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20 Jun 2007 : Column 1912W—continued

General practitioner (GP) Partnerships and single handed GP Providers( 1) for specified organisations, as at 30 September 2006
GP Partnerships Single Handed GP Providers





East of England




Luton PCT




South East Essex PCT




Bedfordshire PCT




East & North Hertfordshire PCT




West Hertfordshire PCT




Peterborough PCT




Cambridgeshire PCT




Norfolk PCT




Great Yarmouth & Waveney PCT




Suffolk PCT




West Essex PCT




North East Essex PCT




Mid Essex PCT




South West Essex PCT



(1 )A single handed GP Provider is one who has no partners, although a GP Other, GP Registrar or GP Retainer may work in the practice.
The Information Centre for health and social care general and personal medical services statistics

General Practitioners: Internet

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of GPs who use Internet Explorer. [141976]

Caroline Flint: No information is collected centrally that would enable such an estimate to be made.

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General Practitioners: Manpower

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the GP to patient ratio was in each (a) strategic health authority and (b) primary care trust in England in each of the last five years. [142417]

Andy Burnham: Tables have been placed in the Library showing the number of general practitioners (excluding retainers and registrars), the number of patients and the ratio of one to the other in each strategic health authority and each primary care trust in England in each of the last five years.

For the period 2002-05, the table is based on the 303 primary care trusts which existed before the reorganisation in October 2006.

Health Services: Reciprocal Arrangements

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many E112 authorisations her Department issued in each year since 1997. [135878]

Ms Rosie Winterton [pursuant to the reply, 18 May 2007, Official Report, c. 1016W]: Patients may receive treatment in other member states of the European Economic Area and in Switzerland through the E112 referral scheme, in accordance with Regulation (EEC) 1408/71. This Regulation coordinates the social security and healthcare schemes of the member states.

Information about patients from England, Scotland and Wales referred abroad using the E112 procedure is shown in the table (only figures from 1998 were readily available):

Number of E112s issued



















The drop in referrals from 2004 is due to the change in European Commission healthcare rules that took place that year. Since 1 June 2004, patients no longer need an E112 for the on-going care of pre-existing medical conditions. This is now covered on the European Health Insurance Card.

Health: Standards

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what benchmarking she has (a) undertaken and (b) evaluated to assess the effectiveness of public health measures in the UK. [143007]

Caroline Flint: The Department has undertaken a range of benchmarking activities to assess the effectiveness of public health measures in the United Kingdom. Such benchmarking has shown that public health interventions can be effective in improving the health of the population and is provided through the national health service local delivery plan performance assessment system, nationally available public health
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data, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence public health evidence reviews, and public health research and evaluation evidence.

Hearing Aids: Stoke on Trent

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the reasons are for the delay in commencing routine hearing aid assessments in Stoke-on-Trent by Mercury; what services she expects to be provided; what the timescale is for that provision; at what venues services will be provided; and if she will make a statement. [143945]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Mercury Health has a contract with the Department to provide a range of mobile diagnostic services for national health service patients, including audiology, at Stoke-on-Trent and another 50 sites across the West Midlands. Mercury has been working closely with local authorities across the West Midlands to achieve a number of planning consents to enable them to commence a service that offered the required geographical coverage.

The West Midlands diagnostic scheme is aimed at reducing waits and increasing choice for NHS patients. Service is due to commence in late June with the first audiology appointments in Stoke-on-Trent soon after. The service will include the assessment and fitting of digital hearing aids.

Hearing Aids: West Sussex

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the waiting time is for a digital hearing aid for those resident in the West Sussex area. [143986]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department does not collect data on waiting times for digital hearing aids.

Hearing Impaired: Copeland

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people living in Copeland aged (a) under 18 and (b) over 18 years are registered as having impaired hearing. [143024]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information is not available in the format requested. The number of people registered deaf or hard of hearing in Cumbria as at March 2001, the most recent available data, is set out in the following table.


People registered as deaf by age

All ages


0 to 17


18 to 64


65 to 74


75 or over


People registered as hard of hearing


People Registered as Deaf or Hard of Hearing year ending 31 March 2001, England. This is available at:

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Hospital Beds

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment her Department has made of the effect of bed blocking in the NHS on (a) the finances of the NHS, (b) operation waiting times and (c) the development and spread of hospital-acquired infections; and if she will make a statement; [142902]

(2) if she will publish a list detailing the current level of bed blocking within the NHS by (a) strategic health authority, (b) primary care trust, (c) acute hospital trust and (d) local authority area; [142903]

(3) what her estimate is of the cost of bed blocking to the NHS in each year since 1997; [142904]

(4) what steps her Department is taking to stop bed blocking in the NHS; [142906]

(5) how her Department is working with those local authorities which operate care homes for the elderly to reduce bed blocking in the NHS; and if she will make a statement; [142907]

(6) what assessment her Department has made of the effects of hospital bed blocking on (a) local authority run elderly care homes and (b) privately run elderly care homes in (i) England and (ii) Cumbria. [142934]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government are committed to reducing the number of patients who are delayed in hospital, even though they are fit to be discharged. As part of the strategy to tackle this problem, since January 2004 if a patient is delayed in discharging from acute services solely because community care arrangements are lacking, the culpable local authority will have to reimburse the acute national health service trust.

In order to help councils with social services responsibility, whether or not they operate care homes for the elderly, £100 million has been transferred from the NHS for each year since 2003-04 to defray the cost of any reimbursements. Those councils that reduce the number of such delayed transfers can reinvest the money saved in alternative social services.

We have made no estimate of the cost of delayed discharges to the NHS, the effect on operation waiting times, or the development and spread of hospital-acquired infections.

We have made no assessment of the effect of delayed discharge by either local authority run, or privately run, elderly care homes. The latest available figures, for quarter 4 2006-07, detailing the number of delayed discharge cases for each primary care trust, have been placed in Library.

Hospitals: Mobile Phones

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what research has been carried out to quantify the effect of mobile telephone usage in different areas of the hospital environment; [143079]

(2) what assessment she has made of the areas of a hospital environment in which mobile telephone usage places patient safety at risk. [143270]

Caroline Flint: The Medical Devices Agency (now part of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)) conducted an extensive
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study into the effects of a wide range of mobile communication equipment on 178 different models of medical device in 1997. The results indicated that only 4 per cent. of the medical devices tested suffered interference from mobile phones at a distance of one metre, with less than 0.1 per cent. showing serious effects.

The results of this study were published in the Device Bulletin DB 9702 ‘Electromagnetic Compatibility of Medical Devices with Mobile Communications’. This advice has been reviewed on a regular basis by the MHRA since 1997.

An update document, SN 2001(06) was published in March 2001, which covered the potential interference with medical devices by TETRA radio systems employed by the emergency services and media broadcasts from hospital premises.

Most recently, the MHRA published guidance on its website in July 2004. This guidance advised that healthcare providers should actively manage the use of radio frequency spectrum on their own sites, and consider the potential effects of communication equipment on all medical devices.

The Department issued guidance on mobile phone usage in May 2007, available on the Department's website, which contains suggestions on where mobile phones should and should not be used.

Although each national health service trust must ultimately decide where mobile phones are and are not allowed the Department suggests that their usage, for safety, privacy and dignity and annoyance reasons, are not used in the following areas: on wards; intensive therapy units; operating theatres; maternity wards; special care baby units; children’s wards/areas.

Subject to carrying out a risk assessment trusts may wish to consider allowing the use of mobile phones in the following areas: hospital reception and entrance areas; non-clinical communal areas which may including day rooms and cafe areas; specially designated rooms/areas; public corridors.

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