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27 Nov 2006 : Column 443W—continued

Lyons Review

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many jobs in her Department have been relocated (a) to Liverpool and (b) elsewhere as a result of the Lyons Review; and on how many occasions Liverpool has been considered for the relocation of staff under this programme. [103694]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: As a result of the Lyons Review there have been no posts relocated to Liverpool and there have been 550 posts relocated elsewhere. The Department does not hold information on the number of occasions Liverpool has been considered for relocation under the Lyons Review. Data are published twice yearly and is available in the 2006 departmental report.

Macular Degeneration

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate she has made of the prevalence of macular degeneration; and what estimate she has made of the number of such patients for whom intra-ocular pegaptanib sodium solution may be suitable; [100947]

(2) if she will take steps to provide funding for the provision of pegaptanib sodium solution as a treatment for macular degeneration prior to sight loss; and if she will make a statement; [101386]

(3) what estimate she has made of the number of people who lost their sight in England as a result of macular degeneration in each of the last 10 years. [101390]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of people with macular degeneration is not collected centrally. A study sponsored by the Macular Disease Society in 2001 estimated that there were 182,000 people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with a best eye visual acuity below that judged appropriate for certification as blind or partially sighted. There are an estimated 26,000 new cases of wet age-related macular degeneration each year.

The Department does not routinely analyse the causes of blindness. However, an analysis by the Office for National Statistics of those registered blind or partially sighted showed that in 1990-91 there were 6,765 people certified blind and 7,204 certified partially sighted with AMD. Further analysis carried out by Moorfields Eye Hospital in 2004 showed that of those registered blind or partially sighted in 1999-2000 there were 7,881 certified blind and 10,705 certified partially sighted with AMD.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) started its review of Macugen and Lucentis as a treatment for the wet form of AMD on 1 August 2006 and the final guidance is expected in October 2007. NICE will consider the clinical and cost effectiveness of Macugen and Lucentis for the classic and non classic forms of wet AMD and will include advice on where Macugen and Lucentis may be effective.

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department is funding research into (a) dry and (b) wet macular degeneration. [101314]

Andy Burnham: The main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Innovation.

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In 2003-04, the latest year for which figures are available, the MRC spent £5.6 million on vision research. This research includes a project on genetic susceptibility to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The project aims to identify the genetic factors involved in AMD. The MRC also supports collaborative research efforts into the cell biology of ocular diseases, and degenerative diseases of the retina; and in 2004 awarded a total of £1.3 million for research into retinal stem cell therapy.

The Department funds research to support policy and to provide the evidence needed to underpin quality improvement and service development in the national health service and, through its health technology assessment programme, is currently funding a study on wet AMD and two studies concerned with both wet and dry AMD. Details of these projects can be found on the programme's website at

Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by NHS organisations. Details of individual projects including a number concerned with AMD can be found on the national research register at


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of midwives needed throughout the NHS; how many are employed in the NHS in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire; what steps she (i) is taking, (ii) plans to take and (iii) has considered to reduce the shortage of midwives; and if she will make a statement. [103132]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Vacancy rates confirm that there is not a national shortage of midwives. The three-month vacancy rate for England has fallen from 3.3 per cent. in 2000 to 1.0 per cent. in 2006. The three-month vacancy rate in Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Strategic Health Authority was 0.6 per cent. in March 2006.

We met the target for 2,000 more midwives by 2005 ahead of schedule, and expect further increases in the work force as a result of increased training and return to practise. The 2005 work force census confirmed that there are more than 2,400 midwives employed in the national health service than there were in 2000.

Local NHS organisations are responsible for developing maternity services in response to the needs of their local population, and for ensuring that they have sufficient staff, with the right skills, to offer appropriate choices.

The number of midwives employed in the NHS in England and Gloucestershire is shown in the table.

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NHS hospital and community health services: Qualified midwives in England and each specified organisation as at 30 September 2005
Reference Number



Of which:

Total specified organisations


Cheltenham and Tewkesbury PCT



Cotswold and Vale PCT



Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust



The Information Centre for health and social care Non-Medical Workforce Census

NHS (Consultancy Work)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many former chief executives of strategic health authorities are engaged in carrying out consultancy work for the NHS. [103265]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department of Health does not hold records on how national health service employees (including former strategic health authority chief executives) are employed once they have left NHS employment.

NHS Trusts

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions she has had with the NHS Appointments Commission on increasing the number of non-executive directors of NHS trusts who come from areas of health deprivation; and if she will make a statement. [103264]

Ms Rosie Winterton: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no recent discussions with the Appointments Commission on this subject. However, the Appointments Commission is committed to ensuring that those appointed as non-executives are drawn from across the geographical areas served by national health service trusts.

