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29 Nov 2007 : Column 724W—continued

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust: Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers to his Department on the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s financial position. [163391]

Ann Keen: The Department introduced a new working capital loans system in 2006-07. As a result, there were 17 NHS trusts that could not afford to meet the repayments within a reasonable timescale. Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust was one of these trusts.

As announced in our quarter 4 NHS financial performance report 2006-07, the Department, along with SHAs, is working through a review process with these trusts to identify long-term solutions in these areas.

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PricewaterhouseCoopers was commissioned to carry out the review at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The Department is considering this report, along with the reports relating to other trusts in the financially challenged trust regime, in relation to current policy formation and development.

With this in mind we are currently applying section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act to the report, as the information would be likely to inhibit free and frank provision of advice and the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberations.

The results of this review process are being discussed with the strategic health authorities and solutions are being prepared in the context of the operating framework for 2008-09.


Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many registered midwives were not practising in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [165443]

Ann Keen: This information is not collected centrally. However, the annual work force census on 31 September 2006 showed there were 24,469 qualified midwives working in the NHS in England, an increase of 2,084 (9 per cent.) since 1997.

Milton Keynes Hospital: Maternity Services

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many midwives worked in Milton Keynes hospital in each month of the last three years. [168046]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 26 November 2007]: This is a matter for the chair of Milton Keynes Hospital National Health Service Foundation Trust. I have written to Mike Rowlands informing him of the hon. Member’s inquiry. He will reply shortly and a copy of the letter will be placed in the Library.

NHS: Complaints

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints were made about services at each NHS trust in each of the last three years; and how many such cases resulted in litigation. [165276]

Ann Keen: The information requested has been placed in the Library. It details the number of written complaints about hospital and community services received by each individual national health services trust in 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07.

There is no direct causal link between cases of litigation and complaints, as it is possible to pursue litigation without first lodging a formal complaint; and aggregated information on litigation cases is held separately by the NHS Litigation Authority. There are therefore no data available on how many individual litigation cases begin as complaints. Data on number of litigation cases in 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07 are set out in the following table.

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CNST Existing Liability Scheme (ELS) Ex-regional health authorities (Ex-RHAs) Total
















CNST is for clinical negligence incidents from 1 April 1995, ELS for clinical negligence pre 1 April 1995, and Ex-RHA is for liabilities relating to the Ex-RHAs. The number of claims relates to the year a claim is made, not the year the incident occurred.

NHS: Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library copies of the recovery plans agreed by strategic health authorities for all trusts that were in deficit at the end of 2006-07. [163369]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department manages the financial performance of the national health service through strategic health authorities (SHAs). National health service organisations that overspend are required to develop recovery plans to demonstrate how they will return to financial balance. Recovery plans are agreed and managed by SHAs, so the information requested is not held by the Department.

NHS: Internet

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what patient involvement there has been in the design of the NHS Choices website. [166372]

Mr. Bradshaw: NHS Choices has carried out extensive engagement with patients, voluntary groups and professional bodies on the design of the NHS Choices website. This engagement is integral to the development of the site and will continue as NHS Choices evolves.

NHS Choices is a service aimed at all those interested in health information and services, including patients. An extensive programme of qualitative and quantitative user research and testing has been completed to inform the design of the service both pre and post launch. This type of research has informed, and will continue to inform, the evolution of the site's products and design.

Pre-launch (NHS Choices was launched in June 2007) a series of workshops were conducted with members of the public, general practitioners (GPs), health service workers, and voluntary and public-sector intermediaries designed to test the service vision. NHS Choices also carried out tactical ‘scorecard’ and ‘naming’ research among groups of C2DE internet users.

Post-launch, three learning forums have been used to test the live site, site propositions and design and content prototypes with groups of internet users drawn from all ages, genders and ethnic groups. Each session comprises of four groups, and lessons from these groups have been feeding into service development for subsequent releases.

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A representative survey of general practices in England has also been conducted to benchmark awareness and usage of the site, provide a broad site evaluation and test various service propositions. In addition, qualitative research has been used with GPs to understand in greater detail their engagement as clinicians with the site, and again to test further developed service propositions.

To engage with national health service staff, 10 road shows have been conducted across the country. This engaged more than 500 NHS staff from trusts to primary care trust and practice managers.

Product development has also involved a high level of engagement. The site's new GP profiles are designed around a three-year research programme by Manchester university, a pilot by the National Programme for Information Technology and extensive negotiations with the British Medical Association, Royal College of the General Practitioners and other professional bodies. New services piloted across the country are also being evaluated with users, such as the qualitative research in Derby with young people to inform smoking cessation and physical health services.

