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Mr. Byrne [holding answer 18 July 2005]: It is for local national health service organisations to decide on ward or bed closures. The Government have given local authority overview and scrutiny committees the power to review and scrutinise health services from the perspective of their local populations. NHS bodies are under a duty to consult overview and scrutiny committees on any plans to make substantial variation to NHS services. Those committees have the powers to refer any proposal to the Secretary of State if they believe the plans are not in the interests of the health service. Currently there are three referrals from overview and scrutiny committees being considered by the Secretary of State.
Mr. Byrne [holding answers 11 July 2005]: Data on the number of staff recruited to the national health service are not collected centrally. The table shows the net growth in NHS staff and healthcare assistants.
|Total employed staff including general practitioners and practice staff||of which:|
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many GP referrals have been made using the choose and book system; what the total cost of the system is to date; what the total estimated final cost of the system is; and if she will make a statement; 
|Number of bookings per month||Total bookings (cumulative)|
Use of the system to date has largely been confined to a small number of 'early adopter' health communities. The national health service is now beginning to implement the service more widely, taking into account the experience gained in the early adopters. Feedback from early adopters and patients about the service is positive, and the number of patients able to book their hospital appointments electronically is increasing rapidly.
The merger of the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Healthcare Commission will support closer integration of social care and health inspection and form part of Government plans to streamline public service inspection by reducing the number of main inspectorates to four. It forms part of
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the Government's wider programme to modernise and streamline the inspection of public services. We will consider its regulatory impact as part of detailed work on the shape of the new organisation.
The merger is expected to generate efficiencies and economies of scale which contribute to the delivery of savings to be attained across all of the Department's arm's length bodies (ALBs) as a result of the ALB review. Details of budgets and staffing levels of the new body will be developed as implementation planning progresses, following the wider review of regulation in social care and health now under way.
Ms Rosie Winterton [pursuant to the reply, 21 July 2005, Official Report, c. 2156W]: I regret that my previous reply was incorrect. The table indicated that the current fee paid to NHS dentists for full dentures in chrome cobalt or stainless steel was £279.60. It should have read £278.60. The table also implied that the remuneration paid to the dentist included both this fee and the patient charge. This was misleading. The remuneration paid to the dentist comprises only the NHS fee.
Type of denture
|Chrome cobalt or stainless steel|
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS dentists were practising in (a) South East Cambridgeshire constituency and (b) England per head of population in each year since 1997. 
|England||South East Cambridgeshire constituency||South Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust (PCT)|
|Number of dentists|
|Ratio of dentists per 10,000 population|
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