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18 July 2006 : Column 383W—continued

Primary Care Trusts

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) overall cost and (b) cost per head
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of population in each area is of the reorganisation of the primary care trusts in (i) Hampshire and (ii) England; whether this cost is to be met from (A) existing budgets and (B) new allocations; and if she will make a statement. [84881]

Andy Burnham: The costs of the changes that were announced on the 16 May will depend on a number of factors, including the location of new organisations being created, the number of people in the new organisations, and new pay ranges for very senior managers as well as changes in estate costs following reconfiguration.

These arrangements are currently being worked up and discussed with trade unions and staff. Until those discussions have been concluded and the detail of new arrangements agreed it is not possible to confirm or accurately forecast costs.

“Commissioning a patient-led NHS” is designed to deliver at least £250 million savings from administration costs through streamlining for reinvestment in frontline services. The savings are expected to be realised by the end of 2007 and then every year for reinvestment beginning in 2008-09.

Private Finance Initiative Projects

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of private finance initiative projects for which her Department is responsible has been completed (a) over budget and (b) late in each of the last five years. [79612]

Andy Burnham: Information on completed private finance initiative (PFI) projects which have gone over budget or opened late is not routinely collected centrally. To provide such information for each of the past five years would incur disproportionate costs.

A key aspect of PFI is the transfer of risk of projects going over budget. Therefore, any cost overruns will be borne by the private sector provider, not the public sector. The private sector is only paid once the facility is built and operational to the agreed standard and is subject to penalties and deductions if services falls below agreed standard.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to make regulations concerning the prohibition of smoking in enclosed public places; and if she will make a statement. [86006]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 17 July 2006]: The Department published a consultation on proposed regulations to be made under part one, chapter one of the Health Bill titled “Smoke-free premises and vehicles: Consultation on proposed regulations to be made under powers in the Health Bill” on 17 July 2006. Copies of the consultation document are available in the Library, or on the Department’s website at:

The “Smoke-free premises and vehicles” consultation will run between 17 July and 9 October 2006. Regulations will be laid after the consultation has ended and responses considered.

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James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will undertake an assessment of the safety implications for health service staff arising from the recently introduced ban on smoking on health service property. [85330]

Caroline Flint: In the “Choosing Health” White Paper published in 2004, we set out our decision that national health service buildings would be smoke-free by the end of 2006, ahead of the requirements set out in the Health Bill, which will see virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces become smoke-free from summer 2007.

The removal of smoking from NHS buildings will not only result in protection from the harms associated with secondhand smoke for staff, patients and visitors to NHS buildings, but will result in greater safety, for example, by the reduction in the danger of fire. Consideration of the detailed safety implications at individual NHS properties will be for local managers.

The safety benefits of the smoke-free provisions of the Health Bill are referred to in the regulatory impact assessment published alongside the Bill, on its website at:

Telephones (Hospitals)

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidelines her Department provides to hospital trusts on charges for (a) outgoing and (b) incoming telephone calls from hospital bedside units; [82271]

(2) what the average cost per minute for (a) outgoing and (b) incoming telephone calls from hospital bedside units in each hospital trust was in each year since 1997; [82272]

(3) what assessment her Department has made of the financial impact of telephone charges from bedside units on patients. [82273]

Andy Burnham: Three private companies are licensed to provide bedside entertainment systems in England. These are hospital telephone services (HTS), Patientline and Premier Managed Payphones. Patientline was the only supplier of the service prior to the NHS Plan announcement in 2000 and subsequent licensing of the suppliers.

The cost of outgoing calls has remained constant at 10 pence per minute (minimum 20 pence), for local and national calls.

The incoming call charges have remained constant for Patientline and Premier at 39 pence per minute off peak and 49 pence per minute peak.

HTS charges per minute were; 14 pence in 2002, 17 pence in 2003, 20 pence in 2004 and they currently charge 35 pence.

International calls and calls to mobile phones vary.

The licence documentation contains guidance on acceptance charging strategies within the national health service.

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No assessment has been made of the financial impact of telephone charges from the bedside units on patients.

Bedside telephones represent an enhanced service, providing additional choice for patients. Patients not wishing to use these services remain free to use hospital payphones as they have always been able to in the past.

Veterans (Health Care)

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that NHS employees are informed of the health needs of (a) war pensioners and (b) veterans. [84825]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: When a member of the armed forces with a current and ongoing health problem prepares to re-enter civilian life, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to engage with the primary care trust of future residence as early as possible to ensure the seamless transfer of care from the Defence Medical Services to the national health service. Thereafter, it is the duty of the attending NHS clinician to asses the changing health needs of the individual taking account of all relevant factors, including occupation and associated exposures and experiences.

