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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the waiting-time was (a) from written referral from general practitioner to first out-patient appointment with a pain management consultant and (b) for patients waiting for elective admission where the main specialty is pain management in (i) England, (ii) each NHS region and (iii) each strategic health authority in each of the last five years. 
In the meantime, the national health service is developing roles similar to that of the physician assistant. These are being termed practitioner-level roles, and are designed to provide early assessment, diagnosis, and initiation of treatment, and so help improve the quality and timeliness of the care patients receive.
The Department is evaluating the success of these roles through a series of national trials in surgery, emergency care and anaesthetics. It is planned to include primary care in the trials, early in 2004. The trials will assess the benefits of the new ways of working for both patients and staff. The assessment will include measures of improved access to care, and of the reduction in the number of health care professionals a person has to see before treatment.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the impact population growth will have on East London primary care trusts reaching their capitation funding targets in the current
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three year funding period to 200506; and whether there will be adjustments to national resource allocation policy to recognise population growth; 
Professor Sir Roy Meadow was invited to be a consultant adviser to the Chief Medical Officer by Sir Kenneth Calman in April 1997. The post of consultant adviser was part of an established system which Sir Kenneth used as a means to gain advice at short notice. There were approximately 50 advisers covering different specialities. The advisers were paid an honorarium of in the region of £750 per annum. The post would usually last for three years, but Sir Roy resigned due to retirement with effect from the end of December 1998. He was therefore in post for 20 months. The present Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, dismantled the consultant adviser system. He prefers instead to work through medical Royal Colleges, specialist associations and other networks of experts to identify the best people to advise on the particular issue covered.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has received a copy of the report by the Royal Statistical Society's Working Party on performance monitoring in the Public Services, Performance indicators: Good, Bad, and Ugly; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: The Royal Statistical Society has called for independent scrutiny of performance data. The Commission for Health Improvement is already the independent regulator of national health service performance and is responsible for developing indicators and publishing NHS performance ratings. Ministers are not responsible for their calculation and publication.
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of treating and managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in each of the last five years; 
Dr. Ladyman: The Department of Health does not have precise estimates of the cost of treating respiratory disease. However it was recently estimated that respiratory disease accounts for approximately 6 per cent. of hospital expenditure, 13 per cent. of primary care expenditure and 12 per cent. of pharmaceutical expenditure.
Details of the Primary Diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease count of Finished Consultant Episodes by region and strategic health authority of treatment and age grouping in national health service hospitals in England from 199697 to 200203, have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how he intends to measure the success of the Investing for Health target for the percentage of young people who have not experienced sexual intercourse before the age of 16. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on average daily bed availability and occupancy during 200203 was published on the Department of Health website on 11 September 2003. Final information for South and East Dorset Primary Care Trust was supplied on 2 July and no amendments were received after publication.
Information on bed availability and occupancy is published as final data and is generally not subject to further amendment once published. Any requests for major amendments would be considered on merit while maintaining the balance between ensuring consistency in published data and accuracy.
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Mr. Hutton: The national health service vacancy survey collects information on the number of vacancies in the NHS lasting three months or more. As at March 2003, there were 150 three-month vacancies for speech and language therapists, a fall from 240 the previous year.
Primary care trusts, in partnership with local stakeholders, have the responsibility for deciding what services to provide for their populations, including those with respiratory disease. They are best placed to understand local health needs and commission services to meet them.
Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his oral statement of 17 December 2003, Official Report, column 1571, what assessment he has made of the likelihood of the donor and the recipient of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease infected blood having independently contracted variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: It is possible that both individuals acquired variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease by eating infected meat products. While it is impossible to be certain how the patient who received a blood donation from a person who went on to develop variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) contracted vCJD, in the light of the case history and the research evidence, the possibility of the route of transmission eing transfusion-related cannot be discounted.
Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his oral statement of 17 December 2003, Official Report, column 1571, what assessment he has made of the state of health of the second recipient of blood from the donor who later died of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. 
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