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Mr. Hutton: The Government are implementing a range of measures to improve recruitment and retention of all staff, including nurses. These include an increase in pay, encouraging the national health service to become a better employer through the "Improving Working Lives and Positively Diverse" programmes, increasing training commissions, reducing student attrition, running national and local recruitment and return to practice campaigns, and
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supporting international recruitment where appropriate. Further information on improving working lives is available at www.doh.gov.uk/iwl.
Since 1997, the nursing work force has grown by 31,520. Between September 1999 and September 2001 there was a net increase in nurses working in the NHS of 20,740the NHS Plan target has been reached two years early. Pay will have increased across the board for nurses and midwives by at least 26 per cent. since 1997 in cash terms.
Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list the members of the Harrow Primary Care Trust Board and indicate which of them are resident in the Harrow, West constituency; 
(3) if he will list the members of the Hillingdon and Mount Vernon Hospitals NHS Trust board; and which of them are resident in the Harrow, West constituency. 
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Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money was spent by the relevant pension fund on paying pensions to retired (a) NHS staff and (b) GPs in 200102; if he will estimate the corresponding amounts to be spent in (i) five years' time, (ii) 10 years' time, (iii) 20 years' time and (iv) 30 years' time; if he will estimate in each case the proportion of such liabilities which will arise from (A) unfunded pension schemes and (B) pre-funded pension schemes; and in the case of pre-funded schemes, if he will estimate the value of the corresponding pre-funded funds in each of these years. 
Mr. Hutton: The national health service pension scheme for England and Wales does not keep a separate record of the pensions paid to retired NHS staff and general practitioners. However, the total amount paid for 200102 by the NHS pension scheme in respect of pensions to retired members and their dependents was £2.8 billion.
Using assumptions consistent with the periodic valuations of the NHS pension scheme the Government Actuary's Department has estimated the corresponding total amounts of pension expenditure in future years as follows (in constant earnings terms):
10 years: £3.5 billion
20 years: £4.7 billion
30 years: £5.8 billion.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 2 July 2002]: Data are collected on the number of operations cancelled by English national health service trusts for non-clinical reasons on, or after the day the patient was due to be admitted. This definition covers all elective operations carried out as in-patient or day cases. Elective operations carried out in a cottage or community hospital are therefore included, but not separately identified by unit.
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destruction of mumps vaccines made in Switzerland that had been bought by Direct Health 2000 in the UK; and if mumps vaccines in the same batch were delivered to pharmacies in the UK. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 2 July 2002]: The Medicines Control Agency has no record of ordering the destruction in May 2002, of mumps vaccine made in Switzerland and bought by Direct Health 2000 in the UK. Consequently the MCA is not in a position to comment on supplies of any of the alleged batch of mumps vaccine made in Switzerland being delivered to pharmacies in the UK.
Mr. Hutton: Following a competitive tender exercise, the York University Health Economics Consortium were commissioned to evaluate the scheme to refer national health service patients overseas. That evaluation is almost complete. Copies of the final report will be placed in the Library, and published on the Department's website.
Mr. Hutton: The new national health service information technology programme was outlined in the document, "Delivering 21st Century IT Support for the NHS: National Strategic Programme", published by the Department in June 2002.
This outlines a major programme of investment in information technology, including the primary care sector. The NHS will build on the successful implementation of projects such as the Project Connect programme, which connected 98 per cent. of general practices to NHSnet, giving general practice staff full access to email and web resources, including the clinical evidence base; the electronic transfer of prescription pilots; and decision support developments such as PRODIGY.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he intends (a) blood products, (b) oxygen and (c) clinical waste to be financed by the NHS in connection with voluntary hospice authorities. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 4 July 2002]: The Chief Executive Bulletin (1016 May) issue 117 reminded them that hospices should be reimbursed the full agreed pharmacy costs for medicines. This arrangement includes blood products that are licensed medicines and oxygen, in so much as it is permissible to prescribe it on the national health service.
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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2002, Official Report, column 309W, what funding is available in 200203 for the strategy for hepatitis C. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 4 July 2002]: Advice from the multi-disciplinary steering group, set up to assist the Department in developing a strategic approach to hepatitis C, is currently under consideration as are related funding issues.
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