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Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of experienced senior nurses who are not currently employed and are available for recruitment as community matrons. 
Mr. Hutton: Our work force modelling takes account of the 200,000 nurses whose Nursing and Midwifery Council registration has lapsed. There are established routes for nurses not currently working to return to the national health service. We expect that experienced nurses currently working in the NHS will fill the majority of the community matron posts after they have received the appropriate training and development.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what system of monitoring is carried out by NHS trusts to ensure nurses' uniforms laundered domestically are free from infection; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what the policy is in NHS trusts on the laundering of nurses' uniforms by individuals at home; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what proportion of nurses' uniforms in NHS trusts are laundered (a) at home and (b) under contract arrangements; 
(4) what the policy is in NHS trusts on the wearing by nurses of their hospital uniform while travelling to and from their place of work. 
It is the responsibility of each national health service trust to determine its own policies regarding the supply, laundering and wearing of uniforms by nurses. The trust's chief executive has responsibility for ensuring that nurses have enough suitable clothing and equipment to carry out their work effectively. Generally, nurses would use protective clothing, such as aprons and gloves to prevent soiling of their uniforms. We are not aware of any evidence that uniforms are a significant source of hospital infections.
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(2) at what temperatures nurses' uniforms should be laundered to ensure they are free from bacteria; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what research his Department has carried out to establish whether domestic washing machines are capable of washing nurses' uniforms to the required hygiene standards; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department has not carried out research related to domestic washing machines. However, the advice from microbiologists is that a wash at a domestic washer temperature of 60 degrees C, followed by a rinse cycle, is more than adequate to ensure the removal of bacteria.
Mr. Hutton: Recent trends in operations carried out in hospital both as in-patients and out-patients for General and Acute specialties are available in the statistical supplementChief Executive's Bulletin of May 2004 [table 3.5.5], which is available in the Library. Detailed information by different operations is available from hospital episode statistics also on the Department's website.
|Whole time equivalents||1,650||1,008||642|
|Whole time equivalents||61||53||8|
|Whole time equivalents||1,589||954||634|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what costs to patients are incurred by (a) registering with Patientline and (b) making a request for a bedside television set to be switched off; 
(2) whether patients have been charged for (a) registering with Patientline and (b) making a request for bedside televisions to be switched off. 
Mr. Hutton: There are no costs to patients for either registering with Patientline or making a request for a bedside television set to be switched off and no such charges have been levied in the past.
|Radio (typically six stations)||No charge at any time|
|Television (typically 16 channels)||Free for one hour per day and to children aged 16 or under at all times. TV viewing costs £3.20 to £3.50 for a day's viewing, with concessions for those aged 60 years or over, or those in hospital for longer periods.|
|Outgoing telephone calls||10 pence per minute (minimum 20 pence) for all local and national calls to fixed lines; charges for calls to mobiles, overseas numbers and special numbers vary.|
|Internet and email||4 pence per minute|
|Games||50 pence per game|
Mr. Hutton: The Patientline service has been operational for over nine years and is currently being used by some 40,000 patients each day. We are advised by Patientline that during this time requests to turn the units off have never been significant; therefore the company has not recorded how many requests have been made.
All units are capable of being turned off by patients registered on the system, using the on/off switch located on the front of the terminal 2 units and all of those currently being manufactured. In the case of the earlier modelsterminal 1 unitsa sequence of buttons can be used. Terminals where there is no patient registered on the system can be switched off by Patientline staff at any time, if a request is made to do so.
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