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5 Oct 2005 : Column 2870W—continued

Student Nurses

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many student nurses have started training with the NHS in each of the last four years; and how many have specialised in (a) general nursing, (b) children's nursing and (c) mental health nursing. [14464]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is shown in the table.
Pre-registration nursing training commissions

All nursing training commissions20,61021,52322,81523,377
Of which:
Mental health3,5773,8173,8664,050
Learning disabilities795832865844

Strategic health authority quarterly monitoring returns.

Treatment Centres

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Government has achieved its target of delivering 80 NHS treatment centres by 2005; and what the (a) construction costs, (b) scheduled date for start of construction, (c) expected completion date and (d) status at 31 December 2004 were of each currently identified scheme. [9378]

Mr. Byrne: There is no formal target of this kind, but to date, 55 treatment centres have opened, treating over 225,000 patients, and plans for further treatment centres to open this year are progressing well.

Available details for each scheme have been placed in the Library. Data on construction costs, where incurred, and projected start dates for construction are not
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centrally available. Expected start dates for independent sector treatment centres have not been included, as they are subject to commercial discussions.

Waiting Times

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2005, Official Report, column 749W, on waiting times, for what reasons the agreement of local delivery plans has deviated from the timescale set out in the answer of 27 January 2005, Official Report, column 564W, on waiting times; when she now expects local delivery plans to be agreed; if she plans to publish the local delivery plans; and when she intends to begin publishing waiting times for diagnostic tests. [14213]

Mr. Byrne: The majority of local delivery plans (LDPs) have now been agreed with strategic health authorities (SHAs). The Department expects the remainder to be agreed by the end of August when outstanding matters have been resolved.

It is usual practice for SHAs and primary care trusts to publish their LDPs once agreed with the Department.

The Department is currently piloting data collections to support the 18-week general practitioner referral to start of treatment target. A decision on publication of this data will be taken later.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS trusts are meeting the Government target of 18 weeks wait between general practitioner referral and hospital treatment. [14422]

Mr. Byrne: The Government's target is that, by the end of 2008, no patient will have to wait more than 18 weeks from general practitioner referral to start of hospital treatment. We do not currently collect information on the length of time from GP referral to start of treatment, so it is not yet possible to report on individual organisations' progress towards the target. We will be working with the national health service to introduce new data reporting systems to support delivery of the target set out in the Government's election manifesto.

Ward Inspections

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effect that compulsory ward inspections would have on (a) hygiene standards and (b) infection rates in hospitals. [8695]

Jane Kennedy: Compulsory inspections of the hospital environment are undertaken every year through the patient environment action team (PEAT) process. This includes inspection of a sample of wards, but goes beyond this to assess a wide range of public and patient areas. The PEAT process is broad and considers more than hygiene standards, but cleanliness, including specific mention of wards, is weighted in the final score in recognition of its importance to patients. In addition to this national programme, many trusts undertake regular local inspections of their wards and other clinical areas.
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Standards for the patient environment have risen since PEAT began in 2000. Then, around a third of hospitals were rated poor or unacceptable. Today, 95 per cent. of national health service trusts are rated as acceptable or better.

Most scientific evidence stresses hand hygiene and sound clinical practices as being particularly important in preventing healthcare associated infections (HCAIs). It is unlikely that a more stringent environmental inspection regime alone would significantly reduce HCAI rates.


Tax Credits

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list meetings he has attended with (a) the Citizen's Advice Bureau and (b) the Parliamentary Ombudsman to discuss the tax credits system. [11453]

Dawn Primarolo: Ministers and officials from HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs regularly meet with interested parties to discuss the tax credits system. These include the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Citizen's Advice Bureau.

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost of printing tax credit guidance notes was in each year from 1999–2000 to 2004–05. [13711]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not available.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate for each tax credit the value of unclaimed credits, broken down by nation and region of the UK. [14858]

Dawn Primarolo: Work to produce final take-up rate estimates for child tax credit and working tax credit for 2003–04 is continuing and HMRC expects this analysis to be completed towards the end of 2005–06. As part of this work we are considering how best to estimate take-up by expenditure and the value of unclaimed tax credits.

Wales White Paper

Peter Law: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he intends to implement Paragraph 3.12 of the White Paper, "Better governance for Wales" Cm 6582, in respect of any Bill he introduces in the current session of Parliament. [14952]

John Healey: I intend to implement the Government's policy as stated in paragraph 3.12 of the White Paper "Better Governance for Wales", Cm 6582, as appropriate. If the need arises, my department will discuss the issues concerned with the Assembly Government.
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Asylum Seekers (Zimbabwe)

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Zimbabweans have (a) applied for asylum in the UK and (b) been granted asylum in each of the past six months. [15871]

Mr. McNulty: Information on asylum applications, initial decision outcomes and appeal outcomes for nationals of Zimbabwe are published quarterly and annually. Copies are available from Library and on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at


Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer the letter from the hon. Member for New Forest, West of 21 March regarding his deceased former constituent Angela Armes. [10732]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 11 July 2005]: I replied to the hon. Member on 16 August 2005.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the target times are for (a) making awards and (b) settling cases by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority; and what the most recent figures are for performance against those targets. [540]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has a target of issuing an initial decision on 90 per cent. of applications within 12 months of receipt, and of making awards of compensation within 28 days of receiving the claimant's formal acceptance of an offer of award.

In 2004–05, the percentage of cases where the initial decision was issued within 12 months was 70 per cent., and the percentage of awards made within the 28 day period was 99 per cent.

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