Non-UK Nationals (NHS Care)

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost was of treating non-UK nationals in the NHS in the last financial year for which figures are available, broken down by county. [100941]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Successive Governments have not required the national health service to provide statistics on the number of overseas visitors seen, treated or charged under the provisions of the “NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989”, as amended, nor any costs involved. It is therefore not possible to provide the information requested.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many former primary care trust (PCT) chief executives are to be made redundant following the recent merger of PCTs; and what payments will be made to each. [101264]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not collected centrally.

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Professor Mike Richards

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what Professor Mike Richards' role was in implementing information delivery of benefits to cancer patients; and if she will make a statement. [101312]

Ms Rosie Winterton: As National Cancer Director Professor Richards oversees the implementation of the national health service cancer plan, the Government’s strategy for improving cancer services in England. This includes providing appropriate information to cancer patients.

Providing cancer patients with information on benefits is an important issue and the Department has been working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to explore options for publicising information about benefits. This includes signposting people with cancer to information about benefits through helplines and website addresses on information prescriptions. Information prescriptions for people with cancer will begin piloting in early 2007.

Additionally we have arranged for information to appear on the patient advisory liaison service (PALS) website with links to the DWP and Disability and Carers Service web pages to help provide PALS workers with information on benefits so as to better advise patients.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will intervene to stop the cutting of 16 tests in the maternity unit at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. [101941]

Caroline Flint: Decisions about the configuration of local services are a matter for the local national health service.

Shropshire PCT

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which (a) posts and (b) services in Shropshire primary care trust (PCT) are under review as a result of the requirement on the PCT to find savings in the 2006-07 financial year; [101700]

(2) when she expects Shropshire primary care trust to announce what measures it plans to take in order to meet its revised budget. [101701]

Caroline Flint: Formal consultation on stage 1 of the primary care trust’s (PCT) strategic service plan closed on 29 September 2006. The NHS West Midlands reports that the consultation responses were considered by the PCT board at its meeting on 24 October 2006 and the following proposals were supported:

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Consultation is under way with staff on Whitcliffe Ward, Ludlow, and it is hoped that staff will be found suitable alternative employment.

Shropshire County PCT and Telford and Wrekin PCT are currently undertaking the second phase of the formal consultation on the strategic service plan which is due to close on 27 November 2006. This relates to the configuration of services between the two acute hospitals, the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital. This will include children’s services and urology services. We would expect announcements to be made once the PCTs have considered the responses received following the consultation exercise.

Strategic Health Authority (London)

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the selection process is for the chair of the new strategic health authority in London; and if she will make a statement. [100673]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Appointments Commission, under direction from Secretary of State, undertook a full and open recruitment and selection process for all strategic health authority (SHA) chairs, including the London SHA chair. The process included the use of assessment centres and competency-based interviews.

Waiting Times

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what targets her Department has for waiting times for cataract operations; and what the waiting times were for such operations in each strategic health authority region in each of the last five years. [102431]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 23 November 2006]: The maximum waiting time standard since December 2005 has been 13 weeks for first out-patient appointment and six months for in-patient treatment from decision to admit. Referrals that result in cataract operations are covered by the 18 week target for delivery in December 2008.

Waiting time data at sub-specialty level are not available centrally. The hospital episode statistics data, unadjusted for self-deferrals or periods of medical/social suspension, give an approximate measure at sub-specialty level including cataracts. Data for each of the five years up to 2004-05—the latest for which HES data are available—have been placed in the Library.

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Benefits Claimants

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which options for payment are offered to new claimants of (a) child benefit, (b) child tax credit and (c) working tax credit; and if he will place in the Library copies of the relevant standard letters and leaflets. [102399]

Dawn Primarolo: Payment options for child benefit and tax credits are set out in the notes that accompany the claim forms, form CH2 for child benefit and form TC600 for tax credits. Copies will be placed in the Library.

Child Benefit

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of total real spending on (a) child benefit, (b) child tax credit and (c) child trust funds for each year since 1990-91 using 2004-05 prices; what estimate he has made of likely spending in 2006-07 in 2004-05 prices; and if he will make a statement. [101280]

Dawn Primarolo: Total real spending of (a) child benefit, (b) child tax credit and (c) child trust fund, using 2004-05 prices for the years requested are tabled as follows.

£ billion
Child benefit Child tax credit Child trust fund( 1)







































(1) Government endowments.

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