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Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints in respect of delays in the payment of death benefits to bereaved relatives of NHS staff who die in service were made against the NHS Business Services Authority in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The NHS Business Services Authority pensions division does not collect data on complaints as its systems do not specifically identify all complaints received as a result of the late payment of death in service benefits. I understand that there have been five complaints about late payment of death in service benefit addressed to the pensions division managing director or referred by an hon. Member from January to November 2006.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of staff employed in the top five grades of her Department have (a) a graduate qualification in IT and (b) previous employment as an IT specialist. 
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many temporary employees were contracted to work for her Department in 2005-06; and what the total cost of such employees was in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 1997-98. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The average number of temporary staff employed by the Department, over the year 2005-06, was 70 full-time equivalent. Based on their average salary of £26,500 the total cost of such employees was £1,855,000.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many value for money exercises on the use of (a) management consultants and (b) professional advisers have been conducted by her Department in each of the last five years for which information is available; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department is committed to ensuring that the contracts it lets provide value for money, through competitive tendering, and by evaluating the performance of external consultants once contracts have ended. However, the Department does not currently record any central data on value-for-money exercises, and it is not possible to collate this, because of the disproportionate costs in doing so.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her Department's annual budget is for employing workers on a consultancy basis; and how much of this budget has been used in each of the last five years for which records are available. 
|(1) The 2005-06 spend is lower because the Department rectified some miscoding against the expenditure category codes to provide a more accurate figure of external consultancy spend.|
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The commitment to test a Year of Care approach to commissioning diabetes services was included in the Choosing Health White Paper, and reinforced in the Our Health, Our Care, Our Say White Paper. The project will be formally launched in spring 2007.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has been informed by the chair of the commission for social care inspection that on the 31 March 2006 Gloucestershire reported a total of 241 adults and young people receiving direct payments.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information is not available in the format requested, there being no data for the number of doctors employed across all national health service providers specifically within the Leicester city PCT area.
The latest available NHS work force figures are for September 2005. At that time, 199 general medical practitioners were employed by Eastern Leicester PCT and Leicester city west PCT, the forerunner organisations for the area now covered by Leicester city PCT.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Essence of Care, published in 2001, provides a framework for improving the quality of the essential aspects of care, including feeding and hygiene care, in all health and social care settings. The benchmarking process outlined in Essence of Care enables services to identify best practice and to develop action plans to remedy poor practice.
Through the National Patient Safety Association, we are also taking action to ensure that patients are screened on admission to hospital to identify those at risk of malnutrition, and extending the use of protected mealtimes so that patients can concentrate on eating, and staff can give the help they need.
A New Ambition for Old AgeNext Steps in Implementing the National Service Framework for Older People, published in April 2006, sets out the next phase of reform of older people's services and reaffirms the Government's commitment to ensuring that dignity considerations are embedded in all aspects of care. Since January 2006, the Department of Health has taken a number of steps to take forward the dignity in care agenda at a national level including, on14 November, the launch of the first dignity in care campaign.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that the forthcoming guide on hospital car parking charges to be issued by the income generation team meets the Departments disability equality duty under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The forthcoming guide on hospital car parking charges as an income generation scheme will be assessed for its impact on disability equality as required by the disability discrimination legislation. It is for individual national health service organisations to satisfy themselves that they are meeting their duties under the 2005 Act. This will be highlighted in the aforementioned guide. Guidance on producing disability equality schemes has been made available to the NHS.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the compliance of the Transport and Car Parking guidance issued by the estates and facilities division in February 2006 with the Departments disability equality duty under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005; 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The Department provides advice, such as the Transport and Car Parking guidance
referred to in the question, to assist national health service bodies in the performance and management of their operations and services, but does not assess or monitor compliance.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether NHS staff transferred to independent sector treatment centres will be able to remain members of the NHS pension scheme; and whether staff working in such centres will be eligible to join the scheme. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: National health service staff who are seconded to an independent sector treatment centre will remain on NHS terms and conditions for the period of their secondment, including entitlement to membership of the NHS pension scheme. Staff employed directly by an ISTC are not NHS staff and therefore are not eligible to join the NHS pension scheme.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Independent sector treatment centre providers receive payments for the provision of services. Health care companies bidding for ISTC contracts do provide forecast running costs to the Department as part of the bidding process but this information is commercial and so in confidence.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many extra (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) other health service staff have been employed in (i) Gateshead primary care trust and (ii) Blaydon constituency since 1997. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information is not available in the format requested. However, the following table shows the numbers of NHS staff in the Gateshead PCT by main staff group as at 30 September each specified year.
|(1) Excludes medical Hospital Practitioners and medical Clinical Assistants, most of whom are GPs working part time in hospitals.|
(2) All Practitioners includes Contracted GPs, GMS Others, PMS Others, GP Registrars and GP Retainers.
(3) Practice Staff includes Practice Nurses, Direct Patient Care, Admin and Clerical and Other. Data covers: NHS Staff directly employed by the PCT; and GP practices who are commissioned by the PCT.
The Information Centre for health and social care Medical and Dental Workforce Census.
The Information Centre for health and social care General and Personal Medical Services Statistics
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