Previous Section Index Home Page

16 Oct 2007 : Column 1052W—continued

All panellists must receive training on the GMC’s fitness to practice procedures before they are eligible to sit on a panel. The GMC introduced Indicative Sanctions Guidance in 2001. This provides guidance to panellists on the factors that they should consider in determining the appropriate sanction in each case. The medical and lay panellists appointed to sit on the panels exercise their own judgments in making decisions, but must take into consideration the standards of good practice the GMC has established which have been drawn up after wide consultation and which reflect what society expects of doctors.

General Practitioners: Rents

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 285W, on general practitioners: rents, who is responsible for monitoring compliance with Direction 48. [158738]

Mr. Bradshaw: Primary care trusts have responsibility for the administration and monitoring of the national health service (General Medical Services—Premises Costs) (England) Directions 2004, including Direction 48.

Health Professions: Manpower

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) doctors and (b) nurses were employed in each London borough in each year since 1997. [157634]

Mr. Bradshaw: This information requested is not held in the format requested. Data are not collected at borough or primary care trust (PCT) level, as doctors and nurses work in both national health service trusts and PCTs, and some NHS trusts serve across borders.

However, the following table shows the amount of doctors and nurses employed in London since 1997 at strategic health authority (SHA) level.

16 Oct 2007 : Column 1053W

16 Oct 2007 : Column 1054W
NHS doctors and qualified nurses in the London strategic health authority area, 1997 to 2006
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

All doctors(2,)( )(3)











HCHS medical and dental staff(2)











General medical practitioners (excluding retainers)(3)











All qualified nurses











Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff(1)











Practice nurses











(1) More accurate validation in 2006 has resulted in 9,858 duplicate records being identified and removed from the non medical census. Although this represents less than 1 per cent. of total records, it should be taken into consideration when making historical comparisons.
(2) Excludes medical Hospital Practitioners and medical Clinical Assistants, most of whom are GPs working part-time in hospitals.
(3) GP retainers were first collected in 1999 and have been omitted for comparability purposes.
Data as at 30 September each year (except GP and practice nurse data as at 1 October 1996-1999)
The Information Centre: General and Personal Medical Services; Medical and Dental Workforce Census; Non-medical Workforce Census.

Health Services: Ethnic Groups

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has undertaken into the sufficiency of link worker services connecting health provision and ethnic minority communities in those areas with high ethnic minority populations; and if he will make a statement. [156085]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Primary care trusts are receiving £16 million per annum within their baseline funding for the recruitment nationally of 500 community development workers (CDWs) for black and minority ethnic (BME) mental health. CDWs are a vital component of our “Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care” action plan, published in January 2005. A CDW's role is to help build links between local mental health services and their BME communities, so that they can collaborate more closely in the planning and provision of care. The effectiveness of the CDW workforce in meeting its objectives will be evaluated in due course. We do not hold information centrally about the numbers or sufficiency of other local link workers.

Health Services: Pregnancy

Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the case for full implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guideline of the assessment and treatment of people with fertility problems if there is a move towards introducing single embryo transfer for selected patients. [157094]

Dawn Primarolo: The clinical guideline published in 2004 by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended up to three cycles of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) where appropriate. The then Secretary of State made it clear that he expected primary care trusts (PCTs) to move over time to three cycles as recommended. We are aware that most PCTs are providing at least one cycle of IVF and we are working with the patient support organisation Infertility Network UK to help PCTs share best practice in the provision of fertility services and move to the NICE recommendations. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is considering the outcome of its public consultation on multiple births after IVF.

Hospital Beds

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) number of beds and (b) bed category rate was in the NHS (i) in total and (ii) broken down by bed occupancy in (A) England and (B) each strategic health authority area in each year from 1997-98 to 2006-07. [156801]

Mr. Bradshaw: The requested information has been placed in the Library.

Hospital Beds: Paediatrics

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average bed occupancy rate was for paediatric units at district general hospitals in England in the most recent period for which figures are available. [158208]

Ann Keen: The data are provided in the following table.

Average occupancy rate (occupied/available beds x 100 per cent.) of neonate and paediatric beds for England during 2006-07 for intensive care beds, general and acute beds, and for intensive care and general and acute beds combined
Occupancy rates ( Percentage )

Neonate and paediatrics

Intensive care beds


General and acute beds


Intensive care and general and acute beds combined


Hospitals: Admissions

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average age for hospital admissions was in England for the last year for which figures are available. [157011]

Mr. Bradshaw: The average mean age of patients on admission in national health service hospitals in England for 2005-06 was 47.3 years.

