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25 Apr 2006 : Column 1072W—continued


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what protocols are in place for the suspension and termination of contracts between providers and Connecting for Health. [61732]

Mr. Byrne: NHS Connecting for Health manages its relationships with its contractors through a range of standard contractual provisions and remedies designed to address poor performance at an early stage and to support the contractor towards full compliance. These include requirements for the contractor to supply more information about the manner in which services are being provided, and the causes of any failures on the contractor's part. Others enable NHS Connecting for Health to exert greater control over how a contractor provides the services, or to require that a contractor
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provide the services in a different way. Specific financial remedies cover compensation for the national health service for loss suffered due to non-delivery, and the withholding of payment to incentivise compliance with contractual obligations. The contract does contain provision for the termination of the whole contract, or a part of the services provided by a contractor. However, termination is a step that NHS Connecting for Health would contemplate only after every opportunity, and all possible assistance had been given to enable a contractor to recover its position and become successful.


Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much her Department has spent on consultants in each year since 2003–04. [62565]

Mr. Byrne: The total cost of consultants engaged directly by the Department, where in-house resources were not available, is shown in the table.
Financial yearCost (£000)

(22) To end of January.
(23) The 2005–06 spend is lower because the Department has rectified some miscoding against expenditure category codes to provide a more accurate figure of external consultancy spend to 31 January 2006.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultants were hired to work in her Department in (a) 2003, (b) 2004, (c) 2005 and (d) 2006. [60626]

Mr. Byrne: The Department does not collect information that would identify the numbers of consultants engaged for the years requested. Contracts do not usually specify the precise numbers of consultants and the numbers can vary during a contract.

Departmental Officials (Hospital Visits)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which hospitals officials in the Department have visited since 1997; for what purpose in each case; if she will list the (a) date, (b) time and (c) duration of each visit; and if she will make a statement. [64590]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate costs.


Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many (a) type 1 and (b) type 2 diabetics there are in England; [65920]

(2) what estimate she has made of the number of people who will develop (a) type 1 and (b) type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years. [65923]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The PBS 1 model estimates that, in 2005, the number of people with type 1 (Tl) diabetes in England was 169,913 and the number of people with type 2 (T2) diabetes in England was 2,265,649. The PBS model does not estimate new incidence of diabetes. However, it does estimate that there will be a total of
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2.75 million persons with diabetes in 2015 (Tl=173,733 and T2=2,573,560) compared to 2.44 million persons with diabetes in 2005 (Tl=169,913 and T2=2,265,649).

Domestic Violence

Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the access to general practitioner services by families who have been involved in domestic violence in Hull North. [64089]

Mr. Byrne: All residents in Kingston-upon-Hull have equal access to general practitioner (GP) and other primary care services. In December 2005, 100 per cent. of patients in both Eastern Hull and West Hull primary care trust areas were able to be offered an appointment to see a GP within two working days.

Electricity Cables

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department has undertaken into potential health risks associated with living in close proximity to high voltage electricity grid overhead cables. [64854]

Caroline Flint: The Department's radiation protection research programme supports a number of studies investigating the possible health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF). These range from laboratory work investigating possible cellular effects to large population studies. In addition, the Department, along with the Health and Safety Executive, has supported the World Health Organization's international EMF project since it started in 1997.

The Health Protection Agency's radiation protection division (HPA-RPD) keeps the worldwide research findings on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health continually under review. In 2004, on the basis of a comprehensive review of the existing body of research to date, the HPA-RPD, previously the national radiological protection board, recommended the adoption of new EMF exposure guidelines in this country. In addition, in view of the scientific uncertainties in relation to power frequency EMF, the HPA recommended the Government

They have also noted that the majority of elevated magnetic fields are due to variations in the electricity supply and distribution system, the presence of substations and equipment in the home rather than proximity to high voltage overhead cables.

Practical precautionary measures are now being considered in detail by a stakeholder advisory group, SAGE, that includes Government Departments, agencies, electricity industry, specialists and public concern groups. Details of the process can be found on its website at

Emergency Admissions

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what initiatives accompanied her Department's press release of 20 March, reference 2006/114, entitled Improve
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Healthcare by Reducing Unnecessary Emergency Admissions; and for what reasons the information was issued in the form of a press release. [61148]

Mr. Byrne: One of the priorities for the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, when it was launched in July 2005, was to look at how the national health service could improve productivity. One of the first productivity savings established by the NHS Institute was that of reducing the number of unnecessary emergency admissions; namely that a 30 per cent. reduction in unnecessary emergency admissions could save the NHS around £400 million annually.

The information on the productivity savings was issued in the form of a press release to make the NHS and public aware of the patient benefits and cost savings that were taking place in a number of NHS organisations, and to help demonstrate to other NHS organisations methods of how to increase efficiency and productivity.

Health Care (Elderly People)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what legislation governs the hiring of (a) paid and (b) volunteer staff within health care facilities caring for the elderly. [53865]

Mr. Byrne: When employing staff, including those working with older people, the national health service is required to follow the guidance, Safer Recruitment", issued in May 2005. Safer Recruitment" covers all the pre and post-appointment checks, including checks against the protection of children act list that NHS employers are required to make before appointing anyone, including employees, volunteers, students and trainees, to a position in the NHS. A copy is available in the Library.

In regulated social care, providers must comply with regulations on pre-employment checks made under the Care Standards Act 2000, which came into force in April 2002. The responsibility for carrying out pre-employment checks, including Criminal Records Bureau and protection of vulnerable adults checks where applicable, rests with the relevant employer.

In response to Sir Michael Bichard's inquiry in June 2004, the Department, in conjunction with the Department for Education and Skills has been developing a new vetting and barring scheme. Legislation to provide for the scheme, which will apply to all NHS and social care settings, was introduced in the other place in February 2006.

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