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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the status is of the National Service Framework in assisting purchaser health authorities to determine the quality of service in (a) NHS and
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(b) independent hospitals; and if he offers guidance to purchasers on securing quality service from independent hospitals. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 5 March 2002]: The National Service Frameworks (NSFs) and the National Cancer Plan set clear national standards for the prevention, investigation and treatment of leading causes of ill health and premature death. They also recommend how services can be organised so that they are effective, efficient and dependable and set out the criteria that will be used to monitor progress.
As these frameworks are being implemented, together with effective clinical governance, and backed up by more quality-focused methods of monitoring and performance management, the quality of care for people with coronary heart disease, cancer, mental health problems and for older people is improving rapidly.
National health service patients treated in independent hospitals remain NHS patients. When commissioning treatment from the independent sector, NHS commissioners must be satisfied that the treatment will be of a high standard, with reference to relevant national standards and service guidance. Quality requirements can be set out in contracts between the NHS and the independent providers.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many students in higher education were training to be dentists in (a) 1979, (b) 1992, (c) 1997 and (d) 2001 or the most recent available date. 
(59) Home and overseas students. Census count as at 31 December in years up to 199293, and 1 December in subsequent years. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
(60) Covers clinical and pre-clinical dentistry.
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Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of primary care teams have met the target set down in the national service framework on coronary heart disease requiring every primary care team to have (a) all medical records and hospital correspondence held in a way that allows them to be retrieved rapidly in date order, (b) appropriate medical records that contain easily and (c) a systematically developed and maintained practice-based CHD register which is actively used to provide structured care to people with CHD; and what measures he intends to take to ensure that the targets are met at the earliest possible opportunity. 
Yvette Cooper: I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in responding to this question. I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.
Local health communities are currently taking stock of progress towards the NHS Plan and national service framework milestones as part of the local modernisation review process. Departmental regional offices are working closely with local health communities to ensure these milestones are delivered in a realistic timeframe.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in respect of each health purchasing authority in the south-east and south-west regions in 200001, whether they improved their budget position during that year by deferring admission of patients for certain procedures. 
We have accepted in full the recommendations of the independent Pay Review Body for 200203. From 1 April all nursing staff will receive an above inflation increase of at least 3.6 per cent. Pay has increased across the board for all nurses by at least 26 per cent. in cash terms since 1997.
We remain committed to working with unions, professional organisations and employers to introduce a new pay system that will offer staff working in the national health service a more attractive career structure, fairer pay and consistent conditions of service.
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The NHS Plan set out our commitment to increasing the work force and the NHS Cancer Plan confirmed our commitment to investment in the cancer nursing work force. The Department's census shows that since the launch of the NHS Plan in September 1999 until September 2001, there was a net increase in nurses working in the NHS of 20,740. This increase will enable the recruitment of additional cancer-site specific nurse specialists, chemotherapy nurses, palliative care nurse specialists and additional nurses on cancer wards.
We are committed to continue increasing the number of nurses employed in the NHS and improving retention, increasing training places, encouraging former staff to return, and increasing international recruitment. The NHS is also changing to become a modern, flexible employer. The current recruit, return and retain campaign covers all nurses, including those involved in cancer services and the staffing of all NHS services should inform a Trust's recruitment and retention strategy.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if Temodal has received approval from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence; what plans he has to increase its availability to NHS patients; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: I apologise to hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.
On 5 December 2001, the Government announced that they would meet their commitment to ensure that patients receive drugs and treatments recommended by NICE on the NHS if deemed appropriate by their clinicians. Directions have been issued obliging health authorities and primary care trusts to provide appropriate funding for recommended treatments.
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State what estimate he has made of the additional number of beds that would be required to eliminate queueing for a bed on wards at (a) Whiston hospital, Aintree, (b) University hospital, (c) the Royal Liverpool teaching hospital and (d) Alder Hey hospital; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in responding to this question. I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.
The Whiston hospital, University hospital, Aintree and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospital each has a higher than average proportion of patients experiencing a long wait in an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department or elsewhere for admission to a bed in a ward.
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The reasons that patients have to wait in accident and emergency or elsewhere for a bed in a ward are complex and not always solved solely by the addition of extra beds. However, more ward beds have been opened in each of the hospitals as part of the overall strategy for reducing the length of time patients are waiting for admission to a bed.
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