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14 Sept 2004 : Column 1503W—continued

Non-clinical NHS Jobs

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many new non-clinical jobs have been created within the NHS since 1997; [186870]

(2) if he will make a statement on the role of NHS staff in non-clinical posts in improving the health of NHS patients. [186871]

Mr. Hutton: Non-clinical staff perform vital functions within the national health service and make an important contribution to the delivery of healthcare and will continue to do so as the clinical NHS workforce increases. Many of them work directly to support clinicians, leaving them free to work with patients. Others working in NHS infrastructure support perform essential and unavoidable tasks, such as cleaning, paying staff, ordering supplies and recruitment.

Between 1997 and 2003, the number of clinical staff and staff working in direct support to clinical staff has increased by 195,059 and the number of staff working in infrastructure support has increased by 29,185.

Nurse Consultants

Dame Marion Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has met the NHS Plan target of 1,000 nurse consultants employed in the NHS. [186962]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 7 September 2004]: Latest figures indicate that, as at December 2003, 870 nurse consultant posts had been approved in the national health service. Responsibility for monitoring progress against this target has now passed to strategic health authorities.

Oldchurch Hospital

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints he received regarding Oldchurch Hospital in the London Borough of Havering for (a) 1997 and (b) 2004; and what the figures are for all other London hospitals. [187728]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Local trusts, in partnership with their health community, have responsibility for local services and the support systems, which they have put in place, and a corresponding responsibility to improve upon these. It is therefore appropriate that they investigate complaints and respond accordingly.

Osteoporosis Services

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies he has received of osteoporosis services in other EU countries. [186143]

Dr. Ladyman: No such studies have been received. However, we understand that "Osteoporosis in the European—Members States Policy Progress Report and Action Plan" is due to be posted on the European Commission website for access to all member states.
14 Sept 2004 : Column 1504W

Passive Smoking

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's public health priorities in relation to passive smoking. [188518]

Miss Melanie Johnson: We have completed a major national public consultation on the best ways to improve people's health, including what can be done to tackle secondhand smoke.

We are considering the many responses we have received. These will inform the White Paper on improving health that will be published later this year.

Patient Environment and Assessment Teams

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the months in which Patient Environment and Assessment Team inspections have taken place in each year since inspections began. [187408]

Mr. Hutton: Since its inception in 2000, there have been five rounds of patient environment action team assessments, with additional visits to some hospitals in the summer of 2001. Details of when those visits took place are shown in the table.
Patient environment action team assessments

2002NovemberMay 2003
2003DecemberMay 2004

Postgraduate Medical Students

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assistance is available to postgraduate medical trainees for expenses on (a) text books, (b) medical equipment and (c) examination fees; and if he will make a statement. [187764]

Mr. Hutton: Postgraduate medical trainees are usually salaried employees of the national health service. As such, they do not receive specific help with their textbooks, equipment and examination fees. They do have access to postgraduate centres and libraries. They also have access to funded study leave, which enables postgraduate trainees to access specific courses and programmes, which enhance the training they receive through the NHS. Much of the equipment they will use is of course available through their employers. Trainees should have access either to standard texts and/or to the internet within the workplace.

St. Helens and Knowsley Hospital Trust

Mr Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for accident and emergency department services in St Helens and Knowsley Hospital Trust was for each year from 1997 to 2004. [184619]

14 Sept 2004 : Column 1505W

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested is not collected; information is collected for the percentage of patients spending four hours or less in accident and
14 Sept 2004 : Column 1506W
emergency departments from arrival to discharge, admission or transfer. The latest information available is shown in the table.
Total time spent in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge. National Health Service organisations in England, 2003–04, January to March (quarter 4)

Major A&E (type 1 only)
All A&E f Mill WiC
(Type 1,2,3)
Total attendancesPercentage of patients who spent less than four hours in A&ETotal attendancesPercentage of patients who spent less than four hours in A&E
St. Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust

Department of Health dataset QMAE
Status: Published 16 July 2004

Working Time Directive

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action can be taken in the domestic courts against NHS Trusts that fail to comply with the Working Time Directive. [187407]

Mr. Hutton: Individuals may take a case to an employment tribunal where the employer has failed to let them exercise their entitlement to daily and weekly rest, including compensatory rest.

Complaints can also be raised with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in relation to individuals having to work in excess of the maximum working week. As a result of investigating the trust, the Health and Safety Executive is likely to serve improvement notices where claims are upheld. Further action beyond this, including possible criminal proceedings in the lower or magistrate's court, depends on actions taken by the employer in response to the notice served.

In addition, individuals may take a case to a county court in instances where there has been a breach of contract, for example, where they have been made to work over the averaged hours limit or where an employer has failed in his/her duty of care.


Council of Ministers

Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will provide a written ministerial statement outlining the key points on the agenda for each of the Council of Ministers' meetings at which his Department is represented in advance of each meeting; [188210]

(2) if he will provide a written ministerial statement outlining for each meeting of the Council of Ministers at which his Department is represented as soon as is practicable following that meeting (a) the key items of discussion, (b) the positions of the Government on those items, (c) the key positions taken by other member states that Ministers consider should be noted by hon. Members and (d) any preliminary discussion on the timing and the agenda of the following meeting. [188211]

Mr. Timms: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Foreign Secretary dated 13 September 2004, Official Report, column 1451W.

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