Previous Section Index Home Page

24 Jan 2008 : Column 2224W—continued

Departmental ICT

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) male and (b) female members of staff in his Department were issued with personal digital assistants in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [181357]

Mr. Bradshaw: At the end of 2007, there were 672 personal digital assistants in issue in the Department; 334 to male and 338 to female members of staff. It would incur disproportionate expense to provide the information by gender for each year from 2001 to 2006 as the asset register does not contain an audit trail of allocation to members of staff. Mobile assets are assigned and reassigned as staff join, leave or change roles within the Department.

Eastern Area Strategic Health Authority: Vetting

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospitals in the Eastern Area Strategic Health Authority have experienced delays in appointing new staff as a result of changes made to the fast track system of Criminal Records Bureau checks. [179589]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not held centrally. Staff recruitment is a matter for local NHS employers.

Edgware Hospital: MRSA

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of (a) MRSA and (b) C. difficile occurred at Edgware hospital in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08 to date; and if he will make statement. [178328]

Ann Keen: The mandatory scheme for surveillance of health care associated infections comprises data from acute NHS hospital trusts. Mandatory surveillance does not cover hospitals, such as Edgware hospital, that are managed by primary care trusts.

Emergency Calls

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many emergency calls were made to the ambulance service in each region in each of the last five (a) years and (b) new year periods; and how many of these calls were for alcohol-related health problems in each case. [181682]

Mr. Bradshaw: Information on the number of emergency calls made to the ambulance service in each region between 2002-03 and 2006-07 (the latest data available) can be found in the following table:

24 Jan 2008 : Column 2225W

24 Jan 2008 : Column 2226W
Emergency calls received
Ambulance service 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07







North East






North West












East Midlands






West Midlands












East of England












South East Coast






South Central






Great Western






South Western






Isle of Wight






The information in the table is taken from the latest Statistical bulletin “Ambulance Services, England 2006-07”, published by the Information Centre. The data are split by ambulance trust configuration at 31 March 2007. However, it should be noted that there were mergers of the majority of NHS trusts providing ambulance services in 2006 (with the exception of London and the Isle of Wight, where the boundaries did not change). For the other trusts, excluding London and the Isle of Wight, the data up to and including 2005-06 for the new trusts are based upon data provided by the trusts in their previous configurations to arrive at the composite figures shown. In addition, with the exception of Great Western Ambulance Trust (which was established on 1 April 2006) the new trusts were established on 1 July 2006 and therefore 2006-07 data for those trusts consist of similarly mapped composite data from 1 April to 30 June 2007 together with the actual figures returned by the new trusts for the remainder of 2006-07. Further details about how the figures were arrived at can be found at page 1, and the footnote to table 3 of “Ambulance Services, England 2006-07”.

There is no defined ‘new year’ period in the collection of the number of emergency calls. Information on the number of emergency calls that were alcohol-related is not collected centrally.

Emergency Calls: Standards

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department will collect information on the average response time to emergency calls by each national health service ambulance trust. [181647]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has no plans to do so. The ambulance response time data that are collected, and which include the number of emergency calls received by ambulance trusts across England and their performances against the targets set, are published annually. The latest statistical bulletin, “Ambulance Services, England, 2006-07” was published in June 2007 and is available in the Library and on the Information Centre for health and social care website at:

Gastrointestinal System: Health Services

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on treating gastrointestinal disease in England in each of the last five financial years for which figures are available. [178034]

Ann Keen: The Department published figures in the annual resource accounts showing the following gross expenditure on ‘problems of the gastro intestinal system’ for the last four financial years.

Financial reporting year Gross expenditure (£000)









The figures are calculated from programme budgeting data, which were collected for the first time in financial year 2003-04.

Comparison between 2005-06 and 2006-07 figures is not straightforward due to a combination of factors:

General Practitioners: Barnet

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve access to GP services in Barnet; and if he will make a statement. [177992]

Mr. Bradshaw: It is the responsibility of the local national health service to improve access to general practitioner (GP) services in their own areas.

