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8 Jun 2006 : Column 846W—continued

Hepatitis C

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timetable is for the establishment of a compensation scheme for those infected with hepatitis C by NHS blood or blood products. [76010]

Caroline Flint: The Skipton Fund was established in 2004, to administer the ex-gratia payment scheme for people infected with hepatitis C following national health service treatment with blood or blood products. The scheme became operational on 5 July 2004.

Hospital Parking

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in how many hospitals in (a) England, (b) each English region and (c) the Tees Valley do NHS staff need to pay for parking. [73653]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information is not collected centrally on the number of hospitals that require staff to pay for on-site parking.

Imported Blood Products

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether individuals with haemophilia were given factor VIII imported blood products; and if she will make a statement; [64127]

(2) whether individuals with haemophilia were given imported blood products under the named patient system without (a) consultation and (b) the signed agreement of the patient; and if she will make a statement. [64129]

Caroline Flint: During the 1970s and 1980s, clinicians were able to obtain blood products domestically, from Blood Products Laboratory (BPL) or purchase imported products from other international pharmaceuticals companies.

We are aware that during the 1980s pharmaceuticals companies were developing clotting factors, using new techniques in an attempt to reduce the risk of transmitting non-A and non-B hepatitis. We understand that the preference of some haemophilia centre directors was that these products should be administered through controlled clinical trials rather than on a named patient basis. However, this did not preclude individual clinicians, in consultation with a patient, from prescribing on a named patient basis, if considered in the patient’s best interest.

Medical Errors

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients underwent the wrong procedures due to medical errors in each of the last 10 years; [75029]

(2) how many patients died due to medical errors in hospitals in each of the last 10 years. [75030]

Andy Burnham: The Department does not centrally collect data on the number of patients who underwent the wrong procedures or died due to medical errors in hospitals.

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The Government are, however, concerned about national health service patients affected by adverse events and that is why it established the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) in July 2001 and asked it to set up a national reporting and learning system (NRLS) for patient safety incidents. This system is now in place across the NHS and all trusts have been connected and reporting to the system from late 2005. Data collected by the NPSA are based on incidents reported by NHS staff.

From November 2003 to the end of May 2006 there were 2,575 incidents reported as wrong or inappropriate treatment or procedure in the surgical and anaesthetic specialties. In 1,918 cases (74.5 per cent.), there was no reported harm to the patient, in 437 cases (17 per cent.) low harm, 179 cases (7 per cent.) moderate harm, 35 cases (1.4 per cent.) severe harm and in six cases (0.2 per cent.) it was reported that the patient died.

Data on deaths due to medical errors in acute hospitals over the last 10 years is not available. In July 2005, the NPSA published “Building a memory: preventing harm, reducing risks and improving patient safety. The first report of the National Reporting and Learning System and the Patient Safety Observatory”. At the time of publication, the NPSA estimated that the annual figures for NHS acute hospitals in England would be in the order of 840 patient safety incident-related deaths from 572,000 reported incidents from acute hospitals each year in England. The estimate was derived from 18 acute hospitals consistently reporting to the NPSA from October to December 2004 and was adjusted for variations in reporting, as well as deaths which had been incorrectly labelled as patient safety incidents. The estimates cover all patient safety incident- related deaths including those due to medical errors in acute hospitals.

The NPSA is due to publish a second report with its latest analysis of all patient safety incidents shortly.

Mental Health

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures her Department is taking to improve morale of permanent members of staff in small psychiatric centres in Leeds and West Yorkshire; and if she will make a statement. [75832]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: National health service employing organisations are responsible for the morale of their staff. NHS organisations providing mental health services across West Yorkshire have taken a range of measures to support staff. These include ensuring that staff have access to good child care facilities and support, occupational health and counselling services, flexible working and training and development opportunities.

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures her Department has in place to monitor the effectiveness of care in the community for mentally ill patients in (a) Leeds and (b) West Yorkshire. [75835]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department continues to monitor primary care trusts’ progress on the delivery of their agreed local delivery plans which also forms part of the annual performance assessment by the Healthcare Commission.

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) full-time members of staff and (b) temporary members of staff are employed in small psychiatric care centres in (i) Leeds and (ii) West Yorkshire. [75836]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not held centrally.

Multiple Sclerosis

Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many multiple sclerosis patients have been (a) prescribed and (b) refused the drug Sativex by the national health service. [76287]

Andy Burnham: The drug Sativex is currently unlicensed for use in the United Kingdom. However, doctors are able to use their clinical judgement to prescribe this drug on a named patient basis for the treatment of any medical condition they feel appropriate. Prescription data would therefore not provide information on how many patients were receiving Sativex for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

The Department does not collect information on those incidences where a doctor makes a clinical judgement not to prescribe a specific drug to an individual patient.

NHS Direct

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the implications of the announcement by NHS Direct of job cuts in London; and if she will make a statement. [75694]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: NHS Direct began a 12-week consultation period with staff and staff side representatives on 16 May 2006 on proposals to ensure that its organisational structure, estates and staffing are fit for purpose to meet future developments and demand. The consultation period is due to end on 16 August 2006. The outcomes of the consultation will be made public thereafter.

