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19 Sept 2002 : Column 380W—continued


Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists (a) left the NHS and (b) joined the NHS in each of the last five years; what percentage of the total number of dentists (i) left and (ii) joined the NHS in 2002; and if he will make a statement. [72460]

Mr. Lammy: The available information is for the number and percentage of dentists leaving and joining the general dental service (GDS) in England and is shown in the table for the years 1997–98 to 2001–02. Later data is not yet available.

About 90 per cent. of National Health Service dental services are provided by the GDS. Information on dentists leaving and joining other dental services, including the personal dental service (PDS), community and hospital dental services is not collected centrally.

The number of leavers covers all reasons for leaving the GDS including final retirement from dental work and dentists taking career breaks as well as those who left to practice solely privately. Figures from 1998–99 onwards are inflated by the transfer of some dentists from the GDS

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to some PDS pilots. The total number of dentists includes principals on a health authority list, assistants and vocational dental practitioners.

Since 1997–98 more dentists have joined than left. The number of GDS dentists has increased from 16,387 at March 1997 to 18,254 in March 2002, an increase of 1,867. Dentists are able to vary the amount of work they do in the GDS.

General Dental Service (GDS): Number and percentage 2 of dentists who left and joined the GDS from 1997–98 to 2001–02

Dentists who left the GDSDentists who joined the GDSEngland
1998–99 1 97261,4629
1999–2000 1 1,03261,5179
2000–01 1 1,19271,4598
2001–02 1 1,21671,3668


1. Figures affected by the transfer of some dentists from the GDS to the PDS.

2. Percentages of dentists leaving and joining are based on the number of dentists working at the start of the year.

NHS Professionals

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish the Code of Practice for NHS Professionals. [66844]

Mr. Hutton: The Code of Practice for the Supply of Temporary Staffing was published on 15 July 2002 on the Department of Health website international-recruitment/code. Hard copies of the Code will be available shortly, and will be placed in the Library.


Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government take to promote nursing as a profession. [72444]

Mr. Hutton: The Government are implementing a range of measures to promote careers in the National Health Service, including nurses. These include increasing pay, encouraging the NHS 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 supporting international recruitment where appropriate. Further information on improving working lives is available at

The NHS Careers service was established in April 1999 by the Department to provide accurate and up-to-date information on careers throughout the NHS and to promote nursing as a profession. It has a website through which publications can be ordered.

This year's national recruitment campaign ran from 13 February for six weeks and was aimed primarily at raising the profile and the recruitment, retention and return of nurses. Over 51,000 contacts, primarily interested in nursing careers were received at NHS Careers.

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Since 1997, the nursing workforce has grown by 31,520. Between September 1999 and September 2001 there was a net increase in nurses working in the NHS of 20,740—the NHS Plan target has been reached two years early. The number of applicants to nurse training has also increased with 40,908 being received in the academic year 2000–01 as opposed to 18,732 in 1997–98.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action is being taken by NHS trusts to reduce assaults on nurses. [61447]

Mr. Hutton: Significant action has been taken at both national and local levels to tackle the problem of violence as part of the cross-Government National Health Service zero tolerance zone campaign. Many NHS trusts have taken the opportunity to launch local campaigns with a focus on specific areas of concern.

Recent surveys conducted in the NHS indicate that almost all NHS trusts have now published policies for reducing the incidence of violence, and also provide evidence that a wide range of measures are being introduced by employers to tackle this problem. These include the installation or upgrading of hospital CCTV systems, other changes to the physical environment and the provision of safety awareness training to staff. Many trusts have also reviewed the support available to staff when violent incidents do occur.

For the first time ever, new money has been allocated specifically to support the efforts of managers and staff in tackling violence in the NHS. The new funding is expected to be matched by employers, which means that over the three years over £3 million will be invested in new initiatives to protect staff. The money is supporting a range of initiatives from making improvements to risk assessment process to the purchase of personal alarms. In 2001–02, over £791,110 central funding has been invested to support 173 new local measures to protect staff.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will collate statistics on the number of (a) British and (b) foreign nurses practising in the UK who carry HIV. [73444]

Mr. Hutton: There is currently no requirement on National Health Service employers to offer or require an HIV test prior to employment of nurses, whether recruited from the United Kingdom or abroad. Therefore, information on the number of HIV infected nurses (of any nationality) working in the NHS is currently not collected centrally.

The Department is considering the recommendations of an ad hoc expert group set up to assess the potential health risk posed to patients by health care workers new to the NHS infected with serious communicable diseases, including HIV. Implementation of any resulting change in policy would include consideration of monitoring needs.

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses were recruited for the NHS is each of the last five years for which figures are available

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from (a) Botswana, (b) South Africa, (c) Uganda, (d) Namibia, (e) Tanzania, (f) Kenya and (g) Malawi; and if he will make a statement on recruitment from countries with a high incidence of HIV. [72010]

Mr. Hutton: Information on the country of origin of staff working in the National Health Service is not collected centrally.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 18 July 2002, Official Report, column 536W, how many of the nurse, midwife and health visitor consultant posts being approved have been taken up by experienced nurses who have returned to the NHS following a substantial period outside the profession. [72838]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 24 July 2002]: The information requested is not collected centrally.

The nature of nurse consultant posts demand a portfolio of career-long learning, experience and formal education, usually up to or beyond masters degree level including research experience and a record of scholarship. Most nurses who have had a substantial period of time outside the profession are unlikely to have the relevant recent experience required for nurse consultant posts.

Wheelchair Services

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to introduce national standards for prosthetic, orthotic and wheelchair services and if he will make a statement. [71797]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 23 July 2002]: We are currently working with multi professional groups in prosthetic and orthotic services and looking at ways of enhancing patient care through programmes such as the action on orthopaedics and the work of the prosthetic strategic supply group. We will consider in due course, whether any outcomes of this work can be issued as appropriate guidance to the National Health Service.

We are also working with the Modernisation Agency to improve wheelchair services and to spread best practice across the country. Several national groups, with an interest, have been working on standards for the wheelchair service. As the collaborative work progresses, we will review whether one such standard could be given Departmental endorsement.

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