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Primary Care Trusts

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to re-organise primary care trust funding in Milton Keynes. [12912]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The latest round of revenue allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs) for 2006–07 and 2007–08 was announced on 2 February 2005. Milton Keynes PCT will receive £247.0 million in 2006–07 and £277.9 million in 2007–08. These allocations represent a cash increase of £55.6 million, or 25 per cent, over the two years.

It is for PCTs, in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders, to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services.

Jim Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the ability of primary care trusts to find a reasonable balance between funding expenditure on primary care and acute services in their respective areas. [10450]

Mr. Byrne: No such assessments have been made. It is for primary care trusts to assess and make decisions about investment locally within the context of the Government's national priorities for the national health service.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the budgetary positions of primary care trusts in 2005. [12230]

Mr. Byrne: We agree financial plans with primary care trusts (PCTs) each year, after assessing the reasonableness of their assumptions for future income and expenditure.

PCTs are expected to plan to live within their revenue resource, capital resource and cash limits each and every year. The financial plans for 2005–06 are being finalised.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what advice her Department provides to primary care trusts facing large financial deficits with regard to their compliance with waiting list targets; [12231]
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(2) whether the statutory duty placed upon primary care trusts to maintain balanced budgets overrides the requirement placed upon them to achieve waiting list targets. [12233]

Mr. Byrne: National health service organisations are expected to plan for and achieve financial balance each and every year. It is the responsibility of the strategic health authorities (SHAs) to deliver both overall financial balance for their local health communities and to ensure each and every body achieves financial balance. However, there is a degree of flexibility in how this is managed at a local level. In circumstances where a surplus or underspend cannot be generated in the following year, the SHAs can agree to a recovery plan which phases the recovery of deficits over a number of years.

Waiting times matter to patients and it is possible to meet the waiting time targets and achieve financial balance. Successful organisations are doing this and have been for some time.

Prostate Cancer

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is taking to promote awareness of the symptoms of prostate cancer; and if she will make a statement. [14801]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Thanks to the work of the prostate cancer advisory group (PCAG) we now have, for the first time, a definitive set of key messages for the general public about the prostate, including prostate cancer. This will give men the information they need to be aware of the prostate, but in such a way as to not cause unnecessary anxiety.

A pilot communications programme using the key messages has been developed by the public awareness working group of PCAG and is expected to start in February 2006.

For health professionals, in April 2000, we published referral guidelines for suspected cancer, to help general practitioners identify those patients who are most likely to have cancer and who therefore require urgent assessment by a specialist. The guidelines included a section on prostate cancer. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) reviewed this guidance and published an update version in June 2005.

The prostate cancer risk management programme has produced a booklet, The PSA test and prostate cancer: Information for primary care". This booklet provides GPs with an easy reference source on prostate cancer, from risk factors to treatment. The booklet was produced after consultation with GPs, primary care cancer leads and an expert advisory group.

In September 2002, NICE published guidance on urological cancers, including prostate cancer. This guidance covers all aspects of cancer care for urological cancer patients and is aimed at helping all of those involved in planning, commissioning, organising and providing cancer services to ensure high quality services.
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We have also provided funding for the following organisations to increase public awareness of prostate cancer:


Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are training to be psychiatrists. [13425]

Mr. Byrne: As at 31 March 2004, there were 1,144 doctors holding training numbers in the psychiatric specialties. In addition, as at 30 September 2004 there were 2,426 senior house officers and 10 house officers working within the psychiatry group. However, many of these doctors were not planning to take up psychiatry as a career but, rather, were intending to apply the basic-level experience gained in psychiatry to other spheres of medicine, for example, primary care.

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthhow many consultant psychiatrists there are per head of the population; and how many there were in 1997. [13427]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is shown in the table.
Hospital, public health medicine and community health services: staff numbers and numbers per 100,000 population—England

30 September 1997
31 December 2004
NumbersPer 1,000 populationNumbersPer 1,000 population
Psychiatry group2,4475.03,6387.3
of which:
Child and adolescent
Forensic psychiatry1230.32330.5
General psychiatry1,3652.81,9944.0
Learning disabilities1610.32080.4
Old age psychiatry2440.55161.0

National Health Service Health and Social Care Information Centre medical and dental workforce census.

Rehabilitation Services

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to meet the challenges set out in the 58th World Health Assembly resolution on disability, including prevention, management and rehabilitation in relation to rehabilitation services for disabled people in England. [14204]

Mr. Byrne: The resolution is in line with Government policy to ensure equal opportunities and improve life chances for disabled people.
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The Department is taking forward a number of initiatives to address the challenges of rehabilitation. Ongoing work on patient management and rehabilitation includes the recently published national service framework for long-term conditions. In addition, the Department is involved in work on prevention through the development of practical policies in the Public Health White Paper, Choosing Health". In particular, the Department is currently undertaking a project to assess provision of rehabilitation services within the national health service and social care, what gaps exist and how services might be improved.

We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to take forward recommendations from the strategy unit report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People", including setting up an office for disability issues.

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