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10 Nov 2008 : Column 831W—continued

General Practitioners: Working Hours

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the performance of GP surgeries in the provision of out-of-hours services. [232661]

Mr. Bradshaw: Primary care trusts (PCTs) have a responsibility to ensure they provide, or secure provision of a high quality, sustainable service for their local population. All out-of-hours service providers are contractually bound to deliver to the standards of the national quality requirements. Where a provider is failing to meet the quality requirements, it is the responsibility of the PCT as the commissioner of the service, and the strategic health authority to support the out-of-hours provider to improve their performance.

The independent health regulator, Healthcare Commission, review of urgent and emergency care, “Not just a matter of time”, (published on 26 September 2008) found that the national health service has made significant progress on performance against the national quality requirements.

We have commissioned the Primary Care Foundation to develop an out of hours benchmarking tool. The benchmarking tool assists PCTs in improving the quality of care and increase the scope of potential savings through effective benchmarking. Over 70 PCTs have now signed up to benchmark the performance of their out-of-hours providers.


10 Nov 2008 : Column 832W

We are also developing an indicator to measure patient reported access to out-of-hours care. This indicator will be a tier 1 “vital sign” which means that it is a national priority for the NHS for 2008-09 to 2010-11.

Health Centres

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether a primary care trust has full discretion to decide whether a GP-led health centre should be opened in the area for which they are responsible in light of the commitment to local decision-making given in paragraph 5, page 23 of his Department’s recent document, “High Quality Care For All - NHS Next Stage Review Final Report.” [231642]

Mr. Bradshaw: The NHS Operating Framework 2008-09 (which is available in the Library) set out the Department of Health’s expectation that all primary care trusts (PCTs) will secure a new general practitioner-led health centre using their share of the new and additional £250 million access fund and all PCTs are at advanced stages of the process to deliver these extra services. We have consistently emphasised the need for strong public and clinical engagement in making decisions on the location of these services and the services they will provide.

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether it is his policy that each primary care trust should establish at least one polyclinic. [234397]

Mr. Bradshaw: No. What we have asked each primary care trust to establish is a new general practitioner (GP)-led health centre, where any member of the public (regardless of which GP practice they are registered with) can book an appointment or simply walk in and see a GP or nurse, from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week, or with which they can choose to register.

Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the level of take-up by acute trusts of each product on the market designed to combat healthcare-acquired infections. [233578]

Ann Keen: It is for local organisations to decide on the most effective and appropriate products to meet local needs when continuing to tackle infection and improve cleanliness. The Department therefore does not assess the level of take-up by acute trusts of all individual products on the market.

The Department does have a range of programmes to support the national health service by accelerating the development and uptake of new technologies or innovations that help improve infection prevention and control. As part of this initiative, the Rapid Review Panel equips trusts with the information to make purchasing decisions, providing a prompt assessment of new and novel equipment, materials and other products or protocols that may be of value to the NHS in improving infection and control.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to bring the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act into force; and if he will make a statement. [233902]


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Dawn Primarolo: It is intended that the majority of the provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will be commenced in October 2009. It is planned that the provisions relating to parenthood in part 2 (and related consequential provisions) of the Bill will be commenced in April 2009 and that provisions relating to parental orders will be commenced in April 2010.

Incontinence: Medical Equipment

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the GDP deflator in the revised Part IX proposals has not been structured in the same way as for wound care and reagents; and if he will make a statement. [234508]

Phil Hope: The Part IX review is currently ongoing, and the consultation published in June 2008 was seeking views on a proposed price increase mechanism, which takes into account annual efficiency targets that are set for the national health service itself.

As one of the aims of this review is to secure value for money for the NHS this proposal is consistent with this aim.

As this is a consultation process, no decision has been made yet as to what the final mechanism will be.

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors his Department considered when proposing that future changes in the price of products on Part IX of the Drug Tariff should be aligned to NHS efficiency targets through the GDP deflator in the revised Part IX proposals; and if he will make a statement. [234509]

Phil Hope: The Part IX review is currently ongoing, and the consultation published in June 2008 was seeking views on a proposed price increase mechanism. One of the aims of this review has been to provide value for money to the national health service.

A proposal that aligns potential product price increases from suppliers to the cost efficiencies the NHS sets itself is an equitable consideration.

As this is a consultation process, no decision has been made yet as to what the final mechanism will be.

