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27 Feb 2007 : Column 1277W—continued

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) consultant-led and (b) midwife-led maternity units there were in England in (i) 1997, (ii) 2001 and (iii) the latest period for which figures are available; what forecast she has made of the number and type of maternity units that will be required for (A) 2008 and (B) 2010; and if she will make a statement. [121784]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information is not available in the format requested. The latest information we have available is that there are 181 consultant-led units and 101 midwife-led units, of which 68 are stand-alone and 33 are co-located.

On 6 February 2007 Dr. Sheila Shribman, National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Maternity Services, published a report on the future of maternity services, “Making it Better for Mother and Baby”. The report sets out our vision for the future where all women, their babies and partners will be at the heart of high quality, flexible maternity services which are designed around individual specific needs and choices.

We are now working on a maternity framework document, to be published shortly, which will help the national health services bring this vision to fruition.


Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in meeting the Government target set in 2004 to halve the number of MRSA cases by April 2008; and if she will make a statement. [118342]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The latest published figures, for April to September 2006, show a 9.5 per cent. drop compared with the same period in the baseline year for the target (2003-04). A range of measures have been put in place, including providing tailored support to
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those trusts with the most challenging methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus rates, with the aim of getting progress back on track to deliver the target.

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what investment the Government are making in new technologies to combat MRSA in NHS hospitals; and if she will make a statement; [118346]

(2) what representations she has received on new technologies to combat MRSA in NHS hospitals; and if she will make a statement. [118350]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Tackling health care associated infections including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) continues to be a priority for the Government and substantial funding has been invested in a variety of research. This includes funding of £950,000 for two linked projects to evaluate a rapid screening test for MRSA.

We are also looking at the benefits of microfibre and steam cleaning and a report will be ready shortly. The Department’s estates and facilities division has funded a number of projects that may be of interest.

Representations on new technologies to combat health care associated infections including MRSA in national health service hospitals are usually channelled through the rapid review panel (RRP). The RRP provides a prompt assessment to the Department of new and novel equipment, materials and other products or protocols that may be of value to the national health service in improving hospital infection control and reducing hospital acquired infections. The panel’s recommendations are published on the Health Protection Agency’s website at:

Myasthenia Gravis

Lynda Waltho: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average hospital waiting times for patients diagnosed with myasthenia gravis were in the latest period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement; [122073]

(2) what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of (a) consultants and (b) nurses qualified to diagnose and treat myasthenia gravis; [122074]

(3) what steps her Department is taking to raise awareness about myasthenia gravis among (a) the medical profession, (b) the general public, (c) employers and (d) benefit offices. [122075]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has made available, via its Prodigy and NHS Direct websites, detailed information on myasthenia gravis suitable for both health professionals and the general public. In
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addition, the recently published musculoskeletal services framework will help to raise awareness of all musculoskeletal conditions, including myasthenia gravis, among health professionals.

Data on hospital waiting times for specific conditions are not collected.

The national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions is supporting local sustained improvements in service quality for people with long-term conditions, including myasthenia gravis. The NSF addresses a range of key issues including the need for equitable access to a range of services and the ability to see a specialist and get the right investigations and diagnosis as quickly as possible.

It is for primary care trusts, in consultation with other stakeholders, to determine the appropriate level of services, and the number of health professionals required, to meet the needs of their local populations living with myasthenia gravis.

NHS: EU Rules

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she expects that her policy of introducing competition into the supply of healthcare will make NHS services subject to EU single market and competition rules; and if she will make a statement. [118763]

Andy Burnham: Although health services are covered by the European Union (EU) Treaty, it is well accepted that EU activity must respect the responsibilities of the member states for organising and managing their health systems. Last year’s EU ministerial statement on values and common principles underlined the importance of the social objectives that health systems have to deliver.

National health service bodies generally fall outside the scope of EU competition rules. As set out in “Health reform in England: update and next steps”, published in July 2006, the introduction of competition will not be appropriate in all services. “The Future regulation of health and adult social care in England”, published in November 2006, described the Department’s position on choice and competition, the need for proportionate and transparent system management and the benefits for patients and the public. As set out in this document, we will provide further guidance in spring 2007.

NHS: Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what overall change to primary care trust allocations for purchasing parity adjustments in cash terms her Department provided from central budgets in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07; and what the overall change she anticipates making to primary care trust allocations in 2007-08. [118145]

Andy Burnham: In 2005-06, almost £170 million of central funding was made available to support purchaser parity adjustments to primary care trusts.

In 2006-07 and 2007-08 no central funding was made available to fund changes to primary care trust allocations for purchasing parity adjustments.

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Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2007, Official Report, column 1749W, on NHS Finance, whether sources of financial support besides in-year financial support are available to NHS organisations. [118248]

Andy Burnham: The provision of in-year financial support or brokerage is no longer permitted. Deficits in national health service organisations must rest where they fall. In 2006-07, strategic health authorities (SHAs) have the power to agree a resource top-slice from their primary care trusts in order to create a reserve which the SHA may then use to balance the overall financial position across its economy. Organisations making a contribution to this reserve can expect those contributions to be returned over a period which will not normally exceed the three-year allocation cycle. Transactions to create these reserves must be fully reflected in the accounts of each organisation.

