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9 Jan 2003 : Column 322W—continued


Ambulance Response Times

Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average response time was for ambulances in Clitheroe, Lancashire, at the latest date for which figures are available; and what the average response time was in each of the last five years; [83789]

Jacqui Smith: Information about ambulance response times is not available specifically for Clitheroe.

The latest information available about the proportion of emergency calls resulting in an ambulance arriving at the scene of the reported incident within the Government's target response times, including the Lancashire Ambulance NHS Trust and those covering the north west of England, is shown in the table.

Total number of emergency calls 1996–97 to 2001–02 (thousand)

Ambulance service NHS trust1996–971997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–02Percentage increase
Rural services
Cumbria 19.020.726.025.626.929.69.8
Greater Manchester215.5222.5229.5259.6272.5284.04.2
Mersey Regional183.5193.7221.7222.6228.1243.96.9


DOH Health statistical health bulletin XAmbulance Services, England 2001–02"-Form KA34

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on how his Department ensures that primary care teams are made aware of the rights of (a) refugees and (b) asylum seekers to permanent GP registration. [86161]

Ms Blears: National health service medical primary care services are available free to all persons who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. Refugees and asylum seekers given leave to remain in the UK, or awaiting the results of an application to remain, are regarded as ordinarily resident and entitled to full NHS general practitioner treatment.

This will be re-emphasised in a resource pack for those who work with asylum seekers, which has been developed with the Refugee Council and will be issued early this year. Department of Health initiatives such as local development schemes and personal medical services contracts also help locally in registering refugees and asylum seekers with GPs.

Cancer Treatment

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the most recent national average referral rate for non-urgent cases of suspected breast cancer was. [87474]

Ms Blears: Cancer referral guidelines were issued in March 2000 to help general practitioners identify patients with suspected cancer, including breast cancer and to refer them urgently where appropriate. We do not collect data on those patients who are routinely referred for investigation. The cancer services collaborative is working in every cancer network to modernise cancer care by streamlining and redesigning the care pathway ensuring all patients receive speedy diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to publish information on waiting times for treatment of cancers not covered by NHS cancer plan targets before 2005. [87962]

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Ms Blears: The NHS Cancer Plan set out new goals to reduce waiting times for cancer treatment. Data is currently published by geographical area on the Department of Health website for the two week outpatient waiting time standard and the treatment targets for 2001. Reporting of performance against the December 2002 target of a two month maximum wait, from urgent general practitioner referral to treatment for breast cancer, will begin in 2003. National reporting of performance against the 2005 targets, which relate to all cancers, will similarly begin when those targets come into force. Arrangements are being put in place to enable those providing and commissioning services for cancer patients to monitor progress in the interim.

Cancer Plan Website

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much it cost to set up the NHS Cancer Plan website. [89358]

Ms Blears: The NHS Cancer Plan website is part of the overall Department of Health website. It is not possible to calculate either the costs of developing or maintaining a particular area of the Department of Health website. The content and format of the Cancer Plan website is currently being revised and will be launched this year.

Cancer Registries

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health to which Department the Cancer Registries are responsible; whether they are covered by the code of practice on access to Government information; and if he will make a statement on the availability to the public of data from the Cancer Registries. [83249]

Ms Blears: Individual cancer registries in England are responsible to regional directors of public health who will act to ensure that both local and national requirements are met on behalf of the Department of Health.

Information collected by cancer registries in England is published either by the individual registries or via the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in an aggregate format to protect patient confidentiality.

Cancer registries conform to both the national health service code of practice on patient information and the code of practice defined by the United Kingdom Association of Cancer Registries (UKACR).

Information processed by ONS on behalf of the Welsh cancer registry is published both by that registry and via the National Assembly for Wales.

Care Plan Costs

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned over the past 10 years on the economic costs of complying with the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 in (a) performing assessments and (b) developing care plans for patients being discharged from hospital. [85706]

Jacqui Smith: While the Department has commissioned a range of research into the implementation of the changes introduced by the NHS and Community Care

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Act 1990, none of this research looked specifically at the costs of undertaking assessments and developing care plans for patients being discharged from hospital. In general, however, the research confirms the cost-effectiveness of well-organised assessment and care management for vulnerable older people and other adults in hospital or the community.


Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) carers and (b) young carers of school age there are in (i) the Twickenham constituency, (ii) the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and (iii) London; what support is given to (A) carers and (B) young carers of school age; and if he will make a statement. [88819]

Jacqui Smith : The information on numbers of carers is not held centrally. Carers are entitled to an assessment to determine their needs as carers and eligibility for support. The Carers Grant, worth #100 million next year, provides money for local councils to provide short breaks for carers to enable them to continue in their caring role. Following my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's announcement in July the Grant will continue until 2006, during which time it will more than double to #185 million to provide extended care and 130,000 further breaks to carers.

Additionally for young carers we are supporting the development of over 100 projects across the country to give carers of school age access to appropriate advice, information and support or leisure.

Complementary Medicine

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which complementary treatments and therapies are available through the NHS. [88362]

Ms Blears: Front-line health professionals decide which complementary therapies to provide, depending on the evidence of their effectiveness and the availability of properly regulated practitioners. A survey of primary care trusts, conducted by the University of Sheffield in 2001, found that acupuncture, homeopathy, medical herbalism and osteopathy or chiropractic were most widely used.

Delayed Discharges

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many days were lost in the NHS in (a) England and (b) Wales due to delayed discharges in the last 12 months; and what was the estimated cost to the NHS. [82836]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 25 November 2002]: There was an average of 5,989 delayed transfers of care of patients of all ages in England per day, between the quarter beginning September 2001 and ending in June 2002. The broad estimate of the cost to the national health service where these patients have experienced delayed discharge in an acute hospital bed for this period is around #600,000 per day.

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Mr. Paul Marsden : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in Shropshire were classed as delayed discharges in each NHS trust in the last year for which figures are available. [83186]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested for Shropshire is shown in the table. The figures are not directly comparable because of the structural changes within the national health service.

Numbers of delayed discharges of patients of all ages by primary care trust

Quarter 2 2002–0310
Quarter 1 2002–035
Numbers of delayed discharges of patients of all ages by health authorities
Quarter 4 2001–029
Quarter 3 2001–0227

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 5 December 2002, Official Report, column 963W, on delayed discharges, (1) if he will (a) list the organisations his Department consulted and (b) set out the methodology his Department used when calculating the extra #100 million for social services; [86923]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer dated 16 December 2002]: The additional #100 million funding for social services announced on 28 November was not

the subject of a formal consultation.

The assumptions underlying the #100 million figure are as follows: assuming that local authorities reach the targets they have set themselves to reduced delayed transfers of care by March 2003, and which are conditions of their receiving Building Care Capacity Grant for that year, there will be a total of 4,200 delays on average per day. Of the 4,200 delays, it is assumed that 1,900 would be at the #100 rate per day and 2,300 at the #120 rate per day. Of these, it is assumed that social services might be responsible for some 60 per cent. On that basis and on the assumption that social services make no further progress in reducing delays beyond the March 2003 targets, the total sum that social services departments would have to pay in reimbursements to the National Health Service per year would be around #100 million.

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the rates of delayed discharge were for health authorities in each of the last four quarters in the areas of (a) 3 star social services, (b) 2 star social services, (c) 1 star social services and (d) 0 star social services; [87322]

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Jacqui Smith: The grant was used in a variety of ways, consistent with its purpose. High proportions of the grant were used to fund residential and nursing care placements, and increase fees. The funding allocated to councils will provide for a continued reduction in the number of delayed discharges from hospitals, so that 20 per cent. fewer beds are blocked in March 2003, compared to March 2002.

The National Health Service Quarter 2 (September 2002) figures on delayed discharge and emergency readmission have been placed in the Library, along with earlier quarters' data. These data are not available by council areas. Delayed discharges are a joint health and social services indicator, but data are submitted to the Department on the basis of NHS organisations, the data having been agreed with their social services partners. No social services departments chose not to allocate their building care capacity grant funding to reduce delayed discharge, as this was a condition of their receipt of the grant.

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