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12 Jan 2004 : Column 613W—continued

NHS Graduates

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many NHS graduates had their university fees reimbursed by their employers in the last year for which figures are available. [144280]

Mr. Hutton: In respect of National Health Service funded pre-registration Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health profession courses, no top-up fees are charged to students. These students have their contribution to tuition fees met through workforce development confederation contracts with higher education institutions. Fourth and fifth year undergraduate medical students and second, third and fourth year graduate entry medical students are entitled to claim back their top-up fees from the NHS student grant unit. Students benefiting from these arrangements are shown in the table.

The multi-professional education and training budget supports post-registration training for NHS professionals, including paying university fees. NHS trusts may also support postgraduate and post-registration study. Information on the number of NHS employees who have their fees paid in this way is not available centrally.

Nursing and Midwifery65,000
Allied Health Professions17,400
Healthcare Scientists3,200
Medical Students4,900

NHS Professionals

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which health trusts have declined to use NHS professionals. [145667]

Mr. Hutton: This information is not held centrally.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much NHS Professionals charges hospital trusts for their services; [145669]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS Professionals Special Health Authority was formally established on 1 January 2004. Decisions on these matters will in future be made by the authority.

Prior to the establishment of the special health authority, a range of different NHS Professionals services have been provided throughout England. Department of Health guidance issued in 2001, NHS Professionals—A co-ordinated, NHS-led approach to temporary staffing, a copy of which is in the Library, recommended a management fee of 7.5 per cent. The Oxford area NHS Professionals service also made a

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3 per cent. administration charge to trusts when acting as an intermediary with private recruitment agencies. No other categories of charge have been made.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been charged by NHS professionals in administrative fees since it was set up. [145671]

Mr. Hutton: This information is not held centrally.

NHS Property Sales

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his latest estimate is of the value of properties to be sold as part of the Inventures/NHS Estates surplus property sale; and when he will make a statement about progress of the sale. [145007]

Mr. Hutton: The value of the properties is commercially confidential. A statement on progress will be made in early 2004.

NHS Trust (Chief Executive Misconduct)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what duties are placed on a strategic health authority in circumstances where an authority is notified of a possible case of misconduct by the chief executive of an NHS trust. [146622]

Miss Melanie Johnson: It is ultimately only the employer which can take action with regard to its employees. The code of conduct for national health service managers states that where there has been an alleged breach of the code, it is for a local employer to decide whether to investigate the matter informally or under the terms of local disciplinary action. In the majority of cases the authority with which the contract lies will carry out investigations of alleged breaches of the code.

There are therefore no specific duties placed on a strategic health authority in circumstances where an authority is notified of a possible case of misconduct by the chief executive of an NHS trust. If a case of this kind did occur, strategic health authorities and other bodies can offer advice.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many finished consultant episodes there were where obesity was the primary diagnosis in (a) each NHS region and (b) England in 2002–03. [146216]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The table shows the count of finished consultant episodes by region in national health service hospitals for 2002–03 where obesity is the primary diagnosis.

Region of treatmentTotal episodes
Northern and Yorkshire348
West Midlands102
North West241
South East156
South West95
Not known22
Total for England1,442


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health.

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Orthodontic Treatment

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in (a) England and (b) Mid-Essex are waiting for orthodontic treatment; and how many have been waiting for treatment for (i) up to six months, (ii) up to 12 months, (iii) up to 24 months, (iv) up to 36 months and (v) over 36 months. [144860]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 5 January 2003]: Information on waiting times for orthodontic treatment in the general dental services (GDS) is not available.

In terms of hospital treatment, in England at 30 September 2003 there were 228 patients waiting for elective inpatient admission for treatment by a consultant in the speciality of orthodontics. Of these 205 were waiting up to six months, and a further 23 were waiting over six months. No patients were waiting over 12 months. Mid-Essex Hospital Services National Health Service Trust had no patients waiting for the orthodontics speciality on the same date.

The NHS Plan (July 2000) sets out how waiting times will fall year on year. Maximum waiting times have already been reduced to 21 weeks for a first outpatient appointment and 12 months for inpatient treatment. However, the Government recognises that there is still some way to go.

Waiting times for hospital care will continue to fall, so that by the end of 2005, the maximum waiting time for a first outpatient appointment will be cut to 13 weeks and the maximum wait for inpatient treatment will be cut to six months.

In the twelve month period ending September 2003 GDS dentists in the Mid-Essex area claimed payment for 2,631 courses of treatment involving orthodontic appliances for children aged less than 18 years. This is equivalent to 27.5 claims per 1,000 population aged under 18, almost twice the England average of 14.5. The mid-Essex figure is for the area covered by the PCTs; Chelmsford; Maldon and South Chelmsford; Uttlesford; Witham, Braintree and Halstead.


Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) osteoporotic and (b) hip fractures were treated by the NHS in each of the last five years; and what the cost was in each year. [146575]

Dr. Ladyman: The table shows the counts of finished admission episodes for osteoporotic fractures and hip fractures treated by national health service hospitals in England from years 1998–99 to 2002–03.

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Primary Diagnosis
Osteoporosis with pathological fractureFracture of Femur/ Fracture of Neck of Femur


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health, England.

The Department does not collect information centrally relating to costs.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms are in place to ensure that the targets related to osteoporosis in standard six of the national service framework for older people have been met. [146578]

Dr. Ladyman: Osteoporosis is a key component of an integrated falls service, which all health and social care systems are to have established by 2005. The 2005 milestone is set as a target in Improvement Expansion and Reform, the Priority and Planning Framework for 2003–06, and progress towards this target is being monitored centrally.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the link between osteoporosis and bed blocking. [145634]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department of Health does not collect data on the precise medical conditions of patients delayed in hospital, but it does have information on overall numbers of delays. Good progress has been made in reducing the number of delayed transfers of care from hospital year on year, with the number of acute patients delayed on any one day going down from around 6,000 in 2001, to 5,000 in 2002, to 4,000 in 2003. This reflects increased investment in services to tackle delays following the introduction of the Building Care Capacity Grant, and the introduction in October 2003 of new duties of communication between the National Health Service and councils required by the Community Care (Delayed Discharges, etc. Act). In January 2004 the Act requires local authorities to begin to reimburse the NHS for those delays for which they are solely responsible. This requirement will act as a further incentive to partners to identify and tackle the causes of delay in their local system.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of whether the identification of osteoporosis has become a priority in primary care as suggested in the National Service Framework for Older People. [145635]

Dr. Ladyman: Falls services, incorporating osteoporosis are covered in the national service framework (NSF) for older people. This, when set in the context of the national priorities guidance establishes it as a high priority for local action and delivery.

The NSF for older people sets clear milestones for the planning and development of integrated falls services and provides the basis for a service model that will deliver the improvements in prevention, care, treatment and rehabilitation that we all want to see.

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The Priority and Planning Framework for 2003–2006 requires by April 2005, that an integrated falls service should be established across all health and social care systems. This target is an important driver for change and local service improvements. In line with "Shifting the Balance of Power" the priorities guidance set achievement and delivery of the NSF for older people milestones as a priority for local action.

The most recent reports we have from strategic health authorities indicate that all but a few of the primary care trust local delivery plans include actions to achieve the 2005 falls milestone. We have collected no systematic information on what local plans cover.

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