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Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether pensionable service of women doctors in the NHS scheme between 1972 and 1988 is taken into account when calculating the eventual widowers' pensions. 
Mr. Byrne: In line with the 1986 Social Security Act, the pensionable service of female scheme members between 1972 and 1988 is not taken into account in calculating a widower's pension unless an option was made to purchase pre 1988 service.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) chairmen and (b) chief executives of (i) strategic health authorities, (ii) special health authorities, (iii) primary care trusts and (iv) NHS (provider) trusts have been in post for (A) less than one year, (B) one to three years, (C) four to six years, (D)seven to nine years and (E) 10 or more years. 
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost to the NHS is for a week's work from (a) a nurse and (b) a doctor employed through (i)an agency and (ii) NHS professionals. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many requests she has received to refer NHS
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reorganisation to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel; how many she has agreed; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: As at 30 November 2005 there have been eight referrals to the Secretary of State. The overview and scrutiny committee right of referral is to the Secretary of State who may choose to seek advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP). Since its establishment, the IRP has provided formal advice to the Secretary of State on one case-in East Kent.
Mr. Byrne: Local consultation on proposals for reconfiguration of strategic health authorities and primary care trusts is due to start on 14 December 2005 and will last for 14 weeks. Until this process has been completed and decisions taken, it is not possible to calculate reliable redundancy costs.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) ambulance trusts, (b) primary care trusts and (c) strategic health authorities she expects to complete reconfiguration by the end of this financial year; and how many in each category will be reconfigured during the course of the next financial year. 
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the proposed re-configuration of primary care trusts is still expected to deliver a 15 per cent. reduction in costs as set out in the letters of 28 July from Sir Nigel Crisp to primary care trusts. 
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what ways the private medical sector participates in the training of NHS (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) other medical staff; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: The private and independent sectors have traditionally taken an active part in training doctors, for example, by offering training placements, in palliative care, plastic surgery, occupational health medicine and latterly in pharmaceutical medicine. The national health service takes advantage of training opportunities in all these specialties.
We have told independent sector treatment centres providing a service to the NHS that they will be expected to provide appropriate training for doctors and for other staff whether employed directly by them or on secondment from the NHS.
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Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many applications have been (a) received and (b) processed by the NHS student grant unit for students starting their courses in September 2005; and how many grants have been awarded to date. 
Mr. Byrne: I am informed by the NHS Pensions Agency who are responsible for the NHS student grants unit that the unit received over 25,000 applications for new students starting their courses in September 2005. All of these applications have been processed.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the performance of the NHS Student Grant Unit in processing application forms for grants for the 200506 academic year. 
Mr. Byrne: The NHS student grants unit is part of the NHS Pensions Agency. As a special health authority, the NHS Pensions Agency is independent of the Department, and the chief executive and board are responsible for the operational affairs and the day to day management of the authority.
I am aware that there have been some delays in processing applications for students starting their studies in the academic year 200506. As at Friday 25 November 2005, the NHS student grants unit was back within the target of processing 95 per cent. of bursary applications within 20 working days of receipt, providing they receive a correctly completed application form.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many applicants' fees the Nursing and Midwifery Council accepted from overseas nurses in each of the last five years, broken down by country of origin. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 24 October 2005]: The Department does not hold the information requested. The Nursing and Midwifery Council is an independent body. The hon. Member may wish to approach the Council for this information.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many decision letters have been issued by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to prospective candidates for the Overseas Nursing Programme in each of the last two years, broken down by (a) positive and (b) negative decisions. 
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the possible effects on funding for local charities and health advisory organisations of the proposed merger of primary care trusts; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: The Department does not collect any information on grant funding of the voluntary and community sector by primary care trusts (PCTs), therefore I am unable to comment on possible effects on funding for local charities and health advisory organisations of the proposed reconfiguration of PCTs.
For those strategic health authorities, who propose change to the boundaries of PCTs, we have asked for evidence to demonstrate how existing successful partnerships with local partners and local responsiveness can be maintained and improved.
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