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Nuisance Behaviour

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how she defines nuisance behaviour as it is used in her Department’s consultation entitled ‘Tackling
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nuisance and disturbance behaviour on NHS healthcare premises’; [110959]

(2) how many incidents of nuisance behaviour have been reported on NHS healthcare premises in each of the last five years; [110960]

(3) what safeguards are being considered to protect those whose behaviour is considered nuisance behaviour on NHS healthcare premises but which is symptomatic of a medical condition or due to a disability. [110961]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Nuisance is not defined in the proposed legislation but it is assumed that it is an ordinary word of the English language. It will be a matter of fact for the courts to decide whether an offence has been committed under the proposals.

Figures on the number of incidents of this type of behaviour are not yet collected centrally. However, the Department’s consultation paper asked for information on this subject and the full report can be found on the Department’s website. The final regulatory impact assessment, to be published with any draft legislation, will contain more detailed information on this.

The principal safeguard will be contained in the primary legislation, which will state that a person seeking medical treatment will not be able to commit the offence. Further safeguards are being developed and discussed with stakeholders.

Out-patients: Waiting Lists

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of patients on outpatient waiting lists were seen within 13 weeks in each year since 1990, as recorded by (a) the Korner waiting time statistics and (b) the Hospital Episodes Statistics database. [118158]

Andy Burnham: The information is shown in the table.

Percentage of patients who waited under 13 weeks for an outpatient appointment(provider based)
Financial year Number of patients who waited under 13 weeks Percentage of patients











































No outpatient data was collected before December 1993. Therefore, the percentage for 1993-94 is based on data from two quarters. Similarly, as only the first two quarters data have been published for 2006-07, this percentage is also based on data from two quarters.
Outpatient waiting times data is not available from Hospital Episode Statistics.
Department of Health, QMO8s

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Parliamentary Questions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many parliamentary questions were tabled to her Department in 2006, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage of ordinary written questions were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage of named day questions were answered by the specific date. [115314]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: In 2006, 7,811 ordinary written questions and 1,756 named day questions were tabled to the Department. We answered 44 per cent. of ordinary written questions within 10 working days and answered 51 per cent. of named day questions on the day specified.

Departments aim to ensure that Members receive a substantive response to their named day questions on the named day and endeavour to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. Unfortunately, this is not always possible but this Department makes every effort to achieve these timescales.

Patient Feedback

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost was of each scheme to register feedback from patients was in 2005-06. [115648]

Andy Burnham: The Department funded a survey of people to explore their choice preferences around general practitioner (GP) services and GP practices conduct surveys of patients’ experience to support the quality and outcomes framework. These surveys cost £32 million and £40 million respectively in 2005-06. The Department paid the £179,500 cost of the patient opinion website in the financial year 2005-06.

The Healthcare Commission administers a national patient survey programme which collects and analyses feedback from patients about their experience of healthcare services. In 2005-06, the Healthcare Commission had a budget of £475,000 for a national health service patient survey advice centre to support its programme and estimates that the typical cost of conducting a survey was around £4,000 for each NHS trust and £3,500 for each mental health trust.

Public Opinion Research

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much her Department has spent on commissioning public opinion research in each of the last five years. [105452]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department does not collect this information centrally.

However public opinion research commissioned by the Department’s Communications Directorate is as follows. This should be regarded as an indicative guide on spend only.

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(1) To December 2006
This updates the figure given in the answer of 3 January 2006, Official Report, column 161W, which gave a figure of £364,425.74 for 2004-05. This included spend on media evaluation which is not classed as public opinion research.

NHS Connecting for Health commissioned public opinion research is as follows:




Renewable Energy

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much energy consumed by her Department is acquired from renewable sources; [106143]

(2) when she will answer question 106143, tabled by the hon. Member for Wealden on 23 November 2006. [116657]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has been purchasing green electricity since 2001-02. Since 2004-05 100 per cent. of the electricity for our London administrative estate has been purchased from renewable sources. This is a substantially better performance than the Government target required, which was that 10 per cent. of electricity should be from renewable sources.

The Department’s overall performance on energy consumption is set out in the annual “Sustainable Development in Government” report.

The response relates only to the Department’s main London estate. The Department also occupies a building in Leeds where the major occupier is the Department of Work and Pensions. We understand that all the energy purchased for that building is also from renewable sources. A further building occupiedby departmental staff in London is managed by a private sector landlord and the information is not available.

