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13 Sep 2006 : Column 2282W—continued

Information on whether a patient received regular visits from friends or family throughout their stay in hospital is not held centrally.

Hunter's Syndrome

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether Elaprase is available for the treatment of Hunter’s syndrome in the NHS. [90675]

Andy Burnham: Elapase is not yet licensed in the United Kingdom for the treatment of Hunter’s syndrome.

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As with any unlicensed drug, it is down to individual clinicians to decide whether to prescribe it for an individual patient. The clinician makes these decisions after discussions with patients about the potential risks and taking into account their medical history.

The clinician’s decision does, however, need to be supported by the primary care trust which will be responsible for paying for the drug.

Independent Service Providers

Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the NHS budget was paid to independent providers of (a) care and (b) support services in each of the last three financial years; and what percentage of its budget the NHS expects to pay to independent providers of each kind of service in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2009. [85282]

Andy Burnham: The information requested is not available centrally.

Annual financial returns of national health service bodies provide the Department with total expenditure on services provided by all non-NHS bodies, including local authorities, other statutory bodies, the independent sector and overseas, and cannot be disaggregated.

Independent Treatment Centres

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many NHS hospitals will have hosted independent treatment centres by December 2006; [90804]

(2) what the average cost to an NHS Trust of hosting one independent treatment centre was in the last period for which figures are available. [90806]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are currently 14 open independent sector treatment centre facilities sited on national health service property with a further three facilities planned before December 2006. In addition one facility sited on NHS property has completed its contract.

Arrangements are agreed locally but no ‘hosting’ costs should be incurred by the NHS body. The provider may pay the NHS rent for the use of the land or facility or for the provision of any services such as maintenance, cleaning, security etc.

Infant Health Services

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of whether Enfield primary care trust's decision to end routine developmental assessments of babies is consistent with the Every Child Matters national agenda. [90796]

Ms Rosie Winterton: NHS London has confirmed that Enfield primary care trust is not stopping developmental checks. The two year check has been suspended for six months while NHS London puts in place changes to children's services. These changes will include merging teams of health professionals. Parents can continue to visit local baby clinics and contact their health visiting team to seek advice.

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Influenza Pandemic

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her letter to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire dated 27 July 2006, reference PO00000120687, whether she plans to procure centrally the disposable respirator EN149:2001 FFP3 and stockpile it for use by healthcare workers in the event of an influenza pandemic; and what research she expects to conduct with the 3.5 million doses of A/H5N1 vaccine. [90629]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We recommend that those healthcare workers performing procedures that have the potential to generate aerosols should wear FFP3 respirators. We are currently considering whether we should centrally procure and stockpile FFP3 respirators and a decision will be reached as soon as possible.

The H5N1 vaccine has also been offered free-of-charge to any research group which has been funded by the medical research council to study H5N1 vaccine, and we keep under review what further research may be necessary with this vaccine.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions (a) she and (b) her officials have held with the United Kingdom Vaccines Industry Group since 1 July 2006 regarding the production capacity of manufacturers for this year’s winter influenza season following their switch to the X-161B strain; what the content of these discussions was; and if she will make a statement. [90632]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The United Kingdom Vaccine Industry Group has notified the Department that the new reassortant strain for production of the H3N2 strain recommended by the EU regulatory authorities has demonstrated an improvement in vaccine yield. This has resulted in over 15 million doses of flu vaccine becoming available for distribution in the UK.

Irlen Syndrome

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many school children are estimated to suffer from Irlen Syndrome; and what progress is being made in encouraging its early diagnosis. [90957]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not collect the requested data.

If a parent or child experiences symptoms associated with descriptions of Mears Irlen Syndrome they should discuss the problem with the child's school and consult an optometrist to ensure that the possibility of refractive error or eye disease is not overlooked. If after a sight test (and glasses if necessary) a child is still experiencing difficulties, then a wider assessment is called for. This is something that local education and health authorities should take forward in view of their responsibilities for services in their areas.

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Kerr/Haslam Inquiry

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2006, Official Report, column 672W, on William Kerr/Michael Haslam, when she expects to publish the recommendations from the Kerr/Haslam Inquiry which are not directly affected by the consultation on the review of medical and non-medical regulation; and which of those recommendations are being implemented. [90658]

Andy Burnham: As I said in the earlier reply on 20 July 2006, Official Report, column 672W, there are close similarities between the issues raised by the Kerr/Haslam Inquiry, the Ayling and Neale Inquiries, and the fifth report of the Shipman Inquiry. We therefore think it would be more helpful to the national health service, and would better serve to protect patients, to publish a joint response to all four reports with a single integrated programme of action to take forward the measures needed. We will not be publishing a separate formal response to the individual inquiries or to individual recommendations from them. Preparatory work is under way on many of the individual recommendations and will be reflected in due course in the formal response.

Local Area Agreements

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress she has made towards encouraging primary care trusts and local authorities to consider the potential for local area agreements to facilitate joint public engagement on health and social care; and how she expects these local area agreements to work. [90848]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The role of primary care trusts (PCTs) to work with the local authority and other local partners to develop and deliver the local area agreement (LAA) for their area has been set out in successive government guidance on national health service local delivery plans and LAAs and in correspondence to strategic health authorities. LAAs have great potential to deliver improvements in health and social care outcomes, as set out in the “Our Health, Our Care, Our Say” White Paper. Both health and social care outcomes are well represented within the 87 LAAs so far agreed by the Government.

