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12 Sept 2005 : Column 2769W—continued


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of state-registered nurse training is allocated to dealing with psychiatric illnesses. [14284]

Mr. Byrne: The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) sets the standards for registration as a qualified nurse. The education standards set by the NMC are at a broad level of principle and are used by the education institutions to inform their curriculum development. The NMC is responsible for validating the programmes that the education institutions provide.
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There are four branches of pre-registration nurse training; adult, children, learning disability and mental health nursing. During the mental health nursing branch, students will gain experience in acute psychiatry, the care of those with severe or enduring mental illness, the care of the elderly mentally ill and supporting people to live in the community.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many nursing vacancies there are in the Essex Health Authority area; [14316]

(2) how many nurses are employed in each of the hospitals located in Essex Health Authority. [14317]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is shown in the table.
Department of Health Vacancies Survey: Vacancies in Essex Strategic Health Authority (SHA) area for qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff, three month vacancy rates, numbers and staff in post

March 2004
September 2004
Three month vacancy rate
Staff in post
PercentageNumberFull-time equivalentHeadcount
Essex SHAQ033.32307,1688,926
Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals National Health Service TrustROD2.1168631,138
Basildon Primary Care Trust (PCT)5GR1.1193122
Billericay, Brentwood and Wickford PCT5GP0.0(212)97118
Castle Point and Rochford PCT5JP2.53124152
Chelmsford PCT5JN6.3681108
Colchester PCT5GM3.28251293
Epping Forest PCT5AJ3.43110140
Essex Ambulance Service NHS TrustRB40.0(212)11
Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS TrustRDE0.878941,092
Essex SHAQ03(211)(212)910
Harlow PCT5DC8.6891115
Maldon and South Chelmsford PCT5GL11.31299142
Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS TrustRQ80.0(212)1,0831,454
North Essex Mental Health Partnership NHS TrustRRD4.530671746
Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS TrustRQW14.396610739
South Essex Partnership NHS TrustRWN3.819550641
Southend Hospital NHS TrustRAJ0.559431,119
Southend on Sea PCT5AK1.72140193
Tendring PCT5AH4.47146196
Thurrock PCT5GQ2.73124145
Uttlesford PCT5GN6.046183
Witham Braintree and Halstead Care TrustTAG0.0(212)127179

(211)Figures where sum of staff in post (as at 30 September 2004) and vacancies (as at 31 March 2005) is less than 10.
Three month vacancy notes:
1.Three month vacancy information is as at 31 March each year.
2.Three month vacancies are vacancies which trusts are actively trying to fill, which had lasted for three months or more (full–time equivalents).
3.Three month vacancy rates are three month vacancies expressed as a percentage of three month vacancies plus staff in post.
4.Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.
General notes:
1.Vacancy and staff in post numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number.
2.Calculating the vacancy rates using the above data may not equal the actual vacancy rates.
3.Due to rounding, totals may not equal the sum of component parts.
Health & Social Care Information Centre vacancies survey, March 2004.
Health & Social Care Information Centre non-medical workforce census, September 2004.

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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had during each of the last 18 months with the Royal College of Nursing about (a) abortion and (b) euthanasia issues; if she will place in the Library a note of each such meeting; and if she will make a statement. [14286]

Caroline Flint: No such discussions have taken place.


Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice and assistance is made available to encourage general practitioners to take advantage through practice based commissioning of (a) slimming on referral and (b) other evidence based schemes. [11897]

Mr. Byrne: No specific advice has been issued to general practitioners on referral issues in the context of practice based commissioning. However, practice based commissioning does provide the opportunity for GPs to take more responsibility for the commissioning of evidence based services for patients.

In addition, the White Paper, Choosing Health", made a commitment to assess the role the independent sector, including validated programmes such as slimming on referral, can play in providing effective behaviour change programmes.

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on progress with obesity initiatives in the Implementation Programme of the White Paper on Public Health with particular reference to (a) the Weight Loss Guide, (b) Obesity Care Pathway and the Obesity Tool Kit, (c) the Directory of Training Resources, (d) National Partnership for Obesity, (e) Obesity Programme Board, (f) the development of a job description and management structure for health trainers and (g) the work of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in assessing weight loss options. [13543]

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Caroline Flint: Progress on the programmes listed are as follows:

Publication of the weight loss guide is expected in the autumn.

Both the obesity care pathway and the obesity toolkit are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The directory for training resources was posted on the Dieticians in Obesity Management UK (DOMUK) website at on 25 May. There will be a link to the directory from the Department's website.

Arrangements are in hand for the first meeting of the obesity programme board by the autumn. One of its first tasks will be to reach agreements on the setting up of the national partnership for obesity.

From September, early adopter sites will begin to trial a draft set of core competencies and job descriptions for health trainers.

The work of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in assessing weight loss options is on schedule for early 2007, preceded by two consultations next year.

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the total number of points available for assessing practice remuneration under the general practitioners contract is; how many points relate directly to the assessment, treatment or prevention of overweightness or obesity; and for what specific purposes these are awarded; [13544]

(2) if she will increase the number of points available under the general practitioners contract for actions directly related to tackling overweightness and obesity by reference to success in reducing obesity rather than measuring the scale of the problem; and if she will make a statement. [13587]

Caroline Flint: There are 1050 points available in the quality and outcomes framework, of which three points are available for the percentage of patients with diabetes
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whose notes record body mass index in the previous 15 months. A review of the quality and outcomes framework is currently being undertaken led by NHS Employers. As part of that, the Department has submitted proposals for new indicators on obesity, which are being considered by an expert panel as part of the agreed review process.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on whether pregnant women who are obese during the first trimester of pregnancy have an increased likelihood of having a baby with cleft lip or palate; and if she will make a statement. [13636]

Caroline Flint: None.

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