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8 Jan 2003 : Column 277W—continued

Junior Doctors

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health under what circumstances after August 2004 junior doctors will be subject to the limit on night workers of eight hours of work in any 24 hour period under the Working Time Directive. [83452]

Mr. Hutton: In order to implement the Working Time Directive (93/104EC) the Government propose to introduce legislation to extend the Working Time Regulations, including the provisions that apply to Xnight workers", to the activities of doctors in training from 1 August 2004, with the exception of the average weekly working time limit which will be introduced over a transitional period.

A worker covered by the Regulations will be subject to the controls on night working if they satisfy the meaning of Xnight worker" in the Regulations.

Under the Government's proposals, which are currently the subject of public consultation by the Department of Trade and Industry, the night work limits are excluded where there is a need for continuity of service as may be the case in hospitals, including the activities of doctors in training, but this is subject to the compensatory rest provisions.

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many junior doctors are in training; and how this compares with the number in 1997. [89243]

Mr. Hutton : The data requested is shown in the table.

The figures show an increase in the number of doctors in training between 1997 and 2001 of 9 per cent.

NHS Doctors in training, England (Headcount)

Doctors in training of which32,80035,790
GP Registrars1,3401,880

(9) Hospital, Public Health medicine and Community Health Services medical and dental staff


Figures are for 30 September in the year stated except for GP registrars in 1997, which is for 1 October.


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census

Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics

Drugs Budget

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has assessed on spending levels on drugs in acute hospitals in (a) the last year for which figures are available and (b) each of the past three years. [88740]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is shown in the table.

Total expenditure on drugs for NHS trusts in England



NHS Trust Financial Returns 1998–99 to 2001–02.

8 Jan 2003 : Column 278W

The data include total expenditure on drugs, gases and blood products (but not fresh blood from blood centres) for national health service trusts in England. Drugs expenditure alone cannot be identified.

E Coli

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce free prescriptions for those people who have suffered from the bacterium E coli-0157 when they reach adulthood and display illnesses associated with this bacterium. [88990]

Mr. Lammy: Our policy is to give priority to helping people who may have difficulty in paying charges, rather than extending the exemption arrangements to people suffering from other conditions, for example, those who display illnesses associated with the bacterium E coli-157.

Emergency Admissions

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to address the decline in the number of patients being admitted within two hours in accident and emergency units. [88743]

Mr. Lammy: Improving access to emergency care is one of the Department's top priorities. Three quarters of those who go to an accident and emergency (A&E) department, who need to be admitted to hospital, get a bed within four hours. By December 2004, all patients will be in and out of A&E within four hours.

To help support A&E departments across the country, a new national clinical director for emergency care was appointed in autumn 2002. Additional investment of #30 million was made to enable the launch of the Modernisation Agency programme to help reduce waiting times in every A&E.

General Practitioners

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many whole time equivalent general practitioners there were in (a) each region and (b) England in each of the last five years. [89029]

Mr. Hutton: The number of whole time equivalent general practitioners in each strategic health authority and in England in each of the last six years is shown in the table.

8 Jan 2003 : Column 279W

General Medical Practitioners (excluding GP Retainers)(10) in England; 1997–2002 (by April 2002 boundaries)
Estimated whole time equivalent

DHSC/Strategic Health Authority199719981999200020012002
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear782802807812836852
Country Durham and Tees Valley620617619622652642
Cumbria and Lancashire1,0791,0831,0901,0791,0931,107
Greater Manchester1,4091,4041,4201,4241,4221,422
Cheshire and Merseyside1,3461,3351,3701,3711,3881,395
North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire944934951959968985
West Yorkshire1,1881,1981,2211,2271,2481,266
South Yorkshire716711720725734728
Midlands and Eastern
Shropshire and Staffordshire757776787792779781
Birmingham and the Black Country1,2601,2721,2791,2991,3051,317
Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire859853853869878903
Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland857851841817827831
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire1,2281,2431,2501,2681,2761,276
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire869892894897906906
North West London1,1071,0971,0551,0441,0641,043
North Central London739741727748746755
North East London835845844866841859
South East London814810840825833820
South West London731720732735727752
Thames Valley1,1451,1861,1981,2021,2181,236
Hampshire and Isle of Wight9969991,0141,0171,0371,041
Kent and Medway860867868853860855
Surrey and Sussex1,4101,4301,4321,4351,4641,469
Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire1,2251,2571,2811,2891,3011,300
South West Peninsula9909819721,0001,0251,012
Dorset and Somerset727744761759771768
England total27,66027,84828,03328,15428,43928,540

(10) All Practitioners (excluding GP Retainers) include GMS Unrestricted Principals, PMS Contracted GPs, PMS Salaried GPs, Restricted Principals, Assistants, GP Registrars, Salaried Doctors (Para 52 SFA) and PMS Other.


1. GP Retainers were first collected in the 1999 census and have been omitted for comparability purposes.

2. WTE data has been estimated using the results from the 1992–93 GMP Workload Survey; Full-time = 1.00 wte; three quarter time = 0.69 wte; job share = 0.65; half-time = 0.60 wte.

3. Data as at 1 October 1997–99, 30 September 2000–01 and 31 March 2002.


Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics

Homeless People

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has recently met with Ministers from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister concerning homeless people's access and use of GP services; and what plans there are to do so in the near future. [87471]

Mr. Hutton: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not recently met with Ministers from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to discuss homeless people's access and use of general practitioner services and currently has no plans to do so in the near future.

However the Cross-Cutting Spending Review on health inequalities, published on 20 November, identified vulnerable groups, including homeless people, as a priority. The Domestic Affairs Cabinet Subcommittee on Social Exclusion and Regeneration will drive forward the implementation of the review.

8 Jan 2003 : Column 280W

Medical Devices

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to publicise new regulations requiring CE marking on packaging for self-testing diagnostic medical devices. [88528]

Mr. Lammy: The Medical Devices Agency (MDA), which is the United Kingdom's competent authority for the medical devices regulations, has published the In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Directive, which came into force on 7 June 2000, on its web site together with guidance documents on its implementation. In addition members of the MDA have given several presentations on the Directive's provisions to both manufacturers and users.

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