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7 Feb 2008 : Column 1446W—continued

Post Offices: Leicester

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on how many occasions in the last six months Postwatch met Post Office Ltd to discuss proposed post office closures in Leicester; and who attended these meetings. [184622]

Mr. McFadden: This is an operational matter for Postwatch. I have therefore asked Howard Webber, chief executive of Postwatch, to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Copies of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Postwatch: Finance

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much Postwatch received from public funds in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. [184167]

Mr. McFadden: The Consumer Council for Postal Services (also known as Postwatch) is funded through grant in aid from the Department. Postwatch received £9.681 million in 2006-07 and £8.151 million in 2007-08. The costs are recovered by the Department from the licensed fees paid by operators of postal services.

Regional Development Agencies: Plastic Bags

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many branded plastic bags each regional development agency purchased in the last 24 months; and at what cost. [184660]

Mr. McFadden: The information requested is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Trades Union Congress: Political Levy

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what advice or guidance (a) the Certification Officer and (b) his Department has produced on whether the Trades Union Congress may engage in political campaigning using funds raised from trades unions’ general fund contributions. [181284]

Mr. McFadden: Neither the Department nor the Certification Officer has produced advice or guidance on this issue.


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Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether the Trades Union Congress is classed as a trade union for the purposes of political fund and political levy rules. [181286]

Mr. McFadden: Yes.

Health

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bassetlaw of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1145W, on alcoholic drinks: misuse, when the independent review will begin; who will carry it out; and which Government Department will have lead responsibility for it. [185013]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has lead responsibility for commissioning the independent review of evidence on the effects of promotion and pricing of alcohol on alcohol-related harm.

The Department's Policy Research Programme has commissioned a single team comprising different disciplines and expertise from Sheffield University, School of Health and Related Research to carry out the review.


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The review has two phases:

The review team began work in the first week of January 2008.

Barnet Primary Care Trust: Waiting Lists

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) average and (b) longest waiting time was for an (i) outpatient appointment and (ii) operation for patients in the Barnet Primary Care Trust area in (1) 2006-07, (2) 2007-08 to date and (3) 1997; and if he will make a statement. [177909]

Mr. Bradshaw: The following tables show the average and longest waiting times for outpatient appointments and operations (inpatient treatment) in the Barnet Primary Care Trust (PCT) area in 2006-07, 2007-08 to date and 1997.

Today waiting times are at a record low; patients can expect a maximum 13 week wait for their first outpatient appointment and a maximum six month wait for an operation.

Latest data shows that over half of admitted patients (patients who require admission to hospital for treatment) and over three quarters of non-admitted patients are treated within 18 weeks.

Outpatient waiting statistics concerning the Barnet PCT area time periods—November 2007, June 1997 and March 2007: Patients still waiting at the end of the month
Month Area Median Waiting Time (weeks) Longest wait

2007-08

November

Barnet PCT

2.8

11 to <12 weeks

2006-07

March

Barnet PCT

3.1

11 to <12 weeks

1997-08

June

Barnet Health Authority (HA)

n/a as not all time bands collected

26+ weeks


Inpatient waiting statistics concerning the Barnet PCT area time periods—November 2007, March 1997 and march 2007: Patients still waiting at the end of the month
Month Area Median Waiting Time (weeks) Longest wait

2007-08

November

Barnet PCT

5.5

25 to <26 weeks

2006-07

March

Barnet PCT

6.4

25 to <26 weeks

1996-07

March

Barnet HA

12.6

18-20 Months

Notes: 1. Data for the last period (November 2007) include estimates for Barnet and Chase Farm Trust. 2. The figures show the median waiting times for patients still waiting for admission at the end of the period stated. Inpatient waiting times are measure from decision to admit by the consultant to admission to hospital. 3. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data. 4. Median waiting times are not available for outpatient waiting times as this information is not collected by all timebands. The information is collected in two timebands, 13-26 weeks and 26+ weeks, so calculating a median time is not possible. There were 388 patients waiting for more than 26 weeks for outpatient appointments at March 1997 for the Barnet HA area. Source: QM08R and monthly monitoring.

Broomfield Hospital: Alcoholic Drinks

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) men and (b) women were treated at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, for (i) alcohol-related injuries and (ii) alcohol-related illnesses in (A) 1996-97 and (B) 2006-07. [185010]

Dawn Primarolo: The information is not available in the format requested.


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There is not a specific classification for alcohol-related injury.

Statistics are not held for individual hospitals. Broomfield hospital, Chelmsford, is part of the Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust for which data are available.

The following table sets out the numbers of finished consultant episodes (FCEs) at the Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust where the primary or secondary diagnosis was alcohol related for both males and females in 1996-97 and 2006-07.

