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13 July 2006 : Column 2052W—continued


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many fires there were in the NHS Estate in each year since 1995; and what the cost was in each year. [83054]

Andy Burnham: These figures have been extracted from the information contained in the fire database held by the Department. National health service trusts are required to report all outbreaks of fire to which the fire and rescue service attend. The figures below represent those incidents reported to the Department during the period 1994-95 to 2004-05, and therefore may not be representative of the actual number of incidents attended by the fire services. NHS foundation trusts are not mandated to provide information in relation to fire incidents.

Table 1 represents the total number of fire incidents reported to the Department between 1994-95 and 2004-05 which are held in the database.

Table 1—Number of reported fires during period
Number of fires























A total of 10,662 fires were reported to the Department during this period.

Table 2 shows the maximum cost identified to the Department resulting from the reported fire incidents during the period held in the database.

13 July 2006 : Column 2053W
Table 2—Maximum cost of reported fire incidents
Maximum cost (£)























The total maximum cost of the reported fires in the period is £14,586,000.

Food Supplements Directive

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect of the food supplements directive on the UK food supplements industry; and if she will make a statement; [84283]

(2) what recent meetings she has held with (a) the UK food supplements industry, (b) the European Commission and (c) the Prime Minister on the food supplements directive; and if she will make a statement. [84284]

Caroline Flint: A regulatory impact assessment was carried out in relation to the food supplements directive in 2003, which evaluated the impact on the United Kingdom food supplements industry.

The public health Minister held a series of meetings with the UK food supplements industry in March 2006 to discuss the issue of food supplements, and has recently met with the representatives from No. 10, Cabinet Office and the Food Standards Agency to discuss this issue.

Foster Review

Mr. Ronnie Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to initiate a formal consultation on the merits of changes to the regulation of non-medical healthcare professionals proposed in the Foster Review. [82298]

Andy Burnham: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Wyre Forest (Dr. Taylor) on 15 May 2006, Official Report, column 694W.

Foundation Trusts

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what powers foundation trust governors have to refer issues to the trust’s membership; and what status responses of those members have in relation to board policy; [R] [83273]

(2) what requirement there is on a board of a foundation trust to consult (a) members and (b) governors on major changes in service delivery. [83274]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: NHS foundation trusts (NHSFTs) have a duty to encourage local people to become members and are accountable to their membership
13 July 2006 : Column 2054W
base via the board of governors. Membership must be representative of the communities served by NHSFTs.

Governors are responsible for representing the interests of the community in the management of the organisation and for sharing information about key decisions with members and receiving their views on specific issues. The constitution of each NHSFT details the practice and procedure of governors. While operational management decisions remain the responsibility of the board of directors, governors are able to influence decisions about priorities and the development and delivery of services made by directors who must consult and take the views of governors on board in forward planning.

Framing Legislation

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her practice is regarding meeting, discussing and taking into account the views and opinions of (a) private individuals and (b) representatives of organisations when drawing up and framing legislation to be introduced by her Department; and if she will make a statement. [81307]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department always seeks a full range of views when drawing up and framing legislation. Consultation is a key part of the policy-making process; both informal and formal.

A recent example was the consultation leading up to the White Paper ‘Our health, our care, our say’, which involved a wide range of face-to-face events, including four regional consultation events and a national citizens’ summit for 1,000 people in Birmingham on 29 October 2005. There were 150 local consultation events organised by voluntary and statutory organisations, attended by over 8,000 people. Face-to-face debates were backed-up by over 33,000 completed questionnaires and a major usage and attitudes survey.

The Department holds regular meetings with representatives of the principal stakeholder groups for our policy areas and with relevant experts. Organisations and individuals can also contribute to the Department’s formal consultations which abide by the code of conduct on consultation. Known stakeholders are alerted to the fact that a formal consultation is taking place. As required by the code, the Department then gives feedback on the responses received and on how the consultation process influenced the policy decision.

General Practitioners

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners per head of population there are in Yeovil constituency. [83810]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not available in the format requested. However, the information on how many general practitioners there are per head of population in South Somerset primary care trust (PCT) area is shown in the following table.

