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NHS Professionals

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with Guildford and Waverley primary care trust about the implementation of NHS Professionals. [25822]

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Caroline Flint: A letter dated 5 April 2004 was sent from the Department informing all chief executives of national health service trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities (SHA) about the inception of NHS Professionals.

NHS Professionals was established as a SHA in April 2004 to play a significant part in securing appropriate and effective use of temporary staff and reducing NHS expenditure on private agency staff.

The implementation of NHS Professionals is a matter for agreement between NHS Professionals and NHS trusts wanting to engage with their services. The actual implementation process of NHS Professionals takes place in four stages; initial contact, consultation, pre-implementation and implementation. This spans a 12–16 week period when NHS Professionals works in partnership with the trust, combining their resources and working to pre-agreed deadlines ensuring the seamless transition of temporary staffing services.

NHS Staff (Assaults)

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many assaults have been committed against NHS workers while on duty in Hemel Hempstead constituency in each year since 1997. [25557]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The number of assaults on staff is shown in the table for the period 2000 to 2003 which is the latest data available.
Number of reported violent incidents in the specified organisations in each specified year

Total specified organisations53161117
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance and Paramedic Service NHS TrustRFU454875
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire SHAQ02(23)(23)(24)
Dacorum PCT5GW(23)30
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS TrustRWG811042

(23) Not applicable.
(24) indicates missing or invalid data.
Survey of Violence, Accidents, Harassments, in the NHS

Nursing Homes

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what encouragement is given to nursing homes to provide residents with activities to help stimulate the mind; and if she will make a statement. [24780]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 7 November 2005]: Regulation 16 of the Care Homes Regulations 2001, requires nursing and care home providers to consult service users about their social interests, to make arrangements to enable them to engage in local, social and community activities and to visit, or maintain contact or communicate with their families and friends.

Care homes must also consult with service users about the programme of activities arranged by or on behalf of the home, and provide facilities for recreation including, having regard to the needs of service users, activities in relation to recreation, fitness and training.
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The national minimum standards set out in more detail what care homes are expected to do to meet residents expectations, preferences and capacity for social contacts and activities.

Opthalmic Services

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the progress made by the General Ophthalmic Services in England towards providing patients with choice as described in The Nation's Health and Social Change pamphlet. [22133]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 27 October 2005]: National health service sight tests are available to certain priority groups, mainly people aged 60 and over, children under 16, those aged under 19 in full-time education, defined categories of people at particular risk of developing eye disease and people on low incomes who might otherwise be deterred by the cost of a private sight test. These individuals may choose which contractor listed with their primary care trust provides their sight test under NHS arrangements.

Financial help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses, via an optical voucher, is available to children under 16, those aged under 19 in full-time education and those on a low income. These individuals may take their optical voucher to an outlet of their choice and use their voucher as full or part payment towards a pair of glasses or contact lenses of their choice. They are not obliged to buy glasses or contact lenses from the practice where they had their sight tested.

PCT Deficits

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether repayments of deficits of primary care trusts brought forward from 2004–05 will affect the level of the 2005–06 settlement; and if she will make a statement. [24719]

Mr. Byrne: The repayment of 2004–05 deficits by individual primary care trusts will not affect the Department's settlement in 2005–06 because they were offset by surpluses elsewhere.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision her Department has made for veterans suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. [24842]

Ms Rosie Winterton: National health service trusts have a responsibility to provide services to meet the mental health needs of all those who are eligible for treatment including veterans. To provide health care professionals with recommendations for good practice, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published treatment guidelines for the management of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in primary, secondary and community care in March 2005. The Department has been actively promoting awareness of such good practice in its work with other Government Departments and Agencies, as well as liaising with relevant professional bodies to try to ensure that more staff are trained in effective approaches to the management of PTSD.
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Psychiatric Hospitals

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the security of psychiatric hospitals in England; and what steps she is taking to improve the security of such hospitals. [25106]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department commissioned a security review at the three high security hospitals (Broadmoor, Ashworth and Rampton) in 2000, which recommended improved security measures to the perimeter and internal security of the hospitals. The Government accepted that all of the review report's recommendations should be implemented.

These hospitals must also comply with safety and security directions given to the hospitals by the Department, which encompass various security requirements and cover issues such as the searching of patients and their rooms, the circumstances in which patients should be permitted access to computers and the arrangements that should be made for the testing of patients for illicit substances.

The high security hospitals are also subjected to annual prison service security audits. The prison service security audit team report that the audits show that security standards at the hospitals are essentially satisfactory and continue to improve.

Guidance on the design of medium secure units is provided in the Design Guide for Medium Secure Psychiatric Units" published by NHS Estates. This document is being reviewed and revised and will be re-issued by spring next year.

Security of all units combines physical, operational and relational aspects, which consider building and engineering design, operational policies and staffing levels. Other measures to improve relational security included the joint interim guidance from the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) and the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) in February 2004 to support mental health service providers and enable them to review their current policies and procedures relating to education, training and practice in the safe and therapeutic management of aggression and violence.

The NPSA is also engaged in the 'Safer Wards for Acute Psychiatry' initiative, a two-year evidence based project which aims to understand and address system issues that impact on patient safety on acute psychiatric in-patient settings. The project will be completed in March 2006.

The NIMHE/NPSA joint guidance was followed in February 2005 by guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the national health service on the management of disturbed or violent behaviour in psychiatric in-patient settings and emergency departments.

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