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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will extend the National Service Framework to include targets for the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government are committed to reducing the death rate from coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke and related diseases in people under 75 by at least 40 per cent. by 2010. The national service framework for CHD, published in March 2000, sets the agenda for the modernisation of CHD services over a 10 year period in order to achieve this target.
The focus of the work on cardiac arrhythmia is on early diagnosis for this group of patients. The Department is investing in diagnosis, investigation and treatment of cardiac related problems. In November 2001, the Department announced £65 million from the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) and £60 million from the Department of Health to enable the rapid expansion of facilities for angiography, to fund 89 new or replacement catheterisation laboratories.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people are waiting for the fitting of hearing aids in each primary care trust, having already had an assessment; and what the average time between assessment and fitting has been in the last 12 months; 
(3) if he will make it the policy of the Government that those who have been waiting for more than six months for an (a) audiology hearing assessment and (b) audiology assessment should be able to have such assessments (i) carried out privately and paid for by the NHS and (ii) carried out overseas at NHS expense; 
(4) if he will list in respect of each primary care trust the number of people waiting for a hearing assessment, and the number waiting for more than six months. 
Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 18 December 2003]: While there are no targets for waiting times for audiology services, we are taking action to tackle the causes of longer waits as part of our programme to modernise hearing aid services in England.
The modernisation project team at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and the Action On team from the NHS Modernisation Agency are working with sites to help them reduce waiting times. In this financial year, we are investing £1.56 million in specific initiatives to increase the capacity of individual audiology departments. We are introducing a new, more streamlined patient process in modernised sites. We are looking at ways to increase the number of trained audiologists in the longer term and are encouraging partnerships between national health service trusts and high street registered hearing aid dispensers to increase
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Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will explain the methods used to arrive at his conclusions that (a) 80 per cent. of people would like to live at home rather than in a care home and (b) 10,000 care home vacancies exist; where these vacancies exist; in what geographical areas there is a shortage; and if he will publish the research documents. 
Dr. Ladyman: A 1999 study titled, "Attitudes and Aspirations of Older People: A Review of the Literature", by Boaz, A, et al and published by the Department of Social Security, found that up to 80 per cent., of older people would strongly prefer to remain in their own home for as long as possible.
The source of the 10,000 spare capacity in care homes is Laing & Buisson's "Care of Elderly People Market Survey 2003". The report indicates in Table 2.2 that there are 470, 600 places in care homes (excluding long stay NHS beds). According to Table 5.1 demand for care places is some 460,000 people. Thus, there is 'spare' capacity of over 10,000 places in the United Kingdom. Further detail about the care home market can be found in the report.
Mr. Hutton: The table shows the number of consultants in the infectious diseases specialty in England as at 30 June 2003. Information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are matters for devolved administrations.
|30 September 2002||30 June 2003|
(49) Figure not available. The data are from the June mini census, which collected only consultant figures.
Department of Health medical and dental workforce census.
Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many former Community Health Council staff members have found continuing employment in the health service; how many have officially been declared redundant; and what the cost is to the Exchequer of the redundancy payments to be made to them. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Figures taken at the end of October show that 119 community health council (CHC) staff had found alternative employment in the health service. We estimate that 470 staff were made redundant as a result of the closure of CHCs on
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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what requirements were included in the contract awarded to SEAP for the provision of an independent complaints advisory service for Berkshire; 
(3) when he expects an independent complaints advisory service to be established for Berkshire. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Contracts for the delivery of independent commission advocacy services (ICAS) were awarded through a competitive tendering exercise, which demanded providers to put in place good quality, accessible complaints support for people wishing to complain against the national health service. South East Advocacy Project (SEAP) was judged to meet the criteria and was approved to provide services in the Berkshire area. The Department and the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) are monitoring the delivery of services against standards and performance indicators.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will publish the consultation responses his Department has received with regard to the draft Continuing Care (National Health Service Responsibilities) Directions 2003; 
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Dr. Ladyman: The Continuing Care (National Health Service Responsibilities) Directions will be published early in 2004. There were a number of responses to the consultation on the draft Directions, leading to amendments where appropriate. A summary of the responses will be available in due course through http://www.doh.gov.uk/consultations/index.htm
Dr. Ladyman: The Department is firmly committed to improving access to information services and levels of awareness of disability issues, in particular by supporting the national health service in meeting legislative requirements. We are working in partnership with the Disability Rights Commission to take forward a series of actions aimed at improving the experiences of disabled people in the health and social care system. A working group is being established to drive forward work on access and communications.
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