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2 Feb 2005 : Column 986W—continued


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to conclude negotiations on the new NHS dentists' contracts; and if he will make a statement. [210676]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I confirm that preparations are on course for the introduction of new contractual arrangements for national health service dentistry by April 2006. The British Dental Association has welcomed our decision that full implementation of the reforms will now take place to a longer timescale.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many extra dentists he plans to recruit; and how many of them he expects to (a) come from overseas recruitment and (b) be existing dentists returning to the NHS. [211076]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 25 January 2005]: We plan to increase the number of dentists by 1,000 whole time equivalent by October 2005. This is based on approximately two thirds from domestic and overseas recruitment approximately one third from increased activity from existing national health service dentists, using the £50 million access funds made available for 2004–05.

Diagnostic and Treatment Centres

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what percentage of the (a) doctors and (b) nurses employed by private diagnostic and treatment centres with contracts with the NHS were previously employed by the NHS. [213170]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 1 February 2005]: Independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) adhere to a strict policy of additionality. ISTCs are not allowed to recruit any member of staff currently employed by, or employed during the previous six months, by the national health service. However, individuals are free to take employment in ISTCs provided that, they have not worked in the NHS during the preceding six-month period.

Digital Hearing Aids

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what training is required for audiologists qualified to fit digital hearing aids within the NHS. [210240]

Dr. Ladyman: Audiologists currently fitting digital hearing aids in the national health service are required to have completed one of the three courses accredited by the British Academy of Audiology:

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From 2005, the only entry qualification will be a BSc in audiology, which will provide sole access to the statutory register from 2008–09. From late 2005, all NHS audiologists will also be required to register with the Health Professions Council.

Dioxins and PCBs

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has conducted into the levels of (a) dioxins and (b) PCBs found in (i) wild salmon, (ii) farmed salmon and (iii) flame retardants; and what figures were produced by that research. [210976]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I am informed by the Food Standards Agency that samples of salmon were included in a survey for dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in marine fish carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during 1994–96 and a further study by the Food Standards Agency in 2003. The levels which were found are shown in the table.
SurveySalmon type
(number of
nanograms World Health Organisation Toxic Equivalent/kilogram fresh weight
(1994–96)Farmed (3)0.8–0.92.2–2.73.1–3.5
Wild (1)
(2003)Farmed only (3)0.5–0.81.5–2.02.0–2.8

(38)Five samples were labelled as retail salmon" and three just as salmon".

We have not conducted a survey of flame-retardants, which, like dioxins and PCBs, are environmental contaminants, in salmon, although a survey is currently looking at dioxins, PCBs and brominated flame-retardants in farmed and wild fish and shellfish.

Drug Rehabilitation

Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many drug rehabilitation (a) units and (b) beds have been established in Stoke-on-Trent in each year since 1997. [210856]

Miss Melanie Johnson: There are no drug rehabilitation units or beds in Stoke-on-Trent. The Stoke-on-Trent drug action team commissions rehabilitation services from outside the area.

Full details of drug rehabilitation units can be found on the National Treatment Agency's (NTA) residential services directory at The NTA has published this information from summer 2003. Data before this date are not available.

Foundation Hospitals (Borrowing Limits)

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from the independent regulator for foundation hospitals regarding an increase in borrowing limits by the hospitals. [211570]

Mr. Hutton: Monitor, the statutory name of which is the independent regulator of national health service foundation trusts (NHSFTs), is an independent corporate body established under the Health and Social
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Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003. It is Monitor's responsibility to authorise, monitor and regulate NHSFTs.

Monitor is required to make a prudential borrowing code (the code) for determining the limit on the total amount of borrowing by NHSFTs and to consult the Secretary of State and prospective NHSFTs before doing so in accordance with section 12 of the Act.

I am advised by the chairman of Monitor that the terms of a draft code were issued for consultation during the summer of 2004 and that Monitor's board considered the outcome at its formal meetings of 30 November 2004 and 26 January 2005. The chairman also consulted me on the terms of the draft code in December 2004 in my capacity as Minister with responsibility for NHSFT policy. I understand from the chairman that Monitor's board hopes to shortly finalise the code, following which it will be laid before Parliament at the earliest available opportunity in accordance with section 12(4) of the Act.

General Practitioners (Southend-on-Sea)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were on general practitioner lists in Southend-on-Sea in (a) 1990, (b) 2000 and (c) 2004; and if he will make a statement. [213164]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 1 February 2005]: The number of patients registered with a general practitioner in the Southend-on-Sea area for 1990 is not held centrally. However, the numbers of patients registered with a GP for the years 2000 and 2003 (latest published data available) are shown in the table by primary care group (PCG) for the year 2000 and primary care trust (PCT) for the year 2003. However, the Department is not able to map boundary changes between PCGs and PCTs the PCG data are not directly comparable to the PCT data.
Patients of unrestricted principals and equivalents (UPEs)(39) for Essex SHA and specified PCGs/PCTs: 1991, 2000 and 2003(40)
Numbers (headcount)

Essex strategic health
Of which:
Castlepoint PCG4NK2084,542
Rochford PCG4TQ5684,565
Southend-On-Sea PCG4KH89174,881
Castlepoint and
Rochford PCT
Southend-On-Sea PCT5AK177,522

(39)UPEs include General Medical Service unrestricted principals, Personal Medical Service (PMS) contracted GPs and PMS salaried GPs.
(40)2003 Patient data has been revised from previously published figures.
Data as at 1 October 1991 and 30 September 2000 and 2003.
Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics

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Health Deprivation Indicators

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the utility of existing health deprivation indicators for assessing the relative health deprivation of rural areas. [211544]

Mr. Hutton: The Department is committed to matching the allocation of funding with the relative need of all areas.

A weighted capitation formula is used to determine each primary care trust's target share of available resources, which then inform allocations. Revenue funding is therefore allocated to primary care trusts on the basis of the relative needs of their populations.

The Department has recently carried out a substantial review of the weighted capitation formula and the new formula introduced from 2003–04 gives much greater
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weight to the needs of deprived communities. In this way, the new formula provides a better measure of health need in all areas.

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