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20. Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her latest assessment is of the availability of NHS digital hearing aids. 
Mr. Byrne: Since the end of March 2005, all 164 NHS hearing aid services in England are routinely providing people with digital hearing aids.
22. Lynda Waltho: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on waiting times for coronary bypass grafts. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Excellent progress has been made to reduce waiting times for heart surgery patients. Until recently, patients were waiting up to two years for a coronary bypass graft operation but now no one waits longer than three months for heart surgery.
23. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to ensure that appropriate and affordable medicines are available to people with (a) Alzheimer's and (b) dementia. 
Mr. Byrne: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 16 June 2005, Official Report, column 630W.
24. Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of prison inmates infected with hepatitis C; and how many inmates are infected in each prison in England. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Information about the number of prisoners with hepatitis C is not collected centrally. The then Public Health Laboratory Service undertook an unlinked, anonymised survey of the prevalence of blood borne viruses amongst prisoners in England in 199798. This indicated that nine per cent., of adult
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men, 11 per cent., of women and 0.6 per cent., of male young offenders had evidence of previous exposure to hepatitis C.
25. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioner practices there are in Kettering constituency; and what the average number of patients registered with a practice in Kettering is. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is not held in the format requested. The following table shows the average list size of general medical practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars), 1 and GP practices for Northhamptonshire Heartlands primary care trust.
|All practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars)(28)||145|
|Average list size||1,983|
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the number of people in each NHS region who are not registered with a GP; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: It is not possible to estimate with any accuracy the number of people who are not registered with a general practice.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information she has collated on how many general practitioners plan to retire in each year until 2010. 
Mr. Byrne: The information is not collected centrally.
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time equivalent NHS general practitioners have been employed in the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The number of full-time equivalent national health service general practitioners that have been employed in the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency in each year since 1997 are shown in the tables.
|Estimated full-time equivalents|
|5GE||Bedfordshire Heartlands PCT||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||123|
|5GE||Bedfordshire Heartlands PCT||121||129||136||136|
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the health service spent on hiring agency nursing staff (a) in total and (b) broken down by NHS trust, in (i) 199596, (ii) 199697, (iii) 199798, (iv) 199899, (v) 19992000, (vi) 200001, (vii) 200102, (viii) 200203 and (ix) 200304; what the figures were at the latest date for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: The table shows the total non-national health service salaries and wages expenditure for nursing, midwifery and health visiting for the years 199596 to 200304. Information on expenditure in each NHS trust in England in each year from 199596 to 200001 and 200102 to 200304 is available in the Library. Total NHS spend increased from £32 billion in 199596 to £63 billion in 200304.
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting expenditure (£)|
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what date (a) Ministers and (b) officials first received the completed review of ambulance services undertaken by Mr. Peter Bradley. 
Mr. Byrne: An incomplete version of the review of ambulance services was submitted to ministers on 27 May 2005. The review group continued to finalise the report until close to its publication on 30 June 2005.
Departmental officials worked closely with the review group throughout the period of the ambulance review.
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