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19 Jan 2004 : Column 1068W—continued

North Staffordshire Hospital NHS Trust

Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he has taken following the Griffiths report into the research framework at North Staffordshire hospital NHS Trust. [147507]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department takes very seriously the points made in the report about the importance of public safety, and of protecting children. The Department of Health, Home Office, Department for Education and Skills and the Welsh Assembly Government published "Safeguarding Children in Whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced" in August 2002. Paragraphs 6.46–6.51 provide guidance on the use of covert video surveillance and references the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000.

This document was in response to the recommendation made within the Griffiths report to develop guidelines to assist the identification of children who have had illnesses feigned or induced by a carer within the framework of "Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999)", the Government's inter-agency guidance on child protection. It was the subject of public consultation prior to being published in 2002.

We have also taken a number of steps to strengthen research and clinical governance systems, not necessarily as a direct result of the findings of the Griffiths report. For example:

We have established the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) to focus our efforts to improve patient safety in the national health service and to run a new national reporting and learning system for patient safety incidents. The reporting system will be implemented across the NHS during 2004.

NHS staff will be able to report adverse incidents and "near misses" affecting NHS patient care to the NPSA, so that patterns and trends can be identified and lessons learnt in one part of the NHS can be properly shared with the whole of the health service.

The NHS Plan set out a review of consent procedures to ensure that good practice in seeking consent for both treatment and research is in place throughout the NHS. In November 2001, "The Good Practice in Consent Implementation Guide: Consent to Examination or Treatment", was published, containing a model consent policy and consent forms.

In the summer of 2000, the Department set up the Central Office for Research Ethics Committees to improve the support provided for multi centre research ethics and local research ethics committees.

The Department published the Research Governance Framework in March 2001, aimed at continuous improvements and the reduction of unacceptable variations in research practice across health and social care. The Department has been monitoring NHS trusts' compliance with the framework since its publication.

In its 2002–03 annual research and development report, North Staffordshire hospitals reported satisfactorily on compliance with the research governance framework targets for March 2003 and that it was either already compliant or on target with the research governance

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framework targets for March 2004. Actual compliance with the March 2004 targets will be assessed in the 2003–04 annual research and development report.

The Department has commissioned a substantial audit of the use of continuous negative extrathoracic pressure at the University hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust (formerly North Staffordshire hospital NHS Trust). This is still on-going. The results will be published when the audit is completed.


Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) district nurses, (b) community nurses and (c) midwives there were in (i) St. Helens, (ii) Merseyside, (iii) the North West and (iv) England in each year since 1992. [147171]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is shown in the table.

NHS hospital and community health services: Qualified community nursing by each specified group in England, the North West regional office area, Cheshire and Merseyside and the St. Helens and Knowsley Health Authority area as at 30 September each specified year

EnglandNorth West(39)Cheshire and Merseyside(40)St. Helens and Knowsley HA(41)
Community nursing32,797(42)(42)229
District nurses11,013(42)(42)54
Community nursing33,384(42)(42)234
District nurses10,888(42)(42)52
Community nursing33,866(42)(42)216
District nurses10,015(42)(42)50
Community nursing40,566(42)(42)339
District nurses13,793(42)(42)78
Community nursing43,1376,1162,126331
District nurses14,2482,24875278
Community nursing44,7106,2272,212350
District nurses14,1502,26374063
Community nursing46,9536,6082,308356
District nurses14,2602,25476457
Community nursing48,8287,0432,270328
Community nursing48,8287,0432,270328
District nurses14,2582,17570151
Community nursing 50,8777,3082,483337
District nurses14,4522,15069651
Community nursing55,2758,1802,878380
District nurses13,5101,96367349
Community nursing57,9759,1613,181350
District nurses12,1842,12672762

(39) 1995–2001 data are based on Government Office Region areas, 2002 data is based on staffing figures for Q13 Greater Manchester SHA, Q14 Cumbria and Lancashire SHA, Q15 Cheshire and Merseyside SHA

(40) 1995–2001 figures are based on QDC Wirral HA:, QC7 Sefton HA, QC2 Liverpool HA , QC5 St. Helens and Knowsley HA, QCW South Cheshire, HA and QCV North Cheshire HA and for 2002 Cheshire and Merseyside SHA.

(41) Figures for St. Helens and Knowsley HA for 2002 are based on RBN St. Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, 5J3 St. Helens PCT and 5J4 Knowsley PCT.

(42) Accurate comparable information is not available.


1. A new classification of the non-medical workforce was introduced in 1995. Information based on this classification is not directly comparable with earlier years.

2. Community nursing includes nurses employed in community learning disabilities, community psychiatry and community services excluding district nurses.


Department of Health Non-medical Workforce Census

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Procurement Outsourcing

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's procurement policy with regard to offshore IT and call centre outsourcing; whether his Department is outsourcing IT and call centre jobs to offshore companies; to which countries his Department has outsourced these jobs; how much his Department has spent on this outsourcing in each of the last two years; and how much has been budgeted for this purpose for the next two years. [147584]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department's procurement policy is based on value for money, having due regard to propriety and regularity and the requirements of the European Union Treaty, including the principle of non-discrimination, the European Community procurement directives and the United Kingdom's international obligations.

The Department has not outsourced any information technology or call centre services to offshore companies and there are no current plans to do so.


Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ban smoking in public places. [148551]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) on Monday 5 January 2004, Official Report, column 209W.

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