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17 Oct 2005 : Column 765W—continued

Death Certification

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has for changing the arrangements for payments that doctors receive in addition to their normal salaries for filling out (a) the form to certify that a deceased body is suitable for cremation and (b) the form to section a patient under the Mental Health Acts; and if she will make a statement. [18275]

Ms Harman: I have been asked to reply.
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The issue of fees for Mental Health Act medical work rests with the Department of Health, and there are no plans for changing the payment arrangements. In relation to cremation certification, we have been looking carefully at how best we can improve the current system and intend to make an announcement as soon as possible.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many payments for completion of the cremation form have been given to doctors in each of the five years for which records are available. [18276]

Ms Harman: I have been asked to reply.

This information is not held centrally.


Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the current average waiting time is from first appointment with a dentist to operation for a child in the Avon area whose tooth needs to be removed under general anaesthetic. [17031]

Caroline Flint: The Department does not hold this information.

Departmental Land/Property

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what target has been set by the Department for (a) land and (b) building disposals in Hampshire in the current financial year, broken down by site. [16861]

Mr. Byrne: The Department does not have a specific target for land sales in Hampshire. The only property programmed for disposal in Hampshire during 2005–06, which is in the ownership of the Secretary of State for Health, is land adjacent to South Lodge, St. James' Hospital, Portsmouth. As contracts are in the process of being agreed, the sale price is currently commercially confidential.

National health service trusts and primary care trusts are responsible for their own disposals.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many properties her Department is paying rent for that are empty in (a) Brent East, (b) Brent and (c) London. [16883]

Jane Kennedy: There is one empty property in Brent East and a further three in London, none of which are in Brent East or Brent, upon which the Department is currently paying rent. Departmental officials are actively seeking to dispose of them.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department's property at 20 Willesden High Road was last in use; how much rent per month is being paid for the property; what plans her Department has for the site; and if she will make a statement. [16920]

Jane Kennedy: The property, at 22–24 High Road, Willesden, was formerly occupied by Brent community health council and was vacated in December 2003. The current rent paid is £29,375 per annum. The lease expires in June 2011. Having established that there was no national health service interest in the property, attempts have been made to either assign the lease or sub-let. Both have been unsuccessful. A notice to break the lease
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has been served effective from June 2006—negotiations are currently taking place with the landlord seeking an earlier surrender.

Diagnosis Treatment Centres

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has (a) made and (b) received of the productivity of diagnosis treatment centres. [16585]

Mr. Byrne: The Department published Treatment Centres: Delivering Faster, Quality Care and Choice for NHS Patients", which includes a chapter on productivity, on 7 January 2005.

The report found that, by investing in dedicated facilities such as treatment centres, it was possible to perform, for example, many more cataract procedures in a given day by concentrating on a single procedure in a modern, purpose-built unit.

The report is available on the Department's website at

Doctor Vacancies

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many qualified doctors in England are unemployed; and how many vacancies there are for newly qualified doctors in England. [16573]

Mr. Byrne: Information on the number of qualified doctors who are unemployed and on the number of vacancies for newly qualified doctors is not held centrally.
17 Oct 2005 : Column 768W

A snapshot survey of postgraduate deaneries established that, as at early August 2005, 136 pre-registration house officers (PRHOs) in England did not have a senior house officer (SHO) or equivalent post to move to upon the expiry of their PRHO contract. This number had reduced to around 100 by early September 2005 and is likely to have reduced further as more SHO opportunities become available.

Drug Appraisal

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps she is taking to speed up the drug appraisal process in England; [17924]

(2) what steps her Department are taking to improve the efficiency of the drug appraisal process. [17925]

Jane Kennedy: We are currently considering proposals from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence for a revised technology appraisal process allowing more rapid appraisal of certain new drugs and health technologies.

Hospital Re-admissions

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many emergency re-admissions of people there have been in each quarter since 2001; and how many were of people aged (a) 0 to 10, (b) 10 to 18, (c) 18 to 65, (d) 65 to 75 and (e) 75 years and over. [10164]

Mr. Byrne: The data are shown in the table. A detailed specification is available at
Emergency admissions within 28 days of discharge—calendar years 2001 to 2004—national health service hospitals, England

Calendar year quarters0–910–1718–6465–7475+Total
1 January-31 March14,4045,15949,78319,93432,224121,504
1 April-30 June12,5895,14652,30119,84532,219122,100
1 July-30 September10,9045,08454,11919,81531,734121,656
1 October-31 December13,4724,79446,11417,29628,056109,732
1 January-31 March14,7055,19551,29119,55632,321123,068
1 April-30 June12,6315,55954,20020,05633,586126,032
1 July-30 September10,9285,08855,08420,03434,074125,208
1 October-31 December13,4184,61145,65217,49329,802110,976
1 January-31 March14,5515,77953,16420,75535,782130,031
1 April-30 June12,3355,62057,00421,50236,656133,117
1 July-30 September11,0905,51160,46221,84437,576136,483
1 October-31 December13,8885,11250,39319,07333,613122,079
1 January-31 March15,1426,14159,75722,70340,583144,326
1 April-30 June13,1816,16563,49523,21941,423147,483
1 July-30 September11,5985,62566,21223,38241,149147,966
1 October-31 December14,2665,09355,38619,40734,770128,922

1.A finished consultant episode is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Please note that the figures do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the year.
2.Hospital episode statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by over 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts in England. The Health and Social Care Information Centre liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of correct data.
HES, Health and Social Care Information Centre.

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Barbara Keeley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the rates of re-admission to hospitals were in (a) England and (b) Lancashire in each year since 1997. [15096]

Mr. Byrne: Re-admission data from 1998–99, which is calculated using the re-admission rate definition,

is available at, where a full definition is given in the guidance notes.

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