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Jacqui Smith: 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.
No information was collected centrally about the length of delay for patients with delayed discharge until the first quarter of 200102. The information on the breakdown in length of delay for patients of all ages in Q1 of 200102 has been placed in the Library. No information was collected centrally about the length of delay for patients with delayed discharge until the first quarter of 200102. The information on the breakdown in length of delay for patients of all ages in the first and second quarters of 200102 has been placed in the Library. For equivalent information for the third quarter I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) on 18 March 2002, Official Report, column 159W.
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beds that will be (i) available and (ii) required in the (A) private and (B) public sector in each of the next five years. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 4 March 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Members, the Member for Cheadle (Mrs. Calton) and the Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 12 March 2002, Official Report, column 1009W.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on which date he agreed to test new private finance initiative employment models; if he will set out the model of facilities employment which is being tested; and if he will identify the pilot sites where the model is under test. 
Mr. Hutton: In December 2001 an agreement was reached with Unison, private sector contractors and the Department on the terms under which portering, domestic, catering, laundry and security at three private finance initiative pilots (Queen Mary's hospital Roehampton, Barking/Havering and Stoke Mandeville hospital) will continue. The pilots are for staff in these five facilities to retain all their national health service employment terms, but be managed by the private sector.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital appointments were not attended in England in each of the last four years; and what measures are in place to reduce this number. 
Mr. Hutton: The number of patients who did not attend consultant out-patient appointments from 199798 to 200001 are given in the table. Information up to quarter 2 of 200102, is available on the Department website at www.doh.gov.uk/hospitalactivity.
Did Not Attends (DNAs) are counted for those patients who gave no advance warning for their non-attendance.
Department of Health form KH09
The Department has introduced the national booked admissions programme to offer patients a pre-booked appointment and a choice of date and time that is suitable to them. Booking systems have proven to significantly reduce the number of patients who do not attend appointments.
As stated in the NHS plan, by the end of 2005 all out-patient appointments will be pre-booked, allowing patients to book convenient appointment times. Since March 2001 every acute NHS trust has been offering
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Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the scope of current pilot schemes for foreign referrals will be extended to include Southampton University NHS Trust; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: Since rulings of the European Court of Justice in July last year it has been clear that national health service bodies, including health authorities, primary care trusts and acute trusts, may commission treatment for NHS patients overseas. However, given that commissioning treatment overseas involves a number of difficult clinical, quality and legal issues the Department has advised NHS bodies contemplating sending patients abroad to contact the pilot sites first to obtain the benefit of their experience.
Mr. Hutton: The European average for health spending has remained at between 7.9 and 8 per cent. of gross domestic product for a number of years. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has stated that, as long as the economy remains strong, we will reach the European Union average by 2005. Current spending plans will raise the level of United Kingdom total health expenditure to 7.6 per cent. of gross domestic product by 200304. Spending beyond this period will be decided in the coming spending review.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health against what agents the (a) personal protective equipment and (b) decontamination shelters provided to hospital accident and emergency departments can protect. 
Mr. Hutton: The chemical personal protective equipment (PPE) currently being made available to hospitals (and ambulance service staff) fully meets the NHS specification (NHSCPPE/2001) which was developed to ensure that health services personnel are protected during the decontamination of chemically contaminated casualties and able to provide life saving first aid during the decontamination process. The PPE has been tested against 15 liquid industrial chemicals in a standard test battery (ATSM F100199a) chosen to represent a broad range of liquid classes and properties. It has also been tested against a representative sample of chemical warfare agents.
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The purpose of the mobile decontamination facilities currently being made available to hospitals (and ambulance service staff) is to provide privacy and shelter for chemically contaminated casualties during the decontamination process. These facilities are not intended to provide protection against chemical agents for either health service personnel or the chemically contaminated casualty. Health service personnel will be protected by wearing PPE, while casualties will be given appropriate medical treatment once they have been decontaminated.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the provision of (a) personal protective equipment and (b) decontamination equipment to hospital accident and emergency departments has cost in each of the last three years 
Mr. Hutton: A total of £150 million has been invested in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Modernisation Programme in three waves since 1998. It is the biggest investment in A&E services since the start of the national health service. The final wave of funding was made available to the NHS in January 2001.
The investment has provided various improvements to A&E services which include decontamination facilities. However, there is no complete breakdown in terms of cost as to specific details within a scheme.
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