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23 Oct 2002 : Column 391Wcontinued
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS ambulances have been (a) de-commissioned, (b) sold, (c) lost, (d) vandalised and (e) stolen in each year for the last six years in (i) England and (ii) each NHS region. 
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list the whole-time equivalent number of qualified district nurses in (a) England, (b) each NHS region and (c) each health authority in each of the last six years; 
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|Year||Number of nurses starting practice nurse training|
* Figures for 200102 have not yet been validated
** Figures for 200203 are forecast and subject to change
Financial and Workforce Information Return
Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency has recently sought views on whether or not to retain regulations, which define the minimum content of key ingredients, such as lemon or dried fruit respectively, in lemon curd and mincemeat. When the responses to the consultation have been analysed the Agency will decide whether to propose changes to the rules.
Ms Blears [holding answer 21 October 2002]: The NHS Cancer Plan, published in September 2000, pledged that the National Health Service contribution to the costs of specialist palliative care, including hospices, would increase by #50 million by 2004.
Progress to date has been slow. We have therefore asked Professor Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, to work with the NHS and the voluntary sector to develop proposals for a new approach to specialist palliative care funding that will ensure delivery of the #50 million increase and develop a mechanism to secure long term investment. Professor Richards has been asked to report to Ministers later this autumn.
To support this initiative, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health announced on 2 October that we are making available an extra #10 million for specialist palliative care services in 200203. It will be for local health communities, with their voluntary sector partners, to decide how this funding should be deployed in support of the Cancer Plan objectives.
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Ms Blears [holding answer 21 October 2002]: I am advised by the South West Peninsular Strategic Health Authority that Exeter Hospiscare received #579,000 from the National Health Service this year. This is an increase of 3.6 per cent. and is in line with the current NHS funded inflation rate.
Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to respond to the letters of 7 May, 26 June and 2 September concerning hospice funding from the hon. Member for Tiverton and Honiton. 
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many heart patients waiting for more than six months have subsequently opted to be treated in private hospitals in the last five years. 
|Cadaveric kidney only||1487||1330||1311||1323||1333|
|Living donor kidney||179||252||270||348||358|
|Total Kidney only||1666||1582||1581||1671||1691|
Data from the Reference Costs 2001 publication shows that average cost of an elective kidney transplant is #12,260. The annual cost of follow-up including the costs of anti-rejection therapy is #3,000 to #5,000 per patient.
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 21 October 2002]: Individual university medical schools determine their own undergraduate medical curriculum in the light of recommendations from the General Medical Council's
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(GMC's) education committee, which has the statutory responsibility to determine the extent and knowledge and skill required for the granting of primary medical qualifications in the United Kingdom.
The education committee's most recent recommendations on undergraduate medical education are contained in Tomorrow's Doctors which was published in July 2002. It requires all graduates to be able to take and record a patient's history safely and effectively.
The GMC's recommendations on general clinical training in the pre-registration house officer (PRHO) year cover medical informatics including how to use information storage and retrieval systems effectively. As part of their in-service training PRHOs are expected to become familiar with the information technology facilities of the hospital or health centre in which they are training.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people qualified for free NHS eye tests in the last year (a) as a percentage of the population and (b) broken down by patient type; 
Mr. Lammy [holding answers 21 October 2002]: Information on the number of people having a National Health Service sight test is not available. Figures in the table relate numbers of NHS sight tests paid for by health authorities contracted under general ophthalmic services. Sight tests can not be equated to the numbers of patients. Although most people do not come back for a sight test within the year, some patients suffering from medical conditions are advised to have re-examinations sooner.
|Year||Number of sight test|
Eligibility for NHS sight tests was extended to patients aged 60 and over from 1 April 1999.
|Eligibility group||Number of sight test|
|Persons aged 60 and over||4,013|
|Adults receiving IS(6)||1,082|
|Adults receiving WFTC(6)||413|
|Adults receiving DPTC(6)||37|
|Adults receiving JSA(6)||230|
|Low income certificate holders (HC2)||164|
|Registered blind/partially sighted||19|
|Needs complex lenses||61|
|Relatives 40 & over(7)||492|
|Total NHS sight test||9,807|
(6) Income Support, Working Families Tax Credit, Disabled Persons Tax Credit and Job Seekers allowance.
(7) Close relatives of glaucoma sufferers aged 40 and over.
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Mr. Lammy [holding answer 21 October 2002]: The Department has not commissioned any recent surveys to identify and itemise the costs of these independent contractors, which will vary from practice to practice. In negotiating the National Health Service sight test fee, the Department and the representative bodies for optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners put forward the factors they consider should be weighed in determining an appropriate fee level. For the Department, these are the state of recruitment, retention and motivation within the general ophthalmic service, together with affordability.
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