Letter from Melanie Johnson MP, Minister
for Public Health, Department of Health to the Chairman of the
Committee (PC 18D)
At the oral evidence hearing into palliative
care held on 26 May I undertook to consider if it was possible
to provide the Committee with details of charitably run hospices
in England that have junior NHS doctors on their staff. Question
317 of the transcript of evidence refers.
As you are aware, figures from the Association
for Palliative Medicine (APM) are likely to give a more accurate
picture of the overall workforce than those collated by the Department
of Health. This is largely because some hospice-based consultants
do not have NHS contracts and are not counted in the Department's
Following a survey of all units in 2002, the
APM identified 453 doctors working in palliative care of which
the majority are working part time. The APM also conducted a survey
in April 2004 which indicated that of 204 staff at Non-Clinical
Consultant Grade, 73% worked part time.
However, the obvious limitation to this data
is that it is likely that not all junior doctors are registered
with the Association. This will be particularly applicable to
staff at SHO grade. The APM are due to undertake its next census
shortly, and whilst they encourage its members in both the NHS
and voluntary sector to hold NHS contracts I am aware that there
is not at 100% coverage at the present time.
At the hearing, David Amess MP also referred,
at question 349, to a report regarding the administration of medication
issued by the APM and the National Council for Hospice Specialist
Palliative Care Services.
To date, my officials have unfortunately been
unable to locate the report referred to and I understand that
this is a matter the HSC secretariat have raised with Mr Amess.
I shall therefore endeavour to write to you as soon as possible
on this issue, and appologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
1 July 2004