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7 Nov 2005 : Column 267W—continued

NHS Staff

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the reasons for graduate unemployment in (a) physiotherapy, (b) medicine, (c) speech and language therapy and (d) nursing; and if she will make a statement. [21737]

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Mr. Byrne [holding answer 25 October 2005]: After a period of sustained investment to ensure a rapid growth in the national health service workforce, the national health service is now moving to more of a steady state where there is a closer match between supply and demand. NHS expenditure is continuing to grow but getting the right staffing complement is an issue that needs to be addressed locally. Workforce planners within strategic health authorities are working closely with local NHS employers to make sure that staff and students understand the range of opportunities that are available. The electronic recruitment service NHS jobs ( has hundreds of jobs for all staff groups.

NHS Training

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effects of medical careers reforms in the NHS on the number of training contracts available to senior house officers. [23548]

Mr. Byrne: There were 20,094 medically qualified senior house officer (SHO) and equivalents in the national health service as at 30 September 2004, up from 14,580 in 1997. The full implementation of modernising medical careers (MMC) in the period beginning in 2007 will see the phasing out of the SHO grade and the introduction of new structures. The number of places available in new structures will continue to be decided by service and educational need. The launch of the foundation programme as the first phase of MMC in August this year saw some SHO posts converted to SHO equivalent foundation year two posts but this conversion did not affect the overall number of posts available for doctors working at the SHO level.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of nurses leaving the NHS in each of the last three years. [22786]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is not collected centrally.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department has commissioned into the nutrition of older people (a) in care homes, (b) receiving domiciliary care, (c) in an acute hospital ward and (d) in intermediate care. [22382]

Mr. Byrne: The Department funds research to support policy and to provide the evidence needed to underpin quality improvement and service development in the national health service. Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by NHS organisations. The remainder funds health and social care research through the Department's central research programmes. Details of individual projects, including a number concerned with nutrition and older people, can be found on the national research register at
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Overseas Treatment

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the health establishments abroad which have treated NHS patients in the last five years; and which other establishments she plans to use. [20610]

Mr. Byrne: Since the end of 2002, patients have been referred for treatment in Europe, primarily to Belgium at Brussels, Bruges and Gent, by Guys and St. Thomas's hospital under the London patient choice (LCP) arrangements. There were also a number of individual contract arrangements set up by national health service commissioners. Information about the health establishments contracted with by NHS commissioners for this purpose has not been collected centrally. The LCP scheme ended on 31 March 2005 although primary care trusts are able to contract with healthcare providers abroad on an individual needs basis. There are no current central plans for further referral schemes abroad because we are rapidly increasing the capacity to treat NHS patients within England.

Data on where United Kingdom patients are treated in the European Economic Area under the E111/112 schemes is not available in the format requested.

Patient Appointments

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners appointments were missed in each of the last five years. [18815]

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.

Patients' Groups

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) on what occasions she has met bodies representing patients' groups since 5 May; [20487]

(2) which patient groups she has met since 6 May; and on which dates. [20856]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 5 October 2005, Official Report, column 2831W.

PCTs/Strategic Health Authorities (Document Distribution)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the (a) reference numbers and (b) titles of (i) statutory instruments, (ii) departmental circulars and (iii) other documents distributed direct to (A) primary care trusts and (B) strategic health authorities consequential to the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967 and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 in the last three years; what action was required in respect of each; and what further documents in these categories she proposes to circulate in the next 12 months. [20614]

Caroline Flint: In the last three years, primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities (SHAs) have been given access to the following letters and documents about the provisions of the Abortion Act,
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which set out the Government's policy, recommended good practice and refers to the legal position on abortion in relation to services:


The following documents issued by the Department:

The following documents funded by the Department:

The Department will be issuing best practice guidance for abortion services in spring 2006. The guidance will also take into account the issues raised by the Chief Medical Officer's recommendations, including the legal position on abortion.

Contact with the national health service about the provision of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act is made with the license holders of fertility clinics. However, in August 2005, all NHS chief executives were given access to the document, The Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, A Public Consultation" via the chief executive's bulletin.


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the effective rate of employer contribution is to final salary pension schemes for nurses in the public sector. [21589]

Mr. Byrne: The effective rate of national health service employer contributions for nurses who are members of the NHS Pension Scheme is 14 per cent. The employee contribution rate for nurses is 6 per cent.

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