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14 July 2006 : Column 2153W—continued

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health why items prescribed under band 3 will be grouped together as band 3 prescriptions and not measured as individual items under the new NHS contract for dentists. [83892]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Providers of general dental service and personal dental services are no longer paid by item of service but have an agreed annual contract value, which is paid in 12 monthly instalments. In return for this contract value, the provider carries out over the course of the year an agreed number of units of dental activity that correspond to overall courses of treatment. The provider therefore no longer has to submit data on the individual items of service within each course of treatment. Any items prescribed within a course of treatment are a matter for individual clinical judgment. This approach is intended to help promote more clinically appropriate practice, with less emphasis on the quality of individual interventions and more time available for preventative care.


Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that there are adequate numbers of diabetes nurses in West Lancashire. [83486]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The “National Service Framework for Diabetes: Delivery Strategy” states that diabetes services need to ensure that there are enough staff with appropriate skills who are well-led, supported, and deliver high-quality care. It is up to local diabetes teams to decide, based on the needs of their local population, how best these teams are constructed to provide local services for both adults and children.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many diabetes nurses are employed by West Lancashire Primary Care Trust. [83487]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not held centrally.

District General Hospitals

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been carried out by (a) the Department and (b) the NHS into the minimum population required to sustain a full district general hospital, including accident and emergency facilities. [80731]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Each district general hospital will serve a uniquely different population, both in terms of underlying health need and in terms of the population’s capacity to access services. The hospital infrastructure required to support London versus rural Cornwall will be very different. The Department has not sought to prescribe or recommend minimum population sizes for hospitals.

Domiciliary Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in (a) England and (b) each region (i) met and (ii) did not meet the required standard at each stage in the registration of domiciliary care providers in the last year for which figures are available. [81681]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I understand from the Chair the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that the information is not available in the precise form requested. The number of domiciliary care agencies (DCAs) registered with CSCI in the year 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006 are shown in table 1.

As DCAs go through each stage of the registration process, CSCI considers whether they meet regulatory requirements. In terms of DCAs which have been refused registration in 2005-06, agencies are either issued a refusal notice or advised to withdraw their application. There were no refusal notices issued for the most recent calendar year, 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006. The total number of DCA applications withdrawn is shown in table 2.

The following tables show the figures requested by region.

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Table 1: DCA registrations in 2005-06
Region Number

North East


East Midlands


South West


West Midlands


North West




South East




Yorkshire and Humberside


England total


CSCI registration and inspection database

Table 2: Registration applications from DCAs withdrawn in 2005-06
Region Number

North East


East Midlands


South West


West Midlands


North West




South East




Yorkshire and Humberside


England total


CSCI registration and inspection database

Domiciliary Oxygen Provision

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation was conducted with (a) service users and (b) health professionals in West Lancashire prior to the recent change in domiciliary oxygen provision. [83488]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Following an announcement of plans for change in July 2003, the Department worked with patients’ representatives and health professionals to develop the service specification, which took into account the recommendations of a Royal College of Physicians’ working group on the assessment and prescribing of oxygen therapy in the home. The specification was included in tender documents issued in October 2004. The Department also included representatives of the British Thoracic Society, which has developed clinical best practice guidelines on home oxygen therapy, and the British Lung Foundation, which campaigns and supports patients with lung disease, on a central panel that evaluated tenders received for the service. Regional national health service panels, which included healthcare professionals and other NHS staff, undertook a second stage assessment. These panels included NHS representatives for the north-west service region, which includes West Lancashire.

Drug Rehabilitation

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average expenditure per patient was for drug rehabilitation in (a) Ribble Valley and (b) Lancashire in the last period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [82746]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not held centrally.

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Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a decision on whether to renew funding for the research by the MDEX consortium into Duchenne's muscular dystrophy before the summer recess. [83997]

Andy Burnham: We are already supporting the research by the MDEX consortium into Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. The contract for £1.6 million runs until December 2008. Any decision about future funding would be taken in light of the findings of the current research.