13 July 2006 : Column 2055W
South Somerset PCT

All practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars)(1)


All practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars)(1) per 100,000 head of population


(1) General medical practitioners, excluding retainers and registrars, includes contracted general practitioners, general medical services others and personal medical services others. 2004 population figures from the 2001 Office for National Statistics (ONS) resident estimates have been used for 2005 organisation calculations, as population figures for 2005 at organisation level are not yet available. Sources: The Information Centre for health and social care general and personal medical services statistics. 2001 ONS population census.

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost is of the additional pension liability associated with the new GP contract; and if she will make a statement. [69616]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government Actuary’s Department has valued the total liabilities of the NHS Pension Scheme as at 31 March 2005 to be £127.9 billion. They are in the process of preparing a detailed actuarial valuation of the scheme as at 31 March 2004 which will be published later this year. It will include analysis of the factors leading to any change in valuation.

Genetically-modified Organisms

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research she has commissioned into the impact of genetically modified organisms on human health. [83275]

Caroline Flint: As the United Kingdom Competent Authority for the EC Regulation 1829/2003 on genetically modified (GM) food and feed, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) supports a research programme to underpin the safety assessment of GM foods, and its role in ensuring food safety and consumer choice. Research funded by the FSA is reviewed to ensure that any emerging issues are identified and research is commissioned where appropriate.

Harwich Hospital

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the delayed opening of the new hospital in Harwich. [82894]

Andy Burnham: The national health service East of England reports that the delay is attributable to remedial flooring works taking place. However, Tendring Primary Care Trust expects the phased move into the new Fryatt hospital and Mayflower medical centre to be completed by the end of August this year.

13 July 2006 : Column 2056W

Head Injuries

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospitals in Lancashire offer specialist services for the rehabilitation of patients with severe head injuries. [82747]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are two units within Lancashire providing specialist rehabilitation services to patients with severe head injuries. These are the Preston neuro-rehabilitation centre, part of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust, and the Rakehead unit in Burnley, part of the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Health Circular 2002/004

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to enforce the provisions of health circular 2002/004; and if she will make a statement. [84177]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Directions, contained in annex D of the health service circular 2002/004, place the same statutory funding requirements on national health service bodies for the risk-sharing scheme as applies to positive guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

Ensuring compliance is the responsibility of strategic health authorities. Failure risks an adverse report to the Secretary of State from the independent Healthcare Commission.

Health Service Provision (Auditing)

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the implementation of (a) Practice Based Commissioning, (b) Payment by Results and (c) patient choice will be audited. [79672]

Andy Burnham: External audit of the implementation, by national health service bodies other than foundation trusts, of health policy is the responsibility of the Audit Commission and the National Audit Office. Foundation trust auditors are appointed by the governors of the trust. All follow professional standards based on the international standards on auditing issued by the Auditing Practices Board. In addition, NHS bodies have internal audit services.

Health Services (Barnet)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are on NHS waiting lists in Barnet (a) for elective surgery and (b) for out-patient appointments; what the (i) average and (ii) longest wait was in each case in 2005-06; what the equivalent figures were on 1 May 1997; and if she will make a statement. [84438]

13 July 2006 : Column 2057W

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not collected in the format requested. However, the table shows data for in-patient and out-patients waits, including average waiting times for Barnet Primary Care Trust (PCT) in March 2006 and its predecessor, Barnet health authority (HA), in June 1997.

The table shows that the longest wait for in-patient treatment in June 1997 was over 24 months compared to five to six months in March 2006. The table also shows that the longest wait for out-patient treatment in March 2006 was 13 to 17 weeks compared to over 26 weeks in June 1997.

In-patient waits by timeband—Barnet PCT and Barnet HA, June 1997 and March 2006
Year/Quarter/Org Code Number



Barnet PCT

00 to <01 months


01 to <02 months


02 to <03 months


03 to <04 months


04 to <05 months


05 to <06 months


06 to <07 months


07 to <08 months


08 to <09 months


09 to <10 months


10 to <11 months




Barnet HA

0<3 months


3-5 months


6-8 months


9-11 months


12-14 months


15-17 months


18-20 months


21-23 months


24+ months


Total waiting list


Median wait (weeks)


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