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26 May 2005 : Column 228W—continued

Intensive Care

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional resources have been made available in each year since 1997 to support the provision of intensive care services; and what additional resources she plans to make available. [224]

Mr. Byrne: The Department made available £142.5 million additional funding specifically for critical care services in 2000–01 and 2001–02. These resources have now been incorporated into primary care trusts' financial baselines.
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Over the three years of the 2004 spending review (2005–06 to 2007–08), national health service spend will increase by 23 per cent. in real terms. Over three years this will take the total spent on the NHS in England from £69 billion in 2004–05 to over £92 billion in 2007–08. It is for local health economies to make decisions on how to invest these growing resources in ways that most effectively respond to the needs and priorities of their local populations, including those relating to intensive care.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the practice of doctors at senior house officer level referring and accepting patients into intensive care units. [246]

Mr. Byrne: In May 2000, the Department issued "Comprehensive Critical Care—A Review of Adult Critical Care Services". This recommended that consultant medical staff should have responsibility for directing the overall plan of patient clinical care, direct supervision and teaching of trainee medical staff, internal and organisational (non-clinical) management and leadership of critical care services.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many intensive care beds there were in the NHS in each year since 1997; and what proportion of all available beds this represented in each year. [247]

Mr. Byrne: The Department has published data on intensive care provision on a six-monthly basis since March 1999. The information requested is shown in the table.
Number of open and staffed adult intensive care beds on thecensus day

Census dateIntensive care bedsProportion as a percentage of all available beds
31 March 19991,5200.8
30 September 19991,5010.8
15 January 20001,5550.8
14 July 20001,4960.8
15 January 20011,6770.9
16 July 20011,6700.9
15 January 20021,7110.9
16 July 20021,7180.9
15 January 20031,7460.9
16 July 20031,7310.9
15 January 20041,7691.0
15 July 20041,746(21)
13 January 20051,787(21)

(21) Data not yet available.
1. Data on all available beds data (KH03) are collected annually.
2. Data on all available beds data for July 2004 and January 2005 are not yet available.
3. Day only beds have been excluded.
Department of Health forms KH03a, KH03

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she plans to produce a single model for the provision of outreach services in intensive care; and if she will make a statement on the actions being taken to address the concerns reported in the 2005 report of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death, An Acute Problem. [260]

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Mr. Byrne: It is for health professionals working in local health services to provide intensive care services in ways that best meet the needs of their local populations and there are no plans to produce a single uniform model for the provision of outreach services. The Department promotes the development of outreach services and recommends that they are available in every appropriate hospital 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

The Government welcomes the report of the national confidential enquiry into patient outcome and death (NCEPOD). The report reinforces the importance of the service improvements and developments that have been taking place in recent years, supported by the critical care modernisation programme that the Department launched in May 2000. Every hospital with a critical care services is now included in one of 29 critical care networks that work to locally agreed common standards and protocols, supporting improvements in service standards and assisting commissioners and providers in planning service provision. The Department, working closely with the critical care stakeholders' forum, will continue to support the national health service in developing critical care services, taking into account the recommendations of the NCEPOD report.

IVF Treatment

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the availability of IVF treatment on the NHS as at 1 April; and if she will make a statement. [264]

Caroline Flint: Following the publication in February 2004 of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's clinical guideline on the assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems, we advised all primary care trusts (PCTs) to offer a minimum of one cycle of "in-vitro fertilisation" (IVF) by April 2005 to those who meet the clinical criteria, and to make progress to full implementation of the guideline in the longer term. The survey of PCTs, conducted by the National Infertility Awareness Campaign and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infertility, published on 1 April 2005, indicates that good progress is being made towards a minimum national level of provision of one cycle of IVF to eligible patients.

Mobile Phones

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research the Government have (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the health effects of mobile phones on people in rural areas; and what plans the Government have to issue guidance on those effects. [539]

Caroline Flint: The LINK mobile telecommunications and health research (MTHR) programme, funded jointly by Government and industry, is providing support for about 30 individual studies into potential health effects of mobile phone technology. Although none of these is specifically comparing rural and urban use, the population studies under this programme are designed to find out if there is
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an association between mobile phone use and ill health. The MTHR research is described on its website at

Evaluation of worldwide research on possible health effects of mobile phone use is undertaken in this country by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and its independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation (AGNIR). The substantial review by AGNIR in 2003, entitled, "Health Effects from Radiofrequency Fields (RF)", concluded that:

The HPA keeps the health effects under continual review. The information is available on its website at

The Department's advice remains as stated in the "Mobile phones and Health" leaflets: people can choose to minimise their exposure if they wish, but for children in particular, the advice is to limit mobile phones use for essential purposes only and keep calls short.


Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of MRSA there were in each hospital in the UK in the last five years for which figures are available. [212]

Jane Kennedy: Information on the number of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections is not available by hospital as requested. However, mandatory surveillance began in April 2001 and results are published by individual trust This information is available on the Department's website at:

The national totals are shown in the table.
Reports under the mandatory MRSA bacteraemia surveillance system (acute national health service trusts, England)

April to March
April 2004-September 20043,519

Health Protection Agency.

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures she is taking to reduce the incidence of MRSA at Chase Farm hospital. [791]

Jane Kennedy: To support the target of halving meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections by 2008, the Department has set up an improvement network for trusts with high MRSA numbers and challenging targets. Barnet and Chase Farm national health service trust, of which Chase Farm hospital is a part, is a member of this network, which is helping trusts improve their infection control.
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Trusts now have directors of infection prevention and control and they will publish annual reports on local progress shortly.

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