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Protection of Children Act

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has taken to ensure that employers of child care workers report to the police suspicions concerning a child care worker under the provisions of the Protection of Children Act 1999. [19094]

Jacqui Smith: The Protection of Children Act 1999 makes no provision for the reporting of concerns by employers to the police. The Act requires child care organisations to notify the Secretary of State when they have dismissed a person from a child care position on the grounds of misconduct (whether or not in the course of his employment) which harmed a child or placed a child at risk of harm. They are also required to notify my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in certain other circumstances specified in the Act.

GPs

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the number of GPs due to retire over the next 10 years. [19969]

Mr. Hutton: The Department does not collect information about retirement intentions of general practitioners. All unrestricted principals and equivalents (UPEs) have to retire as a principal by the age of 70. Around 2,200 UPEs will reach 70 by 2011.

In addition there are a further 8,880 doctors who are currently aged between 48 and 58. We might expect a proportion of these doctors to also leave by 2011. A number of doctors continue to work in the national health service after they have claimed their NHS pension until they retire fully.

The target increase in the NHS Plan for GPs is at least 2,000 more by 2004. The increases are based on an assessment of what is deliverable given the numbers

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expected to come out of training, and what is achievable through action on recruitment and retention. This assessment is set against the number of staff we expect to leave the NHS (leavers and retirements).

Procurement

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's partnering relationships with the private sector to achieve better capital procurement and value for money. [15762]

Mr. Hutton: The Department's partnering programme was launched in "Sold on Health" in May 2000, and included proposals to pilot partnering frameworks in schemes in the west midlands and north-west. Final selection is currently under way, and we expect to appoint the successful partners in April 2002. Our programme follows best practice in the public and private sectors, and we anticipate that once partnering is fully developed it will delivery significant time savings, greater value for money, and better facilities for patients.

Equal Opportunities Fund

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the expenditure level of the Equal Opportunities Fund in (a) 2001–02, (b) 2002–03 and (c) 2003–04. [17165]

Mr. Hutton: We plan to spend £10,000 in each of the three years 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04 to employ staff whose costs will be reimbursed from the Employment Opportunities Fund.

Reforming Emergency Care Allocation

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional allocation for 2001–02 under Reforming Emergency Care has been given to (a) Forest health care

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trust, (b) Redbridge hospital trust and (c) Redbridge and Waltham Forest health authority; and for what purpose they will be used. [20014]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 3 December 2001]: Forest health care national health service trust and Redbridge hospital NHS trust ceased to exist in April 2001. Acute services are now provided by Whipps Cross university hospital NHS trust and Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS trust.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a £118 million package for Reforming Emergency Care over two years. Whipps Cross university hospital NHS trust received £78,563 for 2001–02 and £322,110 for 2002–03 for additional accident and emergency nurses and £4,100 as a contribution towards providing the infrastructure in emergency care networks and local leadership through emergency care leads for 2001–02 and £16,600 for 2002–03.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS trust received £154,203 for 2001–02 and £632,243 for 2002–03 for additional accident and emergency nurses and £4,100 as a contribution towards providing the infrastructure in emergency care networks and local leadership through emergency care leads for 2001–02 and £16,600 for 2002–03.

This money was distributed directly to trusts with accident and emergency departments, not through health authorities.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target of a national average annual increase of 10 per cent. on whole-time equivalent GPs from 1997 to 2002; [14885]

Mr. Hutton: The Public Service Agreement target on general practitioner numbers relates to a "1 per cent." annual increase not "10 per cent.". We are currently on course to achieve all of these targets.

Doctor's Incomes

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average income is for (a) a hospital consultant and (b) a GP. [23896]

Mr. Hutton: We estimate that at August 2000, medical consultants were paid, on average, £65,000 basic salary, £72,000 total earnings, by national health service employers.




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For 2000–01 the intended average net income for a full time general practitioner principal delivering general medical services is £60,655.

Citizens Council

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which of the Nolan principles will not be applied to the appointees to the Citizens Council. [24608]

Mr. Hutton: The appointment of members to Citizens Council is a matter for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, but we would expect the appointment process to be equitable, open and transparent. We understand that the creation of a pool of members will rely on a mixture of open advertisement and then selecting from the electoral register to ensue that there is a cross-section of society in the membership. We believe this process would satisfy the Nolan principles.

Nursing

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether, in those areas covered by NHS professionals, NHS trusts will continue to be allowed to contract directly with private nursing agencies for the provision of services. [24425]

Mr. Hutton: National health service trusts are undertaking joint procurement processes in order to ensure temporary staffing is better co-ordinated and more consistent. It is believed that this will minimise local anomalies, lower administration costs, and in turn lead to better quality patient care and value for money, whatever the source of supply, private nursing agencies included.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the (a) average length of time and (b) longest time it has taken to (i) process applications by nurses to be put on its books and (ii) pay nurses for placements by NHS Professionals for each month since its establishment. [32882]

Mr. Hutton: Currently this information is not collected centrally. Improvements in collecting management information will be made following a review of the early implementation sites.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if NHS Professionals will be required to comply with the Nurse Agency National Minimum Standards and Regulations; and if NHS Professionals will be inspected by the National Care Standards Commission. [32884]

Mr. Hutton: As NHS Professionals is a national health service employer it does not have to comply with the Nursing Agency Minimum Standards and Regulations nor will it be inspected by the National Care Standards Commission. The standards required of NHS Professionals will be those required of any other NHS employer.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if nurses registered with NHS Professionals but not directly employed by an NHS organisation will be covered by the nurse agency standards and regulations. [32883]

Mr. Hutton: As NHS Professionals is a national health service employer nurses registered with it will not be covered by the Nursing Agency Minimum Standards and Regulations. However because those nurses will be

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working for an NHS employer and within the NHS they will be required to meet the standards expected of full time NHS nurses.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if (a) the Commission for Health Improvement and (b) the National Care Standards Commission will be responsible for monitoring compliance with standards for agency nursing staff supplied by a private agency but placed by NHS Professionals. [32881]

Mr. Hutton: The Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) considers staffing and staff management issues when carrying our clinical governance reviews of national health service trusts. In a routine clinical governance review, CHI may look at how agency bank and locum staff are inducted, and what training they have.

The National Care Standards Commission will be responsible for inspecting private nurses agencies on the basis of the national minimum standards. These standards will govern the operation of agencies and how they conduct the supply of temporary nursing staff. The standards will apply to an agency whether or not NHS Professionals uses that agency's services.


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