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28 Nov 2002 : Column 409W—continued

Digital Hearing Aids

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts and health authorities are making available digital hearing aids for (a) children and (b) adults. [82485]

Jacqui Smith: In order to access the national health service contract for digital hearing aids, trusts must first have in place the appropriate infrastructure, equipment and training. All 20 sites from the first wave of the modernising hearing aid services project regularly supply digital aids.

The number of second wave sites prescribing digital aids will increase each month so that all 30 will be prescribing by the end of March 2003. In addition, the

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17 sites announced on 22 November as receiving the necessary information technology equipment will be in a position to prescribe digital aids from April 2003.

A list of first wave sites, second wave sites and sites to receive equipment will be placed in the Library.

Doctors' Hours

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assumptions were made concerning doctors' work rotas in the work force modelling undertaken as part of the Wanless Review of the long-term trends affecting the national health service. [83453]

Mr. Hutton: The modelling for the Wanless Report was carried out by Her Majesty's Treasury (HMT), using a model that they had developed for forecasting the long-term growth in demand for health care services. The output from this model was converted into work force demand using a model developed within the Department and adapted for the HMT requirements. This model took account of the reduction in average hours worked as a result of the European Working Time Directive and assumed that all medical staff would be working less than 48 hours per week for the national health service by 2009.

European Doctors

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors from Europe the contracts signed by NHS trusts brought to the UK for each trust involved. [83284]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 25 November 2002]: Forty overseas doctors have signed contracts with National Health Service trusts as part of the overseas clinical teams initiative, of whom 24 were from Europe. Central Middlesex is working with one doctor from Italy, one from Ireland and one from Germany. Seven German doctors are working at South Tyneside NHS Trust. Ten French doctors are working at East Somerset NHS Trust. Three French doctors are working at Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust. One German doctor worked at mid-Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust.

Sixteen South African doctors have been involved in the scheme; four doctors are currently working at Hillingdon Hospital and 12 worked at Morecambe Bay Hospital NHS Trust.

Foundation Trusts

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the 31 acute NHS trusts which indicated in 2001 that they were interested in becoming foundation trusts. [82843]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 26 November 2002]: In June 2002, we asked for expressions of interest in National Health Service foundation trust status from chief executives of NHS trusts awarded three stars in the previous NHS performance ratings announced in September 2001. We received 31 expressions of interest.

These organisations have not been listed since applications to become NHS foundation trusts will be invited only from acute and specialist NHS trusts that

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were awarded three stars in the performance ratings announced in July 2002. Of the 31 original expressions of interest, however, more than half retained their three star status in July 2002.

We will shortly issue a publication that will set out our detailed proposals on establishing NHS foundation trusts. Alongside this, or shortly after publication, we will invite preliminary applications to become NHS foundation trusts.

General Practitioners

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the results of the General Practitioner Recruitment, Retention and Vacancy Survey for 2002 will be published. [82737]

Mr. Hutton: The results of the General Practitioner Recruitment, Retention and Vacancy Survey 2002 were published on 19 November 2002.

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the age distribution of general practitioners at retirement was in each of the past five years. [82738]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not collected centrally. The number of medical general practitioners, in England and Wales who have received a retirement pension before or after age 60 for each of the financial years 1998 to 2002 is shown in the table.

Financial yearBefore age 60After age 60Total

Hospital Admissions (Homeless People)

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were admitted to NHS hospitals whose address was listed as no fixed abode between (a) December 1999 and January 2000, (b) December 2000 and January 2001 and (c) December 2001 and January 2002. [81678]

Mr. Hutton: T he table shows the number of admissions to national health service hospitals where place of residence is not known. Admissions involving patients of no fixed abode are not separately identifiable.

Admissions to NHS hospitals where place of residence is not known (including no fixed abode)
December 1999 to January 20003,804
December 2000 to January 20014,466


1. Data in this table are grossed for both coverage and unknown/invalid clinical data.

2. Data exclude all healthy newborn babies, as their address is recorded as not known.

3. Data not yet available for 2001–02.


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health.

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Mass Casualties (CBRN Attack)

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements have been made to treat mass casualties arising from a CBRN attack. [82582]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 25 November 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 25 November 2002, Official Report, column 145W.

Mental Health

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in implementing Standard 1 of the National Service Framework for mental health. [81045]

Jacqui Smith: Health and social services were set a target to develop and agree local mental health promotion strategies by March 2002. To help support the delivery of this target the Department published XMaking It Happen: A guide to delivering mental health promotion" in August 2001. Local services have undertaken a themed review to ascertain progress in developing their strategies. This will, when completed, give a national picture of progress made.

NHS Choice

Mr Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to extend NHS choice throughout the country in specialisms only available in London; and if he will make a statement. [82108]

Mr. Hutton: The London patient choice pilot has since the beginning of October 2002 offered choice for two ophthalmology procedures where a patient has been on a waiting list for an operation for more than six months. We will be extending that choice in London to include ear, nose and throat, orthopaedics and general surgery from April 2003.

We are planning to operate equivalent pilots to other parts of the country, and as these pilots are still in the planning stage and funding has not yet been announced, are not able yet to give more details.

The longer term objective is that by 2006, choice will be routinely offered to all patients nationwide at the stage when the general practitioner decides that a referral to a specialist is needed, for example, the point of booking for the outpatient or equivalent appointment.


Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether those who have attained and passed Government accredited training as an osteopath may call themselves an osteopath. [82472]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 26 November 2002]: Under the Osteopaths Act 1993, only those with a qualification recognised by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and approved by the Privy Council may register with the GOsC and therefore, legally call themselves osteopaths. Details of all the qualifications it currently recognises may be obtained from the GOsC.

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Delayed Discharges

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what (a) representations he has received on and (b) assessment he has made of the likely change in host social services facilitating the discharge of patients outside their catchment area, following the introduction of fines for delayed hospital discharge; [83491]

Jacqui Smith: Two councils have raised concerns on this. Under the provisions of the Community Care (Delayed Discharges, etc.) Bill, responsibility for arranging the social care of someone ready for discharge from hospital would rest with the council where the patient lives, rather than the council where the acute hospital trust is based. However, we would expect the relevant social services departments to continue to work together over discharge, as they do now.

The Bill will ensure that there are financial incentives in place for both local councils and the national health service to ensure that they tackle delayed transfers of care. It will also encourage quicker and better identification of the appropriate council responsible for providing social care services to patients. In particular, this will be of great benefit to specialist hospitals and those that attract patients from some distance away.

Social workers will, as now, need to be involved in the assessments of patients in acute hospital trusts. This will be re-emphasised in the forthcoming revision of the Hospital Discharge Workbook.

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