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Mr. Byrne: It is the responsibility of the NHS Staff Council to set mileage allowances for NHS staff. The Secretary of State has asked NHS Employers, who represent management side in England on the NHS Staff Council, to represent the NHS on this and other issues. We understand that the NHS Staff Council will consider mileage allowances for NHS staff in their work programme this year.
It is the responsibility of individual organisations to determine whether and how much to reimburse expenses for volunteer drivers. However, it would be good practice for volunteer drivers and paid staff to be paid equal mileage rates.
Mr. Byrne: The National Treatment Agency's (NTA) 'National survey of inpatient drug services in England' (2005) identified 16 services providing in-patient drug treatment in the north west region. In 200304, the NTA national needs assessment found 1,441 drug misusers from the north west accessed in-patient treatment.
Jane Kennedy: The national health service is forecasting a net year-end deficit of around £620 million for 200506. This amounts to less than 1 per cent. of funding available. We are taking action now with the minority of organisations that are underperforming with the aim of restoring financial balance.
Jane Kennedy: There is a deficit in a minority of national health service organisations, and a large proportion of the gross NHS deficit is in a relatively small number of organisations, so the focus of our effort will be on these organisations. KPMG have already carried out an initial assessment of 62 organisations. Following this exercise, 18 organisations will receive urgent turnaround support to help them deliver efficiency improvements, and appropriate support for a further 23 is being put in place. We have also commissioned an assessment of a further 35 organisations.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people attended Accident and Emergency departments in (a) England and (b) West Cheshire Primary Care Trust (i) in total and (ii) on Saturday mornings in each year since 1995. 
Mr. Byrne: Accident and emergency (A&E) attendance figures for England for the years requested are shown in the table and is available on the Department's website at: www.performance.doh.gov.uk/hospitalactivity/about_data/a_and_e_attendances.htm.
The Cheshire West Primary Care Trust is not a provider of A&E services. However, the Countess of Cheshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been providing A&E services within the Cheshire West geographical area since 1993. Attendance figures for this trust are also shown in the table.
|Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Trust|
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated cost to the NHS has been of raising the target for patients being seen in Accident and Emergency departments within four hours from 95 percent. to 98 percent. 
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact of targets for accident and emergency departments on the working practices of medical assessment units. 
Mr. Byrne: Assessment suggests delivery of the four-hour accident and emergency operational standard has had a positive impact on practice in medical assessment units. National best practice guidelines have been made available as such units have become standard across the national health service.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with (a) NHS medical practitioners and (b) nursing staff on the impact of the Government targets for accident and emergency on the services provided to patients by the NHS. 
Mr. Byrne: The Department holds regular and frequent discussions with a wide range of national health service staff. Feedback from these sessions shows there to be a wide consensus amongst doctors and nurses that the delivery of the four-hour standard has positively transformed accident and emergency services for patients and staff.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost of agency (a) nurses and (b) doctors has been in each year since 2000 in the (i) Liverpool and (ii) Southport and Ormskirk area, broken down by hospital. 
|The Cardiothoracic CentreLiverpool NHS Trust|
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting||469||1,075||1,155||326||162|
|Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust|
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting||128||371||736||742||932|
|Aintree Hospitals NHS Trust|
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting||1,025||1,050||1,079||1,077||489|
|Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust|
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting||144||219||113||41||39|
|Walton Neurology Centre NHS Trust|
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting||372||332||570||116||376|
|Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust|
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting||1,896||2,220||2,875||1,121||321|
|Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust|
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting||896||834||416||413||375|
Mr. Byrne: Mobile phone location information is increasingly used by ambulance services to help identify the location of 999 callers, but information on frequency and purpose of usage is not collected centrally.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many assaults on ambulance staff while on duty in Lancashire were recorded in each of the last five years; and how many prosecutions resulted in each case. 
The NHS Security Management Service (SMS), created in April 2003, has collected data on the number of physical assaults on national health service staff in England for the period 200405. The figure for the ambulance service was 1,329.
Information about the number of prosecutions resulting from reports of assaults on ambulance staff was not collected centrally for the period 200004. The number of prosecutions identified involving assaults on ambulance staff in 200405 in England totalled 107.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the level of demand for ambulance services was in each ambulance trust between midnight and four a.m. on 4 December (a) 2004 and (b) 2005. 
Level of demand for ambulance services is based on the number of emergency calls received by ambulance trusts. The data that the Department does collect on emergency calls is published in the statistical bulletin, Ambulance services, England: 200405", which is available in the Library and on the Department's website at: www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/11/36/79/04113679.pdf.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 452W
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding her Department has allocated for training controllers to expand their local geographical knowledge to prepare for the proposed reorganisation of ambulance trusts. 
Ambulance control room staff use advanced technology to match the nearest resource to patients. Therefore, they are not solely reliant on their local knowledge of the area in which they work when directing ambulances to emergency call-outs. In addition, a lot of local knowledge comes from front-line staff driving the vehicles. There are no plans to reduce the number of staff involved on front-line healthcare duties as part of the proposed reorganisation of ambulance trusts.
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