Further qualitative research is planned with young mothers and with those with long-term health conditions and their carers to specifically test proposed products such as NHS LifeCheck and condition pathways. NHS Choices' customer insight team are also about to conduct an on-line survey with GPs to further test ‘score-card’ content and GP service engagement.

NHS Choices will soon be scheduling on-line surveys with public users (some with long-term health conditions) and continuing to provide qualitative or quantitative research to address product development needs. A nationwide survey of pharmacists will be conducted in the near future to benchmark their awareness and usage of the service as well as their broader evaluation of the service.

The Department is also carrying out a nationwide quantitative survey by the Central Office of Information and Market and Opinion Research International benchmarking usage awareness of the service among the public as well as health information and service behaviours via the internet.

NHS Choices has also worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to carry out an accessibility assessment on the site.

NHS: Public Appointments

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria are used by the NHS Appointments Commission in evaluating the suitability of candidates for the position of chair of NHS hospital trusts. [164898]

Ann Keen: The Appointments Commission is directed by the Secretary of State for Health to appoint people to NHS boards with a range of skills and experience including those with a strong community service and/or voluntary sector background. Appointments are made on the overriding principle merit and in an open and transparent way. The current criteria used are as follows.

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Qualities required to be an NHS trust chair

Candidates will need to demonstrate that they have the necessary experience, and will need to show that they have:

Preference will be given to candidates who live in the area served by the organisation but specific eligibility criteria may apply.

Candidates who are shortlisted for interview will need to show that they have the competencies required to be effective in this demanding leadership role. They are

Prescription Drugs: Side Effects

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in England (a) were admitted to hospital and (b) died because of a negative reaction to prescription drugs in each of the last three years. [167921]

Dawn Primarolo: Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are collected by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Commission for Human Medicines (CHM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the yellow card scheme. Approximately 20,000 reports of ADRs are reported to the MHRA/CHM through this scheme each year. The scheme collects ADR reports from across the whole United Kingdom and includes all medicines, including those from prescriptions, over-the-counter or general retail sales. Reports are also received for herbal medicines and other unlicensed medicines.

The following table shows the number of UK suspected ADR reports received by the MHRA between 2004 and 2006 which have: had a fatal outcome; or resulted in or prolonged hospitalisation.

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Year received by MHRA Number of UK suspected ADR reports received which resulted in or prolonged hospitalisation Number of UK suspected ADR reports received with a fatal outcome Number of UK suspected ADR reports received which resulted in or prolonged hospitalisation and had a fatal outcome













It is not possible to estimate from the yellow card scheme the number of people who suffer adverse reactions to drugs since the scheme is associated with an unknown level of under-reporting. In addition, it is important to note that the submission of a suspected ADR report does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the drug. Many factors have to be taken into account in assessing causal relationships including temporal association, the possible contribution of concomitant medication and the underlying disease.

Occupational Health: Private Sector

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the cost to a private employer of a specialist nurse visit. [163869]

Ann Keen: No estimate has been made centrally. It is for local trusts to determine the cost of providing a national health service employee to a private employer.

St Helier Hospital: Maternity Services

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on the provision of maternity services at St Helier hospital, Surrey in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [164055]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not held centrally by the Department. It is for the local national health service to decide on the provision of maternity services based on the needs of the local population.

Telford and Wrekin Primary Care Trust: Bowel Cancer

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the national bowel cancer screening programme will be implemented in the Telford and Wrekin primary care trust area. [165190]

Ann Keen: The National Health Service bowel cancer screening programme is one of the first national bowel screening programmes in the world, and the first cancer screening programme in England to invite men as well as women. It is an ambitious project, with national roll-out of the programme expected by December 2009, with all people in the age range receiving an invitation by 2011. Implementation in the Telford and Wrekin area will occur on a phased basis from 2008-09. The provision of local health services is the responsibility of the local NHS organisations in conjunction with their strategic health authorities.

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International Development

Afghanistan: Reconstruction

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 551W, on Afghanistan: reconstruction, what progress has been made towards meeting the benchmarks of the Afghanistan Compact. [168385]

Mr. Malik: The latest full reporting against all 43 benchmarks outlined in the Afghan Compact by the Joint Co-ordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) took place on 1 May 2007 with JCMB V. The next full report against all benchmarks will be at JCMB VII, currently planned to be held on 6 February 2008 in Japan.

JCMB VI recently reported that of the 12 short-life benchmarks due to be completed before 2011, the majority have been achieved or are on schedule. Benchmark 1.4, Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups, was extended to March 2011 based on the presentation of a roadmap to it in line with the timeline for the development of security sector reform initiatives, including the development of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police. Difficulties with achieving the following benchmarks were highlighted at JCMB VI: mine action (1.6), CSO baseline statistics (2.3.2), minerals regulations (3.4) and banking (8.4).

A full history and list of progress against all benchmarks can be found online at

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