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the consultation on the reorganisation of NHS Direct, on what evidence the statement (a) that NHS Direct moving toward larger sites will improve clinical safety and (b) that best practice in the wider call centre industry is better than in NHS Direct is based; [75944]

(2) what assessment was made of the impact on the employment of disabled nurses of the proposed changes to NHS Direct. [75947]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not centrally held. It may be available from the Chairman of NHS Direct Special Health Authority.

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Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the basis is for the forecast that NHS Direct will need fewer nurses. [75945]

Ms Rosie Winterton: NHS Direct reviewed forecast demand for their services and the impact of introducing call streaming. These two factors combined mean that they will need fewer nurses.

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether health advisers may do the work of nurses in NHS Direct. [75946]

Ms Rosie Winterton: No. Health advisers are trained to use standardised protocols to assess the need for referral for face-to-face care or advice from an NHS Direct nurse.

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NHS Finance

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on NHS funding in Wirral. [71701]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department allocates funding to primary care trusts (PCTs) on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. The 2006-07 and 2007-08 revenue allocations represent £135 billion investment in the national health service, £64 billion to PCTs in 2006-07 and £70 billion in 2007-08. Over the two years covered by this allocation, PCTs will receive an average increase of 19.5 per cent. The table shows allocations for Bebington and West Wirral PCT and Birkenhead and Wallasey PCT.

2006-07 allocation 2007-08 allocation Two year increase
PCT (£000) (£000) £000 Percentage

Bebington and West Wirral PCT





Birkenhead and Wallasey PCT





The Department does not allocate funding to NHS trusts. NHS trusts, as providers of services, receive the bulk of their revenue funding from commissioning by PCTs. They also receive revenue funding from the Department for medical staff education services and for research and development. In addition, trusts can charge staff, visitors or patients for services provided, such as catering or provision of private patient facilities.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Statement of 12 April, whether she expects that (a) turnaround organisations and (b) all primary care trusts and NHS trusts which are overspending (i) will show improvement during 2006-07 and (ii) by the end of the year should have monthly income covering monthly expenditure. [76049]

Andy Burnham: The aim is for the national health service as a whole to return to net financial balance by the end of 2006-07.

We are aiming for all NHS organisations with deficits to have monthly balance of income over expenditure by April 2007. There will be some exceptional cases where an organisation needs longer to make the necessary changes, while still maintaining patient care. However, because over-spending by one organisation has to be balanced by under-spending elsewhere, we will continue to challenge and expect organisations to return to monthly balance as quickly as possible.

NHS Pension Scheme

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the NHS Pension Scheme is funded; and what the contribution level of the scheme is. [71606]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The NHS Pension Scheme is an unfunded scheme. Employers pay 14 per cent. of the pensionable pay into the scheme and employees pay 6 per cent., apart from manual staff who pay 5 per cent.

North-West Lancashire Strategic Health Authority

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what considerations she took into account when approving the appointment of the chair of the new North West Lancashire strategic health authority; and if she will make a statement. [69846]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Responsibility for the appointment of chairs and non-executive members of national health service boards has been delegated to the NHS Appointments Commission. As a national body, it follows national procedures for all appointments to ensure consistency across the NHS, while also taking into account specific local circumstances.

The selection of candidates for the strategic health authority posts was undertaken by a panel which included an independent assessor. Candidates were only appointed if they met all of the criteria for these posts and after successfully completing a process of selection and interview.

Notifiable Diseases

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what factors were taken into account when deciding not to include the (a) HIV and (b) H5N1 viruses on the list of notifiable diseases; [75018]

(2) which sexually transmitted diseases (a) are and (b) are not on the list of notifiable diseases; and what criteria are used when deciding which diseases to include. [75017]

Caroline Flint: Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, there is a requirement to notify local authorities of cases of certain infectious diseases so
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that they can consider whether to use the measures to control disease that the Act provides. Section 11 of the Act sets out the procedure for notifying the relevant local authority of cases of cholera, plague, relapsing fever, smallpox, typhus and food poisoning. Regulations made under the Act (the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations 1988) apply section 11 to certain other infectious diseases(1).

However, statutory notification of specified infectious diseases is only one of a range of methods by which epidemiological surveillance and control of infectious diseases are carried out. HIV, sexually transmitted infections and H5N1 are not notifiable diseases(2).

For HIV, local and national data are collected from several sources including reporting of diagnosed cases by clinicians and laboratories and by unlinked anonymous surveys of HIV prevalence in population sub-groups, such as genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic attendees and injecting drug users in contact with specialist services. Similarly, for other sexually transmitted infections, there are other surveillance methods used including returns from GUM clinics of episodes of sexually transmitted infections and the national chlamydia screening programme.

Making HIV and other sexually transmitted infections notifiable might raise concerns about patient confidentiality and could deter individuals at risk of infection from seeking advice, testing and specialist care.

H5N1 infection does not readily pass from birds to humans and there is currently no evidence that this pathogen is capable of spreading from person-to-person efficiently or of sustaining such transmission. This infection can only be diagnosed by laboratory confirmation of the pathogen as the clinical illness has similarities with several other infections. H5N1 infection in birds or poultry, which comes within the definition of avian influenza, is notifiable as a disease of animals and as an animal disease that may transmit to humans. This allows measures to be put in place to reduce the risk of spread to other birds or poultry and to humans.

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