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5 Oct 2005 : Column 2867W—continued

Patient Choice

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the cost of offering patients a choice of hospitals by the end of 2008. [12545]

Mr. Byrne: The National Audit Office's report, "Patient Choice at the Point of Referral", published in January 2005, accepted our estimate of £122 million for the likely additional annual infrastructure costs and transaction costs for patient choice. The total spend on elective care in 2003–04 was £8.7 billion.

Choice will lead to increased efficiencies in both primary and secondary as described in the National Audit Office's report. In hospitals, these efficiencies should include reductions in missed appointments and cancellations, meaning clinics can be run more efficiently. The cost of these in 2003–04 was approximately £100 million for the 1.5 million missed first out-patient appointments that are most likely to be addressed by choice.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what level of overcapacity in health services she expects to fund consequent on the patients' choice agenda; and if she will make a statement. [9349]

Mr. Byrne: It is the responsibility of strategic health authorities to plan and develop sufficient capacity to ensure that the public sector agreement targets are achieved.

Only activity that is undertaken will be funded by primary care trusts.
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Patients Forums

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what policy considerations underlay the decision not to allow patients forums to elect their own chairs. [11883]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 12 July 2005]: The current arrangements, which allow patient forums to elect their own chairs, will remain in place.

The Commission will continue to carry out appointments to forums and arrange staff support. The plans to give the national health service appointments commission additional responsibilities to appoint members and chairs of patient forums will not go ahead.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what arrangements will be put in place to ensure effective patient involvement in service planning within Essex Ambulance Trust when the existing patient forum is abolished; [12909]

(2) what arrangements will be put in place after the abolition of the Essex Ambulance Service Patient and Public Involvement Forum to assist patients' representatives (a) to share information and (b) effectively to monitor ambulance services. [12910]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 18 July 2005]: With the recent announcement of plans to reconfigure primary care trusts (PCTs), the planned reconfiguration of forums around PCTs has been put on hold.

The "Your Health, Your Care, Your Say" consultation presents us with the opportunity to take a strategic look at patient and public involvement. This will ensure that future systems for patient, user and carer involvement will best fit the nature of modern health and social care delivery.

Personal Social Services Expenditure

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the level of personal social services expenditure by each local authority in England has been in each year since 1997; and what the percentage variation against standard spending assessment is in each case. [14274]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested from 1998–99 to 2003–04 has been placed in the Library.


Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to ensure that the increase in the number of training places for physiotherapists is matched by funding for physiotherapy posts in the NHS. [13310]

Mr. Byrne: It is the responsibility of local national health service employers and strategic health authorities (SHAs) to ensure there are sufficient suitable staff in place to deliver services for patients.

The Department, in collaboration with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, SHAs and NHS physiotherapy managers, has developed an action plan to address current concerns over the number of junior posts available for newly qualified physiotherapists.
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Private Health Care

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list each of the private sector providers providing services to NHS patients, giving in each case (a) the name of the organisation, (b) the location of its clinical premises, (c) the number of operations contracted for and (d) the number of operations so far carried out. [11055]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 11 July 2005]: Information on independent sector providers with which the Department has contracts has been placed in the Library. Information on contracts with the independent sector agreed by local national health service commissioners is not collected centrally.

Prostate Cancer

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will give the basis for the target published in her article in The Guardian newspaper on Saturday 2 July of 10 per cent. of routine elective surgery being carried out by independent sector treatment centres by 2008. [10379]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 7 July 2005]: There is no target for independent sector provision or use. The figure of 10 per cent. referred to by the Secretary of State is based on the value of the announced national procurements of independent sector treatment for patients requiring elective surgery, and the forecast levels of national health service elective activity in 2008.

Social Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many agencies recruiting nurses are registered with the Commission for Social Care Inspection. [13293]

Mr. Byrne: I understand from the chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that, as at 3 August 2005, there are 910 nursing agencies registered with CSCI.

Social Work

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will undertake a review of social work along the lines of the review commissioned by the Scottish Executive. [9440]

Mr. Byrne: On 21July 2005, I announced a review of the social care work force. The review will be jointly undertaken with the Department for Education and Skills and is expected to include a review of social work as a key professional group in both the adult social care and children's services work forces.

Special Advisers

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list (a) the special advisers in her Department, (b) their specific areas of expertise and (c) the total cost of employing them in the latest year for which figures are available. [8829]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 4 July 2005, Official Report, column 36W.
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Strokes (Early Signs)

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance is provided by her Department to (a) patients and (b) general practitioners on the early signs of stroke, with particular reference to transient ischaemic attacks; [14929]

(2) what steps her Department is taking to encourage general practitioners to refer patients for specialist assessment following transient ischaemic attacks. [14930]

Mr. Byrne: The Department works with a broad range of organisations and professional bodies to ensure that appropriate guidance is provided to both patients and healthcare professionals.

The national service framework (NSF) for older people states that risk factors for each patient who is at risk of a stroke or who is recovering from a stroke should be identified and advice, support and treatment provided as appropriate. Both primary and secondary prevention measures should be in line with appropriate clinical guidelines. The NSF makes it clear that patients with a suspected transient ischaemic attacks should be referred urgently to a rapid response neurovascular clinic, managed by a clinician with expertise in stroke for investigation and treatment.

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