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31 Oct 2005 : Column 846W—continued


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses have undertaken return to practice courses in each year since 1999. [18376]

Mr. Byrne: By the end of March 2004, over 18,500 former nurses, midwives and health visitors had returned to work in the national health service. No information is held on the numbers returning following return to practice courses.

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS trusts meet the Department's targets for the employment of specialist NHS nurses. [17722]

Mr. Byrne: There is no such central target for the employment of specialist nurses.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many overseas nurses were registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in each of the last three years, broken down by country of origin. [21222]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 24 October 2005]: The independent regulator for nurses, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, publishes annual statistics on the number of overseas nurses registered each year by country. These are available from its website at:

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many Overseas Nursing Programme-supervised placements will be provided by approved education institutes in (a) 2005–06 and (b) each of the next two years. [21225]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 24 October 2005]: This information is not held by the Department. The Nursing and Midwifery Council is responsible for approving education institutions to run overseas nursing programmes. Education institutions are responsible for allocating placements to students in liaison with national health service trusts and other placement providers.
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Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to increase the number of Overseas Nursing Programme-supervised placements provided by approved education institutes. [21226]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 24 October 2005]: The provision of overseas nurses programmes-supervised placements is a matter for local determination and is agreed in partnership by strategic health authorities, employers, approved education institutions and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what criteria were used in making the decision not to include obesity management as a clinical domain in the General Medical Services contract; [19010]

(2) whether she plans to include incentive points for obesity management in the review of the General Medical Services contract. [19020]

Mr. Byrne: During the negotiations which led to the current quality and outcomes framework, many clinical conditions were considered. Those with the best evidence base for the effectiveness of intervention in primary care were included. As part of the on-going development of the framework, indicators will be reviewed as new evidence is produced.

NHS Employers, on behalf of United Kingdom Health Ministers, are responsible for reviewing the general medical services contract with the British Medical Association's general practitioners' committee. Negotiators have confirmed that some changes will be made to the quality and outcomes framework from April 2006.

Out-of-hours Care

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what improvements to out-of-hours patient care from general practitioners have taken place in the last two years. [18833]

Mr. Byrne: The changes to the general practitioner (GP) contract have enabled primary care trusts to address service fragmentation and introduce an integrated local out-of-hours service between general practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, accident and emergency, NHS Direct and social care. Some £322 million is available this year to help fund out-of-hours services in addition to the unified budget which totals £53.9 billion in 2005–06.

New standards for out-of-hours care came into force from January 2005 that assures high quality, responsive and consistent out-of-hours services across the country. This ensures that patients who need a doctor will be seen by a GP either in their own home or at a primary care centre.

Out-patient Appointments

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 28 June 2005, Official Report,
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column 1523W, on out-patient appointments, how many missed out-patient appointments there have been in each year since 1997–98. [18128]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is available on the Department's website at attendances.htm.

Patient Appointments

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate she has made of the costs of missed (a) general practitioner and (b) hospital appointments in the last year for which figures are available; and what practical steps she recommends that general practitioners and NHS trusts can take to combat missed appointments; [18566]

(2) how many missed general practitioner appointments there were (a) across the NHS and (b) in each primary care trust in the most recent year for which figures are available. [18568]

Mr. Byrne: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) on 28 June 2005, Official Report, column 1523W.

In addition, the Keep it or cancel it, but don't forget it" campaign, which is run by Developing Patient Partnerships, an organisation which is part funded by the Department, is intended to raise the awareness of the impact of missed general practice appointments. The campaign provides practices and primary care trusts with tools to help them address missed appointments including posters, stickers and examples of good practice from other practices.

Patient Care Plans

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whose responsibility it is to monitor the percentage of patients who have access to (a) a written care plan and (b) a named nurse; [19260]

(2) what independent assessment (a) has been made and (b) is planned of the percentage of patients who (i) have a written care plan and (ii) are allocated a named nurse. [19312]

Mr. Byrne: No assessment has been carried out centrally.

The named nurse concept, which aims to promote personalised and patient-focused care, is complemented by a number of initiatives. These include standards for better health, which includes a core standard on involving patients in their care and the public sector agreement targets which require all patients who need it, to have a personalised care plan. Strategic health authorities and primary care trusts are responsible for ensuring implementation of Government policy.

Patient Records

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list hospital trusts which send confidential patient records abroad for processing. [18824]

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Mr. Byrne: We are aware of reports that Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals National Health Service Trust currently employ a South African company to type up medical notes. It is the responsibility of local NHS clinicians and managers to ensure the confidentiality of patient information in these, as in all other circumstances. I understand that the trust has followed guidelines published by the Information Commissioner and the European Commission relating to the transfer of personal data outside the European Union.

More generally, details of trusts sending patient records abroad for processing are not held centrally.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 5 October 2005, Official Report, column 2839W, on physiotherapy, when the action plan was published; and if she will place a copy of the plan in the Library. [19127]

Mr. Byrne: The physiotherapy workforce action plan was published on 23 May 2005. A copy is available in the Library.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact of the Action Plan for physiotherapy graduates. [21720]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 25 October 2005]: It is too early to assess the impact the action plan has made on physiotherapy graduates. The Department is continuing to work closely with the national health service workforce review team and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy to ensure progress on implementing the action plan is maintained.

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