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9 Dec 2002 : Column 171Wcontinued
Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance NHS Chief Executives have been given regarding the need for preservation of public health microbiology in relation to the proposed establishment of a Health Protection Agency. 
Ms Blears: The Chief Executive of the National Health Service and Permanent Secretary of the Department, Nigel Crisp, has written to NHS chief executives saying that the public health activities of Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) laboratories transferring to NHS trusts are to be protected and maintained.
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the microbiology laboratories within NHSnot only those transferred from the PHLSplay their full public health role.
The establishment of the HPA is intended to enhance public health microbiology and to position the protection of public health in the mainstream of NHS activities. This is just one element of the Chief Medical Officer's strategy for combating infectious diseases, XGetting Ahead of the Curve".
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital doctors left the NHS in each of the last four years on grounds of (a) retirement, (b) early retirement, (c) ill health and (d) taking up an alternative post. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 2 December 2002]: The number of hospital and community doctors in England and Wales who have received a retirement pension before or after age 60 and on the grounds of ill-health for each of the financial years 1998 to 2002 is in the table.
|Year||Before 60||From 60||Ill-health only||Total|
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the nursing wage bill was spent on temporary nursing staff in (a) England and (b) each NHS region in each of the last six years. 
Mr. Hutton: The table contains data outlining the expenditure on non-national health service nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff as a proportion of the total nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff. The non-NHS figures include all agency staff and any other staff not directly employed by the individual NHS trusts, health authorities and primary care trusts. A regional breakdown prior to 199697 is not available.
|Northern and Yorkshire||n/a||0.007||0.008||0.008||0.010||0.011|
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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 7 December 2002]: Separate information about operating department practitioners is not collected centrally. Vacancies for operating theatre staff, which include operating department practitioners, in England and the north-west are shown in the following table.
|Operating theatre staff (excluding HA staff)|
|3 month vacancy rate (percentage)||4.8||3.6|
|3 month vacancy rate (number)||210||20|
|Staff in post (wte)||4,110||540|
|Staff in post (hc)||4,300||560|
1. Three month vacancy information is as at 31 March 2002.
2. Three month vacancies are vacancies which trusts are actively trying to fill, which had lasted for three months or more (whole time equivalents).
3. Three month vacancy rates are three month vacancies expressed as a percentage of three month vacancies plus staff in post.
4. Three month vacancy rates are calculated using staff in post from the Vacancy Survey and the Consultant Census, March 2002.
5. Staff in post data are from the Non-Medical Workforce Census, September 2001
6. Staff in post data excludes staff employed by health authorities, as vacancy information was only collected from trusts, PCTs and special health authorities.
7. Vacancy and staff in post numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.
8. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.
9. Due to rounding, calculating the vacancy rates using the above data may not equal the actual vacancy rates.
10. Figures may not match previously published data due to a different method of rounding used on the staff in post data.
Vacancy numbers and rates: Department of Health Vacancies Survey March 2002 and Consultant Census March 2002.
Non medical staff in post: Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census September 2001
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the consultations undertaken by his Department prior to the announcement that operating department practitioner trainees should be paid a student bursary or grant rather than a salary. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 5 December 2002]: The announcement concerning operating department practitioner (ODP) trainees set out new additional arrangements by which students would be eligible to apply for national health service funded bursaries. This does not remove or preclude existing routes for employees wishing to pursue ODP education through secondment opportunities funded by their employers.
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Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he has taken under the Protection of Children Act 1999 to protect vulnerable adults with mental impairment from (a) sexual and (b) physical abuse. 
Jacqui Smith: Section 10(1) of the Protection of Children Act 1999 was never enacted to protect vulnerable adults with mental impairment from abuse. This provision was later repealed by the Care Standards Act 2000, which made provision to protect all vulnerable adult groups.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information is made available on current waiting times for treatment for types of cancer; and what plans he has to publish such information in the future. 
Ms Blears: The NHS Cancer Plan set out new goals to reduce waiting times for cancer treatment. The first step in reducing cancer waiting times was the introduction of the two week waiting time standard from urgent general practitioner referral to outpatient appointment for cases of suspected breast cancer from April 1999 and for all urgent cases of suspected cancer from 2000.
From December 2001 targets of a one month maximum wait from diagnosis to first treatment for breast cancer and a one month maximum wait from urgent general practitioner referral to first treatment for children's cancers, testicular cancer and acute leukaemia were introduced. From December 2002, there will be a maximum two month wait from urgent general practitioner referral to first treatment for patients with breast cancer. By 2005 there will be a maximum two month wait from urgent general practitioner referral to first treatment and a one-month wait from diagnosis to first treatment for all cancers.
Existing monitoring arrangements and published data cover the two week standard and the December 2001 targets. Data will be published on further Cancer Plan targets as data collection is rolled out. Data are published on the Department website.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what extra resources have been allocated to the implementation of the two week waiting time target for referral of patients with (a) breast cancer, (b) prostate cancer and (c) other types of cancer. 
Ms Blears: #10 million was made available for each of the financial years 19992000 and 200001 to support implementation of the two week outpatient waiting time standard. From 200102 the additional #10 million was put into health authority baseline financial allocations. An additional #30 million was also made available for each of the financial years 200001 and 200102 to further support the two week standard and the modernisation of cancer services. The additional
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funding was not identified for individual tumour types. It is for health authorities to identify their priorities and target resources appropriately, in this case towards meeting the two week standard.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients in NHS units in Chesham and Amersham waited longer than (a) four and (b) 24 hours in accident and emergency in each of the last 12 months; and what proportion they were of the total; 
(3) if he will make a statement on progress on visiting times for accident and emergency services at NHS units in the Chesham and Amersham constituency. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 19 November 2002]: Action continues to be taken to improve waiting times in the accident and emergency department of Wycombe General Hospital, which is the main provider of accident and emergency services to the people of Chesham and Amersham. The chief executive of South
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Buckinghamshire National Health Service Trust has personally led the Reforming Emergency Care agenda, with support from Thames Valley Strategic Health Authority's service improvement managers and the Modernisation Agency.
Quarterly data relating to waiting times in accident and emergency departments will be published for the first time shortly. Data on total time in accident and emergency will be published for the second quarter of 200203.
I am advised by Thames Valley Strategic Health Authority that South Buckinghamshire NHS Trust has been performing well. Waiting time figures at April 2002 showed a reduction of 6.8 per cent. from the previous year. Currently the trust is performing above target in this area.
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