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Continuing Care: Finance

Jeremy Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to begin the national pilot programme on primary care trusts making direct payments for people eligible for fully funded continuing care; and if he will make a statement. [231588]

Mr. Bradshaw: As announced in the Next Stage Review, we will launch a pilot programme in 2009 to test personal health budgets, as a way of giving patients greater control over the services they receive and the providers from which they receive services.

As part of the programme, we intend to pilot the use of health care direct payments, where it makes most sense for particular patients in specific circumstances. We intend to bring forward legislation to enable this; subject to parliamentary approval, we will extend the pilot programme to include health care direct payments from 2010.

The rest of the programme will explore models of personal health budget where the budget is held on the patient’s behalf. These are already available to primary care trusts under current legislation, and also offer considerable scope to give patients more choice and control.


Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much he plans to spend on implementation of the national dementia strategy over the next five years. [234064]

Phil Hope: No decisions have been made yet about the resources that will accompany the national dementia strategy. Funding will be announced when the strategy is published, which we aim to do by the end of the year.

Dental Services

Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many primary care trusts fund the employment of oral health specialists to promote preventative dental treatment and good oral hygiene through the education of patients. [233347]

Ann Keen: This information is not held centrally. We recognise that oral health improvement officers are capable of achieving significant reductions in the prevalence of dental disease. Our Oral Health Plan: “Choosing Better Oral Health”, which was published in October 2005, notes that the specialist skills of oral health promoters should be maintained and recommends that primary care trusts review career pathways to encourage recruitment and retention. A copy of this report has been placed in the Library.

Dental Services: East of England

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what percentage of dentists in each county in the East of England undertake NHS work. [232626]

Ann Keen: Information on the number of dentists that undertake solely private dental work is not collected.

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The numbers of dentists with NHS activity during the years ending 31 March, 2007 and 2008 are available in table G1 of annex 3 of the “NHS Dental Statistics for England: 2007/08” report. Information is provided by strategic health authority (SHA) and by primary care trust (PCT). This information is based on the new dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006.

Following a recent consultation exercise, this measure is based on a revised methodology and therefore supersedes previously published workforce figures relating to the new dental contractual arrangements. It is not comparable to the information collected under the old contractual arrangements. This revised methodology counted the number of dental performers with NHS activity recorded via FP17 claim forms in each year ending 31 March. This report, published on 21 August 2008, has already been placed in the Library and is also available on the NHS Information Centre website at:

The published numbers relate to headcounts and do not differentiate between full-time and part-time dentists, nor do they account for the fact that some dentists may do more NHS work than others.

Information on dentists that undertake some NHS work and their division of time between NHS and private dentistry work is available in the “Dental Working Hours, England and Wales 2006/07 and 2007/08” report. Table 9 of this report contains the average percentage of time dedicated to NHS dentistry in England and Wales and by SHA in England in 2006-07 and 2007-08. This report has already been placed in the Library and is also available on the NHS Information Centre website at:

The aforementioned reports have been published by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

Departmental Consultants

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many external consultants are contracted to work for his Department. [233525]

Mr. Bradshaw: The number of full-time equivalent external consultants working for the Department on 30 September 2008 was 41.2.

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) objective and (b) monetary value was of each (i) contract and (ii) order placed with (A) Deloitte and Touche, (B) Ernst and Young, (C) KPMG, (D) PricewaterhouseCoopers and (E) PA Consulting by (1) his Department and (2) its agencies in each year since 2004-05. [233667]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not collect information on contracts in the format requested. To do so would attract disproportionate cost.

A new business management system, which was introduced on 1 July 2008, is able to gather such future but not retrospective information for the Department.

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Departmental Liability

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what dates in each of the last five years his Department informed the House of the creation of contingent liabilities relating to his Department or its non-departmental public bodies. [232731]

Mr. Bradshaw: In accordance with HM Treasury guidance the Department has reported significant outstanding contingent liabilities in its Resource Accounts each year. These accounts were laid in the House on the following dates: 2007-08 accounts—9 October 2008, 2006-07 accounts—11 October 2007, 2005-06 accounts—6 November 2006, 2004-05 accounts—14 November 2005, 2003-04 accounts—20 December 2004. Non-departmental public bodies have similar arrangements. Inquiries have not brought to light any contingent liabilities reported to the House separately by minute during this period.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on entertainment by his Department in 2007-08; and how much of that was for (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. [233524]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Official Visits

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on overnight accommodation by his Department’s civil servants in the last 12 months. [228771]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has authority to reimburse the expenses incurred by its own staff in connection with their employment, subject to the conditions set out in section 8 of the Civil Service Management Code, which can be viewed at:

Further departmental guidance is available for all staff to ensure that they are fully aware of how to claim and to ensure that claims are appropriate. The Department has a contract with a travel company who negotiate reduced rates and oversee the booking of hotel accommodation within the set guidelines. If there are no hotels available within the set rate then it is possible to exceed the limit.

