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14 May 2009 : Column 983W—continued

Departmental Official Hospitality

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent on (a) conference services and (b) banqueting services in each of the last five years. [274504]

Mr. Bradshaw: Costs of conference and banqueting services are not easily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

All expenditure on conference and banqueting services has to be incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Diabetes: Health Services

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the national clinical director for diabetes. [274182]

Ann Keen: Dr. Sue Roberts was appointed as the first national clinical director for diabetes in 2003. In 2008, Dr. Rowan Hillson was appointed to succeed her. The post of national clinical director has proved highly effective in promoting the implementation of the National Service Framework for Diabetes. The national clinical directors have provided expert advice to the Government on hospital and community services for diabetes and leadership for everybody in the national health service engaged in delivering and improving the quality of diabetes services.

General Practitioners: Finance

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Pre-Budget Report of November 2008, Cm7484, what progress has been made in allocating the £100 million capital spending to upgrade GP surgeries advanced to 2009-10. [274189]

Mr. Bradshaw: The identification of suitable practices that require upgrading of accommodation to take additional general practitioner (GP) training places is under way. The initiative will involve close partnership working between strategic health authorities, their deanery GP directors and primary care trusts.

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Health Professions: Locums

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the framework for the revalidation of health professionals will cover self-employed locums registered with the nine UK professional health regulators. [274346]

Mr. Bradshaw: Revalidation will apply to all health professionals registered with the UK health professions regulators. This will include any registered, self-employed locums.

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what obligations there are on (a) employers and (b) patients to report concerns over the quality of services provided by self-employed locums working as (i) doctors, (ii) nurses, (iii) pharmacists, (iv) dentists and (v) other health professionals in the NHS; [274360]

(2) what guidance is provided to (a) employers and (b) patients on the reporting of concerns over the quality of services provided by self-employed locums working as (i) doctors, (ii) nurses, (iii) pharmacists, (iv) dentists and (v) other health professionals in the NHS. [274361]

Mr. Bradshaw: Health care organisations should investigate all concerns about the quality of care given by a health care professional working for them, whether in a locum or substantive capacity. On 26 February 2009, the Department published “Listening, responding, improving: a guide to better customer care”, aimed at health and social care staff involved in receiving feedback and resolving concerns and complaints. This is generic guidance to help local complaints managers to work with colleagues to make their organisations better at listening, responding and learning from people’s experiences of care. Additionally, each national health service health care provider must make information available to the public regarding arrangements for dealing with complaints. The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency is responsible for providing advice to agencies on complaints procedures and for monitoring complaints about agency workers.

The Department’s advice to employers “Handling Concerns about the Performance of Healthcare Professionals: Principles of Good Practice” was published in September 2006. This document sets out the principles for effective systems for handling performance concerns and outlines good practice for managing concerns about individuals. “High professional standards in the modern NHS”; a framework for the initial handling of concerns about doctors and dentists in the NHS, was issued in 2005 and applies to the NHS in England. It sets out the procedures to be followed when the quality of services provided are called into question. Similar guidance is also issued by individual regulatory bodies, which can be accessed from their websites. Copies of the publications referred to in the reply have been placed in the Library.

Under the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003, it is the duty of each NHS body to put and keep in place arrangements for the purpose of monitoring and improving the quality of health care provided by and for that body. The Government have taken additional powers through the Health and Social Care Act 2008 which will enable the introduction of new regulations intended to strengthening local clinical
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governance arrangements. This includes the introduction of responsible officers, who will have statutory responsibility for ensuring that there are robust systems in place to monitor the conduct and performance of all doctors, including those working as locums. Health care organisations and designated bodies will also be subject to a new duty of co-operation, which will ensure that concerns about health care workers are shared and acted upon, to protect patients and ensure quality of care. The new regulations will be accompanied with guidance for employers and patients. A public consultation on the regulations will be undertaken later this year.

Health Professions: Regulation

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made through the revalidation process in identifying the measures required to regulate (a) doctors, (b) nurses, (c) pharmacists, (d) dentists and (e) other health professionals. [274344]

Mr. Bradshaw: Following publication of the White Paper, “Trust, Assurance and Safety: The Regulation of health professionals in the 21(st) Century” in 2007, seven working groups were established to develop professional regulation reforms. Two groups worked on medical and non-medical revalidation. Both their reports have now been published and can be downloaded from the Department’s website. Copies have been placed in the Library. The health care regulators are currently taking forward the proposals for revalidation.

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account is taken of (a) patient safety, (b) public protection and (c) standards of public service delivery in the framework for the revalidation of health professionals. [274345]

Mr. Bradshaw: The process of revalidation for health professionals sits within the wider reforms to professional regulation as set out in the White Paper, “Trust, Assurance and Safety: The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21(st) Century”.

Revalidation is being built on the White Paper principles of public protection, patient safety and quality of care, with the recognition that revalidation is as much about sustaining, improving and assuring the professional standards of the overwhelming majority of health professionals as it is about identifying and addressing poor practice or bad behaviour.

Revalidation will provide a positive affirmation that practitioners meet the standards of competence, ethics, conduct, and are up to date and fit to practise.

Health Services: Coventry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps have been taken to improve medical services for (a) children, (b) older people, (c) families, (d) disabled people and (e) people with diabetes in Coventry. [274702]

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Ann Keen: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 27 April 2009, Official Report, column 1077W.

