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14 Oct 2002 : Column 493W—continued

Second Opinion Appointed Doctors

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish (a) the criteria for the appointment of doctors as second opinion appointed doctors under the Mental Health Act 1983 and (b) the appointment procedure for these positions. [72134]

Jacqui Smith: In order to be eligible for appointment to the second opinion appointed doctor's panel, doctors must meet the following criteria:

The procedure for appointment is summarised as follows: interested doctors are asked to submit an application, curriculum vitae and two references, which are scrutinised by a panel comprising three persons, usually Commissioners, at least one being a consultant psychiatrist.

This panel makes draft proposals on appointments, which are referred to the Commission's executive management team and then the board for consideration and final ratification.

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Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) dates, (b) locations and (c) sources were of attributable (i) articles, interviews or contributions for the media, books or other journals and (ii) speeches or presentations made in the public domain, by departmental special advisers since March 2001; who in his Department authorised the activity; and on what date this activity was recorded with the departmental Head of Information. [72247]

Mr. Lammy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister on Wednesday 24 July 2002, Official Report, vol. 389, col. 1373W.

National Care Standards Commission

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who the members are of the National Care Standards Commission; and what recent statements they have made about the quality of services regulated under Part II of the Care Standards Act. [72302]

Jacqui Smith: The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) became fully operational and took up its regulatory responsibilities on 1 April 2002.

The Chair of the NCSC Board, Ms Anne Parker OBE, was formerly chair of the Carers National Association. In addition, there are a further 14 non-executive board members. These are:

Further information about the board members, including a register of their interests, is available on the Commission's website.

I am unaware of any specific statements made recently by any board member regarding the quality of services regulated under Part II of the Care Standards Act 2000.

Minimum Wage

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what percentage of employees working within the NHS earn (a) the development rate national minimum wage for workers aged 18 to 21 inclusive, (b) the national minimum wage for workers aged 22 and over, (c) between the national minimum wage and #4.50 per hour, (d) between #4.50 and

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#4.80 per hour, (e) between #4.80 and #5 per hour and (f) less than #5 per hour; and if he will make a statement. [72653]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is shown in the table.

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The Government are committed to tackling low pay in the National Health Service—this year extra resources were targeted to give proportionally more pay to the lowest paid NHS staff, giving a new minimum hourly rate in the NHS of #4.47 from April 2002 for staff on national conditions of service.

Rates at August 2000 Estimated rates at April 20021
All staff Staff on national payscales Staff on national payscales2
Age groupHourly salary3Headcount ('000)as % of all staffHeadcount ('000)as % of all staffHeadcount ('000)as % of all staff
18 to 21<=#3.50*0*000
22 or over<=#4.101216100
22 or over#4.10 to #4.5053629431
22 or over#4.50 to #4.80333173295
22 or over#4.80 to #5.00293142101
22 or over<#5.00128136610427


1 Figures reflect pay awards up to and including April 2002.

2 Estimates of pay awards for staff on local payscales are not available.

3 Hourly earnings are, on average, 28 per cent. higher than with allowances and overtime added.

* Indicates greater than zero and less than 500.


Department of Health's August 2002 Survey of NHS Staff Earnings.

Children's Food

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the progress the Food Standard Agency has made in drawing up a code of practice on the marketing of foods to and for children. [73412]

Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency has met with consumers, enforcement authorities, public interest groups and industry on a number of occasions to try to establish consensus on elements of best practice that would facilitate development of guidance on the promotion of foods to children. However, the Agency has decided to carry out some further research before taking the discussions further.

The Agency has already published, in November 2001, the results of an independent study into parents' and children's attitudes to promotional activity. The next step, this autumn, will be to commission an extensive review of research into the effects of promotional activity on the eating behaviour of children. The Agency expects to publish the results of this review next year and will then restart discussions with stakeholders.

Alternative Medicine

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent initiatives he has taken to make wider use of complementary and alternative medicines and treatments and practitioners in the Health Service. [73498]

Ms Blears: The Department is committed to a National Health Service which is run by its front-line professionals. Decisions on provision of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) will therefore be made by local NHS staff, taking into account the needs of patients, the evidence base, and the effectiveness of regulation of those who provide CAM.

We are co-funding a two-year collaborative project led by Westminster University to identify and develop good practice in the clinical governance of CAM within primary care. The project is being carried out in partnership with the Prince of Wales' Foundation for Integrated Health, which is running a parallel project to identify good practice in the use of CAM in a range of primary care trusts.

To help improve the evidence base we have included CAM in our programme to strengthen research capacity, and bids from academic institutions to host research in this field are currently being considered. We also recently issued a call for research proposals on the role of CAM in the care of cancer patients.

Musgrove Park Hospital

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of improvements in service at Musgrove Park hospital, Taunton since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [73270]

Ms Blears: Since 1997, Government initiatives to improve the performance of the National Health Service have resulted in significant developments in the quality of services provided to local people by Taunton & Somerset NHS Trust, which has responsibility for Taunton & Somerset Hospital, Musgrove Park. In 1997, 88 per cent. of inpatients were seen within 10 months, that has since increased to 92 per cent., in 1997–98 the number of patients seen and treated was 63,000 and in 2001–02 that increased to 73,000. There are now no outpatients waiting longer than 26 weeks for a first appointment. We have also recently announced an allocation of #2.3 million to further reduce waiting times. By March 2003 there will be no patients waiting in excess of nine months for inpatient treatment and 13 weeks for an outpatient appointment.

In addition since 1997 new services have been introduced bringing considerable benefits for patients. These include a breast care unit, an admissions unit, a magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Capital investment schemes in 2001–02 include a new cardiac catherisation laboratory, a third ophthalmic theatre, and an orthopaedic theatre and ward.

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