Previous Section Index Home Page

Social Services

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his assessment is of the effects of the changes to the calculation of personal social services block formula grant in 1999–2000 on the performance of social services authorities. [67822]

Jacqui Simth: Personal social services (PSS) funding is distributed using information about the social care needs of each area, including demographic, physical and social characteristics. The changes to the PSS standard spending assessment formulae in 1999–2000 were made to better reflect those needs. All councils with social services responsibilities have benefited from the increased funding the Government has provided for social care, through the block formula grant, since we came to office. This increased funding has generally enabled councils to provide improved services for their clients.

24 Jul 2002 : Column 1410W

Local Consultations

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information and guidance he issues to members of the public on becoming involved in local consultations on the provision of health care and social services; and what plans he has to develop this. [72191]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 23 July 2002]: Currently, it is the legal responsibility of community health councils (working with their local National Health Service organisation/s) to ensure the public view is represented in decisions about local health care provision.

When the new system for patient and public involvement is established, the staff employed by new commission for patient and public involvement in health (CPPIH), based with primary care trust patients' forums will be locally responsible for promoting local consultations and involvement activity to involve local people in healthcare decision making with statutory organisations.

One of the ways the CPPIH may carry out its functions is by providing guidance for members of the public who would like to get involved. This will be a matter for the CPPIH.

Patients' Forums will also be established for every NHS trust and PCT, they too will provide a mechanism for local peoples' views to be heard. In addition community and voluntary organisations, working through the Local Compact, will be another pathway for local people to be involved and consulted in decisions about local healthcare.

Clinical Guidelines

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for each UK region, the cost to the NHS of implementing each of the clinical guidelines set down by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in each year since 2000 for which figures are available. [72463]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 23 July 2002]: We do not hold this information centrally. The Final Appraisal Determinations published by the Institute do, however, now include estimates of the aggregate national cost of implementing its recommendations.

London Ambulance Service

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the introduction of stab and bullet-proof vests to London Ambulance Service staff will cost; and to what extent this will (a) come from the London Ambulance Service current budget and (b) be met by extra central Government funding. [71079]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 18 July 2002]: The contract for the provision of body armour for crews in the London Ambulance Service is currently out to tender. This process is expected to be complete in October, when a definitive cost will be available. The cost will be met within existing budgets, as part of the London Ambulance Service's four-year improvement programme.


Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the latest available figures for ambulance

24 Jul 2002 : Column 1411W

response times to category A calls, listed by ambulance trust, stating (a) what proportion of responses were achieved within eight minutes and (b) for those responses which took longer than eight minutes, how long it took for the ambulance to respond. [68278]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 10 July 2002]: The latest information about the proportion of emergency calls resulting in an ambulance arriving at the scene of the reported incident within the Government's target response times is contained in the Department of Health Statistical Bulletin "Ambulance Services, England 2001–02". A copy of the bulletin is in the Library and available at

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the accuracy of data collected on ambulance response times; [71178]

Mr. Lammy: The Department has no evidence that data on ambulance response times is inaccurate.

All ambulance services and their performance are subject to audit by those commissioning their services and by the Audit Commission.

NHS Pension Schemes

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the proportion of the rise in Government liabilities resulting from unfunded NHS pension schemes in England and Wales in the last five years due to (a) wage inflation, (b) longevity, (c) extension of the rights of part-time workers and (d) other factors; and if he will make a statement. [67021]

Mr. Hutton: The Government Actuary's Department has estimated the accrued liabilities of the National Health Service Pension Scheme for England and Wales at 31 March 2001 to be £75 billion and at 31 March 1994 to be £50 billion.

A breakdown of the rise in liabilities is not readily available in the form requested. However, the Government Actuary's Department believe that the most important factor in the increase was pay growth, followed by allowances made for increasing pensioner longevity and price inflation. The increase in liabilities caused by the extension of the rights of part-time workers is not thought to be as material as these other factors.

General Practice Surgeries

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of routine appointment wait times in (a) Twickenham and (b) the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames at general practice surgeries; and if he will make a statement. [72836]

Mr. Hutton: Reducing the routine wait times for appointments in primary care is a government priority. By the end of March 2004, all patients will be able to see a primary care professional within 24 hours and a general practitioner within 48 hours.

Results for the Q4 service and financial framework return (SaFFR) primary care access survey are shown below.

24 Jul 2002 : Column 1412W

Percentage of practices with an appointment system offering an appointment within 2 working days to see a GP

Richmond Primary Care Trust94
Teddington, Twickenham and Hamptons Primary Care Trust100

Percentage of practices with an appointment system offering an appointment within 1 working days to see a PCP

Richmond PCT93
Teddington, Twickenham and Hamptons PCT75

Redwood Hospital

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in negotiations with BUPA to create a diagnostic and treatment centre at the Redwood Hospital. [72755]

Ms Blears: The National Health Service and BUPA have agreed commercial terms and are now going through a process of consultation with medical and other staff who will be affected by the diagnosis and treatment centre. An announcement will be made once this process has been completed and an agreement signed.

Consultation is essential not just in terms of good practice but to agree the medical manpower plan with consultants. This will not delay the opening of the centre.


Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) neurologists, (b) paediatric neurologists and (c) nurses with a specialism there are in the UK. [72659]

Mr. Hutton: The Department's workforce censuses do not collect information on the number of neurologists, paediatric neurologists or nurses with a specialism in the treatment of epilepsy.

The numbers of doctors working in paediatric neurology is not collected centrally, it is a sub-specialty of neurology. As at 31 March 2002, the numbers of consultants working in neurology was 372. This is an increase of 34 per cent. since 1997.

We are investing in extra training places in neurology and have agreed an increase of up to fifteen specialist registrars in neurology for 2002–04. The Department's current workforce projections suggest that by 2004, there may be around an additional 80 trained specialists available to take up consultant posts in neurology, over a 2000 baseline of 326.

We continually review future requirements for trained specialists as part of the National Health Service's new multi-disciplinary workforce planning processes. These look at the requirements for doctors alongside other staff focusing on the potential for new ways of working and developing new roles.

The long term conditions care group workforce team covers the national service frameworks for diabetes, renal and long term conditions, including neurological conditions. The care group workforce team is working to address not only the need for increased numbers of staff but also for new ways of working, including skill mix, role extensions and multi-disciplinary working, based around patient needs. It has already fed in to national

24 Jul 2002 : Column 1413W

planning processes recommendations on the future supply of professionals and development of new ways of working.

Next Section Index Home Page