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Debt

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much debt each primary care trust had at the beginning of the 2002–03 financial year; [62844]

Mr. Hutton: The transfer of assets and liabilities from health authorities to primary care trusts and strategic health authorities will not be known until the audited accounts are available for financial year 2002–03.

E-medicine

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to develop electronic referral and discharge letters. [62351]

Ms Blears: The information management and technology target sand strategy for the national health survey are set out in "Building the Information Core" published in January 2001. Copies have been placed in the Library.

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The strategy includes specific targets for booked admissions, electronic record systems and provision of pathology and discharge summaries over the NHS net. The work to achieve these targets will provide the capability for relevant information about the purpose of the referral, and the results of treatment, to be transferred using structured electronic messages from general practitioner to hospital, hospital to hospital and hospital to social care systems.

Waiting Times

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on trends in waiting times for (a) orthopaedic out-patients appointments and (b) orthopaedic operations at the Royal United hospital, Bath in the last 12 months. [62649]

Ms Blears: Action to verify data supplied by the trust in relation to waiting times is still under way.

There is so far no indication that waiting times for orthopaedic appointments or procedures have been adversely affected by the discovery of the manipulation of the in-patient treatment waiting lists at the trust.

Neurologists

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many neurologists were practising in the NHS in each year since 1995; and what the projected numbers are for each year to 2005. [62544]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is shown in the table. There has been a 38 per cent. increase in the number of neurologists working in the national health service between 1995 and 2001.

Hospital medical consultants within the neurology speciality, England as at 30 September

Number
1995260
1996260
1997280
1998300
1999300
2000330
2001360

Note:

Figures are rounded to the nearest ten

Source:

Department of Health medical and dental workforce census


The Department's current projections show the number of additional trained specialists who will be available to take up consultant posts in the neurology specialty, over the 2000 baseline. The figures in the following table are approximations.

Supply projections for the neurology specialty (based on 2000 census basement) Additional numbers of trained specialists available to take up consultants posts in the specialty

YearHeadcount
200230
200370 (390)
200480 (400)
200580 (410)

Notes:

Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

The baseline projections take into account outputs from training and retirements.

Other recruitment and retention measures include international recruitment, conversion of staff in other grades and delayed retirements. The projections assume that retirement patterns return to current levels after the NHS plan period.


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Psychiatric Illness (Ethnic Minorities)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 3 April 2002, Official Report, column 1045W, on Asian women, when he intends to launch the consultation on the national suicide prevention strategy; if he will list those organisations to whom it will be sent; and if he will make a statement on the findings of the national survey of ethnic minority psychiatric illness rates in the community and on the action he intends to take as a result. [63047]

Jacqui Smith: The national suicide prevention strategy for England was launched for public consultation on 26 April 2002. A copy of the consultation document has been placed in the Library.

Copies of the document were sent to the following organisations:


The national survey of ethnic minority psychiatric illness rates in the community (EMPIRIC study) was a major survey of psychiatric illness rates in the community among ethnic minority adults aged 16–74 living in England. The survey was used to make comparisons with the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in the general population.

Findings of the EMPIRIC study are informing the black and minority ethnic mental health strategy.

Pharmacists

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will implement a compulsory obligation for pharmacists to undertake and document their continuing professional development. [63111]

Mr. Lammy: We are working with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain to bring forward an order under section 60 of the Health Act 1999 in 2003 to modernise the professional regulation of pharmacy, which is expected to include the necessary powers to implement a compulsory obligation for pharmacists to participate in continuing professional development.

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Correspondence

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she will reply to the letters of the honourable Member for West Derbyshire of 1 February, 1 March and 5 April concerning NHS Direct. [63184]

Mr. Lammy: The Department has no record of receiving this correspondence. The Department's ministerial correspondence unit is seeking a copy of this correspondence.

Appointments (Membership of Secret Societies)

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to require applicants for posts in health authorities, hospital trusts and primary care trusts to disclose membership of secret societies; and if he will make a statement. [63329]

Mr. Hutton: We have recently issued a health service circular on pre and post appointment checks for all persons working in the NHS in England (HSC 2002/008). The circular instructs national health service employers to carry out a range of checks on applicants for posts in the NHS, including the taking up of references, criminal record checks where appropriate and occupational health checks. We have no plans to extend these checks.

Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure)

Regulations 2000

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the one-off compliance costs to the NHS in real terms are of replacing the Ionising Radiation (Protection of Persons Undergoing Medical Examination or Treatment) Regulations 1988, with the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000. [63202]

Ms Blears: No data have been collected on the one-off compliance cost to the national health service in real terms of replacing the Ionising Radiation (Protection of Persons Undergoing Medical Examination or Treatment) Regulations 1988, with the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000. However, the new regulations formalised many features of good practice believed largely to be already present in the NHS.

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the annual compliance cost was to the NHS in real terms, of the Ionising Radiation (Protection of Persons Undergoing Medical Examination or Treatment) Regulations 1988. [63201]

Ms Blears: The annual cost to the national health service in real terms of compliance with the Ionising Radiation (Protection of Persons Undergoing Medical Examination or Treatment) Regulations 1988 has not been estimated. The additional cost, however, compared with the overall costs of providing imaging and radiotherapy services is negligible. The regulations laid down basic measures for the radiation protection of persons undergoing medical exposures. These regulations were replaced by the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000.

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many lives he estimates were saved as a result of the introduction of Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000; and if he will make a statement. [63204]

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Ms Blears: It is not possible to estimate how many lives were saved as a result of the introduction of the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000, which came fully into force 1 January 2001. These regulations implement the European Community Directive 97/43/Euratom that was introduced following reappraisal of the risks of exposure to ionising radiation. The regulations revoke and replace the Ionising Radiation (Protection of Persons Undergoing Medical Examination of Treatment 1988 (POPUMET) which implemented an earlier EC Directive. However, the new Regulations formalised many features of good practice believed largely to be already present in the national health service under POPUMET.

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the annual compliance cost is to the NHS of the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000. [63203]

Ms Blears: The annual compliance cost to the national health service of the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 has not been estimated. The regulations that came fully into force on 1 January implemented European Community Directive 97/43/Euratom. The regulations replaced earlier legislation in force since 1988 that laid down basic measures for the radiation protection of persons undergoing medical exposures.


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