Lasers: Medical Equipment

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to (a) the Healthcare Commission and (b) the health care industry of regulation of class 3B and 4 lasers and intense pulsed light equipment in (i) medical and surgical procedures and (ii) cosmetic procedures. [231933]

Mr. Bradshaw: The cost of regulation of class 3B and 4 lasers and intense pulsed light equipment in cosmetic procedures is set out in the Private and Voluntary Healthcare Consultation document 2008 and is estimated to be £1.2 million per year.

The cost of regulating medical/surgical procedures forms part of the regulatory costs for hospitals. Fees for the independent sector are set at a level which reflects the regulatory effort the Healthcare Commission must
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undertake. The cost of regulation to the health care industry relates directly to the Healthcare Commission’s costs for regulation.

Neither the Department nor the Healthcare Commission has made any estimate of the cost of using class 3B and 4 lasers and intense pulsed light equipment as part of medical or surgical procedures.

Maternity Services

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2008, Official Report, column 375W, on maternity services, (1) how much of the £330 million allocation for improvements to maternity services each primary care trust will receive; and how these allocations have been decided; [232744]

(2) if he will place in the Library copies of guidance his Department has sent to primary care trusts relating to the additional sums made available to them in the current and future financial years to improve maternity care. [232745]

Ann Keen: The Government are putting extra funding of £330 million over three years for maternity services into primary care trust (PCT) baseline revenue allocations for 2008-09 to 2010-11.

Revenue allocations are made to PCTs on the basis of a weighted capitation formula. The aim of the formula is to ensure there is sufficient funding to provide equal access for equal need in all parts of the country, and to reduce avoidable health inequalities. The key determinant of need is the size of the population for which PCTs are responsible. This is then adjusted to take into account age related need, additional need (over and above that accounted for by age), and unavoidable geographical variations in the cost of providing services (the market forces factor). Revenue allocations are not broken down into funding for individual policy streams such as maternity.

However, the NHS Operating Framework for 2008-09 (a copy of which has already been placed in the Library), the key planning document for the NHS, identified maternity services as an area where PCTs are expected to take particular action to improve access as part of the wider Maternity Matters Strategy to deliver safe, high-quality care.

In the light of the NHS Operating Framework, PCTs set priorities and commission services that meet the needs of their local communities, and that is what they are doing on maternity services.

Midwives: Training

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many midwifery training places there were in each English region in each academic year since 1997-98. [231286]

Ann Keen: The number of midwifery training places in each English region for the academic years 2003-04 to 2007-08 is shown in the following table.


10 Nov 2008 : Column 835W

10 Nov 2008 : Column 836W
Midwifery training places by Strategic Health Authority in England for 2003-04 to 2007-08

North East SHA North West SHA Yorkshire and the Humber SHA East Midlands SHA West Midlands SHA East of England SHA London SHA South East Coast SHA South Central SHA South West SHA England Total

2004-04

Degree

49

107

87

43

159

36

108

63

46

55

753

Diploma

0

88

37

94

0

128

179

64

61

65

716

18 month diploma

28

86

90

23

56

86

224

69

60

35

757

Total

77

281

214

160

215

250

511

196

167

155

2,226

2004-05

Degree

51

112

87

36

188

61

147

75

55

83

895

Diploma

104

37

116

0

124

197

59

65

42

744

18 month diploma

27

75

88

12

65

75

259

50

51

33

735

Total

78

291

212

164

253

260

603

184

171

158

2,374

2005-06

Degree

58

167

97

34

170

69

76

71

32

117

891

Diploma

48

18

74

0

106

95

8

28

20

397

18 month diploma

26

69

88

22

44

54

141

29

30

28

531

Total

84

284

203

130

214

229

312

108

90

165

1,819

2006-07

Degree

60

169

103

31

171

7

195

89

59

99

983

Diploma

0

15

15

94

0

166

106

53

67

24

540

18 month diploma

24

65

94

13

57

42

87

47

23

15

467

Total

84

249

212

138

228

215

388

189

149

138

1,990

2007-08

Degree

65

213

162

31

194

204

115

90

114

119

1,307

Diploma

0

0

23

102

0

29

149

61

28

20

412

18 month diploma

20

34

0

14

39

0

168

49

28

0

352

Total

85

247

185

147

233

233

432

200

170

139

2,071


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