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Failing Hospitals

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement regarding how the Government will assess whether a hospital is failing; [68999]

Mr. Lammy: The performance of hospital trusts is publicly assessed through a star rating system based on an organisation's performance against a range of national targets and indicators. Clinical governance reviews by the Commission for Health Improvement are also used to determine the star ratings. The poorest performing hospital trusts receive no stars.

Following publication of National Health Service performance ratings in September 2001, all zero star NHS trusts were given three months to provide detailed action plans highlighting how performance would be improved. Support has been provided by the Department and the NHS Modernisation Agency.

Franchise arrangements for new senior management has been initiated in six trusts to ensure delivery of the sustainable improvement necessary. This has led to the appointment of five new chief executives, with the outcome of the process still pending in the sixth.

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Trust chief executives are appointed and employed by NHS trust chairman and non-executives on behalf of the trust. The pay of the new chief executive is a matter for the trust and will be commensurate with the size and complexity of the management role.

Applications for future franchises will be invited from individuals and organisations from within and outside the NHS. These will last for a fixed time period. The franchises will include the replacement of the chief executive and could include other senior management roles if deemed necessary.

Special Hospitals

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many places there were in the special hospitals at (a) Ashworth, (b) Broadmoor and (c) Rampton at the latest date for which figures are available. [68057]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 9 July 2002]: Service level agreements between the high security hospitals and the regional commissioners of their services provide for the following bed numbers for 2002–03:

Ashworth Hospital : 436 beds.

Broadmoor Hospital : 404 beds.

Rampton Hospital : 437 beds.

Hospital Safety

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what powers exist to enable NHS hospital staff to require co-operation from patients and visitors in complying with reasonable Health and Safety requests in order to protect the safety of people on NHS hospital sites. [61408]

Mr. Lammy: Health and Safety is a major issue for the National Health Service, and one that is taken very seriously. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1972 all employers, including NHS organisations, must ensure as far as is reasonably practicable, that people not employed by them but affected by their undertaking (such as patients and visitors) are not exposed to health and safety risks.

Whilst there is no legal requirement for people to co-operate, patients and visitors have a responsibility to behave in a manner that does not put others at risk, and to respond to staff's requests and hospital regulations for the protection of themselves and others. Where a patient or visitor is observed to be acting in an unsafe manner, measures to minimise the risk must be undertaken by the NHS trust.

Over the next few months primary care trusts will receive guidance on developing a new contract on rights and responsibilities at a local level. The contract will be negotiated through consultation with their communities, and will cover access to and appropriate use of both primary and secondary care services.

Intermediate Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from health care

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providers on the use of intermediate care money to (a) reopen previously closed wards and (b) rebrand existing care beds as intermediate care beds. [57183]

Jacqui Smith: I am not aware of any representations.

Some of the growth in intermediate care beds has been achieved by bringing dormant capacity back into use—in some cases by reopening closed wards—or by changing the service provided within care homes. Using spare capacity in this way ensures that services are provided to meet people's needs, and to avoid unnecessary admission to, or inappropriately to delay transfer from, acute beds.

Mental Health

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the percentage occupancy rate was of mental illness beds in (a) England and (b) each region in each of the last six years; [67712]

Jacqui Smith: Information on the average daily number of available and occupied mental health beds and percentage occupancy rate for England and National Health Service regions from 1996–97 to 2000–01 is set out in the table. These figures are also available available on the Department's website at hospitalactivity

Bed occupancy rates, mental illness sector, England and NHS Regions, 1996–97 to 2000–01

YearAvailable bedsOccupied bedsPercentage occupancy
2000–01Northern and Yorkshire4,8874,16385.2
2000–01West Midlands3,1912,74486
2000–01North West4,4993,90386.7
2000–01South East4,8494,33389.4
2000–01South West3,1632,68985
1999–2000Northern and Yorkshire4,9854,23585
1999–2000West Midlands3,1812,64883.2
1999–2000North West4,6363,94985.2
1999–2000South East4,9384,32387.5
1999–2000South West3,2252,71084
1998–99Northern and Yorkshire5,1204,41586.2
1998–99West Midlands3,2162,73084.9
1998–99North West4,7484,02784.8
1998–99South East5,0144,41188
1998–99South West3,3782,85684.5
1997–98Northern and Yorkshire5,2224,57687.6
1997–98West Midlands3,2432,75084.8
1997–98North West5,0304,17082.9
1997–98South East5,1604,49587.1
1997–98South West3,4062,86384.1
1996–97Northern and Yorkshire5,5514,69084.5
1996–97West Midlands3,4802,94784.7
1996–97North West5,1714,38784.8
1996–97South East5,2504,48285.4
1996–97South West3,5943,09186

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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has a target for reducing the average period of untreated psychosis prior to a person receiving treatment. [67946]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 8 July 2002]: The development of early intervention in psychosis teams as outlined in the NHS Plan is aimed at reducing the length of time that young people wait for appropriate treatment in first onset psychosis. Shorter periods of untreated psychosis are associated with a better outcome. By 2004 fifty early intervention teams will provide treatment and active support in the community to these young people and their families.

Pharmacists (Late Payments)

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons payments to pharmacists are not covered by the Late Payment of Debt Act 1998. [72228]

Mr. Lammy: The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 applies to contracts. We consider that payments by the prescription pricing authority to chemists are not made under a contract but under statutory arrangements, as set out in the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 1992 and the drug tariff.

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