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17 July 2006 : Column 251W—continued


Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of nursing graduates found nursing jobs within (a) three months, (b) six months and (c) 12 months in each year since 1997. [86017]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not collected centrally.

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Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost to public funds was of training a nurse in each year since 1997. [86018]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The estimated average annual cost to public funds of training a nursing student in each year since 1997 is shown in the table, although the data have been collected on different basis thereby making comparisons difficult.

Cost per individual—bursary or salary and tuition (£)

















Notes: 1. 1997-98 and 2004-05 are forecasts (actual outturn was only collected from 1999 onwards and the last data collected was in November 2004 covering 2003-04 outturn). 2. Average bursary costs for nurses and midwives added to tuition costs from 2000-01 onwards.

Nursing and Care Homes

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) nursing and (b) residential care homes there were in (i) the Stroud constituency and (ii) Gloucestershire in (A) 1996, (B) 2001 and (C) 2005. [77823]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information on the number of homes was collected by the Department for the years 1996 and 2001. Table 1 shows the numbers of residential and nursing care homes in Gloucestershire as at 31 March in 1996 and 2001. Data are not available at constituency level.

Table 1: Number of residential and nursing care homes in Gloucestershire, as at 31 March 1996 and 2001
Rounded numbers
Type of home 1996 2001







Total homes(4)



(1 )Residential data are for Gloucestershire unitary authority. (2) Nursing data are for Gloucestershire health authority. (3) Nursing data include general nursing homes, mental nursing homes and private hospitals and clinics. (4) Totals may not equal the sum of parts due to rounding. Sources: For 1996—Department of Health RAC 5 and K036 returns. For 2001—Department of Health RA and RH(N) returns.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) produces data on the number of care homes and places registered as at 31 March each year, beginning with 2003. There are some definitional differences between this data and that for the years up to 2001.

I understand from the chair of CSCI that the numbers of residential and nursing care homes, as at
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31 March 2005, in Gloucester and South Gloucester local authorities are as shown in table 2. Data are not available at constituency level.

Table 2: Numbers of registered care and nursing homes in Gloucester and South Gloucester local authorities, as at 31 March 2005
Local authority Gloucester South Gloucester Total

Residential care












Source: CSCI registration and inspection database.

Ormskirk Hospital Site

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which out-patient clinics are delivered from the Ormskirk hospital site; and with what frequency each occurs. [85326]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not held centrally. It can be obtained directly from the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital National Health Service Trust.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the new Independent Sector Treatment Centre scheduled for the Ormskirk Hospital site will be available to provide care to the residents of (a) West Lancashire and (b) the North-West. [85485]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Ormskirk Hospital site is one of several locations, named by the preferred bidder, from which services will be provided as part of the Cheshire and Merseyside electives surgery scheme, part of the next phase of the procurement in the independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) programme. The scheme is still currently being negotiated.

As stated in “The NHS in England: the operation framework for 2006/07”, patient choice will be extended to include any national health service foundation trust and any nationally procured ISTC, and any other subsequently centrally accredited independent-sector providers.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the medical interventions planned at the Independent Sector Treatment Centre scheduled for the Ormskirk Hospital site require support from (a) an intensive care unit and (b) a high dependency unit. [85486]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The case mix planned for the Cheshire and Merseyside electives surgery scheme includes gynaecology, ear, nose and throat, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, general surgery and plastics. Detailed discussions are still in progress between the bidder and the Southport and Ormskirk National Health Service Trust but at this stage, it is anticipated that, if required, the independent sector treatment centre will follow the protocol established at Ormskirk Hospital, which is to use intensive care and high dependency facilities at Southport Hospital.

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Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice and assistance is made available to encourage GPs to take advantage through practice-based commissioning of programmes to identify patients at risk of osteoporosis; and if she will make a statement. [81621]

Andy Burnham: To maximise the benefits of practice- based commissioning (PBC), the Department has resourced and put in place a comprehensive programme providing training, support, and guidance material for general practitioner (GP) practices and primary care trusts (PCTs).

This includes publication of the document “Practice based commissioning: early wins and top tips”, which contains tips to support PBC and suggestions as to how it can be used to redesign care pathways. This publication is available on the Department's website at and has been issued directly to all GP practices.

This document does not specifically encourage GPs to take advantage of programmes to identify patients for their risk of osteoporosis. However, the document does encourage GP practices to take the principles of the case studies featured and extend these to providing services tailored to a particular practice's local population.

Oxygen Supplies

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of whether the companies which hold Home Oxygen therapy contracts are meeting the required service levels. [83992]

Andy Burnham: The transfer of patients to new suppliers is taking place over a six-month transitional period that ends on 31 July 2006. Working with the national health service, we are closely monitoring each company’s capacity to deliver the required standard of service to all patients using oxygen therapy in the home. During this period, there is continuous assessment of suppliers with regular meetings to discuss suppliers’ reports on progress and action to tackle emerging issues.