The recent first annual reviews of the pilot LAAs showed strong performance across a number of health and social care priorities.

LAAs have proved an important catalyst for improved partnership working. Many of the pilot areas reported a step change in effective partnership and cross-agency planning and working, particularly between the PCT and the local authority in the way services are commissioned—this has contributed to strong performance in outcomes for older people.

LAAs have also encouraged creativity and innovation by focussing on outcomes, increasing capacity through partnership and joint accountability.

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Local Health Services

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what further consideration she has given to the options for a community call for action and the use of petitions as a lever for improvements in local services, as set out in the White Paper “Our Health, Our Care, Our Say”. [90845]

Ms Rosie Winterton: “Health Reform in England: Update and Commissioning Framework” was published in July 2006, and a copy is available in the Library.

In the annex to this document, the commissioning framework, there are further proposals concerning the use of petitions by members of the community to call for action by primary care trusts. These proposals are subject to a consultation process which is due to close on 6 October 2006. Plans will be finalised, and further guidance will be issued, following the conclusion of this consultation.

Maternity Units

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) consultant led and (b) midwife led maternity units are being considered for closure. [90627]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not collected centrally. Decisions on local health care provision, including maternity services, is a matter for primary care trusts and strategic health authorities in consultation with the local population.

Medical Research

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will ensure that patients and guardians are given a right of access to research protocols for medical research in which they are involved. [90733]

Andy Burnham: Potential research participants have to make a considered choice whether to consent to participate in research. They should receive the information they need in order to weigh up the risks and benefits. Research ethics committees review carefully whether the information is adequate. It is normally presented as an information sheet summarizing the research project, with details of how potential participants can request further information if they wish. They may ask for the research protocol.

Research protocols held by public authorities would normally be disclosed on request. Some parts of research protocols may be confidential.

Medical/Dental Staff

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS (a) GPs and (b) dentists there are in (i) absolute terms and (ii) per 1,000 population in (A) rural areas and (B) non-rural areas; and if she will make a statement. [84624]

Andy Burnham: The following table sets out the number of general practitioners and dentists in absolute terms and per 1,000 of the population, in England, by primary care trust type according to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs classification.

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13 Sep 2006 : Column 2288W
All general medical practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars)( 1) as at 30 September 2005 General dental services and personal dental services dentists( 2,3,4) as at 31 March 2006
PCT type( 5) Number Number per 1,000 of the population( 6) Number Number per 1,000 of the population( 6)

Major urban





Large urban





Other urban





Significant rural















Total for England





(1) General medical practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars) includes contracted GPs, general medical services others and personal medical services others.
(2) The data has been summed from PCT results to obtain the split for each classification group. Some dentists may have an open GDS or PDS contract in more than one PCT and will therefore have been counted more than once. The total number of dentists given for England does not include duplication.
(3) The postcode of the dental practice was used to allocate dentists to PCTs.
(4) A dentist with a GDS or PDS contract may provide as little or as much NHS treatment as he or she chooses or has agreed with the PCT. Information concerning the amount of time dedicated to NHS work by individual dentists is not centrally available.
(5) This uses the Defra classification of PCTs developed by the Rural Evidence Research Centre at Birkbeck College. GP and dentist figures have been assigned at PCT level. The Birkbeck College classifications are as follows:
Major urban: districts with either 100,000 people or 50 per cent. of their population in urban areas with a population of more than 750,000.
Large urban: districts with either 50,000 people or 50 per cent. of their population in one of 17 urban areas with a population between 250,000 and 750,000.
Other urban: districts with fewer than 37,000 people or less than 26 per cent. of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns.
Significant rural: districts with more than 37,000 people or more than 26 per cent. of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns.
Rural-50: districts with at least 50 per cent. but less than 80 per cent. of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns.
Rural-80: districts with at least 80 per cent. of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns.
(6) Based on ONS mid-year 2004 population figures. Data for 2005 is not yet available and these figures are therefore subject to change.
The Information Centre for health and social care; NHS Business Services Authority; Office for National Statistics; DEFRA.

As at September 2005, there were 32,738 GPs (excluding retainers and registrars). This is an increase of 4,692 or 17 per cent, since 1997.

Medical/Dental Students

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) medical and (b) dental students enrolled in each admitting institution in each year since 1997; how many staff were employed expressed (i) as a number of posts and (ii) as full-time equivalents; and what the staff to student ratio was in each year. [86401]

Beverley Hughes: I have been asked to reply.

The available figures are given in the tables. The figures include enrolments and staff at those English higher education institutions which offer medicine and dentistry courses. The Department does not calculate student staff ratios for individual higher education institutions or subjects. The available data do not allow us to identify, and exclude from the calculation, the amount of time staff spend teaching further education (as opposed to higher education) courses, and the number of students who are taught at other institutions under franchising arrangements. These factors have to be excluded from the calculation in order to produce an SSR purely for higher education provision in higher education institutions. We are therefore unable to produce individual HEI SSRs which are accurate and comparable across all institutions. An SSR for all HE institutions in England as a whole, which excludes time spent on FE teaching and students taught via franchising, is published annually by the Department. In 2004-05, the staff student ratio for English institutions as a whole (excluding the Open University) was 18.2.

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