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Northwick Park Hospital (Maternity)

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of maternity services at Northwick Park hospital; and if she will make a statement. [7465]

Jane Kennedy: The North West London hospitals national health service trust is actively addressing issues at the maternity unit at Northwick Park hospital. Last year, the trust, Brent primary care trust (PCT) and Harrow PCT invited the Healthcare Commission to help the trust with improvements. In April 2005, the Department, on the recommendation of the Healthcare Commission, introduced special measures at the unit to provide additional resource and external clinical support to accelerate the improvement programme.

I understand that the Healthcare Commission will shortly be publishing its report on these issues. The Department will consider the Commission's findings carefully and work with the trust and North West London strategic health authority to ensure that the appropriate action is taken.

Patient Care (Private Companies)

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will make a statement on the monitoring that is undertaken by her Department of the safety and quality of patient care provided by private companies delivering out of hours primary care services; [5949]

(2) how many adverse incidents have been recorded for GP out-of-hours services in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement; [5950]

(3) if she will make a statement on the monitoring undertaken by her Department of the development of community out-of-hours services under the new GP contract. [5951]

Mr. Byrne: The Department set quality requirements that came into effect from 1 January 2005. These set the minimum standards for the delivery of out-of-hours care. In line with Shifting the Balance of Power", it is for primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, not the Department, to monitor out-of-hours services against these quality requirements and, where necessary, take action in cases of adverse incidents or complaints.

Primary Care Trusts

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the funding per capita was for each primary care
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trust in England in 2004–05; what the budgeted funding per capita is for each trust in 2005–06; and what the average figure for all trusts is for each year. [4916]

Mr. Byrne: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) today.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the funding was per head for each primary care trust area in England in 2004–05; and what the expected level is in 2005–06. [4622]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

Allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs) are based on the population weighted for a number of factors. These factors include:

The revenue allocations for PCTs increased from £49.3 billion for 2004–05 to £53.9 billion for 2005–06; and are due to increase further to £64 billion in 2006–07 and £70 billion in 2007–08. Over the two years covered by this further allocation, PCTs will receive an average increase of 19.5 per cent.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what sanctions are available to her should primary care trusts ignore guidance on the availability of medical treatment issued by her Department. [3950]

Jane Kennedy: The primary responsibility for implementing national guidance rests with the national health service at local level. Compliance with national guidance by NHS organisations will be considered by the Healthcare Commission during their review and performance assessment process.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people with diabetes were screened for retinopathy on the NHS in (a) 2002, (b) 2003 and (c) 2004. [6671]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Figures from the national health service show that in 2003–04, 835,900 people with diabetes were screened for retinopathy and 1,076,400 in 2004–05. Figures for 2002–03 are not held centrally.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what quality assurance protocols are in place for retinopathy screening on the NHS; [6672]

(2) how much central funding is planned to be allocated for (a) an external and independent quality assurance programme and (b) an internal quality assurance programme for retinal screening. [6673]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Quality assurance standards have been developed and piloted by the United Kingdom national screening committee's national screening programme for sight threatening retinopathy. A full list of the quality assurance standards can be found on the national screening programme's website at:
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There is no central funding for quality assurance at this time. The diabetes national service framework has been fully costed and revenue funding to deliver the national and locally-determined targets has been included in primary care trust allocations.

Ward Sisters

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to employ ward sisters to improve cleanliness on hospital wards. [7975]

Jane Kennedy: It is already the Department's policy that ward sisters are responsible, within their wards, for agreeing cleaning standards, making sure standards are met and working with cleaning staff to help them fulfil their roles. Ward sisters are responsible for the whole of the clinical and operational management of wards, and ensuring the ward is clean is just one part of their very wide remit.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of (a) the financial situation of the West Herts Hospitals Trust, (b) the implications for clinical services of its financial situation and (c) proposals for ward closures at Watford hospitals; what plans she has to provide additional (i) financial and (ii) other support to the Trust; and if she will make a statement. [3914]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In line with Shifting The Balance Of Power" strategic health authorities (SHAs) are responsible for the financial performance management of individual health organisations within their health economy. It is the responsibility of SHAs to deliver both overall financial balance for their local health communities and to ensure each and every body achieves financial balance.

I am advised that the West Hertfordshire Hospital National Health Service Trust is working with primary care trusts to agree a recovery plan to ensure that it delivers national targets, meets the national standards for high quality health care and achieves its statutory duties. Decisions on how this is best delivered within the West Hertfordshire health and social care system is a local decision and thus Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire SHA is working with the local NHS to support them in this process and ensure that there is the management capacity to produce and deliver the recovery plan.

I am also assured that the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust will continue to work hard to meet the standards laid down by the Healthcare Commission and that patient care will not be compromised.

Work-related Stress

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of work-related stress have been reported in her Department in each of the last three years; how much compensation was paid to employees in each year; how many work days were lost due to work-related stress in each year; and at what cost; what procedures have been put in place to reduce work-related stress; and at what cost; and if she will make a statement. [7864]

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Jane Kennedy: The Department does not hold any data specifically on the number of reported cases of work-related stress. While the Department collects data on sickness absence, which includes stress, it is not possible to identify whether the cause of the stress related illness or anxiety was work related. It is not currently possible, therefore, to identify costs. However, the Department's recording systems are currently being developed in a way that will help identify which cases are potentially work-related at the time they are recorded. This will enable appropriate remedial action to be taken at the earliest opportunity.

The Department's settlement or compensation payments are made in respect of Employment (Industrial) Tribunal cases, which address a number of inter-related circumstances, of which work-related stress is only one element. Compensation payments on the grounds of work-related stress are not recorded separately.

The Department has a number of procedures already in place to help managers and staff to be aware of and reduce work-related stress and it is currently looking at further interventions.

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