Standing guidance on arrangements between the MOD and the NHS, as well as guidance on the right of war pensioners to generally receive priority treatment in NHS hospitals in respect of the condition or conditions for which they receive a pension or received a gratuity, is published on the Department’s website at

Work and Pensions

50-plus Workers

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of people in work aged 50 years and over in Yeovil constituency. [82190]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Like all other customers, people aged 50 and over can benefit from the range of services provided by Jobcentre Plus, including access to jobs and help and support to find work.

Additional help is provided to older people who do not find work quickly. New deal 50 plus is a voluntary programme that provides people with advice and guidance from personal advisers, and access to in-work financial help through the 50 plus element of the working tax credit. Since April 2000, the programme has been successful in helping more than 150,000 older workers into employment, including 200 people in Yeovil. Once in work, new deal 50 plus customers can claim a training grant of up to £1,500 for training of which up to £300 can be used for life-long learning.

People aged 50 and over, including those in Yeovil, are also eligible for help from new deal 25 plus. People who have been claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) for 18 months and who have not previously participated on new deal 25 plus, are already required to attend the gateway stage of the new deal 25 plus programme. This
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is a period of up to four months of intensive job search and specialist help and support to improve job prospects. This is followed by the intensive activity period (IAP) which is currently voluntary for people aged 50 and over. The IAP provides further support and pre-work training to help people return to work.

Since April 2004, we have been piloting mandatory participation in the New deal 25 plus IAP for people aged 50-59 who have been claiming JSA for 18 months. Yeovil was included in the pilot which offered people in this age group more extensive help back to work. Interim results are positive and, as announced in our Welfare Reform Green Paper, we intend to commence a phased national rollout.

Between 1979 and the mid 1990s, the number of people on incapacity benefits trebled. Since then, growth in the caseload has since slowed significantly and, in November 2005, there were 2.71 million people claiming incapacity benefits, a fall of 61,000 over the year. 46 per cent. of those claiming incapacity benefits are aged between 50 and state pension age although, between 2000 and 2005, the number of people in this age group fell by 52,000. This has contributed to the overall reduction in the incapacity benefits case load.

We still clearly have more work to do and, like other age groups, people aged 50 and over will be able to benefit from the rollout of the successful Pathways to Work service across the whole country which will be completed by 2008. Pathways offers new incapacity benefit (IB) customers early support from skilled personal advisers and direct access to a ‘Choices Package’ of employment programmes and clear financial incentives to make work pay. Any IB customer will be able to access the support and help available on a voluntary basis. Pathways has already begun helping people in the Yeovil area, having rolled out there in April 2004.

Through our Age Positive Campaign we are working with employers and others to promote the business benefits of an age diverse workforce and best practice on age in recruitment, training and promotion. In May 2005 we launched the ‘Be Ready’ national information campaign to raise employer awareness of, and ability to adopt, flexible employment and retirement opportunities to support the recruitment and retention of older workers in advance of age legislation due in October 2006.

Access to Work

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was paid from the Access to Work scheme to other Central Government Departments for adjustments for disabled workers in each of the last five years, broken down by Department. [85802]

Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available broken down by employer and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Action for Employment Ltd.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 10 July 2006, Official Report, columns 1565-66W, on Action
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for Employment Ltd., whether the fee paid to Action for Employment Ltd. per customer was the same in the case of a customer choosing a post office card account and bank account. [85890]

Mr. Plaskitt: Action for Employment Ltd. received a single fee for the completion of outreach work, regardless of whether the customer chose a post office card account or a bank account.

Average Income

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average household income for (a) retired and (b) unemployed households was in (i) the UK as a whole and (ii) each parliamentary constituency in each of the last eight years. [85471]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Specific information regarding median incomes for Great Britain is available in “Households Below Average Income (HBAI) 1994/95-2004/05”, available in the Library. The main source for HBAI is the Family Resources Survey (FRS). The information shown is for Great Britain only.

Average household income is defined as median household income which is the main measure used in HBAI.

The data source does not allow us to provide robust estimates at a parliamentary constituency level. Information for the UK is not available for the last eight years.

The following tables show the median income in Great Britain in each of the last eight years for (A) retired households and (B) unemployed (workless) households.

Table A: Median household income for the retired( 1) in each year's prices, Great Britain, 1997-98 to 2004-05
£ per week equivalised
Before housing costs After housing costs

























(1) Retired is defined as individuals who are state pension age or above (females aged over 60 and males aged over 65). This category also includes individuals in a couple where one is below and one above state pension age.

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Table B: Median household income for workless households( 1) in each year's prices, Great Britain, 1997-98 to 2004-05
Working-age adults: £ per week equivalised
Before housing costs After housing costs

























(1) Workless households are defined as households where all individuals, of working age, that are eligible for employment are not in employment.

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