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4 Dec 2002 : Column 894W—continued


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what level of cancer referral target times were being missed in each hospital trust in (a) 2002 and (b) 2001. [83310]

Ms Blears [holding answer 25 November 2002]: The two week waiting time target from urgent referral by a general practitioner for patients with suspected cancer, to first out-patient appointment was introduced for urgent cases of suspected breast cancer from April 1999 and was extended to all other urgent cases of suspected cancer during 2000. Performance data against the standard for 2001 and the first quarter of 2002 have been placed in the Library. Data for non-urgent referrals are not collected centrally.


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what health studies have been carried out in the United Kingdom population on the impact of radiation, following the Chernobyl accident in April 1986. [84257]

Ms Blears: Two large European studies were commissioned in the early 1990s to study the possible health effects of Chernobyl fallout in the European childhood population. The United Kingdom population is included in these studies. The studies are known as the European Childhood Leukaemia-Lymphoma Incidence study (ECUS) and the European Childhood Abnormality Study (EUROCAS). The results produced so far show no health detriment linked to Chernobyl fallout. Results are consistent with current estimates of risk from radiation exposure. However, further work continues and more detailed results are expected in the future. The thyroid cancer research group, which made a valued contribution to the investigation of the increased incidence of thyroid cancer in children in Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian Federation following the Chernobyl accident, is

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planning a comparative study of childhood thyroid cancer between Britain, Poland and Belarus. Other much smaller studies have been drawn to our attention but the very small number of cases involved makes these studies very difficult to evaluate.

Congestion Charging

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the policy is of his Department in relation to the reimbursement of Central London road user charges incurred by its employees. [81840]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 19 November 2002]: Staff who are required to drive vehicles on official business within the charging zone will be reimbursed the charge. All civil servants are responsible for payment of their own every day home to office travel costs.


Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the hon. Member for Esher and Walton's letter of 19 June PO ref: 1016938. [83715]

Ms Blears: A reply was sent on 19 November.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the delay in commencing the World Health Organisation's large epidemiological study into thrombo-embolic disease and air travel. [85196]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

Insufficient offers of funding were made to allow the full scope of the planned research to go forward (including the large prospective epidemiological study). Following a delay, as details of a new programme and the necessary contractual arrangements were worked out, contracts have now been signed and work is set to start on 1 January 2003.

Delayed Discharges

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) acute trusts and (b) PCTs have set up pooled budgets with social services departments to tackle delayed discharge. [84589]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 2 December 2002]: 16 pooled budget schemes have been notified to the Department which explicitly address the reduction of delayed discharge as a target. Of these 13 involve both acute trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs), and three involve only PCTs as partners with local authorities. None involves only acute trusts and local authorities.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (a) how many people and (b) how long over 75s experienced delayed discharge, broken down by (i) elective and (ii) emergency admissions in each region in the last quarter of 2002–03. [84598]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 2 December 2002]: The information requested is not collected centrally.

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Digital Television

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what resources he intends to devote in 2002–08 to the rollout of digital television to aid the modernisation of the NHS. [83022]

Mr. Lammy: A programme of work is to begin to develop a version of NHS Direct for digital television and to make it available nationwide. This programme will commence in 2003 with national broadcasting by 2004. Expenditure in the first few years will depend on contracts yet to be awarded but is expected to be not less than £5 million a year. Expenditure in the later years of the period will depend on the success of the earlier years and on the range of services that are demonstrated to be attractive to the public, helpful to the national health service and good value for money.

Doctor: Population Ratio

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the ratio of doctors to people is in England. [83288]

Mr. Hutton: Figures produced by the Department currently show figures for national health service doctors only. We are working with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to determine the most reliable way to present data for all doctors, with a view to providing more representative figures for the international comparisons published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The table shows the ratio of NHS doctors to people in England.

NHS doctors: hospital, public health medicine and community health service (HCHS) medical and dental staff and general practitioners in England—at 30 September 2001

All NHS doctors(36)100,320
Of which:
All general medical practitioners(36),(37)31,840
HCHS medical and dental staff(36),(38)68,480
Doctors per 100,000 population(39)204

(36) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

(37) All practitioners include GMS unrestricted principals, PMS contracted GPs, restricted principal, assistants, GP registrars, salaried doctors (para 52 SFA), PMS other and GP retainers.

(38) Excludes hospital medical hospital practitioners and clinical assistants most of whom are GPs and will have been included already.

(39) Calculated using unrounded figures.


Population data are based on ONS 2001 census estimates.


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census.

Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics. Office of National Statistics

Drug Addiction Treatment

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are receiving treatment for drug addiction in the West Midlands; and how many people were receiving treatment on 30 November (a) 1998, (b) 1999, (c) 2000 and (d) 2001. [84825]

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Mr. Lammy: Information is not available in the form requested. The information available for drug users presenting to drug treatment agencies and general practitioners in the West Midlands in the six-month periods from 1 October 1998–31 March 1999 to 1 October 2000–31 March 2001 is given in the table.

Six-month period endingNumber of users
31 March 19991,741
30 September 19992,139
31 March 20002,381
30 September 20002,572
31 March 20012,655


The data are from the Department of Health series of statistical bulletins, XStatistics from the Regional Drug Misuse Databases".

A 'census' of drug users in treatment was carried out in 2000 to estimate the number of drug users in England in contact with drug treatment agencies in 2000–01. The number of drug users reported as being in contact with agencies in the West Midlands was 8,843. These data were published in a statistical bulletin, XStatistics from the Regional Drug Misuse Databases on Drug Misusers in Treatment in England, 2000–01", in December 2001.

Elderly Care (Community Hospitals)

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many beds for the elderly in community hospitals are provided in each (a) strategic health authority and (b) local authority. [84020]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not collected for individual hospital sites. The data are collected by national health service trust, which could incorporate more than one hospital.

Information on the number of beds by sector, including geriatric in each NHS trust, is available from the Department of Health's website at and has been placed in the Library.

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