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Agency Workers Directive

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the implications of the European agency workers directive for the NHS. [59095]

Mr. Hutton: An initial regulatory impact assessment of the proposed directive on agency workers prepared by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has been placed in the Library.

The Commission's proposal would, as it stands, require that agency workers in the national health service did not receive less favourable basic working and employment conditions than comparable workers employed by the NHS. The proposal contains limited derogations from this requirement, which may be applicable in some cases. The proposal is subject to the co-decision procedure, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry remains in dialogue with other member countries and the Commission.

The NHS policy is to employ personnel on permanent contracts where possible, and to ensure that temporary staff are treated fairly through NHS Professionals (the NHS-led approach to temporary staffing). We are also preparing a code of practice for the supply of temporary staff which is currently being drafted.

Overseas Treatment

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reciprocal rights NHS patients have for treatment in other EU countries. [59186]

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Mr. Hutton: Regulations (EEC) 1408–71 and 574–72 (copies available in the Library) co-ordinate the social security and health care schemes of the EU member states. They contain provisions allowing access to health care throughout the EU on the same terms as provided to the host country's insured population. The following are the most important health care provisions of the regulations:

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to extend the pilot for the overseas treatment of NHS patients to the Epsom and Ewell constituency. [59092]

Mr. Hutton: The pilot scheme for the overseas treatment of national health service patients is now at an end. Any NHS body can legally commission treatment overseas for its patients. However, the Department has advised any trust wishing to refer patients overseas to contact one of the lead commissioners who have been set up to organise treatment for NHS patients overseas. These lead commissioners are based in Guy's and St. Thomas' Trust and Kent and Medway health authority.

Staff Numbers

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff were employed in the Modernisation Agency at 1 April; and what proportion of those staff have clinical contact with NHS patients. [56860]

Mr. Lammy: At the 1 April 2002 there were 440 staff employed by the Modernisation Agency, of which 182 have professional clinical qualifications. 207 of the agency's staff are working directly with clinical teams and eight retain a responsibility for delivery of clinical care as part of their role with the agency.

NHS Bank Staff

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in reducing the use of bank staff within the NHS. [59185]

Mr. Hutton: Our strategy in relation to temporary staffing is:

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Between September 1999 and September 2001 there was

Building on the success of the London Agency Project, further agency framework agreements are being developed across the NHS.

Diagnostic and Treatment Centres

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what diagnostic and treatment centres are planned under the NHS plan; when (a) construction is due to commence and (b) schemes will be completed; and what the cost is of each scheme. [56940]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS Plan commitment is for there to be eight diagnostic and treatment centres (DTCs) open by 2004 with a further 12 in development. We are on course to deliver this.

We announced a "first wave" of eight DTCs in February 2002. A list of the schemes is shown in the table. Development is being supported by £6.8 million central capital, supplemented by funds from local capital allocations. The schemes are on course to be operational by the end of 2002.

In addition the NHS is developing proposals to expand and bring forward the DTC programme further, including reviewing existing proposals.

NHS Direct

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role NHS Direct will have in providing advice on the threat of chemical and radiological attacks; what training has been provided to those staffing NHS Direct in providing this advice; and if he will make a statement. [57683]

Mr. Hutton: NHS Direct plans to develop relationships within the national health service and with the other agencies involved in emergency planning, such that full use could be made of the capabilities of NHS Direct in the event of an emergency, such as chemical or radiological attack. NHS Direct already has considerable experience in provision of information to the public whenever health scares arise. This experience is likely to be useful and can be built upon should there be a health emergency.

Some aspects of training that would be appropriate in the NHS Direct response to chemical or radiological attack are already incorporated into local and national training programmes.

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Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions between 31 March 2001 and 31 March 2002 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity; what places were visited; and how much each visit cost. [58720]

Mr. Lammy: This Department has not appointed any non-departmental special advisers.

The available information is shown in the table.

9–11 October 20016–7 November 2001
Departmental special advisers11
Non-departmental special advisers00
Cost of visit£4,125.76£580.56

All travel by special advisers is undertaken fully in accordance with the guidelines set out in the "Ministerial Code" and the "Civil Service Management Code".

NHS Leadership Centre

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to make an announcement as to the appointment of a new head of the NHS Leadership Centre; and who has been in charge of the organisation since the departure of the previous head. [59579]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The NHS Leadership Centre forms part of the NHS Modernisation Agency, which was established in April 2001.

Following Barbara Harris' decision to step-down as Director of the NHS Leadership Centre in December 2001, Penny Humphris was seconded to the role from the 31 January 2002 on an acting basis. In the period between December 2001 and end-January 2002, David Fillingham, the NHS Modernisation Agency Director, took direct management responsibilities for the NHS Leadership Centre.

The substantive post of Director of the NHS Leadership Centre is planned to be advertised the week commencing 10 June 2002. An announcement will be made once the recruitment process has been completed.

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