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5 Oct 2005 : Column 2840W—continued

Arm's Length Bodies

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what costs have been incurred in (a) establishing and (b) closing arm's length bodies since 30 November 2004. [12626]

Jane Kennedy: The cost of establishing arm's length bodies (ALBs) since 30 November 2004 is estimated at £4.7 million. The known cost of closing ALBs since that date is £32 million.

The following ALBs have closed/merged with other organisations since 30 November 2004.

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The following ALBs have been established since 30 November 2004:

Bed/Ward Closures

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals for bed and ward closures by NHS hospitals she has been informed of (a) formally and (b) informally. [12707]

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.

The Department does not routinely collect centrally operational management information on proposals to close wards and beds outside of the overview and scrutiny committee process.

Care Assistants

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what proportion of healthcare staff recruited in each of the last eight years have been care assistants; [11057]

(2) how many care assistants have been recruited into the NHS in each of the last eight years. [11058]

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 NHS work force in England as at 30 September each year, England

Total employed staff including general practitioners and practice staffof which:
Healthcare assistants

Health and Social Care Information Centre non-medical workforce census.
Health and Social Care Information Centre Medical and dental workforce census.
Health and Social Care Information Centre general and personal medical services statistics.

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Choose and Book System

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; [13695]

(2) how many e-bookings were made for GP referrals to hospital in each month since the first month when e-booking was introduced. [13696]

Mr. Byrne: The number of general practitioner referrals made using the choose and book system each month since the system went live, on schedule, in July 2004 is shown in the table.

Number of bookings per monthTotal bookings (cumulative)
July 200466
August 200417
September 200429
October 2004716
November 20042339
December 20043271
January 200540111
February 200560181
March 2005158339
April 2005313652
May 20053751,027
June 20054091,436
July 2005(14)4401,876

(14) As of close of business 20 July.

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 cost to date of developing and beginning to implement the system is £28.7 million. The total committed contract cost is £65 million.

Commission for Social Care Inspection

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the reasons were for the decision to merge the Commission for Social Care Inspection with the Healthcare Commission; [14456]

(2) if she will publish the regulatory impact assessment or equivalent document of the decision to merge the Commission for Social Care Inspection with the Healthcare Commission; [14458]

(3) what the estimated (a) budget and (b) full-time equivalent staff of the Healthcare Commission will be once it has merged with the Commission for Social Care Inspection in 2008. [14459]

Jane Kennedy: 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.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines have been provided to NHS dentists regarding the cost of dentures. [10076]

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.

The correct table is as follows.

Type of denture

Synthetic resin
Chrome cobalt or stainless steel
Dentists fee158.10278.60

Patients who are liable to pay charges contribute 80 per cent. of the dentist's fees.

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. [14580]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is shown in the table. These figures cover dentists working in primary care dental services, but not hospital or community dental services.
Number of national health service dentists and rate per 10,000 population in the specified areas as at 31 March each year

EnglandSouth East Cambridgeshire constituencySouth Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust (PCT)
Number of dentists
Ratio of dentists per 10,000 population

1. Population data are not available at parliamentary constituency area.
2. The figures are based on the numbers of dentists with open general dental services (GDS) or personal dental services (PDS) contracts as at 31 March each year.
3. Dentists include principals, assistants and trainees.
4. Prison contracts have been excluded.
5. Dentists are counted within specified areas based on the postcode of their dental practice. Areas have been defined using the Office for National Statistics all fields postcode directory—November 2004.
6. Population data for the PCT in 1997–2000 have been calculated on 2001 population data as population data at PCT area are not available for these years. All data for 2004 and 2005 have been calculated on 2003 population data as these are the most up to date available.
7. The figures take into account any notifications received up to 5 July 2005.
Dental Practice Board.

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