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3 Mar 2004 : Column 1044Wcontinued
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how long on average patients suffering from Lupus (SLE) waited to obtain a hospital out-patient appointment following referral to a specialist unit by their general practitioner in (a) London and (b) England in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines are in place to ensure that non-cancer related lymphoedema patients receive appropriate compression garments as part of their treatment for the condition. 
Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 2 March 2004]: We have issued no specific guidance to hospital trusts and primary care trusts for the provision of compression garments to non-cancer related lymphoedema patients. Decisions on what treatments to offer to patients with lymphoedema are a matter for the clinicians in charge of their care.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will investigate conformity with (a) his advice Amendments to the terms and conditions of service for hospital medical and dental practitioners and (b) his Advance Letter, AL MD 1/01 paragraph 22, m & n, published by the Department of Health in 2001. [R] 
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Ms Rosie Winterton: As set out in the Mental Health Policy Implementation Guide (2001), assertive outreach teams do not need to be operational 24 hours per day, seven days per week, but provide evening and weekend cover.
According to the Durham adult mental health services mapping database, approximately 29 per cent. of assertive outreach teams provide access to a 24 hours per day, seven days per week on-call service. A further 41 per cent. provide evening and weekend cover.
This means that 30 per cent. of assertive outreach teams in operation do not fully comply with the service specification set out in the Mental Health Policy Implementation Guide as yet. We expect full compliance with NHS Plan targets for new teams and services by December 2004.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government set out priorities for local services for the reform and modernisation of mental health services in the "NHS Plan and the Priorities and Planning Framework 200306", supported by over £300 million extra investment announced in the NHS Plan.
In line with the "NHS Plan" and the "Priorities and Planning Framework 200306", 500 secure beds and 320 24-hour staffed beds have been created. A further 200 long-term secure beds and 140 secure personality disorder places will be in place by the end of the year.
The Government expect that the establishment of new teams and services, including a wider range of residential and secure provision for people with severe mental ill health, designed to ensure care and treatment tailored to individual needs, will ease pressure on the existing psychiatric beds provided by mental health trusts.
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|Headcount and Percentage headcount|
Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures the Government are taking to ensure that the NHS does not employ nurses and other medical staff from developing countries with whom they do not have a bilateral agreement or memorandum of understanding. 
Mr. Hutton: All national health service employers involved in international recruitment are strongly commended to adhere to the code of practice published by the Department in 2001. One of the guiding principles of this code is that developing countries should not be targeted for recruitment. We have issued a list of developing countries that the NHS should not actively recruit from. A copy of this code is available at: www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/HumanResourcesAndTraining/MoreStaff/fs/en.
We publish a list of recruitment agencies who have agreed to comply with the code. NHS bodies are strongly commended to use recruitment agencies on that list. We monitor compliance to the code of practice through information supplied by strategic health authorities.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's code of ethics and standards requires pharmacy premises to be safe for the public and staff working there. Currently, pharmacists can contact
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their local pharmaceutical committee, primary care trust or police to find out what additional support and advice is available locally on security measures that they can employ.
The Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (CFSMS) was launched in April 2003 with a remit encompassing policy and operational responsibility for the management of security in the national health service. The remit can be defined as protecting people and property so that the highest standards of clinical care can be achieved. This includes tackling violence against staff and professionals working in the NHS.
From April 2004, all health bodies will be required to nominate a suitable person to perform the role of local security management specialists (LSMS). These LSMS will be trained by the CFSMS, so that they can take the lead for security management work within the NHS, including primary care.
While security has not been raised in recent contractual discussions, the CFSMS will shortly be meeting the pharmaceutical services negotiating committee to discuss what support on security management the CFSMS and the LSMS can give to community pharmacies.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to raise the normal retirement age for NHS staff; what estimate he has made of the cost savings from raising the pension age to 65; and if he will make a statement. 
Hospital, public health and community doctors employed under the existing terms and conditions of service are required to retire at age 65, although there is provision for an employing authority to extend employment in a locum capacity beyond 65. Consultants are free to transfer to the 2003 consultant contract under which there is no age restriction to practice.
There is no age restriction on doctors in the personal medical services (PMS). The requirement that existing general medical services doctors cannot act as principals after age 70 is removed from 1 April 2004. Fitness to practice will be assessed by rigorous and objective tests which will replace the existing arbitrary age limit.
The national health service pension scheme is currently subject to review. It is too early to provide an estimate of the cost implications of any changes that may be considered as a part of that review.
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