Surgery: Foreign Workers

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many visiting surgeons from Sweden carried out knee operations in NHS hospitals in Somerset in each of the last five years; how much they were paid; and how many operations they performed. [119010]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Education and Skills

Child Care

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to implement the agreements reached at the Barcelona European Council in 2002; and what percentage of children (a) between three and six years old and (b) under three years old he estimates will have access to childcare by 2010. [120324]

Beverley Hughes: The Government continue to implement the agreement of the Barcelona European Union Council in March 2002 to strive, in line with national patterns of provision, to provide by 2010 child
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care for at least 90 per cent. of children between three years and mandatory school age, and at least 33 per cent. of children under three years of age.

Currently all three and four-year-olds have the offer of a free part-time education place of 12.5 hours a week, and by 2010 this entitlement will have increased to 15 hours of free, flexible early years provision a week.

Survey results indicate that 35 per cent. of children under three in England were in formal child care in 2004. The new duties on local authorities to assess (from April 2007) the sufficiency of child care and (from April 2008) to secure sufficient child care in their areas will help to ensure that by 2010, child care places are available for all parents of children under three who want them.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will commission comparative research into the cost of child care in the UK and other European Union member states; and if he will make a statement. [120486]

Beverley Hughes: The Department has no current plans to commission comparative research into the cost of child care in the UK and other European Union member states.

The Department commissions two national series of surveys which collect data on the costs of child care for parents, the fees that providers charge parents and the cost of providing child care for providers. These surveys provide detailed information, on a regular basis, on the cost of child care in England.

Meaningful cross-national comparisons of the costs of child care to parents are extremely difficult due to differences in how child care support is funded between countries and differences in household incomes levels. Organisations such as The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have attempted this for OECD countries, which include a number of EU member states and a recent study by Immervoll and Barber (2005) can be found at:

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of steps taken by his Department in the last five years to assist families in meeting the costs of child care for pre-school children in (a) Chorley, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West. [120491]

Beverley Hughes: We recognise that child care costs are an issue for many parents and we are doing more than ever to make good quality child care and early education accessible and affordable.

Since April 2004 all three and four-year-olds have been entitled to 12.5 hours per week of free, early education. Latest figures for January 2006 show that virtually all four-year-olds and 96 per cent. of three-year-olds benefit from some free provision, thus considerably reducing overall child care costs for parents.

The number of families accessing the child care element of the working tax credit (WTC) at December 2006 has increased to 396,000 nationally. This is a 30 per cent. increase on the 304,000 families accessing this element in 2004/05. Take up for the same period in the
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North West has increased from 46,000 to 61,000, an increase of 33 per cent. For 2004/05, 8,500 families accessed this element of the WTC in Lancashire with 800 of these families living in Chorley.

The 2004/05 Study of Parents, Use Views and Experiences of using child care found that 23 per cent. of parents found it difficult or very difficult to afford child care compared with 52 per cent. who found it easy or very easy. This compares favourably with the 2001/02 Parent Demand Survey which found that 35 per cent. of parents found it difficult or very difficult to meet costs.

No wider assessment of the effectiveness of assisting families with child care costs is available for Chorley, Lancashire or the North West at present.

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress the Government have made towards the targets within their 10-year child care strategy; and if he will make a statement. [120657]

Beverley Hughes: We have made substantial progress in delivering our programme to transform early years and child care services outlined in the 10-year child care strategy: “Choice for Parents, the Best Start for Children”.

We are ahead of schedule on meeting, by 2010, the strategy's centrepiece commitments to establish a multi-agency Sure Start children's centre for every community, and ensure that every primary and secondary school is an extended school, offering access to a range of enriching and high quality out of school hours activities.

There are now over 1,060 children's centres in the most disadvantaged areas, serving around 850,000 children. More than 3,800 schools (one in six of the total) are now providing access to the full extended services core offer (including child care), and we exceeded our target of 2,500 schools doing so by September 2006.

We are also doing more than ever before to make good quality child care and early education accessible and affordable. The number of registered child care places across the country continues to rise. We have already met our child care places growth PSA target for 2008; and delivered on our commitments to increase the free nursery education entitlement to 38 hours per week from 2006; and to extend the tax credit support for child care costs (now running at around £2 million per day), by increasing the limits, from 2005, and the proportion of costs that can be claimed, from 2006.

We have also legislated to take forward, and give statutory force to, key elements of the strategy. The Childcare Act 2006—the first legislation to be devoted to early years and child care—includes new duties, operational from 2008, to improve the outcomes of all children under five, close the gaps between groups with the poorest outcomes and other children; and to secure sufficient child care for working parents, or those looking to move into work.

The Act also reforms and simplifies the regulatory framework for early years and child care, including establishing a new single framework for learning and development for children under five—the early years foundation stage—which will be introduced from 2008.

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