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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the expenditure on external consultants for each year since 1997, in 2001 prices, for his Department and its agencies; and what the quantified annual cost savings are which such expenditure has resulted in. [41701]

Ms Blears: Expenditure by the Department and its Agencies on external consultants, for each year since 1997 and at 2001 prices, is shown in the table.

FY 1997–98 # millionFY 1998–99 # millionFY 1999–2000 # millionFY 2000–01 # millionFY 2001–02* # million

* Reported spend as of February 2002, based on information currently available.

The Department does not centrally report or record the quantified annual cost savings resulting from expenditure on consultants therefore the final part of this question could only be answered at disproportionate cost.

Medical Negligence

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the outstanding liabilities of the NHS in respect of medical negligence claims. [41703]

Ms Blears: According to the National Audit Office in their report entitled XHandling Clinical Negligence Claims in England", which was published on 3 May 2001, it was estimated that a total of #3.9 billion represents the outstanding liabilities of the NHS for clinical negligence claims.

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This figure includes #2.6 billion for all outstanding claims if they were settled straight away, and #1.3 billion for all incidents that have been incurred but not reported.

Women's Hospitals

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received concerning the proposals to re-locate the maternity services located at Aintree University Hospital to the Liverpool Women's Hospital; and if he will list them.[41407]

Yvette Cooper: Ministers have received one letter in October 2001 about maternity services in Liverpool and Sefton from another hon. Member, as well as this representation from my hon. Friend.


Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to produce a new risk model to predict the number of potential exposures to v-CJD through poor decontamination practice before 2001; and if he will publicise the result using this model.[41806]

Yvette Cooper: XRisk Assessment for transmission of vCJD via Surgical Instruments: A Modelling Approach and Numerical Scenarios", published by the Department on 16 March 2001, set out a methodology for assessing the risk of transmission of vCJD through the re-use of surgical instruments. A new risk assessment model is unnecessary since there is no significantly new scientific evidence to warrant revising the structure or assumptions of the current model.

Because of the multiple uncertainties surrounding this issue, it was not considered feasible to make a straightforward prediction of potential secondary infections from surgery. The Risk Assessment therefore did not predict the scale of any secondary epidemic of vCJD, instead, it developed different scenarios to address the various uncertainties—including the standard of decontamination—and gaps in our knowledge about vCJD.

The advice we had from Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee was that good decontamination is key in reducing the risk of person to person transmission of vCJD via surgical instruments. This was confirmed by the Risk Assessment. As a result of the work we did last year on improving decontamination, all NHS hospitals in England have access to decontamination services of an acceptable standard.

Pre-School Services

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding has been made available to provide services for under-fives in Liverpool in each year since 1997. [41123]

Jacqui Smith: Data on funding to provide services specifically for children under 5 who are resident in Liverpool is not available. However, the following table provides details of total recurrent contract income and additional cash increases received over the last four years by the Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust

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from Liverpool Health Authority for the care and treatment of the authority's resident child population. Approximately 30 per cent of the child population in Liverpool are under 5 years old. The figures exclude paediatric intensive care and special assistance funding.

Total Recurrent ContractRecurrent IncreaseNon-Recurrent IncreaseTotal Increase

Teenage Magazines

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contact his Department has had with the publishers of magazines aimed at teenagers in the past two years.[40876]

Ms Blears: Routine contacts between press and magazines are not recorded centrally by the Department's press office.

In the past two years my Department has worked in partnership with teenage magazines to highlight issues around teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and provide information about where young people may access further information and professional advice. Advertising has been placed in these magazines to enable those young people who are sexually active to have easy access to high quality contraceptive advice and to provide young people with information and advice to enable them to develop the skills to resist peer pressure to have early sex.

Last autumn, an agency contracted by the Department also contacted journalists at magazines aimed at teenagers to generate coverage for XSmokescreen", the Department's peer to peer youth tobacco education project.

In January, February and March 2001, as part of a campaign designed to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking during pregnancy amongst 16–24 year olds, advertising was placed in magazines aimed at a teenage audience.

Medical Practices Committee

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice his Department issues to health authorities and primary care trusts on the arrangements to take effect after the abolition of the Medical Practices Committee on 31 March. [37940]

Mr. Hutton: Advice was issued to Primary Care Trusts and other interested parties on 13 March 2002.

Dental Services

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria are used to decide whether to open dental access centres. [45464]

Ms Blears [holding answer 25 March 2002]: Dental access centres (DACs) are pilot schemes established as part of the Personal Dental Services initiative. They

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provide access to National Health Service dentistry in areas where other sources of treatment do not meet demand. The location of DACs was determined by combining several sources of information on availability and access problems: statistical data, in particular registration figures and expenditure changes; self reporting by health authorities; and the local knowledge of regional offices.


Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to tackle shortage of orthodontists in (a) Lincolnshire and (b) England;[42536]

Ms Blears: The number of orthodontists and the amount of orthodontic work in the General Dental Service has increased significantly since 1996–97 in both Lincolnshire and England as a whole. Additional clinics have been set up in Lincolnshire and by the end of March 2002, it is envisaged that there will be no over 26-week waits for orthodontic appointments in Lincolnshire. An additional consultant orthodontist post has been funded and concerted efforts are being made to recruit to this post.

The number of principal dentists performing 100 or more orthodontic claims a year in (a) Lincolnshire Health Authority (HA) and (b) England is shown in the table for the years 1996–97 and 2000–01 together with the number per 100,000 population.

The table also shows the number of orthodontic appliance claims in 1996–97 and 2000–01. These went up by 28 per cent. for Lincolnshire HA during the period shown, compared to an increase of 14 per cent. for England.

General Dental Service: Number of orthodontists, orthodontists per 100,000 population and total number of orthodontic appliance claims in 1996–97 and 2000–01

(a) Lincolnshire(b) England 2
Number of orthodontists
Number of orthodontists1 per 100,000 population3
Number of orthodontic appliance claims

1 An orthodontist is defined as a principal dentist who submitted one hundred or more orthodontic claims in a year.

2 Some dentists have contracts in more than one Health Authority. These dentists have been counted only once, in the HA which they hold their main contract.

3 ONS 1996 and 2000 mid year population estimates based on the 1991 census.

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