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21 Jul 2005 : Column 2163W—continued

Ethical Recruitment

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many recruitment agencies have been removed from the list of recruitment agencies complying with the code of practice on international recruitment since 2001; [12608]

(2) if she will estimate the number and proportion of recruitment agencies in England that are on the list of agencies which adhere to the code of practice on international recruitment. [12635]

Mr. Byrne: The number of agencies listed as compliant with the code of practice is 233. Data that identify the number of agencies supplying the national health service are not collected centrally.

Between early 2001 and July 2005, seven agencies were removed from the list of agencies compliant with the code.

All NHS employers are strongly commended to adhere to the code of practice in all matters concerningthe international recruitment of healthcare professionals across all disciplines.

EU Clinical Trials Directive

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what policy considerations underlay the full implementation of the EU Clinical Trials Directive. [13796]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 20 July 2005]: The Government's policy to protect public health includes the protection of the rights, safety and wellbeing of people who participate in clinical trials that test the safety and efficacy of essential new medicines for those with disease. The Clinical Trials Directive (2001/20/EC) underpins this policy throughout the European Union by introducing a statutory basis for international standards of good clinical practice for commencing, conducting and verifying the results of clinical trials, for good manufacturing practice that provides assurance of the quality of medicines being tested, inspection against these standards and enforcement for non-compliance. Many of the requirements of the Directive were already accepted standards for governance of research in the United Kingdom before it was implemented by the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004.

Foetal Viability

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the earliest gestational age at which an unborn child may be capable of being born alive. [10605]

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Caroline Flint: The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, as amended, provides for the registration of babies born dead after 24 weeks gestation and this is described as the legal age of viability. Guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine introduces the concept of a threshold of viability" as being from 22 to 26 weeks gestation. Although the possibility of survival of extremely pre-term babies has improved, data suggests that, even with modern intensive care, chances of survival at 22 weeks gestation are only approximately 1 per cent., whereas this increases to 26 per cent. at 24 weeks. A recent briefing paper from the British Medical Association, Abortion time limits", highlighted that gestational age is not the only factor that affects the possibility of a foetus being considered viable.

Food Supplements Directive

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the Food Supplements Directive wasnot discussed at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting on 2 and 3 June. [9646]

Caroline Flint: The Food Supplements Directive was not on the agenda for the Health Council on 2 and 3 June. I have spoken to the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs for the European Commission regarding the directive. We are, of course, in close communication with the Commission and are encouraged with the constructive responses we have been getting.

We have made clear that we want consumers to continue to have a wide choice of supplements. At the same time, consumers need the information to make their choice an informed one.

Foreign Animal Species

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthhow many cases of illness due to exposure to foreign animal species have been reported in each of the last five years; and what species were involved in each case. [8980]

Caroline Flint: The Department does not have ready access to the information requested. The Health Protection Agency holds surveillance information for several zoonotic diseases, including food poisoning, but will not usually be able to relate this directly to exposure to foreign animal species. For diseases where this can be done, such as rabies and anthrax exposure, the figures for the United Kingdom are shown in the following table.

For both the rabies cases in 2001, these were acquired abroad and were due to direct exposure to infected dogs. Both patients died. The rabies case in 2002 was also fatal. It was due to direct exposure within the UK to a species of bat which also occurs abroad. Both the cases
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of anthrax recovered following treatment and were due to exposure within the UK to infected animal skins, though the species of animal is not known.

General Practitioners

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2005, Official Report, columns 586–87W to the hon. Member for Northavon (Steve Webb) on general practitioner appointments, what plans she has to redraft the general practitioners' contract to address problems encountered by patients who are unable to book appointments in advance. [8784]

Mr. Byrne: A review of the current general practice contractual framework is being undertaken by the NHS Employers Organisation.