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been top-sliced from the budgets of (a) Bexley Care Trust, (b) Queen Mary’s Hospital NHS Trust, (c) Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Trust, (d) Darent Valley Hospital NHS Trust and (e) Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust in 2006-07. [112119]

Andy Burnham: The information requested is not held centrally.

Strategic health authorities (SHA) are responsible for developing and implementing a service and financial strategy for managing the financial position within their locality. This includes creating local reserves to deal with local situations.

Primary care trusts (PCTs) which make a contribution to their SHA reserve will be repaid, normally within the three-year allocation cycle, when organisations currently in deficit start producing surpluses. SHAs have been asked to ensure PCTs with the greatest health need are the first to be repaid.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the NHS budget was spent on (a) medicines, (b) operations, (c) staff wages, (d) administrative costs and (e) pension provision in (i) 1997-98 and (ii) 2005-06. [117102]

Andy Burnham: The table shows the Department's revenue expenditure in 1997-98 and 2005-06 and the proportion of the national health service budget spent on drugs, staff wages, administration costs, pension provision and operations.

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Expenditure category 1997-98 2005-06

All salaries and wages (including agency)



of which admin and clerical salary and wage costs






National insurance



Drugs (hospital prescriptions)



Family health service drugs





Notes: 1. Accounts figures in the table for 2005-06 are provisional. 2. Changes to accounting practices and a number of technical adjustments mean that the data in the two time periods are not strictly comparable. 3. Source of data is the audited account summarisation schedules and financial returns of health authorities/primary care trusts and summarised accounts of foundation trusts (in 2005-06). 4. Pay costs are for hospital and community health service (HCHS) only. The figures do not include the pay element of expenditure on family health services. Pay costs as a proportion of HCHS expenditure is around 65 per cent. in both 1997-98 and 2005-06. 5. The increase in pension costs is driven by a technical change to pension arrangements, which was funded by a transfer from HM Treasury. 6. The operations proportion is defined as elective and non-elective in-patient cases and is based on figures taken from the NHS reference cost index. There is no reliable data source for 1997-98. 7. Expenditure categories overlap; for example the cost of operations is mainly wage costs.

NHS Treatment Centres: Essex

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has for the establishment of an independent sector treatment centre in Essex; when she expects the centre to open; how many staff the centre plans to employ; how many operations she expects the centre to carry out each year; and when she expects the contract to establish the new centre to be signed. [123704]

Andy Burnham: Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ITSC) in Essex are planned as part of Phase 2 of the ISTC programme. The scheme is currently subject to negotiation but is expected to:

Contract signature is subject to negotiations but the majority of services are expected to commence from September 2008.

NHS: Advertising

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 25 January 2007, Official Report, column 2029W, on advertising, how much of the spending on campaign advertising was spent on (a) sponsoring supplements and (b) advertorials; and what the topic was of each advertorial. [119860]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The total expenditure of £43,816 for Departmental campaign advertising through The Guardian in 2005-06 did not include spend on either sponsoring supplements or advertorials.

NHS: Marketing

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance she has given to NHS hospital trusts on the establishment of marketing departments. [121475]

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Andy Burnham: No guidance has been given to national health service hospital trusts on the establishment of marketing departments.

The Department published a draft code of practice for promotion of NHS services for consultation on 27 November 2006. The provisions of the code cover promotional activity directed at both the public and commissioners and include specific requirements around direct marketing, sponsorship, provider representatives and gifts, inducements and promotional aids.

The consultation will run until 28 February 2007 and we would welcome views from all those with an interest. The draft code is available at:

NHS: Telephone Services

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to prevent the NHS from using 0870 premium rate telephone numbers for patient hotlines. [123873]

Andy Burnham: We banned national health service dentists, NHS opticians, general practitioner practices and GP out-of-hours providers from using 087 premium rate numbers from April 2005.

Decisions on which telephone numbers and systems to use are taken locally.

My noble Friend, the former Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner) wrote to primary care trusts in December 2006 to draw their attention to the Central Office of Information guidance on telephone numbering—“Cost to the Citizen”. That guidance states that primary care trusts should ensure that NHS dentists, NHS opticians and GP practices, including out-of-hours providers in their area, should consider carefully the best option for their patients.

NHS: Waiting Lists

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the waiting times for episodes of NHS care for which measurement by her Department has been discontinued in each of the last five years. [123796]

Andy Burnham: The only waiting times collection discontinued in the last five years is the measurement of waiting times in outpatient clinics. This related to a 1995 Patient's Charter target that patients should be seen within 30 minutes of their given appointment time. The Patient's Charter was replaced by ‘Your Guide to the National Health Service’ in January 2001.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the waiting times for episodes of NHS care measured by her Department; say whether each is subject to a target set by her Department; and say what the target is in each relevant case. [123797]

Andy Burnham: The Department collects the following waiting times information:

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