However, we are advised by NHS London that 2007-08 will see an extra £250,000 made available to practices by Barnet primary care trust (PCT) to improve access to GP services. From 2008-09, £400,000
24 Jan 2008 : Column 2227W
will be accessible on a recurrent basis to be mainly used to keep surgeries open longer.

The Department’s aim nationally is that at least 50 per cent. of GP practices in each PCT area will be providing extended opening hours at weekends and/or at weekday evenings offering access to routine appointments, based on patients’ expressed views and preferences.

Health Professions: Employment

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in implementing the Social Partnership Forum’s action plan to maximise employment opportunities for newly qualified health care professionals; and if he will make a statement. [177824]

Ann Keen: Since the Partnership Agreement was launched in February 2007, the Social Partnership Forum has overseen the development and promulgation of work supporting the maximisation of graduate employment opportunities and launched an action plan in April 2007.

NHS Employers is responsible for monitoring progress against each of the action plan recommendations.

The Social Partnership Forum considered a draft interim report in November 2007, which will be published in due course.

Since July 2007, the Department has monitored the number of candidates registered in the newly qualified health care professional pools. There has been a 19 per cent. reduction registered between 11 July 2007 and 7 January 2008.

Health Services: Screening

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations his Department has received from the National Screening Committee in favour of (a) universal and (b) targeted screening for (i) heart disease, (ii) kidney disease, (iii) stroke and (iv) diabetes. [178259]

Ann Keen: The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended to the Department that screening certain subgroups of the population who are at high risk of type 2 diabetes is feasible, but that it should be undertaken as part of a vascular risk management programme in which the whole population should be offered a risk assessment that could include, among other risk factors, measurement of blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.

The National Service Framework for Kidney Disease in England recommends that people at increased risk of developing or having undiagnosed chronic kidney disease, especially people with diabetes or hypertension are identified, assessed and their condition managed to preserve kidney function.

Following this, the Department is developing detailed proposals for the programme in England and the UK NSC is working with them.

24 Jan 2008 : Column 2228W

Hearing Aids: Digital Technology

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what data are used for determining funding for digital hearing aids and NHS audiology services. [181072]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Funding for hearing aids and audiology services is provided to primary care trusts (PCTs) as part of their general allocations. It is the responsibility of local health organisations to determine the level of audiology funding based on their knowledge of the needs of their local populations.

The PCT general allocations are calculated on a weighted capitation basis.

Heart Diseases: Health Services

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans his Department has to co-ordinate local NHS trusts' cardiac rehabilitation programmes; [175539]

(2) what steps his Department plans to take to assist local NHS trusts to meet the target for the availability of cardiac rehabilitation services set out in the National Service Framework 2003. [175540]

Ann Keen: Cardiac rehabilitation is an evidence based, cost effective and life saving treatment, delivered by nurses and professionals allied to medicine. At best, it is multi-disciplinary, helping with the medical, behavioural, psychological and social restoration of the whole patient. Nurses and physiotherapists have key roles to play but others such as pharmacists, dieticians and psychologists should also be involved.

Chapter seven of the Coronary Heart Disease National Service Framework, published in March 2000, issued appropriate guidance to the national health service about the provision of cardiac rehabilitation services. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence clinical guideline 48, “MI: secondary prevention” was subsequently issued in May 2007. This provided updated guidance to the NHS on secondary prevention in primary and secondary care for patients following heart attack and emphasised the importance of rehabilitation for these patients.

The Heart Improvement programme, an NHS support team for cardiac networks, includes cardiac rehabilitation within its work programme. A new National Cardiac Rehabilitation Audit has been introduced across England, jointly sponsored by the British Heart Foundation and the Healthcare Commission. This will provide stronger evidence on effectiveness and encourage providers to appraise and improve their cardiac rehabilitation services.

Putting guidance into practice is a matter for the NHS, working in partnership with stakeholders, including cardiac networks, and the local community. It is the responsibility of NHS organisations to plan and develop services based on their specific knowledge and expertise.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital coronary care units have closed in the last 10 years. [180106]

Next Section Index Home Page