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Hospital Isolation Facilities

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to audit the adequacy of isolation facilities within NHS hospitals. [5612]

Jane Kennedy: The Department has no plans to audit isolation facilities within national health service hospitals. It is for the strategic health authorities to ensure appropriate provision based on their local needs.

Hospital Workers (Drug Dependency)

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)what support is available to hospital workers who become addicted to drugs; [6212]

(2) whether the Government plan to increase the support available to hospital workers who become addicted to drugs. [6213]

Mr. Byrne: The Department issued guidance, Taking alcohol and other drugs out of the NHS workplace", in February 2001. Earlier this year, the guidance was re-issued as part of the Management of Health, Safety and Welfare Issues for NHS Staff", by NHS Employers, which provides support to employers.

The guidance recommends that staff who are identified as having a problem, either through self-referral or management action, and who are willing to undertake treatment, should be rehabilitated. The cost of retaining them as useful employees and utilising their knowledge far outweighs the costs of losing them from the national health service.

NHS employers should have policies and support in place to address any problems of drugs and alcohol use among staff. The findings of the recent NHS staff survey report 80 per cent. of staff having access to counselling services.

Hospitals (Shropshire)

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) budget and (b) budget deficit of the RJ and AH Orthopaedic hospital, Gobowen has been in each of the last five years. [2244]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The table shows the total income and the retained surplus/(deficit) for the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic hospital national health service trust.
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£ thousand

Total income
Retained surplus/(Deficit)

Audited summarisation schedules of the above trust 1999–2000 to 2003–04.

Shropshire and Staffordshire strategic health authority reports that the trust is planning to reduce the deficit during the current financial year based on a range of measures predominantly linked to delivering increased additional activity.

Inspection fees (Charities)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will reduce inspection fees levied by the Healthcare Commission on small charities offering medical treatments; [5913]

(2) for what reasons inspection fees charged for the Sussex MS Treatment Centre in Southwick, West Sussex, by the Healthcare Commission are due to rise by the amount planned in the period to 2008; [5914]

(3) what the reasons are for the proposed increase of inspection fees charged by the Healthcare Commission to inspect small charitable medical treatment centres over the next three years. [5916]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 20 June 2005]: Government policy is to move to a position of full cost recovery, where the fee income received by inspectorates, such as the Healthcare Commission, matches the costs incurred in carrying out regulatory work. Our intention is that the Healthcare Commission should achieve a position of full cost recovery by 2008 at the latest. The regulatory fee increase for 2005–06, announced in February 2005, was a step in that direction. No decisions have been taken about the level of fees in future years, though the costs of registration and inspection are still higher than the sum collected by the Healthcare Commission in fees.

When the fee levels for 2005–06 were announced in February, my noble Friend Lord Warner, the then Under Secretary wrote to private and voluntary health care providers telling them of the new fees; he also confirmed that the Department would be working with the Healthcare Commission to develop a timetable for the Commission to take on responsibility for fee setting and that we anticipated that the Commission would assume responsibility from April 2006. I understand that in preparation for taking on that responsibility, the Commission has established a programme to look at costs and the different types of providers it regulates so that when it is given the power to set fees, it will have comprehensive information on which to base its approach. The Commission would also consult publicly on any new fee structure.
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Intensive Care Provision

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been conducted on comparative survival rates in hospitals with and without intensive care on site. [3995]

Jane Kennedy: The Department is not aware of any research specific to the comparative survival rates in hospitals with and without intensive care on site.

IT Contracts

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) projected cost at the time of tender and (b) actual cost at the time of completion was for each IT contract commissioned by her Department in the last five years. [2578]

Jane Kennedy: The information technology contracts commissioned by the Department, with projected costs at the time of tender and the actual cost at time of completion, are shown in the table.

ProjectProjected costActual
'VISTA'—Oracle financials system6,130,0005,633,498
'PAST'—processing of abortion statistics109,100137,300
Benchmarking programme1,168,000971,000
BT hosting345,000306,000
Departmental website hosting145,000156,000

The increased actual costs for the PAST project are as a result of additional requirements identified following award of contract. Similarly, the increase in costs for the Departmental website hosting is a reflection of a refining of service and service levels.

Laptop Computers

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many laptop computers have been used by (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) officials in her Department in each year since 1995; how many have been (i) lost and (ii) stolen in that period; what the cost was of the use of laptops in that period; and if she will make a statement. [4126]

Jane Kennedy: No central records are kept of laptops provided specifically to previous Ministers and special advisers. However, current Ministers and special advisers have been assigned a laptop each, where they have a requirement for one. In the last financial year, there were six Ministers, three of whom had a requirement and in this financial year, six Ministers, of whom four have laptops. Three special advisers had laptops last year. Two of the three special advisers this year have been allocated a laptop, with potential for a third adviser also to have one. This reflects the situation since 1995 where laptops have been assigned as required.

At present, there are 2,310 laptops within the Department, which are either stand-alone models or configured to access the Department's computer network remotely. This number encompasses the laptops issued to Ministers, special advisers and officials of the Department. The officials include contractors working on behalf of the
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Department. Records do not show any differentiation between officials and contractors so cannot be identified separately.

The number of laptops is taken from an asset register, which is updated constantly and provides a snapshot figure. Figures from previous years are therefore not available.

The cost of usage in this context is taken to mean the cost of support and maintenance of the laptops by the information technology service provider (ISP). The structure of the ISP charging model means that it is not possible to demonstrate the costs of usage of individual laptops. Their overall charge includes elements covering several services: help desk, incident and problem resolution (including hardware maintenance), second and third line support, and service management charges. It is not simply a case of aggregating the charge and dividing by the number of laptops to produce a yearly cost.

The numbers of laptops lost or stolen and the cost and usage of laptops within the last 10 years are shown in the table.
Financial yearLaptops lost/stolenTotal cost
of laptops (£)
Average cost
per laptop (£)

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