Health Services: East of England

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the standard of out-of-hours primary care provision in (a) Peterborough and (b) Cambridgeshire; and if he will make a statement. [275265]

Mr. Bradshaw: In September 2008 the independent regulator, the Healthcare Commission, published its review of Urgent and Emergency Care which rated the Peterborough primary care trust (PCT) area as 3 or “better performing” and the Cambridgeshire PCT area as 4 or “best performing”, of which performance on out-of-hours services contributed around 25 per cent. to this score.

More widely, the review found that the national health service has made significant progress on performance against the out-of-hours National Quality Requirements for the delivery of out-of-hours services compared to a similar survey carried out by the National Audit Office in 2005. In addition, the overall results of the review were positive, with 60 per cent. of PCTs scored as “better” or “best performing” and 82 per cent. rated as at least “fair performing”.

PCTs have a responsibility to ensure they provide, or secure provision of, a high quality, sustainable service for their local population. Where a provider is failing to meet the National Quality Requirements, PCTs, as commissioners of the service, and strategic health authorities must act to support out-of-hours providers to improve their performance. It is vital that if the local NHS has concerns about the quality of out-of-hours provision in its area, it takes urgent and robust action to improve services.

Health Services: Leyton

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding has been provided for (a) Whipps Cross Hospital, (b) primary care services and (c) other health services in Leyton and Wanstead constituency in each of the last five years; what infrastructural changes have been made to health care facilities in the constituency; and if he will make a statement. [273338]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is not available by constituency. Hospital and community health services, such as Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust, receive funding from primary care trusts (PCTs) largely through payment by results tariffs, primary care, the cost of drugs prescribed in primary care, and other services, such as public health, for their populations. The details are published in the trust's annual accounts, available from the trust itself.

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Resource allocations to Redbridge PCT and Waltham Forest PCT 2004-05 to 2008-09
£ million

Redbridge PCT Waltham Forest PCT
















Notes: 1. Allocations in 2004-05 to 2007-08 were made to the former 303 PCTs. The table shows estimates for the current configuration of 152 PCTs. 2. The scope of services covered by allocations has increased over time. In particular, before 2006-07 most primary medical services funding was not included in PCT allocations.

Hospital Wards

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2009, Official Report, columns 510-11W, on hospital wards, if he will place in the Library a copy of the communications strategy produced in March 2009. [271169]

Ann Keen: The Department does not expect to place the communications strategy for the eliminating mixed sex accommodation programme of work in the Library. This is because the strategy (which is still evolving) plays a key role in the development and roll-out of policy relating to the elimination of mixed sex accommodation. Its placement in the Library would inhibit the free and frank discussions in which the Department needs to engage, in order that related policy options can be fully considered, and that its approach to the programme can be refined effectively.

Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 April 2009, Official Report, columns 834-35W, on hospitals: infectious diseases, if he will make it his policy to conduct research into the effectiveness of patient-centred technologies in preventing healthcare associated infections. [273524]

Ann Keen: If patient-centred technologies are taken to mean products selected and provided by patients it is not our policy to conduct research into the effectiveness of patient-centred technologies as we are not aware of any evidence that these products offer advantages over materials supplied to patients by the national health service. Our strategy 'Clean Safe Care' draws together the measures required to control infections. Generally, normal soap and toiletries are adequate for patients' personal hygiene during their hospital stay. If decolonisation of a patient is necessary, hospitals will provide specialist soap and shampoo.

However, the Department is continually investigating the potential impact new and novel technologies may have in preventing healthcare associated infections (HCAIs), including the development of prototypes of innovative designs for existing patient-centred hospital furniture and equipment, aimed at influencing patient and staff behaviour to help prevent HCAIs. The Department has established the HCAI technology innovation programme that provides support to emerging and established technologies.

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Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria are used to decide whether a product intended for use by the NHS will be reviewed by the Rapid Review Panel. [275476]

Ann Keen: It is the remit of the Rapid Review Panel (RRP) to review new and novel equipment, materials, and other products or protocols that may support the national health service in improving hospital infection control and reducing hospital acquired infections.

Manufacturers may contact the RRP through the RRP website or may be directed to the panel through one of the Healthcare Associated Infection Technology Innovation Programme's product surgeries. Manufacturers or authorised distributors must submit their product for review to the RRP.

Hospitals: Waiting Lists

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for Sheffield residents for admissions to hospital for treatment following GP referral (a) in 1997 and (b) at the latest date for which figures are available, by speciality. [274813]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information is not available in the format requested. Referral to treatment data is only available from January 2007 onwards. The following table shows the median waiting times for completed patient pathways for admitted patients in the Sheffield Primary Care Trust area, from January 2007 to February 2009.

Treatment f unction January 2007 February 2009

General surgery






Trauma and orthopaedics



Ear, nose and throat






Oral surgery






Plastic surgery



Cardiothoracic surgery



General medicine












Thoracic medicine









Geriatric medicine












Where there were fewer than 20 completed pathways for the given treatment function, a median has not been calculated. These cells have been marked with a value of not applicable (n/a). Data for January 2007 are given on an unadjusted basis, whereas data for February are given on an adjusted basis.

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