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Overseas Treatment

22. Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the assessment of the initial project involving sending patients overseas will be complete; and if that assessment will be made public. [67285]

Mr. Hutton: Following a competitive tender exercise the York University Health Economics Consortium was commissioned to evaluate the pilot scheme to refer NHS patients overseas for routine elective surgery. Copies of the final report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament and published on the Department of Health website.

Health Care Expenditure

24. Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of household expenditure on health care in the period 1997 to 2001. [67287]

Mr. Hutton: Expenditure on the national health service in England increased from £1,620 per household in 1996–97 to £2,095 per household in 2000–01.


26. Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the number of general practitioners. [67290]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS is working towards a target of 2,000 more general practitioners by 2004 and to continued growth thereafter.

We are increasing the number of doctors training to be GPs. There are now 1,910 General Practice Registrars, the highest ever number of doctors in training for general practice.

30. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from general practitioners who say they cannot admit further patients to their GP practices; and if he will make a statement. [67294]

Mr. Hutton: We have received no recent representations on this subject from general practitioners or their representative organisations.

Disability Equipment Services

27. Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve disability equipment services. [67291]

Jacqui Smith: In relation to the five disability equipment services covered by the Audit Commission's 'Fully Equipped' reports, plans are: to continue to invest in and modernise audiology and community equipment services; to improve the commissioning of orthotic and prosthetic services, and for the Department of Health to work with the Modernisation Agency to identify and spread good practice for wheelchair services.

16 Jul 2002 : Column 202W

Drug Addicts

28. Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the availability and effectiveness of treatment for drug addicts in Worcester. [67292]

Mr. Lammy: No formal assessment of local drug action teams currently takes place, but this is being developed. The National Treatment Agency (NTA) was established in 2001 to set standards and ensure that every drug treatment programme is of the highest effectiveness. The NTA has agreed a business plan to deliver its targets up to March 2003.

Locally, the Worcestershire Substance Misuse Action Team (SMAT) is responsible for ensuring quality services for drug addicts, in line with the national drug strategy, and is developing a framework for assessing the effectiveness of treatment. The SMAT also reports regularly to the NTA. Worcestershire primary care trusts commit over £2 million to the treatment of substance misuse.

Free Personal Care

33. Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the provision of free personal care. [67297]

Jacqui Smith: The Government's policy on the funding of personal care is set out in paragraph 15.20 of the NHS Plan, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Doctor Numbers

34. Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his policies to increase the number of general practitioners and consultants in the NHS. [67298]

Mr. Hutton: We recognise the need for increases in the number of general practitioners (GPs) and consultants. "Delivering the NHS Plan", published in April this year, now includes the latest forecasts for growth in the national health service work force. By 2008, we expect there to be 15,000 more doctors and GPs than in 2001.

Privately Funded Operations

35. Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to collate information on an annual basis on the number of people who have funded their operations themselves. [67299]

Mr. Hutton: The Department collects and publishes information on the number of patients who are treated privately in national health service hospitals, but it does not collect information on who pays for such treatment. We have no plans to collect that information, nor to collect information on the number of people who have operations performed privately in the independent sector.

Refugee Doctors

36. Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support he will introduce to enable refugee doctors to get the training and qualifications needed to work within the NHS. [67300]

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Mr. Hutton: We are committed to enabling refugee doctors to access the training opportunities they need to succeed in the national health service. Over the last two years £1 million has been made available to various projects designed to help refugee health professionals prepare for work in the NHS, by providing English language and clinical skills training, along with guidance on gaining employment in the NHS.

NHS Hygiene

37. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he has taken to improve standards of cleanliness in NHS facilities. [67301]

Mr. Lammy: The NHS Plan, which was published in July 2000, set out a work programme for the national health service to improve the standards in cleanliness within hospitals and initiated an immediate nationwide campaign to clean and smarten up the NHS. Patient environment action teams (PEAT) undertook unannounced visits to assess progress. Over £60 million has been invested to make improvements to the hospital environment since the NHS Plan was launched, which will directly benefit patients and visitors.

The clean hospitals programme has been a clear success and has had a significant impact on standards of cleanliness, decoration and supporting services, to the extent that by October last year there were no hospitals in England where cleaning standards were found to be less than acceptable. Standards are now much more in line with patients' expectations. National results of the PEAT programme, as set out in the table, were published on 31 October 2001.

Red (poor)Yellow (acceptable)Green (good)
Autumn 20010387300

New national standards for cleanliness in the NHS, which form part of the performance assessment framework, were issued to the NHS last year. They describe what a "clean" hospital looks like and will help all hospitals further raise the levels of cleanliness and, importantly, they will help to ensure that the standards achieved are maintained in the future. This means that for the first time there is a definitive set of cleaning standards with which all trusts will have to comply.

Beta Interferon

39. Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when beta interferon will be available to those assessed as needing it in South Derbyshire. [67303]

Mr. Lammy: Beta interferon has already been made available to a number of patients previously paying for beta interferon. The local health community are discussing issues connected with delivering the national guidance. The new arrangements will be fully in place later this year.

Health Prioritising

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made on the impact of his prioritising certain services and disease areas on those services and disease areas not so prioritised. [67278]

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Mr. Hutton: Since 1997, the Department of Health has put in place comprehensive performance management and assessment procedures to ensure that the national health service provides services that can meet the needs of all patients.

Sausage Casings

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the incidence of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in the national sheep flocks of (a) EU member states and (b) non-EU countries which process and export natural sausage casings. [68499]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 9 July 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

Information on the number of scrapie cases in member states is available on the European Commission's website at Between 1998 and 2000, the following numbers of cases have been reported: Belgium 19 cases; Denmark nil; Germany three cases; Greece 130 cases; Spain five cases; France 97 cases (1998–99 only); Ireland 198 cases; Italy 208 cases (1998–99 only); Luxembourg nil; Netherlands 32 cases (1998–99 only); Austria five cases; Portugal nil; Finland nil; Sweden nil; UK 1,652 cases.

Information on scrapie cases in non-EU countries is available on the website of the Office Internationale des Epizooties at The main exporters of sheep casings are Pakistan, Turkey and New Zealand. According to OIE data, Pakistan, which has a scrapie surveillance programme, has not reported any occurrence of the disease. The last reported occurrence of scrapie in New Zealand was in 1954. No information is available in relation to Turkey.

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