|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the oral answer of 12 July 2005, Official Report, column 685, on MRI scans, what the evidential basis is for her statement that University Hospital of North Durham will need to use its capacity to the full well before 2008. 
Mr. Byrne: By 200708, we plan to deliver an unparalleled expansion in most diagnostic services to reduce waiting time for patients further. Most of this expansion will be delivered through increasing investment and productivity in the national health service, using the record levels of NHS funding for the next three years and making the best use of existing equipment and facilities. These plans are based on understanding and meeting local needs for diagnostic services, which have been developed through working closely with local health communities to understand their needs for extra capacity. While the independent sector has a key part to play, NHS providers of diagnostics services also need to ensure that they are using their diagnostic capacity to the full.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) parliamentary questions have been tabled and (b) letters she has received from hon. Members on the use of Aimspro for the treatment of multiple sclerosis in this Parliament. 
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that IT systems in the NHS in England holding information on Welsh patients are compatible with IT systems being developed for the NHS in Wales. 
The definition of information technology standards and systems for the national health service in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Assembly. However, we recognise the importance of close co-operation and liaison between the four home countries to ensure alignment of their respective strategies and eventual interoperability of systems. This is achieved through dialogue at working level between officials from both Administrations. Standards for NHS IT systems in England are mandated by the NHS Information Standards Board, on which NHS Wales, along with the other home countries, is represented.
5 Oct 2005 : Column 2862W
(2) how many cases have been dealt with by NHS Direct; how many calls have been abandoned; how many call centres are operational; where each centre is located; what the running costs of each call centre were in each year since its inception; and if she will make a statement. 
|Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire||||2,447,000||3,209,000||3,154,000||3,580,000||3,731,000|
|Hampshire and Isle of Wight||749,000||2,558,000||3,228,000||4,067,000||4,384,000||5,023,000|
|Kent Surrey Sussex||||1,561,000||4,675,000||4,612,000||5,560,000||4,783,000|
|N C London||||||1,218,000||2,949,000||3,121,080||3,105,000|
|N E London||||||960,000||2,349,000||2,370,000||2,067,000|
|S E London||404,000||1,918,000||2,328,000||3,248,000||3,316,000||3,480,000|
|S W London||||2,000,000||2,217,000||2,660,000||2,620,000||2,691,000|
|South Yorkshire and South Humber||||1,565,000||2,788,000||3,080,000||3,150,000||3,276,000|
|Thames Valley and Northants||909,000||1,972,000||3,473,000||3,740,000||4,028,000||4,178,000|
|Average monthly funding allocations|
Mr. Byrne: Calls requiring an emergency service are directly transferred to the ambulance service. Calls of an urgent nature are transferred to the next available nurse for clinical assessment. 97 per cent. of all urgent calls start clinical assessment with call-back from a nurse within 20 minutes, in line with the national out-of-hours quality requirements.
I understand from the chair of NHS Direct that average call-back time for all calls to NHS Direct is not available for all months since the service began. However, the average time between patients contacting NHS Direct and starting clinical assessment with a NHS Direct nurse since April 2005 is shown in the following table.
5 Oct 2005 : Column 2863W
|Average time to start clinical assessment in minutes|
|Month||Total calls answered|
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to improve patient access to NHS Direct; what assessment she has made of the average number of calls a patient must make to be successfully connected to an NHS Direct operator; and if she will make a statement on the integration of NHS Direct with the GP out-of-hours service. 
Mr. Byrne: NHS Direct now provides multi-media access to healthcare. I understand from the Chairman of NHS Direct that the number of calls to NHS Direct has increased from 110,000 in 199899 to over 29 million by 200405. In addition, there are now more than one million visitors each month to the online service. The NHS Direct self help guide is also available to 19 million households through the Thomson local directory. NHS Direct also provides access to healthcare through digital television and this will be extended to include cable and freeview throughout this year.
Patients speak to an NHS Direct operator as soon as they are connected to NHS Direct. However, in June 2005, 10 per cent. of calls made to NHS Direct were not connected to NHS Direct as the caller abandoned the call. There are no data available to assess the reasons for abandonment or how many patients subsequently call again.
Primary care trusts (PCTs) may choose to commission NHS Direct to provide general practice out-of hours call handling or nurse assessment. NHS Direct is currently involved in 45 out-of hours clinical integration schemes involving 99 PCTs across the country.
5 Oct 2005 : Column 2864W
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints were received regarding the service provided by NHS Direct in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by type. 
Mr. Byrne: I understand from the chair of NHS Direct that, during the year April 2004 to March 2005, NHS Direct answered 6,584,000 calls. From these calls, NHS Direct received 1,469 complaints. Of these complaints, 1,128 were able to be resolved locally and 341 required further escalation.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what performance indices are used to assess NHS Direct; and what estimate she has made of the average length of time between a person first calling NHS Direct and an operator calling them back in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Byrne: NHS Direct is assessed against the "National Quality Requirements in the Delivery of Out-of-Hours Services", in relation to telephone and clinical assessment, which was published by the Department in October 2004 and is available on the Department's website at:
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|