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21 Nov 2002 : Column 238W—continued

Fertility Rates

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department makes a regular assessment of the fertility rate of young males. [81050]

Ms Blears: The Department does not make a regular assessment of the fertility rate of young males.

The Department of Health, with the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Health and Safety Executive and the European Chemical Industry Council, is funding a programme of four epidemiological studies to investigate trends in male reproductive health, and the possible influences of occupational, environmental or other exposure to chemicals. Two of these studies will provide extensive information on semen quality in men in the United Kingdom. We expect the programme of studies to be completed by the end of this year and the results of the research will be published in due course.

Health Professions Council

Vernon Coaker : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the proposed fee increases for the Health Professions Council; and if he will make a statement. [82106]

Mr. Hutton: We have received a number of items of correspondence from hon. and right hon. Members concerning the Health Professions' Council's proposed fee level.

The principle of United Kingdom healthcare regulation is based on the concept of independent self-regulation and it is for the HPC to determine the appropriate fee to be charged for registration taking account of the functions it is required to undertake and the views of those consulted. When considering whether to approve the proposed fees, the Privy Council will take account of these relevant issues.

HFEA Report

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the annual report of the HFEA for 2002 will be published. [80693]

Ms Blears: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority intends to publish its 2002 annual report in early December.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the IVF/DI data for 2002 will be available. [80694]

Ms Blears: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is considering the content and date of publication of the data as part of its overall business plan for 2003–04.

Junior Doctors

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average hours of junior doctors were in 1997; and what they were at the latest date for which figures are available. [80143]

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Mr. Hutton: Data on junior doctors' working hours is not collected in a way that enables an average to be calculated. Available data shows the proportion of junior doctors who work above or below set thresholds.

Initial indications from monitoring carried out in September 2002 showed 86 per cent. working on average less than 56 hours a week, with at least 23 per cent, of these working less than 48 hours a week.

This compares favourably with the monitoring carried out in March 1997 which indicated that only 78 per cent. of junior doctors were working on average less than 56 hours a week.

Mental Health

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation his Department undertook before publishing the draft Mental Health Bill. [82703]

Jacqui Smith: The proposals in the draft Mental Health Bill have been the subject of a long process of consultation by the Government, starting with the Green Paper XReform of the Mental Health Act 1983" published in November 1999. Since then there have been informal discussions with key stakeholders and letters have been received, for example following the publication of the White Paper XReforming the Mental Health Act" published in December 2000.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has assessed the work of the Mental Health Institute. [81506]

Jacqui Smith: Although the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) is only in the first year of its establishment, there are plans in place and funds set aside to commission an evaluation of NIMHE's activities, in collaboration with the research & development Directorate at the Department. It is anticipated that the work will be commissioned in 2003.

Mid-Essex Hospital Trust

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are waiting for in-patient treatment in the mid Essex hospital services national health service area. [82061]

Mr. Lammy: There were 9,703 patients waiting for in-patient treatment at Mid Essex Hospital Services national health service trust at the end of September 2002.

NHS Administration (Buckinghamshire)

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many staff were employed to carry out the administration for NHS services for residents of (a) Chesham and Amersham and (b) Buckinghamshire in 1997; how many are employed now; and if he will make a statement; [81197]

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Ms Blears [holding answer 19 November 2002]: Information is not collected centrally, or by Thames Valley Strategic Health Authority, at constituency level.

Information available centrally on the number of administrative staff in the former Buckinghamshire health authority area is shown in the table. 2001 is the most recent year for which information is currently available.

NHS hospital and community health services (HCHS) and general and personal medical services: Administrative staff within the Buckinghamshire health authority area as at 30 September each year

Whole time equivalents19972001
All administrative staff 2,1202,560
Health and community health services1,5601,880
General and personal medical services560690


Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Due to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts.


Department of Health non-medical workforce census.

Department of Health general and personal medical services statistics.

A direct comparison of running costs for NHS organisations within the former Buckinghamshire health authority area, between 1997 and now, is not possible because of the considerable organisational change that has taken place in the intervening years.

Allocations to the Buckinghamshire Health Authority in 1997–98 were #265,389,000 and in 2002–03, #493,959,000.

NHS Bank

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the progress made in establishing the NHS Bank; and how much money it has lent. [82282]

Mr. Milburn: The NHS Bank has been operating in 'shadow' form this year overseen by the Department's director of finance and investment and four strategic health authority chief executives. The future management arrangements are still under consideration.

The shadow NHS Bank has made available a total of 100 million to three strategic health authority areas. Avon, Gloucestershire & Wiltshire, 45 million, Surrey and Sussex, 30 million, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, 25 million. The terms, conditions and amounts for individual health service bodies is still to be finalised by the strategic health authorities and are subject to delivery of agreed recovery plans.

North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust and its predecessor, Warrington Hospital NHS Trust, spent on public relations in each of the last five years. [82056]

Jacqui Smith: The table shows the public relations costs for North Cheshire Hospitals National Health Service Trust and its predecessor organisation in each of the last five years.

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YearWarrington hospital NHS trust #000Halton hospital NHS trust #000North Cheshire hospitals NHS trust #000
1998–9921,580In house
1999–0022,010In house

Nursing and Residential Care Charges

Vernon Coaker : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to review the level of capital limits with respect to the cost of (a) nursing home care and (b) residential care. [82105]

Jacqui Smith : The Department is currently consulting on proposals to increase the capital limits used in the financial assessment for residential accommodation, including care homes providing nursing care, to 12,000 and 19,500 with effect from 7 April 2003.

Overseas Visitors Regulations

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what systems are in place to (a) identify and (b) collect payment from illegal immigrants and others who use the national health service and are subject to the charges to overseas visitors regulations 1989, as amended; [80955]

Ms Blears: The National Health Service is first and foremost for the benefit of people who live in the United Kingdom. A person who is not ordinarily resident in the UK but who requires NHS hospital treatment is subject to the provisions of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989, as amended [in 1991 (SI No: 438), 1994 (SI No: 1535), 2000 (SI No: 602), 2000 (SI No: 909)].

These regulations place a duty on NHS trusts to establish the residential status of all patients. Where an NHS trust identifies a person who is not ordinarily resident in the UK and is not otherwise exempt from charge then the regulations provide for the making and recovery of a charge by the trust for most types of hospital treatment.

The amounts collected from NHS charged patients are not separately identifiable in trust accounts and are not collected centrally.

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