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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to encourage general practitioners to become GPs with a specialist interest; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: General Practitioners with special interests can make a valuable contribution to delivery of care closer to patients homes. Decisions on their development, recruitment and training are local matters and the Department is supporting primary care trusts, most recently through the publication in April 2007 of Implementing care closer to home: Convenient quality care for patients, which sets out a process for accrediting such practitioners and the services that they deliver. Copies have been placed in the Library.
However, a data collection was set up to monitor performance against the targets to refurbish or replace up to 3,000 general practitioner premises and create 500 primary care centres by December 2004, as detailed in the NHS Plan (published in 2000). The relevant data from this collection are shown in the following table.
|Number of premises replaced||Number of premises substantially refurbished|
|NHS organisation||2000-02( 2)||2003-05( 2)||2000-02( 2)||2003-05( 2)|
|(1) Sandwell health authority historically covered an area similar to that of the former Oldbury and Smethwick, Rowley Regis and Tipton, and Wednesbury and West Bromwich PCTs.|
(2) Financial years, April to March.
DH central returns, SaFFR, LDPR
Mr. Andrew Smith:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress is being made on the implementation of the Social Partnership Forum
Action Plan for maximising employment opportunities for newly qualified health care professionals in a changing NHS in respect of (a) integrated work force development and planning, (b) retaining skills and knowledge, (c) health and wellbeing strategy, (d) capacity mapping, (e) occupational health and (f) managed migration; 
(2) what progress is being made on the implementation of the recommendations of the Social Partnership Forum Action Plan for maximising employment opportunities for newly qualified health care professionals in a changing NHS on (a) the role of strategic health authorities, (b) the role of employers and (c) the role of higher education institutions. 
Andy Burnham: The long-term health benefits of effective access to secondary health care are long established. Changes to local services are matters for local national health service organisations. Significant changes to the configuration of local services should be subject to consultation.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the additional interviews arranged for junior hospital doctor training posts will be completed; whether the interview timetable is likely to take longer than originally planned; and what the estimated cost is of the additional interviews arranged. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Offers will be made to successful candidates on a phased basis as interviews for each specialty are completed. Subject to the outcome of the current judicial review, the first offers for hospital specialities in England will be made on or after 21 May 2007, with all initial offers made by early June. This process of making offers will continue until late June 2007, at which time round one will close, ensuring that candidates and employers have time to prepare for appointments commencing on 1 August 2007. A complete estimate of the costs of the additional interviews has not been made.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made with the consultation on stoma care and urology care services; how many (a) individuals and (b) organisations have responded; what account has been taken of the potential impact of change on users, with particular reference to proposals on the direct supply of appliances and ancilliary items; and if she will make a statement. 
Arrangements for the reimbursement pricing of stoma and incontinence appliances under Part IX of the Drug Tariff;
Arrangements for the remuneration of services relating to appliances within Part IX of the Drug Tariff; and
Proposed Amendments to the Regulatory Terms of Service of Pharmacy and Appliance
Contractors in relation to Dispensing Items Listed in Part IX of the Drug Tariff.
The Department has received a significant level of response to these consultations. The majority of these responses were submitted by industry, dispensing appliance contractors, pharmacy contractors, clinicians, patient groups and individual patients.
As the consultation process is intended to enable interested parties to comment and put forward their points of view on departmental proposals and to provide information that may be relevant to final policy making decisions, the Department is considering all these responses very carefully.
Caroline Flint: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) publishes information on the role of the cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) assessments in its Guide to the Methods of Technology Appraisal, and indicates in each individual appraisal the range of cost per QALY estimates on which the guidance draws. The guide was published in April 2004 and is available on NICEs website at:
I have made no assessment of the cost per QALY of treating patients at high risk of coronary heart disease. NICE published a health technology appraisal on
statins in January 2006. This guidance relates to the initiation of statin therapy in adults with clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and in adults considered to be at risk of CVD.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many midwifery posts are vacant in each NHS trust in the east of England strategic health authority area; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: The following table shows the three month vacancies for midwifery staff in the east of England strategic health authority (SHA) area by national health service organisation, from the Information Centre for health and social care vacancies survey March 2006.
|Three month vacancy rate||Three month vacancy number|
1. Vacancy data are from the Vacancy Survey 2006
2. Three month vacancy information is as at 31 March 2006.
3. Three month vacancies are vacancies which Trusts are actively trying to fill, which had lasted for three months or more (full time equivalents).
4. Three month vacancy rates are three month vacancies expressed as a percentage of three month vacancies plus staff in post
5. Three month vacancy rates are calculated using staff in post from the medical and dental and Non-Medical Workforce Censuses September 2005.
6. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place:
* = figures where sum of staff in post (as at 30 September 2005) and vacancies (as at 31 March 2006) is less than 10.
__ = zero.
7. Vacancy and staff in post numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number.
8. Calculating the vacancy rates using the above data may not equal the actual vacancy rates.
9. Due to rounding, totals may not equal the sum of component part.
The Information Centre for health and social care Vacancies Survey.
The Information Centre for health and social care Medical and Dental and Non-Medical Workforce Censuses.
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