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Mr. Hutton: Current information on out-patient waiting facilities is contained within the following guidance for those involved in the briefing and design of new or refurbished healthcare facilities. Information sources comprise:
Design Briefing System notebook DBS 12 (for project teams to record their decisions) Out-patients Departments (issued with the above Health Building Note);
Supplement 1: Genito-urinary medicine clinic ISBN 0113213085, Department of Health, Welsh Office and Department of Health and Social Security (Northern Ireland);
Supplement 2: Oral surgery, orthodontics, restorative dentistry ISBN 0113214057, NHS Estates;
Supplement 3: ENT and audiology clinics; hearing aid centre ISBN 0113217455, NHS Estates;
Supplement 4: Ophthalmology ISBN 0113222459, NHS Estates.
25 Feb 2002 : Column 1012W
Mr. Hutton: The Department has not commissioned any research into the relationship between student debt and recruitment of medical students. It has however funded a study of trends in applications to medical school. The study report will review educational and population statistics from 1996 to 2000, and current literature examining the issue of medical student debt.
The Department is currently discussing with the Higher Education Funding Council for England the possibility of jointly commissioning research evaluating the expansion of medical schools, which may also include examination of the issue of student debt. The Department is aware of the British Medical Association Medical Students Committee's surveys of medical students' finances.
During the first four years of their training, undergraduate medical students are supported under the Department for Education and Skills' student support regulations. The Department of Health has introduced special support arrangements for medical and dental students in recognition of the longer length of medical
25 Feb 2002 : Column 1013W
and dental training programmes, and the limited opportunities that such students have to supplement their income due to their heavier study commitments. At the same time the issue of medical student debt needs to be considered against the background that doctors, on qualification, have a higher earning potential than most other professions.
Mr. Hutton: The Department currently has no plans to amend the support arrangements for medical students. However, we take a close interest in the effective operation of student support arrangements to ensure that they continue to support our plans to deliver the increased number of staff the service needs.
On 3 October 2001, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Department for Education and Skills announced plans for a review of student support arrangements. The Department of Health will be working with DfES to ensure that the needs of health professional students are taken fully into account in the design of any new arrangements. They will consider carefully what implications the changes have for the support which the national health service provides directly through the NHS bursary scheme.
Mr. Hutton: In recognition of the longer length of medical and dental degree courses and the need to guarantee the future supply of staff, special arrangements have been introduced for undergraduate medical and dental students. English domiciled pre-registration medical and dental students who joined their courses from 1 September 1998 onwards will qualify for NHS bursaries in their fifth and any subsequent years of study.
NHS bursaries are also available to English domiciled students undertaking the new four-year graduate entry medical courses introduced following the recommendations of the Third Report of the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee in December 1997. These students qualify for NHS-funded support in years 24 of the course.
NHS funded students (including medical and dental students) on degree level courses receive their support in the form of a means tested bursary supplemented by reduced rate, repayable, student loans. All NHS-funded students have their liability for a tuition fee contribution (currently £1,075) met in full on their behalf and without means testing. Additional allowances are available to take account of the additional weeks that health professional students are required to attend their course, and also for older students, single parents and others with dependants.
During the first four years of undergraduate medical and dental courses, and the first year of the four-year graduate entry programme, students are supported under the Department for Education and Skills' student support regulations.
25 Feb 2002 : Column 1014W
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the instances in which his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies failed to pay valid invoices within 30 days or after the agreed credit period in the financial year 200001. 
|Paid within 30 days/credit period||Paid late|
|Department of Health||324,566||96.08||13,233||3.92||337,799|
Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 10 December 2001, Official Report, column 715W, on smallpox, what contracts he has entered into in the last six months for the supply of anti-smallpox drugs. 
Mr. Hutton: Anti-viral drugs have been shown in laboratory studies to be effective in treating infections caused by viruses similar to smallpox. However, in practice, patients on anti-virus therapy require intensive monitoring and additional treatment to minimise potentially severe side-effects and need to be in hospital. Anti- viral drugs would therefore, be difficult to administer on a large scale. Because of this, no contracts have been entered into in the last six months for the supply of these anti-smallpox drugs.
Vaccination is effective in preventing the disease. The Department has a strategic stock of vaccine for use in an outbreak. Information about the size and location of these stocks is not being put in the public domain, as this is information that might be of use to terrorists.
Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have been convicted for fraudulent claims for free prescriptions since the Counter Fraud Service was introduced 18 months ago. 
Ms Blears: Following the creation of the national health service Counter Fraud Service, the value of fraudulent patient evasion of NHS prescription charges has been reduced from 1998 levels by 41 per cent., equivalent to £48 million.
Following the implementation of the penalty charges regime in August 2001, over 23,000 charge notices have been issued to patients in respect of non-payment of prescription charges and as a result £236,000 has been returned to NHS funds. The use of penalty charges is a proportionate response in the majority of these cases.
25 Feb 2002 : Column 1015W
Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what cash allocations have been made under the reforming emergency care accident and emergency nurse allocation for 200102 to each acute NHS trust in the northern Region; upon what basis the allocations have been made; and which trusts are involved in PFI programmes. 
25 Feb 2002 : Column 1016W
Ms Blears: Cash allocations to national health service acute trusts in the Department's northern and Yorkshire region under the reforming emergency care accident and emergency nurse allocation for 200102 are detailed in the table. All trusts received funding for a minimum of two additional nurse posts for each accident and emergency department. The table also indicates those trusts that are involved in PFI programmes.
|NHS trust||Allocation (£)||Additional nurse posts||PFI|
|Airedale NHS Trust||17,942||2||Yes|
|Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust||17,942||2||Yes|
|Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust||35,883||4||Yes|
|City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust||17,942||2||No|
|Dewsbury Health Care NHS Trust||17,942||2||No|
|Gateshead Health NHS Trust||17,942||2||No|
|Harrogate Health Care NHS Trust||17,942||2||No|
|Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust||17,942||2||Yes|
|Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust||143,534||8||Yes|
|Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust||17,942||2||Yes|
|North Cumbria Acute NHS Trust||35,883||4||Yes|
|North Durham Health Care NHS Trust||143,534||8||Yes|
|North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust||35,883||4||No|
|Northallerton Health Services NHS Trust||17,942||2||Yes|
|Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust||35,883||4||Yes|
|Pinderfields and Pontefract NHS Trust||17,942||2||Yes|
|Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Health Care NHS Trust||17,942||2||No|
|South Durham Health Care NHS Trust||35,883||4||Yes|
|South Tees Acute Hospitals NHS Trust||17,942||2||Yes|
|South Tyneside Health Care NHS Trust||17,942||2||No|
|York Health Services NHS Trust||17,942||2||No|
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