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15 Oct 2002 : Column 814W—continued

PFI Funding

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospitals in England have had PFI funding in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02. [73726]

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Mr. Hutton: In the year from April 2000, 24 contracts, with a value of #1 million or greater, were signed. In the year from April 2001, 11 contracts with a value of #1 million or greater, were signed.

No records are kept centrally of schemes valued at less than #1 million.

Hospitals (Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the rules are governing the consumption of alcohol and tobacco (a) on hospital premises, (b) in patient areas and (c) in emergency services staff areas. [74160]

Ms Blears: There are no centrally imposed rules on alcohol consumption on National Health Service premises, but all NHS trusts are expected to have policies in place that reflect their need to provide patients with high quality medical care in a safe environment. The Department issued Guidance entitled Taking alcohol and other drugs out of the NHS workplace in February 2001, which deals with the issue of alcohol consumption by NHS staff, but does not ban it from NHS premises.

Many NHS trusts have already banned smoking in their hospitals and hospital grounds and the Government have set milestones for implementing smoking policies across the NHS as part of the national service framework on coronary heart disease.

Reserve Forces Doctors

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the operating cost was of the compulsory mobilisation of reserve forces doctors employed by the NHS on 16 May. [73930]

Mr. Hutton: Data on the operating cost are not held centrally.

Elective Surgery Abroad

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the pilot scheme to refer NHS patients overseas for elective surgery. [73780]

Mr. Hutton: The pilot scheme for treating National Health Services patients in other countries in the European Economic Area was evaluated by the York Health Economics Consortium. Their evaluation has been published and is available on the Department's website at and the Library.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 22 July, ref 68035, what quality checks are in place for elective operations performed abroad under contract to the NHS. [73781]

Mr. Hutton: The Department has established lead commissioning arrangements for overseas healthcare capacity. Guy's and St. Thomas' National Health Service Trust is responsible for finding high quality elective treatment capacity and providers of clinical teams to come to this country in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and northern Europe. Kent and Medway

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Health Authority is responsible for finding treatment capacity and providers of clinical teams in France, Spain and more southerly countries.

The Department has advised NHS primary care trusts and NHS trusts to approach one of the two NHS lead commissioners if they wish to arrange for treatment for patients abroad.

In selecting hospitals in other countries in the European Economic Area to treat NHS patients the lead commissioners take into account relevant paper evidence and visit hospitals where patients may potentially be treated. Quality requirements are set out in the contracts agreed between the lead commissioners and the hospitals abroad. The Department has asked the lead commissioners to ensure that contracts with overseas healthcare providers will require them to afford reasonable access to the Commission for Health Improvement and other appropriate bodies.


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total amount of Government funding has been for research and development into issues related to overweight people and obesity in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [74458]

Ms Blears: The main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments for disease is the Medical Research Council (MRC) which receives its funding via the Department of Trade and Industry. The Department funds research to support policy and the delivery of effective practice in health and social care.

The MRC has a large commitment to nutrition generally with major investments in the MRC Dunn human nutrition unit, the MRC resource centre for human nutrition research and the MRC international nutrition group. Spend on the whole portfolio amounted to #16.6 million in 2001–02, for example.

The total MRC and Department expenditure specifically on obesity related research for the past five years is as follows:


In addition, the Department provides National Health Service (NHS) support funding for research commissioned by the research councils and charities that takes place in the NHS. Details of ongoing and recently completed research projects funded by, or of interest to, the NHS are available on the national research register at

NHS Financial Directors

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many financial directors were employed in the National Health Service in (a) 1979 and (b) 1997 and are now employed in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) the UK. [73567]

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Mr. Lammy: In 1979 it was not compulsory for every National Health Service body in England to appoint a Finance Director. Records are not held centrally of how many were in post at that time.

Since 1979 each NHS body in England has been required to appoint a Finance Director. The number of such bodies was 543 in March 1997 and 596 in March 2002.

The position in other countries within the United Kingdom is the responsibility of the devolved administrations.

Child Psychotherapists

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on the availability of funding for child and adolescent psychotherapists in South West Hampshire; [73938]

Ms Blears: A total of 5.7 whole time equivalent (wte) child psychotherapists are employed across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The Department allocates the multi-professional education and training levy to local workforce development confederations (WDCs) for the training of health professionals, including child psychotherapists.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight WDC is responsible for deciding priorities for investment in new training places and is aware of a bid for a child psychotherapy trainee in Southampton. The WDC has not been able to fund all the bids it received this year for additional training places in the many different health professions but bids will be reconsidered against next year's allocation.

Patient Records

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures are in place to enable a person to access patients' records made before 1 November 2001. [73906]

Mr. Lammy: The Data Protection Act 1998, which came into force in March 2000, enables individuals to apply for access to their health records, regardless of when their records were created. The Access to Health Records Act 1990, which came in to force in November 1991 governs rights of access to the health records of deceased persons.

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many requests to access patient records were made in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001 under the Data Protection Act 1998. [73907]

Mr. Lammy: The information requested in not held centrally.

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many representations have been received by the Information Commissioner on access to patients' records being refused in each year since 1990. [73905]

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Mr. Lammy: I have been informed by the Office of the Information Commissioner that it holds general information about the number of enquiries and complaints it has received regarding health matters under the Data Protection Act 1998 since it came in to force on 1 March 2000, but it does not hold details of the specific issues involved in each case. Prior to this date the majority of requests for access to health records were governed by the Access to Health Records Act 1990, but no information is held centrally on numbers of requests or refusals.

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms his Department has put in place to remove the variations between trusts in the standard of structure and content of patient records. [73909]

Mr. Lammy: The delivery of electronic records is being taken forward in implementing the national strategic programme Delivering 21st Century IT—Support for the NHS which was announced by my noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (the Lord Hunt of Kingsheath) following the publication of Delivering the NHS Plan on 11 June 2002. One of the key aspects of phase one of the programme requires all primary care trusts and National Health Service trusts and hospitals to implement elements of electronic patient records by December 2005.

To support the NHS toward delivering this vision the Department in July 2002 published for consultation the National Specification for the Integrated Care Records Service to take forward the life-long heath record service. The key feature of the programme is the shift to a more corporate, national approach to deliver information technology in the NHS. This represents a step-change from the current arrangements whereby systems are typically provided for individual organisations in each health care sector. For electronic records this change means that there will be a national approach to procurement resulting in services conforming to national standards, which will include record structure and some content standards. The resulting services will be able to inter-operate with emerging national services such as the electronic staff record and the health record infrastructure. The aim being to ensure that all electronic record systems are fully compliant with national standards and specifications by December 2007.

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many requests were made to access health records for deceased persons in each year since the Access to Health Records Act 1990 came into force. [73908]

Mr. Lammy: The information requested is not held centrally.

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