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Gunshot Wounds

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if there is a requirement upon hospital staff to notify police when persons are admitted with gunshot wounds. [61414]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 13 June 2002]: Hospital staff are not required to notify the police when persons are admitted with gunshot wounds. Health care professionals are guided by their professional codes of conduct regarding patient confidentiality and the disclosure of information outside the clinical team.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of NHS care for (a) adults and (b) children who suffer from epilepsy; and if he will make a statement; [62329]

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Jacqui Smith: We have recently welcomed the publication of the Government funded National Sentinel Audit of Epilepsy-Related Death. The audit looked at investigations into epilepsy deaths, care provided prior to death and contact with bereaved families. We have given a commitment to consider the recommendations of the audit and develop an action plan by September 2002 to try to improve epilepsy services and reduce the number of preventable deaths from epilepsy.

We recognise that people with epilepsy can sometimes experience difficulty in receiving appropriate services and adequate treatment for their condition. We are undertaking a range of initiatives to improve services for the care and management of people with epilepsy. For example, we have:


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists have ceased to perform NHS work since 1 May 1997; and what the net effect of this has been on the NHS budget. [62647]

Mr. Lammy: The available information is for the number of dentists leaving the general dental service (GDS) in England and is shown in the table for the years 1997–98 to 2001–02.

The number of leavers covers all reasons for leaving the GDS including final retirement from dental work and dentists taking career breaks as well as those who left to practice solely privately. Figures from 1998–99 onwards are inflated by the transfer of some dentists from the GDS to some personal dental service (PDS) pilots. The total number of dentists includes principals on a health authority list, assistants and vocational dental practitioners.

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The effect on the national health service budget of those dentists leaving the GDS cannot be estimated because the dentists left for a variety of reasons.

Since 1997–98 more dentists have joined than left. The number of GDS dentists has increased from 16,387 at March 1997 to 18,254 in March 2002, an increase of 1,867. Dentists are able to vary the amount of work they do in the GDS.

General dental service (GDS): number of dentists who left the GDS from 1997–98 to 2001–02

PrincipalsAssistantsVocational traineesTotal

(31) Figures affected by the transfer of some dentists from the GDS to the PDS.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) children and (b) adults are registered with an NHS dentist within Leicestershire health authority; and what percentage of people covered by Leicestershire health authority are registered with an NHS dentist. [62646]

Mr. Lammy: Arrangements are now in place to ensure that patients can gain access to national health service services by calling NHS Direct. This means that even if a patient chooses not to register with a dentist it will still be possible for that patient to access all forms of dentistry that are provided by the NHS.

The number of children and adults registered with a general dental service (GDS) dentist and the percentage of population registered with a GDS dentist in Leicestershire is shown in the table at 30 April 2002.

General dental service: number of patients registered and percentage of population(32) registered with a GDS dentist in 2002

At 30 April 2002Number of patients registered thousandsPopulation registered percentage

(32) ONS 2000 mid year population estimates based on the 1991 census.

(33) From 1 April 2002, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland health authority has assumed responsibilities for the previous Leicestershire health authority.

Nursing Care Payments

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were eligible for nursing care payments of (a) £35, (b) £70 and (c) £105 in each primary care trust; and if he will make a statement. [62843]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) on 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 975W.

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Hospital Pharmacies

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to allow hospital pharmacies to fulfil prescriptions from GPs. [62353]

Mr. Lammy: Hospital pharmacies could be providers of local pharmaceutical services under pilot schemes to be set up under the Health and Social Care Act 2001 and, as such, would be able to dispense prescriptions written by general practitioners.

National Care Standards Commission

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will instruct the National Care Standards Commission not to inspect premises for adherence standards which are the responsibility of other agencies; [62964]

Jacqui Smith: The national minimum standards do not duplicate the rules of other agencies although they may refer to them for completeness. The national standards are designed to ensure care provision is fit for the purpose and meets the assessed needs of residents. It is for the National Care Standards Commission to decide in the particular circumstances of each individual home whether the home conforms to the standards necessary to meet the assessed needs of its residents.

The commission must take national standards into account when making a decision as to whether an establishment complies with statutory requirements under the Care Standards Act. However, providers and their representative organisations urged that the commission should be allowed to take a range of other factors into account and the commission may also take into account any other factors it considers reasonable or relevant to do so. For example, compliance with other statutory requirements, as assessed by the relevant regulatory body.

With the exception of environmental health issues, the responsibility for enforcement of health and safety requirements in care homes, as with all other establishments, rests with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). There is a degree of overlap in some areas between health and safety requirements and national standards but these are complementary rather than two organisations covering the same angle. The commission is currently working with the HSE and Local Government Association to develop a memorandum of understanding to clarify each other's roles and responsibilities in health and safety matters. The memorandum will be underpinned by locally agreed protocols. This will aid clarity in liaison with other bodies should adverse incidents arise and ensure protection of vulnerable people in care.

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