Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in his negotiations over NHS consultants' contracts, including the proposed seven year commitment to whole-time NHS work; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: Our proposals for the new consultant contract were published in February 2001 and these, alongside the British Medical Association's own proposals, form the basis of continuing negotiations
The proposals envisage that for an initial period, perhaps seven years, the terms of the contract would prevent newly appointed consultants engaging in similar work outside the national health service whether the individual is employed on a full-time or part-time basis. This is designed to maximise consultants' contribution to the NHS, but not to prevent doctors from working part-time if they wish to do so.
Jacqui Smith: Area child protection committee (ACPC) expenditure, and administrative and policy support, is a matter for local agreement. As a multi- agency forum, the ACPC should be supported in its work by its main constituent agencies, reflecting the investment of each agency in activities which are of benefit to all, in particular inter-agency training.
11 Mar 2002 : Column 846W
Ms Blears: There was a joint bid from Worthing and Southlands and Worthing, Adur and Arun primary care groups for intermediate care capital. This bid, to provide 25 dedicated overnight beds and 10 day places for assessment and care is currently being developed.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 15 October 2001]: I apologise to the 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.
Data on the number of operations cancelled at the last minute are placed in the Library. Data on the number of last minute cancelled operations by national health service trust were not collected until April 2001, prior to this, data were collected on last minute cancelled operations within each health authority.
Mr. Hutton: Operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons include any operation cancelled by the hospital except where the patient is not medically fit for surgery or where surgery would no longer be medically appropriate at the scheduled time.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with representatives of healthcare professionals on the impact of Government targets on clinical decision- making. 
11 Mar 2002 : Column 847W
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 26 February 2002]: Ministers in the Department regularly meet representatives of the health care professions to discuss all aspects of the Government's strategy for investment and reform in the national health service.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS trusts have applied for extra funding to implement the Department's policy of partitioning hospital wards to ensure non-mixed sex wards; and if he will make a statement as to the level of the financial settlement received by individual authorities and name those authorities in receipt of this extra funding. 
Trusts are expected to use their centrally allocated funding, including block allocation for building improvements, by prioritisation of their resources over that period of time. No extra funding programme exists and it is for trusts to manage their capital to address these issues.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer given to the hon. Member for Wyre Forest (Dr. Taylor) on 26 February 2002, Official Report, column 1077W, if he will make a statement on the progress being made to reach the target of eliminating mixed sex accommodation in 95 per cent. of national health service trusts by December. 
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer given on 22 January 2002, Official Report, column 763W, if he will define the meaning of partitioning in mixed-sex wards in hospitals. 
11 Mar 2002 : Column 848W
Mr. Hutton: The cost of producing and distributing "NHS Plan News" was £800,000 a year for four quarterly issues. This is a cost of 0.2p per copy. Approximately, one million copies per edition were distributed.
Mr. Hutton: As part of the continuous drive for effectiveness and value for money in its communications the Department is currently seeking proposals from commercial organisations about partnership arrangements to produce a regular publication for NHS staff. A commercial tendering process is under way. Any contract awarded as a result of this will be duly announced.
Ms Blears: Information on complaints received by national health service trusts is contained in "Handling Complaints: Monitoring the NHS Complaints Procedures" statistical report. Copies are available in Library.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been provided to hospital trusts from his Department for requiring NHS patients to pay for private ambulance services for transfer between hospitals to obtain specialist treatment within the NHS; and on what basis NHS ambulances will not be provided. 
Ms Blears: In 1991, guidance was issued to the national health service which set out eligibility for transport (HSG(91)29 issued in 1991 with booklet "Ambulance and other patient transport services"). A copy is in the Library. The guidance states that if a patient has a medical need for transport as determined by the clinician in charge of their case, then transport should be provided free of charge, as part of NHS treatment. Medical need for non-emergency patient transport must be determined locally by a clinician and will depend on the medical condition of the patient, the availability of private or public transport and distance to be travelled. The principle applied is that a patient should be able to reach hospital in a reasonable time, in reasonable comfort, without detriment to their medical condition. Transport may be provided by either a NHS ambulance trust or other private or voluntary organisation.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from the Brighton Healthcare NHS Trust about shortage of funds restricting availability of ambulances to transfer NHS patients to alternative hospitals for treatment. 
Ms Blears: There has not been any restriction placed on the use of ambulance services at Brighton Health Care NHS Trust by the Surrey Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SAST). In agreement with Brighton Health Care, an additional dedicated routine services ambulance has been
11 Mar 2002 : Column 849W
made available since 1 February 2002, controlled by Brighton Health Care, to assist with transfers and discharges. This operates from 09.30 to 18.30 daily.