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Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the merits of including a value for money assessment in the inspection reports of care homes for older people produced by the Commission for Social Care Inspection. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: No assessment has been made. The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), as the independent inspectorate for social care in England, is responsible for registering, inspecting and regulating all social care services, including care homes. CSCI works to maintain and improve the quality of care, to ensure the safety of service users and, if necessary, takes enforcement action to end bad practice.
CSCI inspects local authority social services and awards star ratings, based on how effectively councils are meeting the social care needs of their populations. These ratings will include an assessment of councils' commissioning arrangements. Councils are responsible for ensuring they achieve value for money in their purchasing of services from care homes and CSCI's functions encompass the economy and efficiency of councils' provision and their value for money.
The great majorityaround 70 per cent.of care homes are private businesses. Market forces, particularly with regard to local authority-funded care home placements, which account for around 67 per cent. of places, ensure there is price competition, particularly in view of the fact that there is currently considerable spare capacity, with approximately 9 per cent. vacancy levels in privately owned, for-profit care homes in 2005(1).
(1) "Care of Elderly PeopleUK Market Report 2005", Laing and Buisson.
Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nursery and creche places are provided for people working in her Department; what charges are made for the provision of such services; and what other facilities are provided for the children of employees of her Department. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department offers a package of childcare support for working parents. The package comprises of access to 60 playscheme places offered on site in London and Leeds during the school holidays. The places are very popular and have been in place for more than five years. The places are subsidised on a daily basis. Each place is charged at £18.00 per day. Parents contribute £8.00 per place and the Department meets the cost of the difference. In addition, we will soon be offering childcare vouchers as part of a salary sacrifice scheme. This will be available to all staff to take advantage of the tax benefits attached to salary sacrifice. We are currently tendering for a voucher provider and expect the contract to begin on 1 September 2006. The Department also shares nursery provision with the Department for Work and Pensions for providing 20 on-site nursery places for pre-school children based in Quarry House, Leeds. Finally, we offer three days per annum carers leave in addition to annual and special leave for parents with caring responsibilities. This is to enable staff to care for their children when their usual childcare provision has broken down or in order for them to make alternative caring arrangements.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children aged between four and five received pre-school vision screening in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many babies received hearing screening during the first month of their life during the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information is not collected centrally. However, data is available from the director of the newborn hearing screening programme for the number of babies receiving hearing screening during the first three months of their life. Between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2006, 479,886 babies received a hearing screening test.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has madeof the impact on service users of changes planned for (a) speech and language therapy, (b) paediatric physiotherapy and (c) paediatric occupational therapy by primary care trusts in Buckinghamshire. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) in partnership with strategic health authorities, local authorities and other local stakeholders to determine how best to
use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community including the provision of speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list children's hospices which are receiving grants from the Big Lottery Fund; when this funding will cease in each case; whether she plans to increase funding for children's hospices from central budgets when Lottery funding ceases; and if she will make a statement. 
The provision of palliative care for children and young people with a life threatening or life limiting condition requires a wide range of services provided in a variety of settingshome, school, hospital or hospice to enable them to live as normal a life as possible. It is for local primary care trusts (PCTs), working with local authority partners and stakeholders, to decide how these services will be provided; we have published guidance to support PCTs in working with local authorities and other partners, including hospices, to commission high quality services.
The Government's White Paper Our health, our care, our say (copies are available in the Library) reaffirms our manifesto commitment to double funding for end of life care to enable more people to have a choice where to die. For children this includes palliative care, quite often a lifelong need, and not just end of life care. I will make an announcement about the manifesto commitment as soon as I can.
|Children's hospices in receipt of lottery funding|
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 13 March 2006]: The White Paper "Our health, our care, our say" reaffirms our commitment to double funding of end of life care to enable more people to have a choice about where to die. We will make further announcements on plans to implement this manifesto commitment as soon as possible.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects the remaining four programme hubs in the bowel cancer screening programme to be decided by the NHS cancer screening programme teams; and (a) how and (b) where the public can make representations on the location and timing of future hubs. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Five programme hubs across England will invite men and women to participate in the screening programme, send out the faecal occult blood (FOB) testing kits, interpret kits and send results out. Ninety to 100 local screening centres will provide endoscopy services for the 2 per cent. of men and women who have a positive FOB test result.
As there are only five programme hubs to cover the whole of England, these are being commissioned centrally by national health service cancer screening programmes. The national cancer screening team is currently assessing where the other programme hubs will be located and announcements will be made as soon as possible.
Strategic health authorities (SHAs) were asked to bid last August for their local endoscopy units to become local screening centres as part of the first wave of the programme in 2006-07. Similar exercises will take place for the second wave in 2007-08 and the third wave in 2008-09. It is up to SHAs to decide where local screening centres should be located for the benefit of their own populations.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of dentists who signed the new contract in dispute is not available centrally. Provisional management estimates indicate that 2,884 contracts were signed in dispute. A contract may be for either a practice or an individual dentist.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on recall interval between dental examinations; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: In 2002, the Department asked the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), as the independent organisation responsible for providing health guidance, to produce a guideline relating to recall intervals between dental examinations. The Department regards NICE's recommendations as constituting the best available independent clinical advice on how dentists should agree with each patient the recall intervals that are appropriate to the needs of individual patients. Under the new contracts for general dental services and personal dental services, dentists are required to provide services in accordance with guidance issued by NICE, including guidance on recall intervals.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists in the (a) Tameside and Glossop and (b) Stockport Primary Care Trust have signed the new NHS dental contract; and what percentage this represents of (i) all dentists and (ii) those dentists providing NHS treatments under the old arrangements in each PCT area. 
Information on the number of dentists who have signed the new contract and the number who have not signed is not available centrally. We do however have some provisional information that covers contracts. A contract may well be for more than one dentist so cannot be broken down further to individual dentist level.
|Provisional management estimates in Tameside and Glossop Primary Care Trust (PCT)|
|Number||Approximate UDA( 1) value||Percentage of UDA( 1) s|
|Provisional management estimates in Stockport PCT|
|Number||Approximate UDA( 1) value||Percentage of UDA( 1) s|
|(1) Approximate Units of Dental Activity value|
The information provided is not validated as it represents a snapshot of the position in early April 2006.
A contract may be for either a practice or an individual dentist.
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 8 May 2006]: The number of patients registered with a national health service dentist in Morecambe Bay Primary Care Trust as at 31 December in each specified year is shown in the table.
With effect from September 1996, the registration period for adults was reduced from two years to 15 months from the date of the patient's last attendance at the dentist. Registration periods for children were also standardised at 15 months. This produced a gradual reduction in the number of patients registered with dentists between January and September 1998 as those adult patients who were originally registered on a 24-month basis and did not return to the dentist were no longer counted.
|General dental services (GDS) and personal dental services (PDS)|
1. PDS schemes have varying registration periods. To ensure comparability with corresponding GDS data, PDS registrations for established PDS practices are estimated using proxy registrations, namely the number of patients seen by PDS practices in the past 15 months.
2. Data for 2003 and earlier do not include those PDS schemes that do not have any registrations, for example dental access centres, and is therefore not directly comparable with 2004 and 2005 data.
3. The registration figures for 1997 are not comparable with subsequent years due to the change in the registration period to 15 months. Previously the period for adults was 24 months whilst children's registrations expired at the end of the following calendar year. The introduction of PDS in October 1998 and subsequent growth has also affected the figures.
4. The areas have been defined using practice postcodes within the PCT, not the patient's home address.
5. Prison contracts have not been included in this analysis.
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