1996-97 2006-07

Male

290

551

Female

112

279

Notes: FCE A FCE is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Please note that the figures do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the year. Data Quality HES are compiled from data sent by over 300 national health service trusts and primary care trusts in England. The Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data via HES processes. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. HES Codes The HES codes that are used to identify alcohol related diagnoses are as follows: Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol; Toxic effect of alcohol; and Alcoholic liver disease. Assessing growth through time HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. During the years that these records have been collected by the NHS there have been ongoing improvements in quality and coverage. These improvements in information submitted by the NHS have been particularly marked in the earlier years and need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. Changes in NHS practice also need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. For example a number of procedures may now be undertaken in outpatient settings and may no longer be accounted in the HES data. This may account for any reductions in activity over time. Ungrossed Data Figures have not been adjusted for shortfalls in data (i.e. the data are ungrossed). Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The Information Centre for health and social care.

Carr-Hill Formula Review

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer of 24 July 2006, Official Report, columns 1081-2W, on Carr-Hill Formula Review, whether the review of general medical services funding is complete; what the findings were of the first stage of the review; and if he will make a statement. [184440]

Mr. Bradshaw: A report on the review of the Carr-Hill formula was published in February 2007. This was followed by a three month consultation with key stakeholders which ended on 11 May 2007 and on which a report was published in September 2007. The review concluded that the formula works reasonably well but that some revisions could be made to make it more robust. We will consider the review's recommendations with other possible options for change to current contractual arrangements in discussion with the British Medical Association's General Practitioners Committee.


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Community Care

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what change there has been in the number of people receiving continuing care payments since the publication of the National Framework for Continuing Care on 1 October 2007. [183769]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The national health service does not make payments to individuals in receipt of continuing healthcare. Information on the number of people receiving continuing healthcare is collected on a quarterly basis, at end of March, June, September and December. Information for December is not yet available, so it is not possible to assess the change in the number of people receiving continuing healthcare since the introduction of the National Framework for Continuing Healthcare and NHS-Funded Nursing Care.

Community Nurses: Easington

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many community nurses were based in Easington constituency in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007. [183028]

Ann Keen: The information is not available in the format requested. The information requested is not available at constituency level. However, data related to the Easington constituency are set out in the following table.

National health service hospital and community health services: Qualified community nursing staff1 in each specified organisation as at 30 September each specified year
Headcount
2004 2005 2006

991

1,063

1,125

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

4

11

11

County Durham Primary Care Trust (PCT2)

958

1,022

1,085

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

20

15

14

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

9

15

15

Notes:
1. Community nurses consists of district nurses, health visitors, school nursing service nurses, community services nurses, practice nurses, community learning disabilities' nurses and community psychiatric nurses.
2. In October 2006 Derwentside PCT, Durham and Chester-Le-Street PCT, Durham Dales PCT, Easington PCT and Sedgefield PCT merged to form County Durham PCT.
3. More accurate validation processes in 2006 have resulted in the identification and removal of 9,858 duplicate non-medical staff records out of the total work force figure of 1.3 million in 2006. Earlier years' figures could not be accurately validated in this way and so will be slightly inflated. The level of inflation in earlier years' figures is estimated to be less than 1 per cent. of total across all non-medical staff groups for headcount figures (and negligible for full-time equivalents). This should be taken into consideration when analysing trends over time.
Sources:
1. The Information Centre for health and social care Non-Medical Workforce Census.
2. The Information Centre for health and social care General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.

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Compulsorily Detained Mental Patients

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many inpatients detained under sections (a) 2, (b) 3 and (c) 4 of the Mental Health Act 1983 absconded from psychiatric hospitals in each year since 1997; and from which hospital in each case. [184507]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not collected centrally. Absconsions occur when patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 go missing outside of the secure perimeter of a unit, e.g. when on a scheduled visit. Missing patient incidents that originate from inside the perimeter of a secure site are termed escapes or breakouts.

Absconsions can be either non-serious or serious untoward incidents (SUIs). In relation to mental health patients, an SUI means the absconsion of a patient detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 where a significant risk is posed to the patient or to others. A non-serious absconsion would be where the absconsion is unintentional, due for example to a patient missing a transport connection when returning from leave.

SUI absconsion reporting is far more stringent than for non-serious absconsions. There must be clear local procedures at each national health service organisation to identify, report and investigate SUIs. Information is collected by each strategic health authority (SHA) about all SUIs reported during each calendar year by month, type and NHS organisation, and is available on request from the SHAs. These requirements do not apply to collecting non-serious absconsion data.


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