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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's strategy is for reducing (a) salt levels in food and (b) the prevalence of people having excess salt in their diet. 
On Tuesday 3 February 2004, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a period of consultation on a public health white paper. This will provide the overarching framework for work that the Department of Health and other Government Departments are already engaged in. The consultation aims to engage the public, the media, industry, voluntary groups and health professionals in a wide-ranging debate about how the nation can best tackle issues like obesity, smoking and sexually transmitted infections.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the money set aside for directly funded equipment has been taken up by local authorities (a) so far this financial year and (b) in the last financial year. 
Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 29 January 2004]: I assume that the hon. Member is referring to funding for community equipment services. These are funded in the following manner: all local health and social services have historic funding streams for these services. At the beginning of the initiative to integrate and modernise these services we announced that we were increasing baseline funding to the National Health Service and councils to enable them to participate. We gave the NHS an extra £105 million over the years 200102 to 200304 and made a substantial addition to councils' personal social services allocation (following normal practice, the amount of the latter was not announced). Councils with social services responsibilities are also now receiving even more funding for community equipment through the systems and access capacity grant, starting with £7.6 million this year, with considerable rises due in 200405 and 200506. In all cases, local service
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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) NHS hospital doctors, (b) NHS consultants and (c) NHS general practitioners are suspended on disciplinary grounds; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 10 February 2004]: Discipline for National Health Service trust clinicians is a matter for local managers and disciplinary action will take a variety of forms, NHS trusts are not required to collect this information and it is not collected centrally.
Primary care trusts (PCTs) must notify the Family Health Services Appeal Authority (Special Health Authority) when they suspend or lift a suspension from a general medical practitioner. Thirty GPs are currently suspended by PCTs.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average time taken to (a) investigate and (b) resolve cases regarding the suspension of NHS (i) hospital doctors, (ii) consultants and (iii) general practitioners was in the latest year for which figures are available; what percentage of those investigations found in favour of (A) those making the complaint and (B) the person suspended; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the procedures for investigating the cases of suspended NHS hospital doctors, consultants and general practitioners. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 10 February 2004]: The Department issued a mandatory framework, (HSC 2003/012) Maintaining High Professional standards in the Modern NHS, for the handling of concerns about doctors and dentists employed in the National Health Service, on 29 December 2003. The procedures a primary care trust must follow are set out in the NHS (General Medical Services) Regulations 1992, as amended; the NHS (General Medical Services Supplementary List) Regulations 2001, as amended; and the NHS (Personal Medical Services) (Services List) and the (General Medical Services Supplementary List) and (General Medical Services) Amendment Regulations 2003.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the kinds of complaints which cause NHS hospital doctors, consultants and general practitioners to be suspended. 
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clinicians must be used only where there is a need to protect the interests of patients or other staff pending the outcome of a full investigation of: allegations of misconduct, concerns about the lack of capability or poor performance; or the presence of the practitioner in the workplace is likely to hinder the investigation.
Full consideration should be given to whether the practitioner could continue in or (in cases of immediate exclusion) return to work in a limited capacity or in an alternative, possibly non-clinical role, pending the resolution of the case.
Regulations permit primary care trusts to suspend general medical practitioners from their medical, supplementary medical or services lists if they consider this is necessary to protect patients or is otherwise in the public interest. This is an interim measure pending the outcome of regulatory body or criminal investigation, or while they consider serious matters which may lead to the practitioner's removal on suitability, efficiency or fraud grounds.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many addicts in England and Wales are maintained on prescribed (a) heroin and (b) methadone; and at what average annual cost for each of those prescriptions. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 26 January 2004]: There are approximately 450 drug misusers in England being maintained on prescribed heroin. The estimated annual cost per patient of maintaining a drug misuser on heroin is £12,000 per patient.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 9 February 2004]: Research for the Home Office does not suggest that the numbers of people who migrate from the new Member States of the European Union to the United Kingdom will be significant. Those that fall into the categories covered by Regulations (EEC) 1408/71 and 574/72for example temporary visitors, certain pensioners and otherswill have costs of any National Health Service treatment met by the person's country of insurance.
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Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what monitoring arrangements are being put in place by his Department to ensure that the advice provided by general practices which sign up to providing contraceptive services under the new general medical services contract (a) covers all methods of contraception and (b) is of a high standard. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: Regulations for the new general medical services contract set out a new contractual requirement that practices providing additional contraceptive services must give "advice about the full range of contraceptive methods" and "the referral as necessary for specialist sexual health services". This includes referral for the fitting of intrauterine devices and contraceptive implants where these are not provided by the practice. In addition, practices will be rewarded through a quality and outcomes framework for having policies on emergency contraception and pre-conceptual (all other) contraception. Primary care trusts will be responsible for performance managing the contract.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps the Government is taking to meet the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare's recommendation that there should be one full-time clinician in family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare per 125,000 population; 
Miss Melanie Johnson: It is for individual primary care trusts and National Health Service trusts to determine how their services are configured and delivered in order to provide quality services. The NHS will continue to plan its future workforce requirements to address identified need. We are also ensuring through the Department's performance management measures that the creation of clinical posts is seen as a high priority. Also, the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare is represented on the contraceptive services group that has been established by the Department. Workforce is a key issue being addressed by this group. In 20O304, central funding was provided to support the implementation of four additional specialist registrar posts in family planning and reproductive health.
The Department does not collect data on the numbers of doctors and nurses specifically employed in family planning community clinics (the medical and non-medical workforce census collects information annually on the number of doctors and nurses employed in the NHS, but cannot distinguish those working in family planning).
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(3) if he will make a statement on the role of the group of key experts on contraception referred to by the Under-Secretary for State of Health on 15 January 2004, Official Report, column 371WH. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: It is a key aim of both the Government's Sexual Health and HIV Strategy and Teenage Pregnancy Strategy to reduce unintended pregnancy rates. Provision of good quality contraceptive services is key in achieving this aim. It is the responsibility of primary care trusts (PCTs) to ensure that comprehensive services are provided and the Department has issued them with guidance on how to commission these services.
The Department has also convened a group of key experts, including representatives from the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Family Planning Association, to develop and implement an action plan to support the improvement of contraceptive services at local level.
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