Paediatric Special Care

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that sick babies receive the special care they require. [86014]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has facilitated the development of 24 neonatal managed clinical networks to provide the safest and most effective service for mothers and babies. Since April 2003 over £70 million additional funding has been made available to support the development of networks. It is for individual networks to ensure there is an appropriate level of provision, including special care, to meet prevalent local demand.

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Payment by Results

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to review the policy of payment by results in respect of the treatment and care of premature babies in the NHS; and if she will make a statement. [85724]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are currently no tariffs for neonatal intensive care. Critical care is outside the scope of payment by results, and funding for the service continues to be locally negotiated between commissioners and providers. The range of services covered by payment by results is kept under review.

Prescription Charges (Exemptions)

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the list of foods and medicines exempt from prescription charges for those with certain medical conditions will be reviewed. [84886]

Andy Burnham: Certain foods are listed in part XV of the drug tariff in order that they may be prescribed. We have no plans to extend the existing list of medical conditions that give exemption from prescription charges.

Prescription charges are currently being looked at by the Health Committee as part of its inquiry into national health service charges.

Primary Care Trust Budgets

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether funding for specialist myalgic encephalomyelitis/encephaliopathy and chronic fatigue syndrome services is contained within the baseline budget of primary care trusts. [85325]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I can confirm that funding for specialist chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis services is included in the baseline budgets for primary care trusts.

Waiting Time Target

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many category A projects have so far been established, as described on page 26 of her Department's document “18 Week Patient Pathway: Delivery Resource Pack”, where they have been established in each case; for which medical procedures they have been established; what conclusions have so far been drawn from the projects; when she expects the projects to conclude; and if she will make a statement; [84418]

(2) which pioneer sites to assess the prospects for delivery of the 18-week waiting time target amongst category B procedures deemed high risk have so far been established; on which procedures they are concentrating in each case; where they are situated; and if she will make a statement. [84419]

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Andy Burnham: The areas of greatest challenge identified in the delivery resource pack in relation to 18 weeks are orthopaedics, endoscopy, echocardiography and audiology. National projects are required in these category ‘A’ areas.

In orthopaedics, a co-ordinating group of key stakeholders has been established, and a musculoskeletal services framework was published on 12 July 2006 on the Department's and the 18 week patient pathway websites. Work continues to identify and then tackle local performance levels.

In endoscopy, work is well under way to identify performance levels and best practice, building on the work begun by the NHS Modernisation Agency. In cardiology, the project is identifying those tests that present the greatest challenge in terms of intervention rates and performance, including echocardiography.

In audiology, most adult hearing services are accessed directly from primary care, and are therefore provided outside of the pathways covered by the 18-week target. However, waiting times for adult hearing services are too long and do need to be tackled, not least to ensure that referrals to such services are not diverted via ear, nose and throat departments (which are covered by 18 weeks) to benefit from the 18-week maximum wait that will apply by December 2008. Work is under way at official level, with stakeholders to be involved, and a plan will be published in due course, following ministerial approval.

In terms of the high risk, category B areas, the eight 18-week pioneer health communities will soon turn their attention from developing the mechanisms by which whole pathways will be measured to redesigning pathways in the high risk areas identified in the delivery resource pack. The table shows the specialties being addressed by each of the pioneers. Magnetic resonance imaging, computerised tomography and non-obstetric ultrasound diagnostic tests are being addressed as part of these pathways.

Pioneer health community Delivery solutions being addressed

East Kent

General surgery, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, cardiology


Orthopaedics, endoscopy, neurology, dermatology

North Nottinghamshire

Gastroenterology, gynaecology, rheumatology, diabetes

Devon and Exeter

Cardiology, oral surgery, diabetes, plastic surgery


Orthopaedics, cardiology, rheumatology


Orthopaedics, audiology, respiratory medicine

North East Sector of Greater Manchester

Trauma and orthopaedics, general surgery, general medicine

South Bedfordshire

Urology, ears, nose and throat, cardiology, ophthalmology

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether she has identified an 18-week pathway clinical lead; and what the role of the clinical lead will be; [84456]

(2) what progress she has made in establishing the stakeholder group to support delivery of the 18-week waiting time target. [84458]

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Andy Burnham: Dr. David Colin-Thomé has been appointed clinical lead for the 18 weeks programme in addition to his role as national clinical director for primary care, as announced in “Tackling Hospital Waiting: The 18 Week Patient Pathway—An Implementation Framework” (paragraph 3.4). Dr. Colin-Thomé's role on 18 weeks is to lead engagement with the clinical community, act as national lead for the clinical leads of particular specialty areas, co-chair the 18-week stakeholder group and provide advice on implementation issues as they arise.

The 18-week pathway stakeholder group is made up of nominees from a range of national organisations, senior clinicians, managers and patients. It is intended that the group should normally meet monthly, alternating between the full group and a subset made up of the strategic health authority leads for 18 weeks. The subset met for the first time in June. The full group should meet for the first time in September.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what challenges to delivering the 18-week waiting time target have so far been identified by her Department; and which of these challenges are being used in the campaign to highlight key challenges from May; [84468]

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