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10 Jun 2003 : Column 835W—continued

Foundation Hospital Trusts

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on how the role of foundation hospital trusts will affect the role of primary care trusts as commissioning bodies. [117331]

Mr. Hutton: In their role as commissioners, primary care trusts will continue to take the lead in needs assessment and specifying service requirements, with national health service foundation trusts developing and providing services in partnership with other providers in the local health and social care community.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which trusts were rejected in the recent assessment of those eligible to proceed with an application for foundation status. [116877]

Mr. Hutton: Three national health service trusts were not shortlisted. These are East Cheshire, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and Frimley Park. In each case the trusts have decided to defer establishing as NHS foundation trusts until October 2004 in order to be better placed to make a success of the new freedoms.


Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practice posts there are within the national health service in England. [117079]

Mr. Hutton: The information is not available in the form requested.

The total number of all general practitioners in post in England as at 31 March 2002 was 32,011.

Health Service Statistics

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place a copy of Quarter 4 2002–03 emergency readmission and delayed discharge figures in the Library. [117125]

Jacqui Smith: The Quarter 4 (March 2003) figures on delayed discharge and emergency readmission should be completed by the end of June and when they are available I will place a copy in the Library.

Hip and Knee Replacement

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost is to the NHS for the parts needed for a replacement (a) hip and (b) knee operation. [117200]

Mr. Hutton: The Department of Health does not collect this information.

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The National Joint Registry was launched on 1 April 2003, and will collect data on total hip and knee replacement operations. This will provide national health service trusts with information about the performance of hip and knee implants and will allow them to improve their evidence based purchasing of implants.

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost to the NHS is of hip operations carried out on British patients in hospitals in (a) France and (b) Germany. [116682]

Mr. Hutton: 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 United Kingdom private sector.

Hospital Financing

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional capital will be available to the NHS when NHS foundation trusts are able to access capital from both the public and private sectors. [116291]

Mr. Hutton: Capital spending by national health service foundation trusts will count against the Department's spending limits agreed through the Spending Review process. However, subject to legislation, under the new arrangements capital spending by foundation trusts will be determined locally according to each trust's needs. Block capital needs (to cover care and maintenance) will be covered in the national tariff paid to foundation trusts for NHS services under contracts with primary care trusts. Providing they act in a way that is consistent with their terms of authorisation, foundation trusts will be free to borrow capital up to a prudential limit for spending on strategic developments. Foundation trusts will also be free to enter into joint venture arrangements—which may provide an additional source of capital investment that helps deliver their NHS functions. And as now they will be able to enter into Private Finance Initiative arrangements for major developments.

Hospital Operations

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the suspension guidelines for waiting lists for NHS trust hospital operations. [116013]

Mr. Hutton: The guidelines for suspending patients are available on the National Health Service Information Authority data standards website at

Hospital Trusts (Liability)

Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether NHS foundation trusts will be required to accept vicarious liability for the actions of all their employees for the purposes of insurance. [116839]

Mr. Hutton: It is a well-established common law principle that employers are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, when acting in their capacity as employees. This principle will apply to national health service foundation trusts.

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Hospitals (Havering)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on admissions to hospitals in the London Borough of Havering in the last year for which figures are available. [115331]

Mr. Hutton: The Department does not have data at borough level. However, Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals National Health Service Trust, the trust in the borough of Havering, had 57,825 elective admissions for 2002–03, a growth increase of 10.4 per cent. from 2001–02 and 37,730 non elective admissions for 2002–03, a growth increase of 1.1 per cent, from 2001–02. It should also be noted that this trust includes hospitals from outside the Havering area, notably the King George Hospital in Ilford.

In-patient Deaths

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what allowance is made for local population ages when assessing hospital performances for in-patient death rates. [116455]

Mr. Hutton: The current indicators of in-patient death rates use a technique called 'age—sex standardisation' to take into account the different age structures of the patients treated by different hospital trusts.

Induced Abortion

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the links between induced abortion and (a) clinical depression and (b) breast cancer. [117167]

Ms Blears: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' evidence-based guideline, "The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion" (2000), considered the mental health implications of termination and concluded that only a small minority of women experience any long-term, adverse psychological sequelae after abortion. Referral for counselling is available for those women.

The guideline also concluded that the available evidence on an association between induced abortion and breast cancer is inconclusive. Cancer Research UK is undertaking a study which is considering the full range of potential risk factors for breast cancer. This is an important and complex international research project. We understand that Cancer Research UK intends to publish the work when it is available.

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Legal Action

Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what redress there is for patients who believe they have been mistreated as a witness in an NHS disciplinary inquiry into the conduct of a doctor against whom they have made a complaint. [116821]

Mr. Hutton: A disciplinary process concerning a doctor is a matter between the doctor and the national health service trust as his/her employer. Patients who believe they have been mistreated as a witness can complain to the appropriate level of authority, for example, the chair of the panel, the chair of the trust, or, if appropriate, the relevant professional body.

Medical Staff (Malawi)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) doctors and (b) nurses from Malawi are working in the UK. [116408]

Mr. Hutton: At 30 September 2001, census data in England recorded five doctors qualified in Malawi in the national health service hospital and community health services sector and none in general practice.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registers all nurses who work in the United Kingdom and holds statistics for the number of overseas nurses who are accepted onto their register. Being placed on the NMC register does not equate to being employed.

In the past five years, the number of nurses from Malawi that have been accepted on to the NMC register is:

Nurses from Malawi accepted on to the NMC register


Information on Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for the devolved administrations. While the institutions in Northern Ireland are dissolved, responsibility rests with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Office.

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