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Long-term Care (Coventry)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many older people are in receipt of long-term care in the Coventry area. [204839]

Dr. Ladyman: In March 2001, there were 2,140 care home places in Coventry for adults aged 65 and over. This includes places in residential care homes, general and mental health nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics. Information about the number of people in those places is not centrally available.

Medical Imaging Records

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that medical imaging records can be transferred between health regions. [203985]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 13 December 2004]: The latest digital technology for capturing, storing, distributing and displaying static or moving images such as X-rays or scans—picture archiving and communications systems (PACS)—has now been designated a core service within the national programme for information technology (NPfIT) in the national health service in England. PACS takes away any need to print on film and to file or distribute images manually.

NPfIT has produced a comprehensive common specification for what a PACS system needs to achieve, and local systems must link to the national data "spine" of the NHS care record service. This will ensure that images can be sent between, and viewed remotely and across, NHS locations, leading to more efficient
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diagnosis and treatment.By maximising the economies of scale and negotiating pan-regional contracts with their local services providers, NPfIT has been able to negotiate PACS at substantially reduced prices over the prices previously paid by individual trusts. It has also agreed an implementation plan for early deployment. Implementation has begun at the first early-adopter sites, where systems will go live across acute trusts and primary care trusts from January 2005. The plan envisages PACS to be in place in 80 per cent. of user organisations by March 2006, and in 100 per cent. of organisations by March 2007.

Ministerial Meetings

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list his official engagements over the last six months; who was present at each meeting; what the (a) date and (b) location was of each meeting; what issues were discussed; and what plans he has to establish a public register of such information. [202400]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department's Ministers meet many individuals and organisations and attend many functions relating to Government business, and as part of the process of policy development. To provide the detailed information requested would incur disproportionate cost. The daily on the record briefing by the Prime Minister's official spokesman regularly provides details of Ministers' public engagements.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many of the MRSA cases reported in 2003–04 in the West Midlands resulted in death. [204390]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 14 December 2004]: Mandatory Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus surveillance does not collect information on the number of deaths.

Neo-natal Hearing Screening

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial resources have been made available in areas piloting neo-natal hearing screening to support early intervention where a hearing problem has been identified. [204846]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 14 December 2004]: Primary care trusts are responsible for ensuring that resources from their general allocations are available to support children when a hearing problem has been identified. On joining the modernising hearing aids service programme, all national health service departments have been given funding to provide digital hearing aids to all of the children on their caseload within two years. We therefore expect all such children in England to have digital hearing aids by March 2007 at the latest.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which areas are participating in the pilot of neo-natal hearing screening; what assessment has been made of the pilot schemes; and when the programme will be rolled out across the country. [204847]

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Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 14 December 2004]: A list of sites now offering newborn hearing screening has been placed in the Library. Overall, about 70 per cent. of all newborn babies are now being screened. It is currently planned that the remaining areas of England will be participating in the programme by December 2005.

The experience of the 23 phase one sites has informed the roll out and is the subject of a detailed evaluation.

Parliamentary Questions

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what target his Department sets for the maximum acceptable time to respond in full to a parliamentary question; and what percentage of answers given by his Department failed to meet this target in each parliamentary session from 1997–98 to 2003–04. [202559]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department aims to ensure that hon. and right hon. Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day and to endeavour to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. The Department makes every effort to achieve these timescales but, unfortunately this is not always possible.

Skipton Fund

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the appeal procedures for the Skipton Fund are with regard to (a) the number of lay people and (b) the number of medical members on the appeal panel; what qualifications are expected of them; and how members of the panel are selected; [204557]

(2) what criteria are used to select lay members of the appeal panel for the Skipton Fund; [204558]

(3) how many members of the appeal panel of the Skipton Fund are from the legal profession; [204559]

(4) where in Scotland appeal panels for the Skipton Fund sit; [204560]

(5) whether legal members of the appeal panel for the Skipton Fund are selected from within the Scottish Justice System when hearing appeals from Scottish applicants; [204561]

(6) whether appellants of the Skipton Fund are able to attend panel hearings; [204562]

(7) whether appellants of the Skipton Fund have access to expert opinion to challenge the decision of the medical pane; [204563]

(8) whether the documents used by the Skipton Fund in reaching decisions are made available to the appellant; [204564]

(9) whether applicants are entitled to (a) legal representation and (b) legal aid when appealing Skipton Fund decisions; [204565]

(10) whether the funding for the appeals panel for Skipton Fund decisions comes from the Skipton Fund; [204566]
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(11) how many unsuccessful applicants to the Skipton Fund have requested an appeal; and how many unsuccessful applicants have had an appeal heard; [204574]

(12) what his estimate is of the percentage of those who apply for an appeal to the Skipton Fund whose appeal is heard; [204575]

(13) how many appellants to the Skipton Fund have been successful in their appeal. [204576]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Patient groups have been consulted and have commented on an initial proposal for the appeals process and membership of an independent appeals panel. The United Kingdom health departments are now considering arrangements for the appeals process and the appointment of the panel.

Appointments will be made through the public appointments process. Funding for the appeals panel will be made available from the central departmental budget allocated to the Skipton Fund.

In England and Wales, decisions on the granting of legal aid are a matter for the Community Legal Service. The Skipton Fund will not meet any legal or other expenses incurred by an applicant.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional funding is given to the MacFarlane Trust to enable it to administer the Skipton Fund; and where the additional funding comes from. [204568]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Macfarlane Trust does not administer the Skipton Fund.

Three trustees and the chairman and chief executive of the Macfarlane Trust were asked to take on the role of directors and company secretary for the Skipton Fund on an interim basis. This decision was made so that we could make progress with establishing the Skipton Fund. The trustees have a background in management, administration and working with haemophilia patients.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people have made an application to the Skipton Fund for compensation; [204569]

(2) how many applicants to the Skipton Fund have received the first stage payment of £20,000; and how many applicants have gone on to receive the further stage payment of £25,000; [204570]

(3) how many applicants to the Skipton Fund have had their (a) Stage 1 and (b) Stage 2 applications (i) declined and (ii) accepted; [204571]

(4) how many applicants to the Skipton Fund have applications outstanding for (a) Stage 1 and (b) Stage 2 compensation payments; [204572]

(5) if he will estimate the total sum paid to date for (a) Stage 1 and (b) Stage 2 compensation from the Skipton Fund. [204573]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Information on the number of number of stage one and stage two applications received by the Skipton Fund and their status is shown in the table.
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Stage one applicationsStage two applications
Application forms dispatched(39)4,526382
Total completed applications received3,139137
Number of applications paid2,560112
Number of applications declined146(40)4
Number of applications which have not been fully completed and have been returned to the applicants clinician28110
Number of applications being processed15211
Total amount paid to claimants (£)51,200,0002,800,000

(39) Figures as at 6 December 2004.
(40) A small number of stage two applications have been deferred because the claimants do not yet meet the criteria.

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