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7 Sept 2004 : Column 1101W—continued

West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cancelled operations there were in each of the last seven years in the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust. [187200]

Dr. Ladyman: The number of cancelled operations at the West Suffolk Hospital is shown in the table. However, it should be noted that the figures quoted at trust level only go back three years. Prior to that, the data was collected at health authority (HA) level only and they would not be comparable.
West Suffolk Hospitals National Health Service Trust—Number of cancelled operations for non clinical reasons

QuarterNumber of last minute cancellations for non clinical reasons in the quarter

Data prior to 2001–02 collect at HA level only.
Department of Health dataset QMCO.

Winter Deaths

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to introduce targets to reduce the number of winter deaths. [186798]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are no plans to introduce additional targets specifically to reduce the number of winter deaths. The Government are committed to decreasing the number of national targets imposed on the national health service and allowing more locally agreed targets. The document, "National Standards,
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Local action: Health and Social Care Standards and Planning Framework 2005–06 to 2007–08", published on 21 July 2004, has already set out the national targets for the next five years.

However, there is an existing target to tackle influenza, one of the biggest seasonal killers. A target for influenza vaccination in those aged 65 and over has been set since 2000–01. In 2003–04, the target was that nationally over 70 per cent. of that age group would be vaccinated, and thanks to last year's successful 'flu immunisation campaign, this was exceeded, with 71 per cent. of those aged 65 or over being vaccinated. The 70 per cent. take-up target remains this year.

In addition to the 'flu target, the Government have several other initiatives to reduce avoidable winter deaths. These include the "Keep Warm, Keep Wel1" campaign, which offers people advice on staying warm and keeping well in winter and winter fuel payments for older people, which help to keep warm those most susceptible to the cold weather.

Working Time Directive

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many (a) house officers, (b) senior house officers, (c) specialist registrars, (d) general practitioners, (e) consultants, (f) associate specialists, (g) staff grades and (h) clinical assistants have signed a formal opt-out from the Working Time Directive; [186362]

(2) how many (a) primary care trusts, (b) acute hospital trusts and (c) social care trusts have medical staff who have signed a formal opt-out from the Working Time Directive. [186365]

Mr. Hutton: The Working Time Directive is a legal requirement on which implementation is being taken forward locally.

Under Regulation 5 of the Working Time Regulations 1998, individuals are allowed to voluntarily agree in writing with their employer to exceed the maximum average weekly working time of 48 hours. As this is an agreement made locally, information on take-up is not held centrally.
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Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what evidence he has collated following the results from the Working Time Directive Pilots Programme on whether the NHS will be compliant with the European Working Time Directive on 1 August; [186363]

(2) what recent representations he has received on the ability of (a) anaesthetic, (b) maternity, (c) paediatric, (d) general surgical and (e) general medical services to comply with the European Working Time Directive. [186364]

Mr. Hutton: Strategic health authorities are responsible for performance managing trust implementation of Working Time Directive (WTD) compliance for doctors in training from 1 August 2004. The Working Time Regulations have applied to all other national health service staff since 1998 and trusts are expected to comply with them in the same way as any other national legislation. The Department does not routinely collect information on compliance either by trust or by specialty.

The vast majority of trusts are now fully compliant. A handful of trusts are having problems in securing compliance in a limited number of specialties.

We are working in partnership with the British Medical Association, the Royal Colleges and the Modernisation Agency to support those trusts finding compliance particularly difficult. The Modernisation Agency WTD team offers expert advice and the sharing of good practice solutions throughout the NHS.


Savings Incentives

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the number of people eligible for means-tested benefits on incentives to save. [186546]

Malcolm Wicks: In its response last year to the Work and Pensions Select Committee's Third Report on The Future of UK Pensions, the Government recognised that it is important to improve our understanding of savings decisions and how savings incentives work.

Eligibility for income related benefits is one of many factors likely to influence incentives to save. However these are complex questions and we want to engage with academic and other experts on how best to assess the influences on savings behaviour. The Government has established the independent Pensions Commission to monitor and keep under review the voluntary system of private pensions and long term savings.

Benefit Recipients

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people who receive (a) income support and (b) pension credit also pay income tax; and what proportion this is of recipients of each benefit. [187346]

Mr. Pond: The information is not available.
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Christmas Bonus

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of increasing the pensioners' annual Christmas bonus to the equivalent of one week's state pension. [186567]

Malcolm Wicks: The cost of increasing the annual Christmas bonus to the equivalent of one week's state pension in 2005–06 is estimated at £1.0 billion.

1. Figures are in 2004–05 price terms rounded to the nearest £100 million. 2. The bonus is assumed to be paid at the full category A weekly rate of basic state pension, currently £79.60. 3. The Christmas bonus is currently paid to people in receipt of a number of qualifying benefits, some of whom are of working age. These people are assumed to receive the Christmas bonus at the new rate.

Council Tax Benefit

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the Bridgwater constituency (a) are entitled to council tax benefit and (b) do not claim the council tax benefit to which they are entitled. [186500]

Mr. Pond: The information is not available in the format requested. Statistics for Great Britain are presented in the DWP series "Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up". The latest estimates relate to financial year 2001–02 and are in the Library.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to change the levels of disability living allowance payable to pensioners. [186459]

Maria Eagle: The rates at which disability living allowance is paid are increased in April each year by the rate of inflation as measured by the movement in the Retail Price Index. The Government have no plans to change this arrangement.

Mr. Tony Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for disability living allowance were initially (a) granted and (b) refused in the last year within the constituency of Northampton South. [186583]

Maria Eagle: The number of applications for Disability Living Allowance that were initially granted in the last year in the Parliamentary Constituency of Northampton South is 400 1 The number of refusals is not available, as these are held as a national figure only.

1. Figures less than 500 are subject to a high degree of sampling variation. 2. Figures taken from a 5 per cent., sample at 29 February 2004 3. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. 4. From November 2002, the methodology for producing these figures was changed to allow statistics to be published much sooner. This has resulted in a small increase in the reported caseload. This is because some cases which have actually terminated but have not yet been updated on the computer system are now included.

IAD Information Centre.
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