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12 Dec 2002 : Column 492W—continued


Acute Hospitals

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many acute hospitals in England and Wales serve a population of less than 500,000. [85793]

Mr. Hutton: All United Kingdom residents are entitled to national health service treatment. In the year 2001–02 there were 187 acute trusts in England, each of which may include more than one hospital. The population of England was some 49 million people, giving an average population of 260,000 per acute trust.

Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were on alcohol and drug rehabilitation schemes on the NHS in Leeds Strategic Health Authority area; how many were waiting for places; and how many were given places, in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [83489]

Jacqui Smith: Information relating to alcohol and drug rehabilitation schemes for the five primary care trusts serving the Leeds area is shown in the table.

YearNumber of people accessing treatment


Neither the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System NDTMS or Drugs Misuse Database (DMD) holds, or is designed to hold, data on the number of places available for drug and alcohol treatment on the NHS.


West Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority

Information relating to the number of national health service alcohol and drug rehabilitation places is not available.


Paul Holmes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many incidents of arson against NHS properties there were; and what the cost of the damage was in each county in each year since 1992. [83136]

Mr. Lammy: Our records show that a total of 2,496 fires have been started deliberately on national health

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service premises since 1995, resulting in damage costing an estimated #18.3 million.

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Figures are not available in the format requested. Figures by strategic health authority are shown in the table.

Strategic health authorityEstimated total cost of damage (#)Number of deliberate fires 1995 to 2002
Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire56,695142
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire137,15029
Birmingham and the Black Country10,312,959121
Cheshire and Merseyside335,493116
County Durham and Tees Valley72,96559
Coventry, Warwickshire and Herefordshire66,06217
Cumbria and Lancashire291,143159
Dorset and Somerset44,56354
Greater Manchester1,474,292210
Hampshire and Isle of Wight155,74967
Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland126,85687
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire20,03079
North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire28,09166
North Central London29,43977
North East London722,74363
North West London116,30022
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear462,611222
Shropshire and Staffordshire109,86046
South East London60,63947
South West London31,80156
South West Peninsular43,67786
South Yorkshire122,87358
Surrey and Sussex1,493,921109
Thames Valley30,29759
West Yorkshire1,551,772237
Grand total18,328,2682,492

Care Homes

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 5 December 2002, Official Report, column 975W, on care home registrations, for what reasons information on the (a) average length of time and (b) number of care home applications to be registered and processed by the NCSC is not available; and when he expects this information to be available. [86922]

Jacqui Smith: The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) does not currently have the full information requested. This is because it requires inspections of services to have been carried out and recorded on the NCSC database. Not all services have yet been inspected and so are not included on the database.

We expect the NCSC to be able to provide full information by the end of March 2003, when it will have finished its inspection programme.

Carers' Rights Day

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Carers' Rights Day; and if he will make a statement. [86996]

Jacqui Smith: Carers' Rights Day is a one-day take-up campaign initiated and organised by Carers UK and questions concerning evaluation of the effectiveness of the day should be addressed to them directly. The Government supports the work done by Carers UK in promoting carers' issues and providing information and advice.

Computer Viruses

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many incidents of damage to patient records by computer viruses there have been in each of the past five years. [85778]

Mr. Lammy: There are currently no reported instances of damage by computer viruses to national health service electronic patient records in any of the past five years.


Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultants have accepted national health service posts as international fellows as a result of the initiative whereby Sir Magdi Yacoub was appointed as the Government's Special Envoy for the national health service; and in which specialities. [86751]

Mr. Hutton: 36 offers of appointment for the National Health Service International Fellowship Scheme have been made and accepted. Further offers of appointment are expected following recent and planned interviews.


Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his Department will reply to the letter of 24 June from the hon. Member for Witney about the buildings of the Burford Hospital and their proposed sale . [80813]

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Mr. Lammy: A reply was sent on 9 December, which sets out a proposed way forward.

Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his Answer of 3rd December, Official Report, column 754W, on CRB checks, what assessment he has made of the effect on running costs of (a) children's homes, (b) residential care homes and (c) nursing homes of (i) delays to and (ii) postponement of Criminal Records Bureau checks. [86921]

Jacqui Smith: The postponement of criminal records checks for staff who were in post immediately before 1 April 2002 makes no change to the rigorous pre-employment checks which were already in place to ensure their suitability to work with children and vulnerable adults. As such we do not anticipate these postponements affecting care home running costs. For children's homes, there have been no changes or postponements to the checks required.

We do not anticipate care homes incurring significant costs due to delays at the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in processing applications for checks on new staff, or, in the case of children's homes, in processing applications for checks on all staff. The National Care Standards Commission has issued guidance to providers about the response to delays at the CRB in processing checks on new members of staff. The intention of the guidance is to enable providers to employ new members of staff in care homes, and all staff in children's homes, pending the completion of CRB checks while also ensuring the safety of residents.

Frictional Discharges

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 5 December 2002, Official Report, column 965W, on frictional discharges, what his definition is of minimal levels of delayed transfers by 2006; and if he has set a target to achieve this level. [86920]

Jacqui Smith: The Department has not set a central target for 2006. It is our judgment that the financial incentives we are putting in place will ensure that the health and social care system delivers minimal delayed transfers by then.

Health Records

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's policy is on the disclosure of health records by NHS trusts to third parties. [86756]

Mr. Lammy: Patient information is generally held by national health service trusts under legal and ethical obligations of confidentiality. Information in health records should not be released to others without the consent of the patient concerned where the disclosure will identify the patient. The exceptions are where the information is effectively anonymised, is required by statute or the courts or if it is judged that there is a strong public interest justification in disclosure which overrides the duty of confidence to the patient. For example such circumstances would include the protection of the public and prevention of serious crime. Additionally there must not be a statutory prohibition against the

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release of the information and NHS trusts must have the vires to release information for the purpose in question. Any disclosure of patient information must satisfy these and any other data protection requirements.

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