Previous Section Index Home Page

16 Jan 2006 : Column 1061W—continued

Christmas Cards

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the cost to the NHS of sending Christmas cards in 2005. [39530]

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

Coeliac Disease

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Morley and Rothwell (Colin Challen) of 14 December 2005, Official Report, column 2131W, on coeliac disease, if she will commission research into whether there is an adverse reaction upon coeliacs caused by consumption of genetically-modified foodstuffs. [42225]

Mr. Byrne: The main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology.

The MRC does not normally allocate funds to particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. When appropriate, high quality research in particular areas of strategic importance may be given priority in competition for funds, but research excellence and importance to health continues to be the primary considerations in funding decisions. The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding.


Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she will reply to the letter from Mark Heyes dated 23 October 2002 about matters relating to his employment at Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, which was referred to her Department by the Prime Minister's Office; and what measures she is taking to ensure that her Department's policy on whistleblowing is adhered to. [28144]

Jane Kennedy: A reply from my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Health, Alan Milburn was sent on 17 December 2002 to Mark Heyes's letter dated 23 October 2002.

Guidance on whistleblowing was issued by the Department in 1999 (HSC198). This was followed by a letter of 25 July 2003 to all national health service trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, enclosing a policy pack on whistleblowing and setting out the need for all NHS organisations to develop and review their policies.
16 Jan 2006 : Column 1062W

NHS Employers now provides guidance and support on whistleblowing. In addition, the Department funds the Public Concern at Work helpline, which offers independent legal advice to NHS employees and advises them how to raise their concerns appropriately. The Healthcare Commission assesses NHS trusts against the national standards and ensures that all trusts have a whistleblowing policy in place, with effective monitoring processes.

Cotswold and Vale PCT

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) terms of reference and (b) powers are of the turnaround team sent into the Cotswold and Vale primary care trust; and when she expects it to report. [41508]

Caroline Flint: The first stage of engagement with the turnaround teams in Cotswold and Vale primary care trust (PCT) has been to undertake an assessment of the current position.

Following this initial assessment the strategic health authority is currently agreeing a tailored package of turnaround support with the PCT.

The turnaround teams will support and advise the management team of the PCT on delivering the organisation's statutory duties and key national targets.

Countess of Chester Foundation Hospital

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what percentage of patients in the Countess of Chester Foundation hospital in the last period for which figures are available were normally resident in Wales. [39682]

Mr. Byrne: In 2004–05, the total number of unique patients with a finished admission episode in the Countess of Chester Hospital National Health Service Foundation Trust was 37,746. Of these, 6,759 (or 17.91 per cent.) unique patients were resident in Wales.

Patient counts are based on the unique patient identifier HESID. This identifier is based on a patient's date of birth, postcode, sex, local patient identifier and NHS number, using an agreed algorithm. Each patient is only counted once, irrespective of the number of times that patient has been admitted within the year. Where data is incomplete, HESID might erroneously link episodes or fail to recognise episodes for the same patient. Care is therefore needed, especially where duplicate records persist in the data. The patient count cannot be summed across a table where patients may have episodes in more than one cell.

A finished admission episode is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Please note that admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

Hospital episode statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by over 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts in England. The health and social care information centre liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data via HES processes. Whilst this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain.
16 Jan 2006 : Column 1063W

Figures have not been adjusted for shortfalls in data (i.e. the data are ungrossed).

Hospital Episode Statistics. Health and Social Care Information Centre.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to assess the budget for the provision of NHS dentistry in (a) Portsmouth and (b) other primary care trust areas on the basis of need. [28284]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Primary care trusts (PCTs) were notified of their budget allocations for 2006–07 in early December, taking into account the current provision of services and the recent expansion of personal dental services. In both Portsmouth and other PCT areas, the recent budget allocations for local commissioning of dentistry in 2006–07 onwards reflect the current provision of services in each PCT area. These budgets are ring fenced for three years and can only be used by the PCT for the provision of primary care dental services.
16 Jan 2006 : Column 1064W

In the future, the distribution of these resources within a PCT area will be a matter of local discretion. When a dentist leaves the local area or reduces his or her national health service commitment, the resources will return to the PCT to re-deploy according to local needs. PCTs may also commit additional funds from their overall allocation to augment the ring fenced dental budget and address local dental needs. The Department will continue to keep future budget allocations for dentistry under review.

Emergency Calls

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many emergency calls were answered within the Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust in each of the last five years; [39952]

(2) what proportion of emergency calls resulted in an ambulance arriving at the scene of the reported incident within the Government's target response times for Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust in each of the last five years. [39953]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is shown in the table.
Emergency calls and response times, Tees, East and North Yorkshire, 2000–01 to 2004–05

Incidents (calls resulting in response arriving at the scene)131.6126.6136.7143.2153.4
Category A incidents
Percentage response within 8 minutes52.871.973.473.777.1
Percentage response within 19 minutes96.497.897.697.998.5
Category B/C incidents
Percentage response within 8 minutes49.355.857.158.1(57)57.5
Percentage response within 19 minutes96.196.595.495.7(57)94.8
Category B incidents
Percentage response within 8 minutesn/an/an/an/a(58)55.6
Percentage response within 19 minutesn/an/an/an/a(58)94.8

(57)Data for April 2004 to September 2004.
(58)Data for October 2004 to March 2005; prior to this, category B data not available separately.
HSCIC return KA34

Next Section Index Home Page