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9 Jun 2003 : Column 690W—continued

Medical Indemnity

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take measures to ensure that commercial providers of clinical indemnity to UK doctors and dentists are required to provide indemnity on an insured and regulated basis. [115900]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 3 June 2003]: Professional indemnity should ensure that patients who have suffered harm receive the compensation to which they are entitled. Indemnity cover should be occurrence based; that is, claims are met that arise from events which occurred when the clinician was covered but only later come to light, even if this is after the period of cover has ceased. Experience in the United Kingdom is that proper indemnity cover can be provided through membership of a defence society or a suitable insurance policy.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on neurology. [118528]

Jacqui Smith: There is a wide range of initiatives under way to improve services for patients with neurological conditions. These include the development of the national service framework (NSF) for long term conditions that will focus on neurological disease, as well as brain injury and spinal injury. It will aim to set general standards that will improve the quality of treatment and care for all people living with these conditions. Publication of the NSF is currently planed for 2004 with implementation starting in 2005.

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The Modernisation Agency has been awarded £1.2 million funding to explore the ways in which the organisation and delivery of neurology services can be improved.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing clinical guidelines for the diagnosis, management and treatment of Parkinson's disease in primary and secondary care; the diagnosis and management of epilepsy in children and adults; and the management of multiple sclerosis.

In February 2003, the Department published Improving Services for People with Epilepsy, in response to the NICE national clinical audit of epilepsy-related death (May 2002). Local health communities have been encouraged to review their epilepsy services against the audit and the epilepsy action plan and address any shortfalls as part of local planning arrangements and priorities.

NHS Appointments Commission

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what form of annual appraisal is undertaken of the performance of the regional commissioners of the NHS Appointments Commission; [116581]

Mr. Lammy: All national health service appointments commissioners are appraised formally on an annual basis by the chair of the Commission.

The term of office of Mr. John Marshall as Commissioner for Northern and Yorkshire comes to an end on 30 September 2003. Mr. Marshall will not be seeking re-appointment. The post will be advertised shortly and filled in accordance with the procedures laid down by the Commissioner for Public Appointment.

Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Chief Executive of Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority has appeared before the scrutiny committee of a local authority in the past year; and if he will list the authorities. [112792]

Jacqui Smith: The chief executive of the Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority has not been asked to appear before the overview and scrutiny committees (OSC) of any local authority. However, relationships between the OSCs and the national health service in Cheshire and Merseyside are well established. In practice, most of the contact between OSCs and the NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside is with primary care trusts, which have responsibility for commissioning services and overall public health for its area.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what training the chair of Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority has received on dealing with complaints; [112796]

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Jacqui Smith: Training material is provided by the NHS Appointments Commission to all new national health service chairs and non executive directors. This material refers to the importance of right hon. and hon. Members as key contacts on strategic and operational matters and reinforces their role in representing the interests of their constituents.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the names and job titles of those who carried out the interviews for the post of Chief Executive of the Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority. [113088]

Jacqui Smith: This information is not available in the format requested.

At the time when the chief executive posts for the strategic health authorities (SHAs) were advertised, the boundaries had not been identified. Candidates were therefore required to express an interest in the following areas: Eastern; London; North West; Northern and Yorkshire; South East; and South West.

As such, no candidates expressed an interest in, or were interviewed for the Cheshire and Merseyside SHA.

Overseas Treatment

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many operations have been carried out in France under the NHS overseas treatment scheme; what the medical outcomes were; what proportion of operations resulted in medical complaints; and what the cost was of each category of operation. [114683]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 22 May 2003]: Since the pilot, a total of 245 orthopaedic patients have been treated in France as part of the overseas treatment programme.

The process of post-operative assessment begins with a post-operative clinic held in the United Kingdom by the overseas consultant surgeon. These are usually held four to 12 weeks following surgery. It would not possible, therefore, to provide a complete record of clinical outcomes, as some post-operative clinics have not yet taken place.

The Department of Health does not routinely collect information about the post-operative complication rates arising after surgery for patients treated abroad. In the future, all orthopaedic patients treated overseas will have the required information added to the recently established national joint registry. National Health Service organisations may collect and analyse this kind of information, among other indicators of quality, as part of their local clinical governance arrangements designed to assure and continuously improve the quality of care for all NHS patients. The NHS is responsible for ensuring that NHS patients receive high clinical standards of care wherever they are treated.

A procurement process identifying spare capacity abroad is currently active, so the costs of specific procedures abroad are commercially sensitive. However, prices are comparable to spot purchasing in the UK private sector.

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Patient Discharges

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many delayed discharges of patients there were in the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust in the last quarter for which figures are available; and what the figures were for the preceding four quarters. [116768]

Jacqui Smith: Delayed transfer of care figures are published quarterly on a primary care trust basis and are available in the Library.

Patient Records

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who will have (a) ownership and (b) control of a patient record when electronic patient records are introduced. [116874]

Mr. Lammy: Patient medical records are owned by the national health service.

Physical custody and control of patient medical records is normally the responsibility of the treating practice or trust. Electronic records may physically be held by third party service organisations. In all cases, storage of, and access to records is subject to NHS security policy and standards.

Access to the content of patient medical records, whether electronic or paper, is subject to NHS security and confidentiality policy, in particular Health Service Circular HSC1988/089 "Implementing the Caldicott Report", and the provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998) and the Health and Social Care Act (2001).

Contingency Planning

Mr. Kenneth Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff in hospital accident and emergency departments in the East Midlands region have been issued with the newly designed protective suit for use in response to nuclear, biological or chemical attack by terrorists; and how many of those staff have so far received specialist training in the response to such incidents. [116437]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 3 June 2003]: The East Midlands region is served by 13 accident and emergency departments. Each of those Departments has 16 of the protective suits. Staff training is ongoing.

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