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18 Mar 2003 : Column 662W—continued

Foundation Trusts

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the acute NHS trusts which have expressed interest in applying for foundation trust status. [102207]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my right hon. Friend, the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Frank Dobson) on 6 March 2003, Official Report, columns 1207–1208W.

Hillcroft Site, Lymington

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS secured from the disposal of the Hillcroft site in Lymington; and if he will make a statement. [103482]

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Ms Blears: An agreement between the New Forest primary care trust and the commercial buyer of the Hillcroft site means that it is not possible to publicly divulge the sum. However, the District Auditor, the District Valuer and NHS Estates are satisfied that the sum received by the PCT for the sale of the Hillcroft site is good value for money.

Irradiation (Foodstuffs)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the foodstuffs for which an irradiation process has been permitted. [102669]

Ms Blears: The Food (Control of Irradiation) Regulations 1990, as amended, permits the irradiation of seven categories of food in the United Kingdom:

Food that falls within one of the above categories may only be irradiated in a facility that has been granted an Irradiation Licence. Only one UK licence has been granted, which permits the irradiation of a range of dried herbs and spices.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what tests are available to establish whether foodstuffs have been subject to irradiation; how many such checks were carried out in the last year for which figures are available; and what percentage of those checks identified that illegal irradiation had occurred. [102670]

Ms Blears: There are nine tests that have been standardised by European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) of these thermoluminescence and photostimulated luminescence techniques are the most useful. More specific tests include analysis for alkyl cyclobutanones and electron spin resonance analysis.

The nine standardised detection tests for irradiated foods are:

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In June 2002, the Food Standards Agency published the results of a survey for irradiated foods. A total of 543 food samples were analysed. Of these, 58 were found to be illegal irradiated products and six were irradiated but not labelled as such.

Long-term Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) with reference to the NHS Ombudsman's report 'NHS funding for long term care', if he will ensure that new guidance on HSC 2001/15 contains model eligibility criteria, with appropriate use of case studies and examples so that they may be understood by patients as well as professionals, which are consistent with (a) R v North and East Devon Health Authority ex parte of Coughlan of 1999 and the ruling that where a person's primary need is owing to health needs or disabilities, their care is a continuing NHS responsibility, and (b) the consequence of the Appeal Court's decision on the circumstances in which it is unlawful to transfer responsibility for a patient's general nursing care to the local authority; [103148]

Jacqui Smith: The Government will consider the recommendation to review national guidance on continuing care carefully. Once this process is complete, we will consider if any further action is necessary.

From 1 April 2003 and the commencement of Section 49 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, local authorities will no longer be able to provide nursing care directly.

The Court of Appeal in Coughlan said previous guidance issued by the Department of Health was lawful. The Department of Health is satisfied that the guidance issued in 1999 and 2001was compatible with the Court of Appeal judgement in R v North and East Devon Health Authority ex parte Coughlan of 1999.

Mental Health (Salisbury)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Service Trust have to sell Century House in Salisbury; and if he will make a statement. [103078]

Ms Blears: Century House, which is currently the base for most community mental health services in South Wiltshire, is likely to be sold in 2003–04 for the following reasons:

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I am advised, however, that sale of the building will not affect the level of service provision but, on the contrary, will increase accessibility for disabled service users.

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership National Health Service Trust has already considered alternative options for service delivery. The majority of services will continue to be delivered in service users' homes and community settings, and existing service teams will move in to the new and refurbished buildings at the Old Manor Hospital, where individual consultations and group sessions will take place.

NHS (International Recruitment)

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to introduce legislation to prevent NHS organisations from entering into a contract with a recruitment agency that has not signed up to his Department's code of practice on the international recruitment of health care professionals. [103073]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 17 March 2003]: There are no immediate plans to introduce legislation to prevent national health service organisations from entering into contracts with agencies who are not adhering to the code of practice. The Department has not been made aware of any trusts that have contravened the code. Monitoring procedures are in place and regular communications issued reminding trusts to only recruit from agencies adhering to the code of practice.

Nursing Student Bursaries

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 27 November 2002, Official Report, column 354W, on nursing student bursaries, whether the 4,600 curricular hours include work placements; and what minimum number of work placement hours a nursing student is required to complete in order to obtain a diploma. [102892]

Mr. Hutton: A nursing student is required to complete 4,600 curricular hours to qualify for a diploma award and achieve professional registration. Of these 4,600 curricular hours, a minimum of 50 per cent. will be designated for learning within practice. These may include simulation of practice learning.

Patient Numbers (North Yorkshire)

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were registered with national health services in each of the last five years in the area covered by North Yorkshire area health authority. [103136]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is shown in the table.

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Patients of Unrestricted Principals and Equivalents (UPEs)(3) for North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire Strategic Health Authority as at 1 October 1997–99 and 30 September 2000–01
Number (headcount)

England—Patients of UPEsNorth and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire StHA

(3) UPEs include CMS Unrestricted Principals, PMS Contracted GPs and PMS Salaried GPs.


Data has been converted to match Strategic Health Authority structures for 2002.


Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.

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