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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what appeal mechanism is in place for NHS staff in relation to their banding in the NHS Agenda for Change pay review; and which primary care trusts do not have such mechanisms in place. 
Mr. Byrne: Within the Agenda for Change agreement, there are provisions for staff to request reviews of the payband to which they have been band matched. As the request for a review is to their employer, each national health service employer will need to have put the mechanisms in place.
It is the responsibility of strategic health authorities (SHAs) to deliver both overall financial balance for their local health communities and to ensure each and every body achieves financial balance.
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Organisations need to continue to look at the way they provide services to ensure they are delivering the best possible value for money.
The number of nurses in the national health service in England has grown by 25 per cent. or nearly 80,000 between September 1997 and 2004. Any changes in local circumstances need to be seen in that context.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of NHS patients booking out-patient appointments have done so through the choose and book system in 2005; and how many such bookings included full integration of service with a GP referral letter. 
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many referrals to secondary care there were in the NHS in England in 2005; how many and what percentage were made under choose and book; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: Approximately 20,000 general practitioner (GP) outpatient appointments or referrals have been made so far in 2005. The volume of bookings is increasing rapidly. choose and book new bookings are currently over 3,400 per week. This equates to around 2 per cent. of GP referrals per week.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her estimate is of the savings to the Exchequer of introducing a pension scheme retirement age of 65 years for all NHS staff and employees of her Department and its agencies from 2025; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: Delaying to 2025 the introduction of a normal pension age (NPA) of 65 for members of the national health service, teachers' or civil service would not reflect Government policy or be consistent with the principles agreed at the public services forum. Those principles provide for NPA 65 to be introduced for new entrants as soon as practicable, and for the pension terms of existing members to be discussed in scheme specific negotiations. The estimated net present value of the savings arising from reform of the public service schemes generally is expected to be around £13 billion over the next 50 years.
Savings to the Exchequer from introducing NPA 65 from 2025 have not been estimated and could be done only at disproportionate cost. It is, however, likely that delaying the introduction of NPA 65 until 2025 for the NHS, teachers' or civil service pension schemes would
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absorb a substantial part of the expected £13 billion savings that will arise from the immediate implementation of scheme reform within the framework of the principles agreed at the public services forum.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many physiotherapists are practising in the public sector; and how many of these (a) hold a degree in physiotherapy, (b) hold a degree in a related medical field and (c) hold a degree in another field. 
Mr. Byrne: At September 2004, the number of qualified physiotherapists employed in the national health service was 19,139, which is an increase of 34 per cent. since 1997. Information is not collected centrally on the specific qualifications of NHS staff, nor on the number of physiotherapists employed elsewhere in the public sector.
The latest data available on the financial position of national health service organisations (strategic health authorities, PCTs and NHS trusts) are for 200405. This information was made available on the Department's publications website on 19 September 2005.
|PCT name||Final surplus/(deficits)|
|Kensington and Chelsea||-17,976|
|Kennet and North Wiltshire||-10,159|
|Fareham and Gosport||-6,757|
|North and East Cornwall||-6,668|
|Selby and York||-6,598|
|Yorkshire Wolds and Coast||-6,116|
|Guildford and Waverley||-5,887|
|West of Cornwall||-5,669|
|South West Oxfordshire||-5,172|
|Vale of Aylesbury||-4,916|
|Cotswold and Vale||-4,809|
|North Hertfordshire and Stevenage||-3,860|
|South Western Staffordshire||-3,750|
|Witham, Braintree and Halstead Care Trust||-3,141|
|Bexley Care Trust||-2,749|
|Blackwater Valley and Hart||-2,676|
|East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey||-2,563|
|South and East Dorset||-2,424|
|Canterbury and Coastal||-2,276|
|Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth||-2,111|
|North East Oxfordshire||-1,938|
|Watford and Three Rivers||-1,928|
|Sussex Downs and Weald||-1,819|
|St Albans and Harpenden||-1,526|
|Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire||-1,494|
|Maldon and South Chelmsford||-1,489|
|Eastleigh and Test Valley South||-1,283|
|Charnwood and North West Leicestershire||-1,200|
|Billericay, Brentwood and Wickford||-1,123|
|Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley||-1,086|
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which providers each primary care trust has commissioned under the requirement to offer a choice of at least four secondary care providers to patients by 1 January 2006 in each of the top 15 specialties. 
The Department is putting in place a programme of support to help patients exercise choice of hospital, which includes the development of a patient information leaflet tailored to each primary care trust (PCT) The leaflet will show patients the choices available to them locally as commissioned by their PCT.
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