In the period October 2007-September 2008 the Department’s spend on overnight accommodation by civil servants was £1,348,846.00

Departmental Pay

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) minimum and (b) maximum level of bonus is for staff at each (i) NHS grade and (ii) civil service grade in his Department. [233293]

Mr. Bradshaw: All staff in the Department are employed in civil service grades and not national health service grades. For instance a senior medical doctor employed in a policy expert capacity would be paid at a senior civil service (SCS) grade.

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The Department has two sets of arrangements under which bonuses can be awarded.

Special bonuses may be awarded to any member of staff at any stage of the year, in recognition of work beyond their normal range of duties. There is a maximum level of bonus of £2,000, although very few of this value are awarded, but there is no prescribed minimum level.

Annual bonuses may be awarded to staff who are members of the SCS, based on the extent to which objectives are met, how they are met and how stretching they are. Pay arrangements for senior civil servants are common across all Departments and agencies, although they have flexibility on the specific values of bonuses within a common framework. Annual bonuses for 2008 had a maximum value of 15 per cent. of salary as at 31 March 2008 and a minimum value of 5 per cent. of salary as at 31 March 2008.

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Departmental Policy

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) reviews, (b) consultations, (c) advisory panels, (d) specialist adviser appointments and (e) strategies he has authorised in the last 10 years. [234358]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Vacancies

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many vacant posts in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies were advertised in each of the last three years; and at what cost. [230625]

Mr. Bradshaw: The numbers of vacant posts advertised in the Department and its agencies in the last three years and the associated costs are given in the following table:

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Organisation Number of vacant posts Advert costs Number of vacant posts Advert costs Number of vacant posts Advert costs

Core Department







Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency







NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency







n/a = Not available.
(1) Senior Civil Service (SCS) only
(2) SCS only
(3) SCS 2 and above only
(4) All grades
MHRA numbers of vacant posts are for calendar years.

For the majority of staff in the Core Department, the business units that carry out recruiting pay for recruitment costs locally. To gather the information from local sources would incur a disproportionate cost. However, some information is available on the cost of recruitment advertising for staff in Senior Civil Service (SCS) Payband 2 and above for the financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08, and for all staff in the SCS for 2005-06, and this is presented in the table.

Diabetes: General Practitioners

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which GP practices do not participate in the quality and outcomes framework for diabetes. [233333]

Ann Keen: The number of general practitioner practices taking part in the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) is very high with 99.8 per cent, of the registered population in England covered. Of the 8,294 practices included in the Information Centre for Health and Social Care’s 2007-08 publication on QOF achievement, four practices did not achieve the indicator to show they produced a diabetes register. We are unable to state whether these practices chose not to take part in the diabetes area of QOF, or were not able to achieve the requirements of the registration indicator, or if there were other reasons for the non-supply of data.

Drugs: Prices

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has held with the pharmaceutical industry on the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation scheme. [234675]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government and the pharmaceutical industry have reached agreement on key components of a potential new Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme agreement, negotiation with the industry on the detail of this agreement has continued on a confidential basis.

Drugs: Rehabilitation

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many problematic drug users were referred by GPs to residential treatment in the last period for which figures are available; [231282]

(2) how many people received residential rehabilitation treatment for drug abuse in the last period for which figures are available. [231283]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 28 October 2008]: The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) collects data on the local services via the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS).

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The NDTMS reports that 4,306 individuals received residential rehabilitation treatment during 2007-08. Of these, 97 had been referred to this treatment by a general practitioner. Of those, 51 began residential rehabilitation treatment during the year (as opposed to already being in treatment at the start of 2007-08).

While these figures include problem drug users (defined as users of opiates and/or crack cocaine). NDTMS does not record the proportion of the total that they represent.

These figures are likely to be an underestimate of the real level of activity because about one-third of providers of residential rehabilitation services in England do not submit any returns to NDTMS.

The NTA does not have direct powers to require NDTMS returns from the independent voluntary sector providers but will be exploring how this can be achieved by commissioners of these services.

General Practitioners: Income

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much he estimates the minimum income practice guarantee will be in the general medical services contract for 2009-10. [233807]

Mr. Bradshaw: The level of minimum practice income guarantee payments for 2009-10 are dependent on recommendations to be made by the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) on the level of gross uplift to be applied to general medical services contract payments. DDRB recommendations are unlikely to be known until spring 2009.

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