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It represents good value in reaching a key group of primary care trusts and national health service professionals who have a lead responsibility for delivering the health inequalities public service agreement target.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The following table shows the number of health visitors from 2001 to 2005. The number of qualified school nurses were counted for the first time in the 2004 work force census and are also shown in the table. The overall number of nurses working in primary and community care settingssome of whose roles overlap with health visitorshas increased by 37 per cent. since 1997.
|Table of health visitors in England, 2001 to 2005|
The Information Centre for health and social care non-medical work force census.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether her Department is taking steps to ensure that vulnerable groups are made aware of the assistance available to them through the home heat helpline; 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department, the Department for Work and Pensions, Age Concern, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Help the Aged, WRVS and National Energy Action publishes a booklet Keep Warm, Keep Well. It gives practical advice, plus contact details for a number of other organisations including the Home Heat Helpline. NHS Direct also provides advice.
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been paid out under the hospital travel costs scheme in each of the last three years; and how many patients received payments under the scheme in each year. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not collect figures on how much has been paid out through the hospital travel costs scheme, nor how many patients have benefited from the scheme. It is for primary care trusts, as local commissioners of services, to make provisions so that patients with either a financial or medical need for transport can travel to and from their treatment or care.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people entering the UK from outside the EU were x-rayed at British airports to check for evidence of tuberculosis (TB) in each of the last three years; and what action has been taken with regard to those found to be carrying TB. 
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of immigrants who entered the UK from countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis were (a) medically examined, (b) x-rayed and (c) found to have tuberculosis in the last period for which figures are available. 
We are currently in the process of implementing our commitment to introduce targeted health screening for tuberculosis (TB) in high-risk countries at the entry clearance stage. In the six countries where we implemented the pre-entry TB screening programme last year on a pilot basis all those applying to come to the United Kingdom for over six months have been screened, using a protocol based on x-rays and sputum smears. From the commencement of pre-entry TB screening in October 2005 until the end of October 2006, 27,807 people were subject to TB screening. Of these, 14 were found to have infectious
TB. Applicants with infectious TB are not considered for entry clearance until they have successfully completed a course of treatment.
My hon. Friend the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality announced on 21 November 2006, Official Report, column 51WS, the extension of these controls to a further group of countries with a high incidence of TB as defined by the World Health Organization. Until these pre-entry controls are in place Government policy is that all those entering the UK from these countries, and from other countries with a high incidence of TB not covered by the pre-entry screening programme, for over six months should be routinely referred for medical examination for TB.
The Health Protection Agency reports that the number of people x-rayed at Heathrow and Gatwick airports was 62,301 in 2002-03, 72,510 in 2003-04 and 76,560 in 2004-05. Approximately 100 of the people who were x-rayed in 2004-05 were subsequently found to have TB. Any person thought on the basis of the examination at the port to have TB is referred to the national health service, and those who are subsequently diagnosed with TB are offered treatment.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many trained medical staff are deployed at x-ray machines at British airports to check for illnesses; and what proportion of the day such trained personnel are on duty. 
Caroline Flint: The Health Protection Agency reports that there are six whole-time equivalent medical staff working in the health control unit (HCU) at Heathrow airport, and two whole-time equivalent medical staff working in the HCU at Gatwick airport, where there is also on-call cover overnight provided by medical staff who are not based on site. These are the only points of entry to England equipped for x-ray examination. The term medical staff here refers to doctors and radiologists. There are also two radiographers working at Heathrow and one at Gatwick.
At Heathrow, medical staff are on duty at one terminal for 24 hours per day and at two of the other terminals for 12 hours per day. At Gatwick, medical staff are on duty for 12 hours a day, with on-call cover overnight.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what funding the Government provides to independent organisations that provide specialist care for adults and children with severe forms of epilepsy; 
(2) how many specialist care places there are in (a) Greater London, broken down by London borough, and (b) England for (i) adults and (ii) children with severe forms of epilepsy; and where they are located. 
We do not provide direct funding for independent organisations providing specialist epilepsy care. However, local health bodies have the freedom to commission, and provide funding for, specialist epilepsy care for individuals from the independent sector.
Barbara Follett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures she is taking to maximise the opportunities available to displaced and newly qualified NHS staff affected by the recent workforce changes. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department is working closely with NHS employers and has published guidance to support local national health service organisations to help them maximise employment opportunities and to ensure the health and social care services do not lose the skills of displaced staff or new graduates.
Andy Burnham: The Department has undertaken a review of the regulation of the non-medical healthcare professions including osteopathy, drawing on submissions and contributions from key stakeholders. I met the General Osteopathic Council and the British Osteopathic Association on 8 June 2006. The review was published on 14 July 2006, alongside Professor Sir Liam Donaldsons report Good Doctors, Safer Patients.
A four-month consultation on both reviews ended on 10 November. We are currently considering all the responses and expect to publish our proposals, including a regulatory impact assessment, early in the new year.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what percentage of phone calls were answered within 30 seconds at the Royal free hospital in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the timescale is for the commencement of the improvement schemes at the junctions of (a) Dromore Road, Hillsborough with the A1 dual carriageway and (b) Bunbridge Road, Dromore with the A1 dual carriageway. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding the timescale for the commencement of the improvement schemes at the junctions of (a) Dromore Road, Hillsborough with the Al dual carriageway and (b) Banbridge Road, Dromore with the Al dual carriageway. As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
By way of background, the proposals to upgrade the Dromore Road, Hillsborough and Banbridge Road, Dromore junctions with the Al dual carriageway are included within a Design Build Finance and Operate (DBFO) Package announced by the then Minister for Regional Development, Mr John Spellar MP on 21st March 2005.
Roads Service is currently progressing the complex tendering process for the procurement of this package of road projects as a Public Private Partnership, and is working towards awarding the contract in Spring 2007.
The phasing of the construction of individual schemes, within the overall DBFO package of schemes, is for the successful tenderer to determine. As the tendering process is not complete, Roads Service is at this stage unable to provide a definitive date for the commencement of each scheme. However, from the information that the tenderers have provided, Roads Service is hopeful that both schemes would commence in the 2007 / 2008 financial year.
|Board area||Ambulance numbers|
|Board area||Ambulance numbers|
Paul Goggins: Information on the longest waiting time for a digital hearing aid in each health trust area in 2005-06 is not collected centrally (103431). Information is also not collected centrally on the average waiting time for a digital hearing aid in each health trust in the province (103432). However, information was collected on the number of completed waits for a hearing assessment/re-assessment for the quarter ending 31 March 2006. This is the first quarter for which information has been collected, according to specified time bands for each health and social services board. Waiting time is counted from the date a referral is received by the Audiology Department until the hearing aid is fitted.
All new patients assessed as requiring a hearing aid are fitted with a digital hearing aid. Analogue aids are normally only issued as replacements to current users of analogue aids for whom a digital hearing aid is unsuitable.
Waiting list information is collected by time band. It is therefore not possible to calculate the arithmetic mean (average) and longest waiting time for a digital hearing aid. Information in the following table shows the number of patients who were assessed and fitted with a hearing aid during quarter ending 31 March 2006 in each health and social services board by the length of time waited.
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