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14 Mar 2003 : Column 450Wcontinued
Mr. Hutton: The Department does not routinely collect statistics on the number of complaints received about hospitals. We do receive letters from hon. Members and from the public in respect of complaints about the National Health Service. However, NHS complaints are best dealt with at local level through the NHS complaints procedure. Therefore, letters received by the Department are transferred to the relevant NHS trust where appropriate.
|Year||Number of Letters|
Mr. Hutton: Improving patients' experience of emergency care is essential. In light of this, "Reforming Emergency Care" was launched in October 2001, supported by £118 million investment. It sets a long-term programme of reform supported by extra investment and new capacity to address one of the public's key concerns about the national health servicewaiting in accident and emergency (A&E).
The NHS Plan set the target to reduce by 2004, the maximum time any patient spends in A&E from arrival, transfer or discharge to four hours. Barking and Havering Hospital NHS Trust is continuing to work toward achieving this target.
Jacqui Smith: The Department is investing funds from the new human resources development strategy specific grant to support pilot sites to encourage and facilitate joint working across traditional professional roles. We are working in partnership with employers, across service boundaries, to develop new types of workers at different levels of expertise.
14 Mar 2003 : Column 451W
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what budget provision has been made for the employment of agency (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) other staff at Chorley Hospital for the next financial year. 
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many agency staff have been employed at Chorley Hospital (a) as doctors, (b) as nurses and (c) in other capacities in each of the last three years. 
|1 March 2000 to 28 February 2001||83|
|1 March 2001 to 28 February 2002||149|
|1 March 2002 to 28 February 2003||187|
The figures are shown as employment episodes. The length of each employment episode varies from a 1 day/night cover to very occasional periods of several months.
|1 March 2000 to 28 February 2001||No records kept|
|1 March 2001 to 28 February 2002||2,831|
|1 March 2002 to 28 February 2003||4,280|
The figures shown are for the number of shifts agency nurses have worked. Data is only collected in this manner.
|1 March 2000 to 28 February 2001||No records kept|
|1 March 2001 to 28 February 2002||4|
|1 March 2002 to 28 February 2003||13|
Other staff comprises of staff in the allied health professions and includes physiotherapists, radiographers and occupational therapists. The figures are shown as whole time equivalents.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
14 Mar 2003 : Column 452W
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent international studies his Department has conducted into the effects of alcohol-related illnesses and deaths on countries' economies. 
Ms Blears: The Department of Health has conducted no recent international studies on the effects of alcohol-related illnesses and deaths on countries' economies. However, the Cabinet Office strategy unit have looked at the strategies in a number of different countries as part of their work on developing the national alcohol harm reduction strategy.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent to date on audiology modernisation (a) in phase I and (b) in phase II; how much is allocated for completion of the national programme; and how much of the total will (i) be offset by PCT expenditure and (ii) be raised by public/private partnership arrangements. 
Jacqui Smith: The Government invested £10.75 million on the first wave of the modernising hearing aid services project and a further £20 million on the second wave. A further £94 million has been allocated to ensure that a modernised service is rolled out to all national health service hearing aid services in England by April 2005. Primary care trusts are expected to contribute 25 per cent. of any additional revenue costs that are incurred through modernisation.
Involving private hearing aid dispensers in providing NHS digital hearing aids has been tested out in two areas of the country. The trial has been very successful. On this basis, the plans for national roll-out of digital hearing aids will include developing public/private partnerships to boost NHS capacity, and to improve access for patients by providing a service "on the High Street" rather than in the hospital.
Jacqui Smith: The Department of Health has been proactive in a number of areas to help improve the problems arising from delays in patients being discharged from hospitals in York and North Yorkshire.
The change agent team has also been engaged to assist the City of York, York Health Services NHS Trust, and the Selby &York Primary Care Trust to review and devise a more strategic approach to ensuring effective patient care, assessment and placement.
14 Mar 2003 : Column 453W
The Community Care (Delayed Discharges) Bill will also help tackle the problem by making councils responsible for meeting the costs to the national health service of delayed discharges where the councils' interventions could prevent the delay.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from the London Borough of Havering regarding funding for care homes; and what his response has been. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his Answer of 25 February 2003, Official Report, column 514W, to the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham, on the Care Standards Act 2000, if he will place copies of the consultation in the Library. 
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