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 July 2005, Official Report, column 974W, on general practitioner practices, and what the average list size is of general medical practitioners in England. [13512]

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Mr. Byrne [holding answer 19 July 2005]: Since the introduction of the new general medical service contract in April 2004, patients have registered with the practice rather than the practitioner. The average number of patients per practitioner, excluding retainers and registrars, is described as the number of patients for whom the partnership is responsible divided by the number of practitioners, excluding general practitioner registrars and retainers, who belong to or work in that partnership. This figure for England as at 30 September 2004 was 1,666.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) general practitioner surgeries and (b) single-handed general practitioner surgeries there were in each of the last five years for which figures are available, broken down by (i) region and (ii) health authority. [10161]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is available by strategic health authority (SHA), but not by primary care trust (PCT) area. This information is shown in the tables.
GP practices(58) by specified partnership size, by strategic health authority, 1999–2004
Number count

PracticesSingle handed GP practicesPracticesSingle handed GP practicesPracticesSingle handed GP practices
North East4151004079240886
Q9Northumberland Tyne and Wear,243582405424051
Q10County Durham and Tees Valley172421673816835
North West1,4234781,4244841,398470
Q13Cumbria and Lancashire387129382128378125
Q14Greater Manchester587220590224572211
Q15Cheshire and Merseyside449129452132448134
Yorkshire and the Humber889255877249878243
Q11North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincoln268692636926570
Q12West Yorkshire388120382115384114
Q23South Yorkshire233662326522959
East Midlands663162653150653145
Q25Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland232612255622653
West Midlands1,0613851,0523731,050386
Q26Shropshire and Staffordshire2749727299272105
Q27Birmingham and The Black Country543240537228536236
Q28West Midlands South244482434624245
East of England823185830197819194
Q01Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire306373083930944
Q02Bedford and Hertfordshire232482335223154
Q04North West London471216466217469210
Q05North Central London306142308144309140
Q06North East London384186382182384196
Q07South East London311125305115307117
Q08South West London257842507924476
South East1,2572981,2382741,224266
Q16Thames Valley306523024929740
Q17Hampshire and isle of Wight243302412723926
Q18Kent and Medway317129309116308118
Q19Surrey and Sussex391873868238082
South West77410577310676797
Q20Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire330463294832846
Q21South West Peninsula257322573125429
Q22Somerset and Dorset187271872718522

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Number count

PracticesSingle handed GP practicesPracticesSingle handed GP practicesPracticesSingle handed GP practices
North East407834099140691
Q9Northumberland, Tyne and Wear238462415423756
Q10County Durham and Tees Valley169371683716935
North West1,3774601,3614421,327424
Q13Cumbria and Lancashire370119362116356113
Q14Greater Manchester562209557199545196
Q15Cheshire and Merseyside445132442127426115
Yorkshire and the Humber875243865227836196
Q11North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincoln266742626625356
Q12West Yorkshire38310738110336485
Q23South Yorkshire226622225821955
East Midlands648143645138635124
Q25Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland223482265422355
West Midlands1,0363851,028384996352
Q26Shropshire and Staffordshire26710027010425584
Q27Birmingham and The Black Country530238521233507225
Q28West Midlands South239472374723443
East of England806182810194804189
Q01Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire301373033830031
Q02Bedford and Hertfordshire230522325423152
Q04North West London457200472214441179
Q05North Central London313145320159291127
Q06North East London381194376183349149
Q07South East London300112332143294100
Q08South West London245712526923251
South East1,2242561,2092541,180225
Q16Thames Valley302462994429133
Q17Hampshire and isle of Wight241252352823221
Q18Kent and Medway302113296106290107
Q19Surrey and Sussex379723797636764
South West764927548075178
Q20Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire326413263632337
Q21South West Peninsula253292522925228
Q22Somerset and Dorset185221761517613

(58)Figures can not be calculated prior to 2004 for single handed practitioners (excluding GP registrars and GP retainers). Therefore figures shown refer to single handed contracted GPs. A single handed contracted GP is one who has no partners, although they may have a GMS/PMS other, GP registrar or GP retainer.
Data as at 1 October 1999–2000 and 30 September 2001–04.
NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre. General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.

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