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21 Mar 2006 : Column 268W—continued

Liver Conditions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to reduce the number of deaths from liver conditions. [22787]

Caroline Flint: Problematic drinking is a key cause of and contributor to liver disease. We are supporting a comprehensive approach, across and beyond Government, to address the consequences of harm caused by alcohol. The Government have confirmed, by way of the alcohol harm reduction strategy and the Choosing Health White Paper their commitment to tackling this issue.

Hepatitis B and C viruses can also cause serious liver disease. The Department has introduced a range of measures to prevent and control hepatitis B and C infections, including:

The hepatitis C action plan for England sets out a framework of action to improve the prevention, diagnosis of hepatitis C.


Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many responses have been received to theMedicines (Fees) Regulations consultation; what proportion of these responses objected to the proposed fee increases; and when the results of the consultation will be made public. [53615]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 February 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 16 March 2006, Official Report, columns 2480–81W.

Mental Health Services (Lancashire)

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to increase partnership working between mental health trusts and drug and alcohol services in West Lancashire. [58446]

Mr. Byrne: This is the responsibility of the West Lancashire primary care trust in partnership with other local health organisations and patient groups.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her policy is on the future role for the independent sector in the provision of mental health facilities in (a) Lancashire and (b) West Lancashire constituency. [58447]

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Mr. Byrne: The national health service receives vital support from the independent sector in delivering mental health services, improving access to these and in reducing waiting times, for example, in providing medium secure facilities and in specialist eating disorder services and we have no plans to change this.

The independent sector, through the private finance initiative scheme (PFI), is helping to deliver the biggest hospital building programme, including mental health facilities, in the history of the NHS, replacing old and outmoded buildings with ones fit for the 21st century. New or improved mental health facilities are among the 140 new hospital schemes worth £19.1 billion, which are in progress and are counting towards the NHS plan target of having 100 new hospital schemes open by 2010.

The responsibility for planning and developing NHShealth services which meet the needs of local
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communities, including mental health services, rests with primary care trusts and their strategic health authorities. We will continue to support the commissioning of independent sector services by the NHS where this delivers clear benefits for NHS patients and where it represents value for money for the taxpayer.


Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many vacant midwife posts there are in (a) the Cheshire and Lancashire and Cumbria strategic health authority area and (b) the West Lancashire primary care trust area; and what steps her Department is taking to recruit more midwives into the NHS in (i) Cheshire, (ii) Merseyside and (iii) Lancashire. [58453]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is shown in the table.
NHS health and social care information centre vacancies survey March 2005, national health service three-month vacancies for Cheshire and Merseyside and Cumbria and Lancashire strategic health authority areas and by organisations for qualified midwives
Three-month vacancy rates, numbers and staff in post

March 2005
September 2004
Three-month vacancy rate (percentage)Three-month vacancy (number)Staff in post (full-time equivalent)Staff in post (headcount)
Cheshire and Merseyside SHA area total0.221,0291,304
Five Borough Partnership NHS Trust(30)000
Aintree Hospitals NHS Trust(30)000
Bebington and West Wirral PCT(30)000
Birkenhead and Wallasey PCT(30)000
Cardiothoracic Centre—Liverpool NHS Trust(30)000
Central Cheshire PCT(30)000
Central Liverpool PCT(30)000
Cheshire and Merseyside SHA(30)000
Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust(30)000
Cheshire West PCT(30)000
Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Trust(30)000
Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust0.91106138
East Cheshire NHS Trust0.007098
Eastern Cheshire PCT(30)000
Ellesmere Port and Neston PCT(30)000
Halton PCT0.002834
Knowsley PCT(30)000
Liverpool Womens Hospital NHS Trust0.00277351
Mersey Care NHS Trust(31)038
Mersey Regional Ambulance Service NHS Trust(30)000
Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust1.0197123
North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust0.00100126
North Liverpool PCT(30)000
Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals University NHS Trust(30)000
Royal Liverpool Childrens NHS Trust(30)000
South Liverpool PCT(30)000
South Sefton PCT(30)000
Southport and Formby PCT(30)000
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust0.0093116
St. Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust0.20108133
St. Helens PCT(30)000
Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery NHS Trust(30)000
Warrington PCT(30)000
Wirral Hospital NHS Trust0.00148177
Cumbria and Lancashire SHA area Total0.339271,147
Blackburn with Darwen PCT(30)000
Blackpool PCT(30)000
Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust1.92103126
Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale PCT(31)012
Calderstones NHS Trust(30)000
Carlisle and District PCT(30)000
Chorley and South Ribble PCT(30)000
Cumbria Ambulance Service NHS Trust(30)000
Cumbria and Lancashire SHA(31)011
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust0.00245303
Eden Valley PCT(30)000
Fylde PCT(30)000
Hyndburn and Ribble Valley PCT(30)000
Lancashire Ambulance Service NHS Trust(30)000
Lancashire Care NHS Trust(30)000
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust0.71143177
Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Trust0.00306356
Morecambe Bay PCT(30)000
North Cumbria Acute Hospitals NHS Trust0.00127182
North Cumbria Mental Health and Learning Disabilities NHS Trust
Preston PCT(30)000
West Cumbria PCT(30)000
West Lancashire PCT(30)000
Wyre PCT(30)000

(31)Figures where sum of staff in post (as at 30 September 2004) and vacancies (as at 31 March 2005) is less than 10.
Three-month vacancy
1. Three-month vacancy information is as at 31 March 2005.
2. Three-month vacancies are vacancies which trusts are actively trying to fill, which had lasted for three months or more (whole-time equivalents).
3. Three-month vacancy rates are three-month vacancies expressed as a percentage of three-month vacancies plus staff in post.
4. Three-month vacancy rates are calculated using staff in post from the non-medical work force census September 2004.
5. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.
Staff in post
Staff in post data is from the non-medical work force census September 2004.
1. Vacancy and staff in post numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number.
2. Calculating the vacancy rates using the aforementioned data may not equal the actual vacancy rates.
3. Due to rounding, totals may not equal the sum of component parts.
4. SHA figures are based on trusts, and do not necessarily reflect the geographical provision of health care.
NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre Vacancies Survey March 2005.
NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre Non-Medical Workforce Census September 2004.

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The NHS Improvement Plan, published in June 2004, reiterated the Government's commitment to increase numbers of frontline NHS staff. This built on the NHS Plan which made a commitment to increasing nursing staff numbers—over 20,000 more nurses working in the NHS and 5,500 extra nurses, midwives and health visitors being trained each year by 2004. These targets have already been met and exceeded. The extra investment announced in the 2002 Budget, builds on the NHS Plan target; by 2008 we expect the NHS to have net increases of at least 35,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors.
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