trust summarisation forms which are prepared on a resource basis and therefore differ from allocations in the year. The expenditure is the total spent by the health authority and by the primary care trusts within each health authority area. The majority of General Dental Services expenditure is not included in the health authority or primary care trust accounts and is separately accounted for by the Dental Practice Board.

3. Health authorities and primary care trusts should account for their expenditure on a gross basis. This results in an element of double counting where one body acts as the main commissioner and is then reimbursed by other bodies. The effect of this double counting within the answer cannot be identified.


Health authority summarisation forms 2000–01

Primary care trust summarisation schedules 2000–01

Weighted population estimates 2000–01

QFO1/QMO8R Waiting times data quarterly returns, end March 2001.

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