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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how Inventures is accountable to him. [50796]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 18 April 2002]: Inventures is currently the trading arm which is part of NHS Estates, an executive agency of the Department. The agency chief executive who as accounting officer is directly accountable to my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health.

Inventures is essentially a consultancy business employing approximately 270 staff with an annual turnover of approximately £15 million. It provides a wide variety of property services including planning, financing, procuring and managing all aspects of health care environment and estates. Its primary customers are the Department of Health and national health service trusts.

Information for Health

Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the report commissioned from Professor Protti by the Information Policy Unit and the NHS Information Authority on issues of implementing information for health. [61927]

Ms Blears: Professor Denis Protti of the School of Health Information Science at the University of Victoria, British Columbia was commissioned by the Department of Health to provide an independent assessment of the progress with electronic record development and implementation. He also considered the emerging issues around implementation of the NHS information strategy in general.

The final report is published on the Department of Health website and copies placed in the Library.

NHS Professionals

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement setting out (a) the matters to be covered by the Code of Practice for NHS Professionals, (b) when it is to be completed, (c) how he intends to publish it and (d) the timetable for publication. [56616]

Mr. Hutton: The contents of the Code of Practice for the supply of temporary staffing will cover a generic section and professional specific appendices. The generic section covers; advertising/publicity, commission rates/ management fee, continuing professional development, criminal record bureau, equal opportunities and human rights, induction, management of information, management of service, monitoring and adherence, occupational health services, obligations of provider to their own employees, pay and conditions, placement fees, quality assurance and complaints procedures, recruitment and selection process, retaining and maintaining documents, work status.

12 Jun 2002 : Column 1313W

The code is scheduled to be completed, published and distributed in summer 2002.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he estimates that NHS Professionals will meet its target of operating across all NHS organisations and staff groups by April 2003. [56615]

Mr. Hutton: NHS Professionals continues to be planned and extended in order to be a nationally operating service by April 2003.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many call centres have been set up for NHS Professionals. [56612]

Mr. Hutton: There are currently five call centres across the service of NHS Professionals.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what dedicated IT infrastructure is in place to support NHS Professionals. [56613]

Mr. Hutton: Each provider of NHS Professionals has sourced their information technology solutions to support a nationally integrated network.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of NHS temporary staff he estimates will be provided by NHS Professionals by April 2003. [56614]

Mr. Hutton: NHS Professionals aims to be the primary provider of temporary health care staff to the national health service by April 2003.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the names of the project board members of NHS Professionals. [56611]

Mr. Hutton: The National NHS Professionals and Agency Project Board are listed.

There are a number of other project and steering groups which feed into this national project board, whose membership and structure is determined locally.

Board members
David AmosDeputy Director of Human Resources Directorate
(Chair)—Department of Health
Christine BeasleyRegional Nurse Director
Marcus BrindleNHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency
Department of Health
Janet CosterManaging Director of NHS Professionals—WYMAS
Neil GriffithsDirector of Operations/ Deputy Chief Executive
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
Denis GibsonChief Executive
Workforce Development Confederation
Caroline FoxNational Lead for Temporary Staffing
Department of Health
Sandra HattonLead—Organisation and Leadership
Josie IrwinSenior Employment Relations Adviser
Avril ImisonHead of NHS Allied Health Professions Branch
Department of Health
Paul JenkinsNHS Direct National Project Manager
Department of Health
Debbie MellorActing Head of NHS Employment
Department of Health
Sue MeredithDirector
NHS Professionals—Oxford
David MooreAssistant Chief Nursing Officer
Department of Health
Anne RainsberryDHSC—South
Pat UrryPay Branch
Department of Health
Kathleen WeekesChief Nursing & Healthcare Employment Consultant
Department for Education and Employment
Jackie AxlebyChief Executive
Northern England Workforce Development Confederation

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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which private nurses agencies are administering NHS Professionals for NHS trusts. [56609]

Mr. Hutton: NHS Professionals is run by the national health service for the NHS.

Nursing Staff Agencies

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria are used to judge the suitability of nursing staff agencies to provide nurses for NHS establishments. [59429]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 24 May 2002]: Under the Nurses Act 1957, agencies providing nursing staff for national health service establishments are currently licensed by local authorities. From 1 September, they will be subject to regulation by the National Care Standards Commission, from which date the nurses agency regulations and national minimum standards made under the Care Standards Act 2000 are due to come into force.

Following the success of the London agency project, NHS trusts are working together to improve the cost-effectiveness and quality of temporary staff supplied by commercial agencies through agency framework agreements negotiated with a range of agencies that have been vetted using quality, risk and value for money criteria.

General Practitioners

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many whole-time equivalent general practitioners per 100,000 population there were in (a) July 2000 and (b) at the latest date for which figures are available. [57168]

Mr. Hutton: The Department's general and personal medical services census is recorded annually on 30 September. The request for the information for July 2000 is referred back to the most recent census information, October 1999. The latest information available is the September 2001 census.

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The number of whole-time equivalent general practitioners (GP) excluding GP retainers and GP registrars (the NHS Plan group) per 100,000 population were 53.4 in 1999, and 53.0 in 2001.

The total number of whole-time equivalent GPs per 100,000 population was 57.0 in 1999, and 57.4 in 2001.

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department produces targets relating to the average number of patients served by a general practitioner. [58822]

Mr. Hutton: There are no targets for the list sizes of general practitioners.

Overseas Doctors

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to alter the requirement for Commonwealth doctors to take an English language test before practising in the UK, with special reference to cases where English is already the first language of the doctor concerned. [57964]

Mr. Hutton: The Medical Act requires such a person to satisfy the General Medical Council's (GMC) registrar that he "has the necessary knowledge of English". We look to the GMC to apply this requirement in a proportionate and non-discriminatory way to each case. We understand that the GMC is to review the way in which it meets its obligations under the Act in relation to language proficiency.

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