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Caroline Flint: The target has contributed to improvements in access and most people can now see a general practitioner quickly when they think they need to do so. The Healthcare Commissions most recent annual report, published on 30 October 2006, confirms this, noting that in 2005-06 there was a significant increase in the number of patients reporting successful fast access.
At the same time, however, there is also evidence that some practices have responded to the target by restricting the opportunities for patients to book appointments in advance. This approach does not deliver the responsive service which people can reasonably expect in the 21(st) century. We are addressing this and want primary care trusts and practices to offer patients improved access beyond the specific focus of the NHS Plan target.
Accordingly, after negotiation between NHS Employers and the British Medical Associations General Practitioners Committee, the general practice contract framework for 2006-07 has been amended to include incentives for practices to offer patients the opportunity to book ahead as well as the opportunity for fast access. Practices will be rewarded on the basis of what their patients say in response to a new patient experience survey which will be undertaken early in 2007.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioner practices in (a) England and (b) each strategic health authority have premises below her Departments specified minimum standard; and what her Department defines as a minimum standard for practice premises. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Primary care trusts and predecessor organisations have responsibility for managing delivery of services provided by general practitioners (GPs); including the adequacy of their practice premises from which to provide services.
Since 1997, there has been a 60 per cent. increase in investment in GP premises. Part of this was through the NHS Plan targets to refurbish or replace 3,000 GP premises and create 500 primary care centres housing services appropriate to meet the local need by December 2004. These targets were achieved through the replacement or refurbishment of 2,848 GP premises and 510 primary care centres. We expect to see an additional 125 of these primary care centres built by the end of this year and in 2008 the total will stand at 750.
In addition, there are many examples of new premises provided under the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust initiative (NHS LIFT) that fully satisfy minimum standards. The LIFT programme has contributed to this progress and has proven to be a tremendous success. Already some £951 million private, and £210 million public, sector investment has been injected into GP premises and community facilities across the country. There are 42 NHS LIFT areas established with another seven in procurement.
A snapshot by PCTs at 31 March 2005 suggested there might be over 1,300 standards they judged subjectively to be unacceptable as a minimum but this
may have led to some PCTs reporting higher levels of premises that do not meet minimum standards than other PCTs with similar premises. Being below minimum standards does not mean the buildings are in a dangerous state of repair; rather, that the premises may not have for example, adequate access to and within premises and WC facilities for disabled patients and staff. Failure to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act requirements is a common reason for PCTs judging buildings as not meeting minimum requirements.
This is not because of a lack of intent by GPs practices and their PCTs to provide these facilities but because for example, the building is too small to incorporate them, with a general lack of suitable, alternative locations to develop. These are historic problems for inner-city PCTs that predate this Government that arose from investment in smaller buildings. Modernisation of GP premises on this scale inevitably takes time to achieve but the good progress made will continue.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners per 100,000 of the population there were in (a) each region, (b) each strategic health authority and (c) each primary care trust in each year since 1997. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of general practitioners per 100,000 population in each region and strategic health authority since 1997, and in each primary care trust since 2001 has been placed in the Library.
Caroline Flint: Section 83 of the Health Act 2006 makes provision for the making of commencement orders to bring the various parts of the Act into effect. Apart from the sections and schedules referred to within subsection (1) of Section 83, which came into force on the day the Act received Royal Assent, all other provisions can be brought into force on such a day as the Secretary of State and, where applicable, the National Assembly for Wales, Scottish Ministers and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety may by order appoint.
Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2603 (C.88) (The Health Act 2006 (Commencement No. 1 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2006) sets out those provisions which have so far been commenced and provides their coming into force date. Other sections of the Act will come into effect when the Secretary of State so determines.
The information is not available in the requested format. Total expenditure per head by organisations within the former Cumbria and
Lancashire strategic health authority (SHA) area in 1997-08 and 2004-05 was as follows:
1. Expenditure by strategic health authority area is taken as the total expenditure of the SHA, predecessor health authorities and primary care trusts within the SHA area.
2. Expenditure on general dental services and pharmaceutical services accounted for by the Dental Practice Board and Prescription Pricing Authority, respectively, is excluded. This expenditure cannot be included within the figures for the individual health bodies as they are not included in commissioner accounts.
Audited accounts of relevant health authorities 1997-98
Audited summarisation forms of Cumbria and Lancashire SHA 2004-05
Audited summarisation schedules of relevant primary care trusts 2004-05
Office for National Statistics unweighted population figures
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding her Department allocated per head of population in each primary care trust in (a) the area covered by the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority and (b) England in each year since 2003-04. 
Caroline Flint: The table shows the allocation per head of population for primary care trusts (PCTs) in South East Coast Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and the national average allocation per head for all PCTs in England for each year since 2003-04.
|PCT allocations per head in South East Coast SHA (£)|
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