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24 Jan 2006 : Column 2080W—continued

Lone Heath Care Staff (Safety)

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the potential of MobileSOS and similar technology to protect lone healthcare and social workers; and whether she plans to make such technology available to healthcare and social workers. [42580]

Jane Kennedy: Guidance on how national health service health bodies should properly protect NHS loneworking staff, including how they should evaluate the use of technology for this purpose, was published by the NHS security management service (NHS SMS) in March 2005. NHS SMS has responsibility for all policy and operational matters related to the management of security delivery within the NHS. It is raising standards
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of security work in a comprehensive, inclusive and professional manner to ensure real, permanent improvements are made.

An extensive evaluation of a mobile phone based device specifically designed to protect NHS staff was carried out by the NHS SMS in 2004. The evaluation report is available from their website at:

The decision on whether to purchase such technology, and what system should be bought, must be a decision for the individual NHS health body, based on a comprehensive assessment of their staff's needs and the risks they face.

Maternity Units

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthhow many maternity units achieved (a) level one, (b) level two and (c) level three of the clinicalnegligence scheme for trusts in each year since 2000. [42942]

Jane Kennedy: The first year of formal clinical negligence scheme for trusts (CNST) maternity standards assessments was 2003–04 when all national health service trusts and two primary care trusts (PCTs) with significant maternity services were assessed by the NHS Litigation Authority, unless they had demonstrated compliance during the pilot exercise held in 2002–03.

The table shows the number of trusts at each level of the CNST maternity standards at the end of the last two financial years and end of the third quarter 2005–06. These are the latest available figures.
31 March 200431 March 200531 December 2005
Level 02002
Level 110810294
Level 2244654
Level 3157

(49) This figure includes PCTs with midwifery-led units, which were not previously assessed.

Mental Health Treatment

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average length of treatment was following referrals to (a) psychiatrists, (b) clinical psychologists, (c) psychotherapists, (d) cognitive and behavioural therapists and (e) other therapists in the last year for which figures are available, broken down to the most local level for which figures are available. [40891]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information available about the average length of treatment for hospital admissions following referrals to psychiatrists in 2004–05 has been placed in the Library. Information is not available in respect of other categories.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for treatment following referral to (a) a psychiatrist, (b) a clinical psychologist, (c) a psychotherapist, (d) a cognitive and
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behavioural therapist and (e) other therapists in each of the last five years, broken down to the most local level for which figures are available. [40893]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not routinely collect information on waiting times for appointments with non-consultant-led services. Information on the estimated average waiting time from general practitioner written referral to first outpatient appointment with a psychiatry consultant in each mental health provider trust in each of the last five years has been placed in the Library.

NHS Sites (Car Parking Charges)

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance she has issued to (a) NHS trusts and (b) other NHS organisations on charging for car parking space on NHS sites in the last three years. [42953]

Jane Kennedy: Guidance on implementing car parking charges was last issued to the national health service in 1996 but remains extant. It is a matter for individual NHS trusts to decide whether or not to charge for car parking, and the level of charges in the light of local circumstances.

Older People

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Commission for Social Care Inspection is taking (a) to promote the health of older people and (b) to improve chronic disease management in care homes; and if she will make a statement. [39435]

Mr. Byrne: The chairman of the Healthcare Commission has confirmed that the Healthcare Commission has identified supporting improvement in the care and treatment of older people and people with long-term conditions amongst its priorities.

This commitment is reflected in its programme of activities which includes;


John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she plans changes to the use of (a) biphosphonates, (b) ralox and (c) strontium ranelate as treatments for osteoporosis on the NHS. [42435]

Jane Kennedy: Raloxifene and strontium ranelate are licensed for the treatment and prevention of post-menopausal osteoporosis and the drugs may be used in the national health service within those licensed indications. The class of drugs called biphosphonates, which includes strontium ranelate, includes a number of different brands which are licensed for the treatment of
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various indications. It is for manufacturers of those drugs to apply for changes to the licensed indications in order for their use in the NHS to change.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines are given to her Parliamentary Response Unit on dealing with questions of a scientific nature. [41138]

Jane Kennedy: The Department's answers to all parliamentary questions are drafted in accordance with the Cabinet Office document Guidance to officials on drafting answers to parliamentary questions", copies of which are available in the Library.

Press Releases

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many press releases were issued by her Department in each year since 1992. [41969]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is shown in the table.
Press releases issued by Department of Health, 1992–93 to 2005–06

Financial yearNumber
2005–12 January 2006266

Private Finance Initiative

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthwhat plans she has to review the use of the private finance initiative for major hospital rebuilding projects. [43547]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 19 January 2006]: The private finance initiative (PFI) has been a major contributor to the largest hospital building programme in the national health service's history. Since May 1997, PFI has led to the construction of 48 new hospital schemes. Going into the future, we remain committed to the continued use of PFI as a mechanism for delivering the required capital investment into the NHS. Individual projects need a sound business case to be affordable and are scrutinised carefully.
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