Previous Section Index Home Page

14 Mar 2005 : Column 134W—continued

Regional Directors of Public Health

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the position of Regional Director of Public Health for each English region was established; what the totalbudget for their activities is; how many staff each office has; what their remit is; and if he will make a statement. [219075]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 1 March 2005]: The position of Regional Directors of Public Health (RDsPH) was established in April 2002.

The remit of RDsPH is to improve the health of the population within their regions, through reducing inequalities in health, protecting the health of the public and improving the standards and quality of services affecting determinants of health.

Their responsibilities include work with other Government Departments, agencies, voluntary and business communities, nationally and regionally, to tackle the wider determinants of health. They ensure that health considerations are reflected in plans and programmes in areas such as housing, crime, education, transport and environmental planning and underpin economic and urban regeneration.

Staff in post and budgets for each region for 2004–05 is shown in the following table.
Regional public health groupStaff in postBudget
(£ million)
East of England131.950
South East164.076
North East162.092
North West175.273
West Midlands164.333
East Midlands163.380
Yorks and Humber172.321
South West164.414

Regional Offices

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which (a) non-departmental public bodies and (b) Executive agencies within the remit of his Department have regional offices based on the Government offices for the regions regional structure; and when the regional offices were established in each case. [219886]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The following two bodies for which the Department is responsible have regional offices covering the regional Government office areas:

14 Mar 2005 : Column 135W

Renal Services

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department is publishing for primary care trusts on the implementation of the renal national service framework. [212332]

Ms Rosie Winterton: It is for primary care trusts commissioning renal services to set priorities for local action based on the standards, quality requirements and markers of good practice set out in the national service framework for renal services. We are supporting local delivery through various programmes and national health service pilots, including redesigning the work force, re-engineering elective vascular access surgery, patient transport, care planning, end-of-life care and redesigning the built environment. We will share the results with the NHS as these programmes and pilots complete.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether kidney patients awaiting vascular access surgery will be able to exercise patient choice; and if he will make a statement. [212335]

Mr. Hutton: The national service framework for renal services makes clear we are determined that kidney patients should have timely and appropriate surgery for permanent vascular access. Latest data for 2003–04 show the average time waited for vascular access surgery was 41 days. However, where, exceptionally, patients wait longer than six months on the waiting list, primary care trusts are responsible for offering choice of an alternative provider in line with the Department's Choice of Hospital" guidance.

By the end of 2005, all patients will be able to choose from at least four or five different providers at the point of general practitioner referral.

Social Services Staff

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements he has made for (a) issuing advice and (b) monitoring practice in joint health social service care teams in connection with a common approach to human resource issues, with particular reference to (i)pay and conditions, (ii) pension entitlements and (iii)and access to training. [219712]

Mr. Hutton: There are no central arrangements. It is the responsibility of the employers concerned to ensure that effective human resource management policies and practices are in place. Pay and conditions are negotiated locally for social services. The national training strategy grant and human resource development grant, paid by the Department to local authorities, is for use, at local discretion, to support human resource and training initiatives, with encouragement given to ensure that partners in the private and voluntary sector benefit.

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the occasions between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2004 when special advisers attended meetings with external representatives at which ministers were not present. [210541]

14 Mar 2005 : Column 136W

Ms Rosie Winterton: All meetings held by special advisers and all speeches given by special advisers are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers".

Speech Therapy

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many speech therapists have been working in the NHS in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [221153]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is shown in the following table.
National health service hospital and community health services: qualified speech and language therapists employed in the NHS as at 30 September 1999 to 2003

HeadcountWhole-time equivalents

Department of Health non-medical workforce census

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the most recent average waiting time for first referral for a patient to see a speech therapist is; and what changes have occurred to waiting times over the past five years. [221154]

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

Student Health Care

Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will estimate the cost of administering the processing of HC1 forms for students; [220821]

(2) if he will estimate the combined cost in a year of exempting all students from charges for prescription, dental care and eye tests. [220830]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In 2003–04, the administrative cost of processing national health service low income scheme HC1 application forms received from students is estimated to have been about £714,000.

It is estimated that it would cost about £85 million to exempt all part and full-time students in higher education aged 19 or over from charges for prescriptions, dental care and eye tests. This total figure includes the £4.25 million estimated value of exemptions to those students who are currently exempt.

Students aged under 19 in full-time education are already entitled to free prescriptions, dental care, sight tests and optical vouchers.

Sudan 1

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)what information the Government are providing to owners of smaller corner shops to help them identify the products that should be withdrawn from the shelves as a result of the Sudan 1 dye recall; [218355]
14 Mar 2005 : Column 137W

(2) what the reasons were for the delay between the notification to the Food Standards Agency of a potential problem with the Sudan 1 dye and the agency making a public announcement; [218356]

(3) what the total cost of the Sudan 1 dye recall is estimated to be. [218357]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Full information has been made available on the Food Standards Agency's website of foods known to be contaminated with Sudan 1, and this was provided to a number of stakeholder organisations, including the Association of Convenience Stores, to distribute to their members. In addition, the FSA has asked all local authorities to contact food businesses in their area to ensure the recall has been effective.

The FSA made a public announcement less than 24 hours after it received accurate and reliable information from the food industry on products contaminated with Sudan 1 dye.

The FSA has not undertaken an assessment of the cost of the Sudan 1 recall.

Next Section Index Home Page