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Nurse Advisers

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to introduce new regulations on the status and influence of nurse advisers. [50815]

Jane Kennedy: In the national health service, the nomenclature 'nurse adviser' covers a range of nursing roles and titles, including nurse specialists. What such nurses have in common is that they are employed to address specific issues identified by their employers. There is no national definition or job description of the role, therefore no regulations governing them. The Nursing and Midwifery Council are responsible for the professional regulation of nurses.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) neonatal and (b) paediatric nurses there have been in England in each year since 1997; how many are nearing retirement; and what steps are being taken to tackle possible shortages. [49862]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 8 February 2006]: The table shows qualified paediatric nurses and maternity services nurses in England as at 30 September 2004. We cannot specify neo-natal nursing staff, however we have included maternity services nursing staff for your information.
Paediatric Nursing15,34116,26616,68916,92217,64018,01418,43718,917
Maternity Services Nurses28,40929,17429,25829,30429,17729,52430,77632,056
of which:

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There are 2,216 paediatric nurses over the age of 50 and 6,162 maternity services nurses over the age of 50. However, human resource policies are in place to make it an attractive option for staff to work full time or part time up to and past retirement age, including: flexible national health service pensions scheme, flexible working hours and change of roles to include mentoring, coaching and clinical research.

We have increased substantially the number of nurse training places, held national and international recruitment campaigns and developed return to practice schemes. We have also improved retention by increasing pay and continuing to make the NHS a better employer.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she will answer question 31790 tabled by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South on 24 November 2005. [47526]

Ms Rosie Winterton: A reply was given on 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 970W.

Prescription Charges

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department has issued guidance to trusts on advising patients on whether to obtain their prescriptions outside hospital pharmacies. [49676]

Jane Kennedy: The Department has not issued specific guidance to trusts on patients obtaining prescriptions outside hospital pharmacies. However, guidance has been issued on the responsibility for prescribing between hospitals and general practitioners (GPs), in the form of an Executive Letter in 1991, EL (91)127. This advised that hospital consultants have responsibility for all medicines prescribed for in-patients, as well as for ensuring that patients are discharged with sufficient medication to allow their GP, to whose care they are transferred, to be advised of the diagnosis and therapy so that continuity of care can be maintained.

For out-patients the guidance says that only patients in immediate need of treatment should be prescribed medication as a result of the out-patient consultation. All other patients should be referred to their GP, with the results and recommendations from the consultation, to receive appropriate treatment.

A copy of EL (91)127 will be placed in the Library.

Private Finance Initiative Scheme

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress has been made in signing the contract for the private finance initiative scheme at Broomfield hospital, Chelmsford; and if she will make a statement. [47176]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 31 January 2006]: The full business case (FBC) for this scheme has been prepared and submitted to Essex strategic health authority (SHA) for approval. Following publication of' The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2006–07" on 26 January, the SHA will now need to revalidate the approval parameters for the scheme by responding to a range of questions from the Department
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concerning factors such as long-term affordability, assumptions on efficiency gains and income growth, liquidity, activity shift and reference cost. The SHA will then need to have its conclusions ratified by the Department before proceeding.

Private Healthcare Sector (NHS Funded Operations)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS-funded operations have been commissioned from the private healthcare sector for patients in (a) Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth primary care trust and (b) Staffordshire strategic health authority in each of the last five-years, broken down by specialty. [48644]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is not available in the format requested. However, during 2004–05, 530 procedures were commissioned in the Shropshire and Staffordshire strategic health authority from a one-year national procurement for additional general surgery and orthopaedic procedures.

Rule of Rescue Principle

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the acceptable incremental level of cost per quality years of life above the norm which the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence considers a drug treatment value for money when administered under the rule of rescue; and if she will make a statement. [49592]

Jane Kennedy: I have made no such estimate.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people her Department estimates died from smoking-related illnesses in the last year for which figures are available. [51002]

Caroline Flint: The smoking epidemic in England", published by the Health Development Agency in November 2004, estimated that, in England, 86,500 deaths a year were attributed to smoking.

A copy is available in the Library.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research into the effects of second-hand smoke from tobacco products her Department has (a) evaluated and (b) commissioned. [51003]

Caroline Flint: The Governments 1998 White Paper Smoking Kills" sets out in Chapter 1 some of the major fatal diseases and conditions caused by smoking and passive smoking. For each disease and cause of death quoted there is a reference to relevant studies and/or source documents.

The 1998 Report of the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) provided fuller information on fatal and other disease caused by smoking and second hand smoke. The 2004 Report by SCOTH, Secondhand Smoke: Review of Evidence since 1998", states that new evidence reinforces and strengthens the conclusion in the 1998 report that second hand smoke is a substantial public health hazard.
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Copies of these documents are available in the Library.

Staff Contracts

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the relevant staff group has not yet agreed a contract of employment under (a) the new consultants' contract, (b) the new General Medical Services contract and (c) Agenda for Change. [48840]

Mr. Byrne: There are around 86 per cent. of all consultants now working to the new contract. The new contract is still available to all and new appointees, after October 2003, are automatically made to the new contract. Therefore, this percentage will continue to increase.

The new general medical services (GMS) contract is not a contract of employment but a contract for primary medical care services based on a collective provider model of responsibility. General practitioners traditionally fill the role of contractors for provision, however, increasingly non-general practitioners are taking up such roles. Around 60 per cent. of all practitioners operate under GMS contract.

There are about 5 per cent. of staff who have not been assimilated and therefore are not yet in receipt of agenda for change payment. We cannot ascertain, however, how many of these have not yet agreed a contract of appointment. This figure excludes national health service foundation trusts and special health authorities.

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