Equality and Diversity

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Department has spent in each of the last eight years on promoting equality and diversity. [81618]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department is fully committed to the equality and diversity agenda and has policies and processes in place to ensure that there is no unfair discrimination. The promotion of equality and diversity has become an integral component within many wider policy initiatives and it is not possible to disaggregate spending.

Fertility Treatment

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many eggs have been obtained from patients since the enactment of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; how many have been used for research; and how many have been used for fertility treatments; [85153]

(2) what data are collected on (a) hyperstimulation syndrome and (b) other adverse clinical effects when eggs are obtained at fertility centres. [85154]

Caroline Flint: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) holds data on egg collections from 1 August 1991 to 31 March 2004. They indicate that the total number of eggs collected from patients was 3,080,812. For data collected between 1 August 1991 and 31 March 1999, this related to eggs collected solely for treatment purposes. From 1 August 1991 to 31 March 2004, 2,806,764 eggs were mixed with sperm for treatment purposes.

From 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2004, 393 eggs were donated to research. The data held by the HFEA on eggs collected for donation to research are limited because the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and the remit of the HFEA only extends to research involving the use of human embryos.

The HFEA requires clinics to indicate on the treatment report form if a patient has experienced ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in two sets of circumstances: first, where no eggs were collected when an egg collection was attempted and second, where no
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embryos were transferred back to the patient even though viable embryos were available for transfer. Reporting clinics also give details of any other adverse clinical effects recorded in these circumstances.

GP Vacancies

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reported GP vacancies there were in the last year for which figures are available; and how many applicants on average there were for each vacancy. [81700]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The estimated three-month general practitioner (GP) vacancy rate is 2.4 per cent., and the average number of three-month GP vacancies per 100,000 patients is 1.4 per cent. in England as recorded in the “GP Practice Vacancies Survey 2005, England and Wales”. The number of applicants for each vacancy is not collected centrally.

Heathrow Airport

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has for the future of the health screening unit at Heathrow airport; [85223]

(2) what assessment the Government have undertaken of the requirement for health screening of visitors entering the UK via Heathrow airport; [85224]

(3) how many people arriving at Heathrow airport were identified by the Heathrow health screening unit as having tuberculosis in each of the last five years; [85230]

(4) whether the levels of resources allocated to the health screening unit at Heathrow airport are to be reduced. [85235]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The health control unit at Heathrow airport carries out medical examinations under the Immigration Act 1971 and also has port health responsibilities under the Public Health (Aircraft) Regulations 1979. There is a continuing need for both functions.

Following a review of operational arrangements for both functions, reported in my reply to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) on 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1587-90W, the Health Protection Agency is taking the overall operational lead at points of entry in England to ensure that there are appropriate arrangements for medical examinations under the Immigration Act 1971 and for human health input into port health functions. It is working closely with Hillingdon Primary Care Trust and the London borough of Hillingdon to achieve this.

Hip Replacements

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for a hip replacement was in the Greater West Lancashire Primary Care Partnership area in each of the last five years. [83485]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The table shows the average waiting time for hip replacement operations in West Lancashire Primary Care Trust (PCT) in each year since the PCT was formed.

Total episodes Waiting time (days) Mean waiting time (days)













Finished admission episodes
A finished admission episode is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.
Time waited (days)
Time waited statistics from hospital episode statistics (HES) are not the same as the published waiting list statistics. HES provides counts and time waited for all patients admitted to hospital within a given period whereas the published waiting list statistics count those waiting for treatment on a specific date and how long they have been on the waiting list. Also, HES calculates the time waited as the difference between the admission and decision to admit dates. Unlike published waiting list statistics, this is not adjusted for self-deferrals or periods of medical/social suspension.
All operations count of episodes
These figures represent a count of all finished consultant episodes where the procedure was mentioned in any of the 12 operation fields in a HES record. A record is only included once in each count, even if an operation is mentioned in more than one operation field of the record.
Ungrossed data
Figures have not been adjusted for shortfalls in data: the data arre ungrossed.
Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The Information Centre for health and social care

Home Births

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of births in each primary care trust were home births in each of the last five years. [84435]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the national statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 13 July 2006:

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