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Press Officers and Special Advisers

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 12 March 2002, Official Report, column 1062–63W, on press officers, why he is not able to provide cost details for press officers in 1996–97; and if his figures for press officer numbers refer to full-time working equivalents. [47528]

Ms Blears [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The Department's staffing cost information for the Press and Publicity Division for 1996–97 does not separately identify the cost of press office or individual press officers. This level of detail has only been available since 1997–98. The total cost of the Press and Publicity Division for 1996–97 was £2.3 million.

Press officer numbers refer to full-time working equivalents, except for 1999–2000 when two members of staff were part-time.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) press officers and (b) special advisers were employed by his Department in each of the years 1990–91 to 1995–96. [47529]

Ms Blears [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The information requested is shown in the table.

(a) Press officers
(b) Special advisers


Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the number of subscriptions to (a) digital terrestrial, (b) digital satellite and (c) digital cable television held by his Department for services in any departmental building from which Ministers work, stating for each subscription its (i) cost and (ii) purpose. [48351]

Ms Blears [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The Department is linked to the Annunciator system, provided by cable link to Richmond House, by the Central Office of Information. The cost of this system is £26,161 per annum, including value added tax. The purpose is to provide Ministers, Communications and Policy staff in Richmond House access to debates in the Houses of Commons and Lords, and Select Committee hearings.

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NHS Trusts (Police Officers)

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which hospital trusts have specially assigned police officers. [47851]

Mr. Hutton: Security arrangements at hospitals are a matter for the individual hospital trust to address. Many hospitals employ specially trained in-house staff for security services; others use external security companies.

Strong working relationships between the police and the national health service are essential if staff, patients and visitors are to be able to work and receive care in the best environment. While we do not hold details of every trust's arrangements centrally, we are aware that many trusts have made a dedicated room available within the accident and emergency department of the hospital for police use. Some trusts have a police station situated within the hospital grounds. All hospitals have developed close links with the local police force and hold security liaison meetings which include a police representative on the group. We are also aware that the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust has an arrangement with the local police to fund a full-time police presence in the hospital with porters providing routine security services. South Devon Healthcare Trust and Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust have similar arrangements in place. We understand that a number of other trusts are considering adopting comparable approaches.

All trusts have arrangements with their local police authority to provide specially assigned police officers in the event of a major incident involving firearms, or in a hostage situation.

Non-clinical Data

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve the quality of non-clinical data. [47870]

Ms Blears: National health service organisations collect a wide range of data that are used locally within and between health care organisations to support a variety of purposes. Local arrangements therefore exist within health communities to performance manage the quality of data collected that reflect local circumstances.

All NHS organisations are responsible for the quality of their own data. A fundamental principle of data quality is that data should be right first time, at the point at which they are recorded. In relation to hospital data, this principle was supported by the recent Audit Commission report, "Data Remember", which stated that

All NHS trusts are expected to have a named senior manager responsible for data quality within their organisations by 30 June 2002. All chief executives will shortly be reminded of their responsibilities for ensuring that their organisation produces good quality data.

While the ultimate responsibility for data quality lies with NHS organisations themselves, there are a number of national initiatives which aim to support them in improving the quality of their non-clinical data. These include national performance monitoring of data quality, providing support and guidance material on improving

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and managing data quality, accreditation and audit of data quality and through the implementation of national information strategies.

Maintenance Backlog

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the current maintenance backlog of the NHS is. [47823]

Mr. Hutton: The most recent available information for the total maintenance backlog cost, inclusive of physical condition, fire safety and health and safety, associated with NHS trusts in England is at 2000–01. This currently indicates the total maintenance backlog cost to be £3.16 billion.


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which company supplied the toothbrushes handed out as part of the Brushing for Life campaign. [47026]

Ms Blears: As part of the Brushing for Life scheme, packs were distributed containing a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste and a leaflet. The toothbrushes in the packs were supplied by GlaxoSmithKline plc.

Ambulance Turnaround Times

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 940W, on ambulance turnaround times, if he will state the turnaround times for ambulance crews at each hospital in the Greater London area with an A&E department. [48288]

Ms Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Critical and Intensive Care Beds

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) adult critical care and (b) intensive care beds there were in each of the past five years. [47864]

Ms Blears: The total number of critical care beds and those being used for intensive care purposes on the census day is given in the following table. The first census was carried out in March 1999 and data are not available previous to this date.

Number of critical care beds on census day

Census dateTotal critical care bedsof which intensive care
31 March 19992,2401,520
30 September 19992,2411,501
15 January 20002,3621,555
14 July 20002,3431,496
15 January 20012,8851,677
16 July 20012,9401,670
15 January 20023,0301,711


Department of Health form KH03a

TV and Telephone Services

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the applicants for the contract to provide television and telephone services to NHS patients. [47003]

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Ms Blears: The list shows those companies that submitted tender documentation to request a licence to provide bedhead entertainment and telephone services to the NHS.

Emergency Re-admissions

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the levels of emergency re-admissions were in each health authority for the third quarter of 2001–02. [46997]

Jacqui Smith: Quarterly information on re-admissions is only collected for patients aged 75 and over. This information by health authority, has been placed in the Library.

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