Hospitals: Cleaning Services

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the evidential basis is for the policy of deep cleaning NHS wards, as stated in his Department's press release of 25 September 2007, entitled Johnson crackdown on cleanliness and infections; what methodology was used to estimate the cost of deep cleaning at £50 million; which organisations will undertake the evaluation of the first programme of deep cleaning, and at what cost to the public purse; whether the deep cleaning of NHS wards will be mandatory for all NHS organisations which operate wards; when he expects the deep cleaning of NHS wards to happen; and if he will make a statement. [156805]

Ann Keen: The Government consider that high standards of cleanliness should be provided by the national health service.

16 Oct 2007 : Column 1055W

A higher score on the annual Patient Environment Action Team assessments is significantly correlated with lower rates of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile, although this is unlikely to be a direct relationship. Links between infection and cleanliness vary according to the specific micro-organism involved, and high standards of hygiene are likely to have a greater effect on Clostridium difficile rates, for instance, than on MRSA.

Even for those micro-organisms where the environment has less impact, it is still important that hospitals are kept clean. Patients consistently rate cleanliness as one of their highest priorities for the NHS.

The figure of £50 million is an indicative amount. The final amount will depend on the needs of each hospital, which will inevitably vary. Strategic health authorities (SHAs) will work with their primary care trusts to commission deep cleaning at a locally-agreed cost, and to monitor total spend in their areas. Performance management and evaluation will also be carried out locally.

The deep cleaning programme is an important part of our work in relation to health care associated infections, and will therefore be targeted towards acute trusts. However, all hospitals should be clean, and SHAs have the discretion to include other hospitals, including mental health and learning disability units.

Deep cleaning is time consuming and can be disruptive. Dependent on the approach taken, it may be necessary to close wards or bays. For most trusts, this will take months, rather than weeks. We expect that the majority of activity will be complete by year-end.

Hospitals: Manpower

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has undertaken in the last two years on the (a) minimum size and (b) staffing needs of (i) an accident and emergency unit and (ii) a maternity unit in order to meet the August 2009 requirements of the European Working Time Directive; what cost to the public purse he expects to arise from meeting those requirements; and if he will make a statement. [157005]

Mr. Bradshaw: Local national health service trusts are responsible for implementing the European Working Time Directive (WTD) as part of their health and safety obligations. Strategic health authorities and the Department offer support with WTD planning. The Department is sponsoring NHS National Workforce Projects (NWPs) to support local implementation of WTD 2009. NHS NWPs has commissioned a range of pilots including cooperative solutions, team working, handover and escalation and 24:7 working (which include accident and emergency and maternity units). The pilots take in a wide variety of organisations to look at solutions which are transferable across the NHS. There is ongoing evaluation of the pilots to share lessons learned as early as possible.

Hospitals: Personnel

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assistance there is for NHS staff to relocate to work in alternative healthcare facilities in the event of the closure or downgrading of district hospitals. [157020]

16 Oct 2007 : Column 1056W

Ann Keen: Proposals for the reconfiguration of services are a matter for the national health service locally, working in conjunction with clinicians, patients and other stakeholders.

Assistance with expenses incurred as a result of any relocation arising from a reconfiguration proposal are determined locally in consultation with staff representatives.

Human Papilloma Virus: Vaccinations

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that young women who left school in summer 2007 before the human papilloma virus vaccination programme was introduced have access to this vaccination on the NHS; [157998]

(2) what decision has been made by his Department regarding a catch-up campaign for the human papilloma virus vaccine for females aged between 12 to 26 years. [158008]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has agreed, in principle, to accept Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice that human papilloma virus vaccines should be introduced routinely for girls aged around 12 to 13 years, subject to independent peer review of the cost-benefit analysis.

A detailed analysis is being carried out by the JCVI regarding the cost-benefit analysis, and this work is being externally peer reviewed to ensure its robustness. The Department will consider the issue when the advice from JCVI is available.

Infant Foods

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Department has taken to restrict the promotion of breast milk substitutes. [157223]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department is working with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to look at ways of further restricting the promotion of breast milk substitutes within the United Kingdom regulations stemming from the European Union directive on infant and follow-on formula. The draft regulations issued for public consultation on 2 July ended on 28 September. Comments received from the stakeholders are being collated and evaluated by the FSA. Stakeholders’ comments will then be published together with the FSA's responses. The FSA also intends to consult in the near future on the accompanying draft guidance notes. The directive requires that regulations come into force on 1 January 2008.

Next Section Index Home Page