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20 Dec 2004 : Column 1471W—continued

Departmental Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for his Department in each of the last two years. [200787]

Ms Rosie Winterton: My hon. Friend, the former Minister for the Cabinet Office, Ruth Kelly, has asked Nick Matheson, chief executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency to write to the hon. Member with details of the cost of ministerial vehicles provided to this Department in 2003–04.

Information on ministerial vehicles for the financial year 2002–03 was similarly provided in a letter deposited in the Library, referred to in the response given on 13 November 2003, Official Report, columns 397–98W by the then Minister for the Cabinet Office.

The cost of taxis for the last two years was:


The Department ensures that all business travel is made by the most economic means, taking into account any management benefit and the needs of staff with disabilities.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people he estimates to have (a) mild and (b) severe depression. [205185]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is not available in the requested format. According to the Office for National Statistics' report, "Psychiatric morbidity among adults living in private households (2000)", 88 per 1,000 people were assessed as having mixed anxiety and depressive disorder and 26 per 1000 were assessed as having a depressive episode. A copy of this report is available in the Library.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been diagnosed with (a) mild and (b) severe depression in each of the last five years. [205186]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information is not available in the requested format. The Department provides hospital episode statistics data which relates to diagnostic information for in-patients in national health
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service hospitals. During their course of treatment over a period of time, patients may have a number of episodes of care, which are counted each time they have a stay in hospital. Information relating to diagnosis where a patient is still under the care of a hospital consultant is not recorded. Information on finished consultant episodes with a primary diagnosis of depression in each of the last five years is shown in the table.
Finished consultant episodes for patients with a primary diagnosis of depression (F33), NHS hospitals, England


Figures are grossed for both coverage and missing/invalid data, except for 2002–03, which are not adjusted for shortfalls. A finished consultant episode is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Please note that figures do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the year.
The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 14—seven prior to 2002–03—diagnosis fields in the hospital episode statistics data set and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital.
Hospital episode statistics, Department of Health.

Doctors Surgeries

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors' surgeries there are in England. [205299]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 16 December 2004]: The total number of doctors' surgeries is not held centrally. It is believed that the number of main and branch surgeries is around 10,500 but the actual number is regularly changing as a result of improvement, replacement and closure of surgeries.

Electronic Clinical Records

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what regulations he expects to propose in respect of the National Programme for IT electronic record sharing under section 60 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003. [205486]

Mr. Hutton: I have no plans to introduce regulations in respect of the national programme for information technology electronic data sharing under section 60 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001.

Employment Terms and Conditions

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what schemes (a) are in place and (b) are being assessed by his Department to encourage employers to use temporary job modifications to help people back to work, as referred to in the Choosing Health White Paper. [202275]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Temporary workplace modification is a key component of helping people back to work in the incapacity benefit reform pilots and a four arm randomised controlled trial—the job retention and rehabilitation pilots—are being jointly sponsored
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by the Departments of Health and Work and Pensions. These schemes are being evaluated, but the results are not expected until 2005–06.

We are looking for evidence of the effectiveness of temporary job modifications in the NHS Plus evidence guideline project; the first guideline on the management of mild to moderate mental ill health in the workplace is expected to be published in the second half of 2005.

We will continue to support the on-going work on the further development of vocational rehabilitation.


Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned on the causes of bone cancer which has included assessment of exposure to fluoride. [203368]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In 2001, the Department commissioned the Medical Research Council (MRC) to provide advice on current scientific evidence regarding the health effects of fluorides in the context of water fluoridation. In September 2002, the MRC published the report "Water Fluoridation and Health". It stated that the available evidence does not suggest a link between water fluoridation and either cancer in general or any specific cancer type, including osteosarcoma, primary bone cancer, but recommended the Department monitored data collected on the incidence of cancer so that any aberrant trends in populations receiving fluoridated water could be investigated. We are acting on this suggestion.

Foundation Hospitals

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on which matters foundation hospitals are required to report to the (a) Healthcare Commission and (b) Monitor. [206262]

Mr. Hutton: National health service foundation trusts (NHSFTs) are subject to national standards set by the Secretary of State, performance ratings, and systems of inspection, like all other NHS trusts. However, accountability for NHSFTs is to local people and staff, NHS commissioners, Monitor, the statutory name of which is the independent regulator of NHSFTs, and Parliament, rather than to the Department and Ministers.

The role of the Healthcare Commission is to conduct annual reviews and where necessary investigations into the provision of NHS healthcare, and publish performance ratings for NHSFTs, taking into account their performance against national standards and targets in the same manner it does for all NHS bodies. The Healthcare Commission may therefore review any data relating to the provision of NHS healthcare by NHSFTs. The role of Monitor is to oversee compliance by NHSFTs
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within boundaries detailed in the terms of authorisation, and also the legislation. The terms of authorisation sets out the conditions under which NHSFTs must operate and requires them to take into account national standards. Monitor has recently issued its compliance regime for NHSFTs for consultation—available at—which details the level of information on compliance with the terms of authorisation that NHSFTs are required to provide to Monitor in-year. Both Monitor and the Healthcare Commission are subject to a statutory duty to cooperate with one another in the exercise of their respective functions. In collaboration with the Healthcare Commission, Monitor is reviewing NHSFTs' current external reporting with a view to reducing the information burden substantially.

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