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6 Feb 2006 : Column 976W—continued

Hearing Services

Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact on (a) waiting lists and (b) waiting times for digital hearing aids of the introduction of programmes to expand their availability; and if she will make a statement. [39256]

Mr. Byrne: Several initiatives have been introduced to improve capacity to deliver audiology services. These are the national framework contract public private partnership to bring in additional independent sector capacity, the development of a new degree to help to address the shortage of audiologists and the introduction of Hearing Direct" which is follow-up care and advice for hearing aid users who would benefit from this.

The figures on waiting times for digital hearing aids are not collected centrally. It is for primary care trusts to ensure their local population benefits from modernised hearing aid services.

Hospitals

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the number of patients required for a hospital to remain viable. [41928]

Mr. Byrne: The configuration of services, including the viability of individual hospitals is a matter for the national health service locally. No specific assessment has been made centrally.

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to prevent hospitals spending money on advertising for patients. [40662]

Mr. Byrne: With the introduction of patient choice and payment by results, it is important that patients are aware of the services and options available to them. Therefore, a small amount of advertising is in the interests of both patients and hospitals. The Department is developing guidelines, to ensure that any public communications are not only honest and accurate, but also appropriate. These guidelines, together with the payment tariff set by payment by results, should deter inappropriate expenditure on advertising.
 
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Housing Development

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with the Deputy Prime Minister on the (a) demand for and (b) cost of the social care facilities arising from the planned expansion of housing in Aylesbury Vale. [45344]

Mr. Byrne: No formal discussions have taken place at ministerial level.

Now that the sub regional strategy is finalised, it is being taken forward by local partners. The local delivery vehicle for Aylesbury (Aylesbury Vale Advantage) will be looking at the infrastructure requirements associated with growth at a detailed level and will be working with relevant agencies as part of this process.

Illegal Drug Use

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to reduce the number of deaths from illegal drug use. [44727]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 23 January 2006]: In November 2001, the Government set a target to reduce the number of drug-related deaths by 20 per cent. by 2004 in England and Wales as part of an action plan to reduce drug-related deaths. Progress against the target is calculated against a 1999 Office for National Statistics (ONS) baseline. The latest ONS data available are for 2003, which show that drug-related deaths have declined for three consecutive years.

Since the action plan was published, the Department has focused efforts on improving the surveillance and monitoring of drug use; improving access to and consistency of prescribing treatment; and guidance to commissioners and providers of treatment and to users on limiting the risk of overdose.

Accessible information and support is available to young people and their families on the risks associated with drug misuse through the innovative Frank" campaign. We are also getting more people in to drug treatment than ever before and this will be boosted by the increase of funding for drug action teams, which will continue to take forward the positive progress we are already making.

Infection Control

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the research commissioned by her Department on the number of single rooms needed for effective infection control will be published; and if she will place a copy in the Library; [45762]

(2) what estimate she has made of the number of single rooms needed in hospital settings for the effective control of (a) hospital acquired infections and (b) future outbreaks of an influenza pandemic; and if she will make a statement. [45763]


 
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Jane Kennedy [holding answer 26 January 2006]: Leeds General Infirmary and the University of Leeds are carrying out the following research project:

The project is due to finish shortly and we expect to publish a report in the summer. A copy will be placed in the Library.

The research project will help us assess requirements for controlling hospital acquired infections. During an influenza pandemic it is likely that patients would be cohorted rather than kept in isolation.

Intensive Care Costs

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average daily cost of an (a) intensive care and (b) high dependency bed is in West Lancashire. [45032]

Mr. Byrne: The average cost of an occupied bed day in a discrete critical care unit is available in the annual reference costs publication.

The national schedule of reference costs for 2004, the latest year available, shows that for activity undertaken at Southport and Ormskirk national health service trust in England, the costs of an occupied bed day in different types of discrete critical care units is shown in the following table.
Average cost per occupied bed day

Unit type£
Intensive therapy unit/intensive care unit1,081
Spinal injuries intensive care unit672

A copy of the reference costs publication is available in the Library.

Mental Health Services

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she has set a target for reducing the referrals to specialist child and adolescent mental health services in children's fund areas. [45708]

Mr. Byrne: We are committed to ensuring access to mental health services for all children and young people who need them. The Department has a public service agreement target to ensure access to a comprehensive child and adolescent mental health service by the end of 2006.

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting times for patients in Easington constituency to see (a) a consultant psychiatrist and (b) a psychologist were in each year since 2002. [45016]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is shown in the table.
 
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Waiting times for first out-patient appointment following general practitioner (GP) written referral, September 2002 to September 2005, provider based
Effective length of wait from receipt of GP written referral request to first out-patient attendance (weeks)

Quarter
(September)

Code

Name

0 to <4

4 to <13

13 to <17

17 to <21

21 plus
Median wait (weeks)
2002RTCCounty Durham and Darlington Priority Services NHS Trust243163127243.7
2003RTCCounty Durham and Darlington Priority Services NHS Trust194690002.7
2004RTCCounty Durham and Darlington Priority Services NHS Trust00000n/a
2005RTCCounty Durham and Darlington Priority Services NHS Trust00000n/a
2002RVXTees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust26220315323.7
2003RVXTees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust2572592104.1
2004RVXTees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust2221700003.5
2005RVXTees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust2151841003.7



n/a=Not available.
Notes:
Data for specialties
710 Mental Illness
711 Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
712 Forensic Psychiatry
713 Psychotherapy
715 Old Age Psychiatry
1. Due to small numbers, the calculation of the median wait is prone to fluctuation. Care should be taken when interpreting these figures.
2. Waiting times apply to consultant-led appointments only. Services in many areas are now run by multi disciplinary teams.
Source:
Department of Health form QM08.



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