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14 Jan 2003 : Column 519Wcontinued
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of elective surgery operations performed at the Cumberland Infirmary related to residents of (a) Scotland and (b) Dumfries and Galloway in the last 12 months. 
Jacqui Smith: During 200102, of the 29,130 elective Xfinished consultant episodes" (FCEs) at the North Cumbria Acute Hospitals National Health Service trust, 1.95 per cent., or 570, were residents of Scotland and 1.77 per cent., or 520, were residents of Dumfries and Galloway.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2002, ref 87420, if he will list the dental practices that accept NHS patients in (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham and (b) Shropshire. 
Other practices in Shropshire (including Telford and Wrekin)
Dawley Dental Practice
K. S. Gakhal Dental Practice, Wellington
High Street Dental Practice, Whitchurch
Kearney-Mitchell and Holgate Dental Practice, Whitchurch
Lyness Dental Practice, Church Stretton
Shifnal Dental Practice
M. J. Davies Dental Practice, Wellington
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with private companies on digital hearing aids; and whether he has communicated information on his discussions to NHS trusts. 
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There have been no discussions between Ministers and private companies who manufacture digital hearing aids. Manufacturers of moderate powered digital hearing aids were invited to tender for the national health service contract let in 2000 in an advertisement placed in the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJEC). At present the NHS purchasing and supplies agency are tendering for high powered and paediatric digital hearing aids and as part of this process have been in discussions with suppliers who expressed an interest in that OJEC advert placed earlier this year. All interested suppliers were invited to a pre-offer briefing meeting where the requirements of the tender were outlined including the specifications.
Jacqui Smith: The Department of Health has allocated #30.75 million to its modernising hearing aid services project over the financial years 200001 to 200203 to national health service trusts in England. This modernised service includes the provision of digital hearing aids. Twenty sites joined the project in the first wave, with a further 30 second-wave sites joining in 200203.
For second wave sites the Department pays the cost of upgrading information technology and other systems, 75 per cent. of additional staff costs and 75 per cent. of the difference between the cost of providing digital and analogue aids. Local primary care trusts pay the remaining 25 per cent. of revenue costs.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average period of (a) residential and (b) non-residential drug rehabilitation was in the last year for which figures are available. 
The periods will vary according to the different drug treatment modalities and depend on the clinical and social needs of each individual drug user. The variations in the length of treatment times, in individual cases, are such that comparisons could be very misleading.
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Mr. Lammy: Trials involving a very small number of patients are currently taking place. The My HealthSpace project, which is the personal electronic record under development by NHS Direct Online, is conducting a pilot trial to give patients access to their records.
Mr. Lammy: Three pilots are currently transferring prescription data electronically from general practitioners to community pharmacies and the Prescription Pricing Authority. These are being run by three private sector consortiums on behalf of the Department.
The pilots are being fully and independently evaluated, and will inform the business case and how best to establish and rollout the electronic transmission of prescriptions in the national health service in line with XPharmacy in the FutureImplementing the NHS Plan".
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out the rate of growth in emergency readmissions of people over 75 per thousand emergency admissions in each of the last five years in (a) each region and (b) England. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 7 January 2003]: The emergency readmission rates collected by the Department use number of discharges from hospital as the denominator, rather than number of emergency admissions. The information requested, therefore, is not available.
Mr. Lammy: No set criteria are used but tenders are evaluated against a range of criteria to select the one giving best value for money. These include company policies in relation to environmental and similar considerations.
Mr. Hutton: National health service foundation trusts will be under a duty of partnership with NHS bodies (see paragraphs 3.21 and 6.1 of XA guide to NHS Foundation Trusts"). This duty of partnership will
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Jacqui Smith: The General Social Care Council will open a register of social care workers in April 2003. Professionally qualified social workers and students of social work will be the first to be registered. Heads of homes are the next priority group.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact on registrations by the General Social Care Council of the requirement to undertake Criminal Record Bureau checks. 
Jacqui Smith: There is no requirement on the General Social Care Council to undertake criminal checks to register an applicant. In December 2002 the GSCC provided the Department of Health with an assessment of the potential demand on the Criminal Records Bureau if the GSCC decided to make such checks. The result of this assessment was that theGSCC estimated their output, once fully operational, would be in the region of 5,000 applications per month.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the planned dates were for each of the milestones in the procurement of an IT system for the General Social Care Council; and when each milestone was achieved. 
14 Jan 2003 : Column 523W
|Milestone||Planned date||Actual date|
|1.||Issue of Statement of Requirement||27 March 2002||27 March 2002|
|2.||Selection of preferred bespoke system supplier||24 May 2002||24 May 2002|
|3.||Completion of requirements scoping study||9 August 2002||23 August 2002|
|4.||Complete availability of COTS packages||26 September 2002||26 September 2002|
|5.||Shortlist COTS package suppliers||11 October 2002||11 October 2002|
|6.||Receive COTS package supplier bids||28 November 2002||28 November 2002|
|7.||Select preferred COTS package supplier||10 December 2002||10 December 2002|
|8.||Initial customer/supplier engagement complete||20 December 2002||20 December 2002|
|9.||Demonstration system available||16 January 2003|||
|10.||Initial package configuration complete||7 February 2003|||
|11.||User acceptance testing complete||28 February 2003|||
|12.||Initial user training complete||31 March 2003|||
|13.||Electronic social care register opened||1 April 2003|||
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements have been made to enable the General Social Care Council to check applications against the registers of the GMC, NMC and other relevant bodies. 
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the Council's management statement and financial memorandum, which was agreed with the Department in September 2002. Copies were laid in the Library. Such guidance is reflected further in the Council's business plan.
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