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Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of changes in waiting times for appointments with specialist teams on service quality and the standard of care provided to patients with diabetes. 
Ann Keen: The Department is not aware that any such assessment has been made. It is the responsibility of local national health service organisations to commission specialist diabetes services, and to ensure that those services meet all the needs of local people with diabetes. We would expect these services to be of good quality and to meet national waiting time targets.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether compliance with the EU Professional Qualifications Directive for Health Professionals requires a tiered system grouping applicants for positions in the NHS into categories during selection. 
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to consult the Royal Colleges on (a) the effects and (b) the implementation of the EU Professional Qualifications Directive for Health Professionals. 
Ann Keen: The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the Royal Colleges of Nursing and Midwifery were consulted in summer 2007 on regulations to implement the European Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications, 2005/36/EC. Now that United Kingdom legislation to implement this directive is in force, the Department has sought feedback from health and social care regulatory bodies on the effects and implementation of the directive, which concerns the recognition of professional qualifications by regulatory bodies.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the (a) feasibility and (b) cost of engineering and water management work required to introduce fluoridated water to areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Feasibility varies between localities depending upon the coverage of the water distribution system and any technical constraints it imposes. For a strategic health authority with an average population of 5 million we estimate the capital costs of the water plant would be in the range of £15 million to £25 million and the recurrent costs of the operation of the plant and the fluoride chemicals around 80 pence per head of population per year. This compares to some
£40 per person currently spent each year on national health service primary care dental services.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the percentage of general practitioner practices in (a) England and (b) each English region with at least 50 per cent. of their patients living three or more miles away in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is not held centrally. The hon. Member may therefore wish to approach the chief executive of Torbay Care Trust for information on numbers of general practitioners covering out of hours.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in implementing the targets for the National Service Framework for Long-Term Conditions in Leyton and Wanstead. 
Ann Keen: It is for individual primary care trusts (PCTs), including Redbridge and Waltham Forest PCTs, within the national health service to develop locally the levels of service described in the National Service Framework for Long-term (Neurological) Conditions (the NSF). The NSF has a 10-year implementation programme from its publication in March 2005, with flexibility for organisations to set the pace of change locally to take account of differences in local priorities and needs.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many visits were made by health professionals to pre-school settings in each of the last five years; and how many children were referred for additional assessment in each year. 
Ann Keen: It is the responsibility of local organisations to commission and develop services to respond to local needs. The Operating Framework for 2008-09 highlights the importance of maternity and childrens services work force, and the need for local organisations to commission and provide the necessary work force. Health visitors are well placed to deliver significant parts of this service.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the waiting time for assessment for digital hearing aids was in each primary care trust in England in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The data are not collected in the format requested. However, average waiting times for all audiological assessments as at December 2007, including assessment for digital hearing aids, are shown in the following table.
|Average (median) waiting times for audiological assessments: position at end December 2007: commissioner based|
|Primary care trust||Median waiting times (weeks)|
|(1) Over 52 weeks.|
1. PCT data will be affected by estimates made for Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals NHS trust that may not reflect their true position.
2. Median waits are calculated from aggregate returns, and are therefore only an estimate of the average wait.
3. PCTs where the median falls in the 52+ week timeband are shown as over 52 weeks.
Dept of Health form DM01
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