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18 Dec 2003 : Column 1123Wcontinued
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the level of general practitioner involvement in community hospitals over the past three years; and what assessment he has made of how such involvement is likely to change in the next five years. 
Following the "Choice and Opportunity consultation", we are committed to undertaking a review of the arrangements for medical staff other than consultants employed in secondary and community care environments. Details of the scope of such a review will be considered in the light of the "Choice and Opportunity" consultation.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what improvements in (a) fighting infection and (b) dealing with chemical and radiological health issues have resulted from the replacement of the Public Health Laboratory Service with the Health Protection Agency. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has integrated into one organisation expertise which was previously located in a number of different bodies and published its first business and corporate plan in August, which identifies a wide range of key targets for its first five years.
Since it was created, on 1 April 2003, the HPA has set up nine regional and 36 health protection teams across the country to bring a consistent approach to public health threats, and it has provided active management or assistance in a number of health protection activities. These include: an effective contribution to the international management of severe acute respiratory syndrome; leading the investigation of and assisting in the management of a national outbreak of salmonella infection; and providing expert advice in respect of a number of chemical incidents.
18 Dec 2003 : Column 1124W
114 healthy living centres (167 in the United Kingdom) are providing activities covering diet and nutrition and 207 healthy living centres (282 in the UK) are offering physical and sporting activities, which contribute to tackling obesity and which support other significant preventive health objectives such as reducing the risk of cancer and type- two diabetes.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking in conjunction with his counterparts in the Department for Education and Skills to promote awareness of links between physical and mental health in young people. 
Dr. Ladyman: The children's national service framework (NSF) will provide an integrated view across all aspects of child health and development including the promotion of good physical and mental health of young people in schools and elsewhere. The Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health are working jointly on the development of the NSF.
Ministers in the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills have many regular meetings in which they have discussed health promotion and emotional well-being. In addition, officials at both Departments meet frequently to discuss services for children.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for an appointment in mental health for patients under the age of 18 in (a) England and (b) each strategic health authority was in each of the last six years. 
Mr. Hutton: The tables show the average (median) waiting times for first consultant out-patient appoint following general practitioner referral for the specialty child and adolescent psychiatry. As strategic health authorities have only been in existence since April 2002, it has only been possible to provide figures for one year.
18 Dec 2003 : Column 1125W
|Median waiting times (weeks)|
Department of Health form QM08.
18 Dec 2003 : Column 1126W
(3) how many training posts in microbiology (a) have been filled and (b) were available in each of the last six years. 
Mr. Hutton: Vacancy data are collected by the Department of Health as three-month vacancies as at 31 March each year. These are vacancies which trusts are actively trying to fill, which have lasted for three months or more.
|Strategic health authority name||Vacancy rate (percentage)||Number of vacancies||Staff in post (WTE)|
|Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire||0.0||0||14|
|Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire||(19)||2||8|
|North West London||0.0||0||13|
|North Central London||4.9||1||19|
|North East London||0.0||0||14|
|South East London||0.0||0||14|
|South West London||8.0||1||12|
|Northumberland, Tyne and Wear||10.5||2||17|
|County Durham and Tees Valley||(19)||0||9|
|North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire||0.0||0||11|
|Cumbria and Lancashire||0.0||0||14|
|Cheshire and Merseyside||0.0||0||18|
|Hampshire and Isle of Wight||0.0||0||12|
|Kent and Medway||(19)||1||4|
|Surrey and Sussex||12.4||2||14|
|Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire||5.8||1||16|
|South West Peninsula||0.0||0||13|
|Dorset and Somerset||(19)||0||7|
|Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland||(19)||0||8|
|Shropshire and Staffordshire||(19)||0||8|
|Birmingham and The Black Country||4.3||1||22|
|Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire||(19)||0||10|
|Public Health Laboratory Service||15.1||5||28|
(19) Figures where sum of staff in post and three month vacancy are less then 10.
1. Staff in post data are from the Medical and Dental Census, March 2003.
2. Staff in post data exclude staff employed by Health Authorities, as vacancy information was only collected from Trusts, PCTs and Special Health Authorities.
3. Vacancy and staff in post numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number.
4. Calculating the vacancy rates using the above data may not equal the actual vacancy rates.
The Department does not collect data on the number of newly appointed consultants in microbiology and virology. Workforce data are collected through the annual Department of Health medical workforce census. Thecensus is a snapshot of data as at 30 September in the appropriate year. The information in the table shows the net increase in the number of microbiology and virology consultants since 1997:
18 Dec 2003 : Column 1127W
Data as at 30 September 1997 to 2002, 31 March 20O3 and 30 June 2003
Department of Health medical and dental workforce census
Information on the number of training posts filled and available is not collected. The table shows the number of doctors in training in the specialty between September 1997 and September 2002. Numbers increased by 29 per cent. during this period.
|Doctors in training||139||136||142||141||156||179|
|Senior House Officer||14||11||11||20||13||17|
'' denotes zero
Department of Health medical and dental workforce census
In 200303, central funding has been provided to support the implementation of eight additional specialist registrar (SpR) posts in microbiology and virology. Trusts also have the opportunity to locally fund up to 10 SpR training opportunities.
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