Previous Section Index Home Page

10 Jun 2009 : Column 925W—continued

Higher Education: International Cooperation

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding his Department has made available in 2009-10 for Palestinian academics wishing to study in the UK. [277843]

Mr. Lammy: The Department does not provide funding for Palestinian academics wishing to study in the UK.


Mr. Oaten: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of administration proceedings. [277429]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 1 June 2009]: Changes introduced by The Enterprise Act 2002 were aimed at streamlining the administration procedure and introducing greater flexibility to the regime.

One of the primary aims of the corporate insolvency provisions of the Enterprise Act was to promote the use of administration and restrict the use of administrative receivership where office holders are appointed to act on behalf of charge holders. This was to be achieved in a very direct way by removing the right to appoint an administrative receiver where a floating charge was created on or after 15 September 2003. Instead, administrators would be appointed who would act in the interests of creditors as a whole.

Since the introduction of a more streamlined procedure, the number of company administrations in England and Wales has gone up. Evaluation of the Enterprise Act published in 2008 by The Insolvency Service found that the changes implemented by the Enterprise Act 2002 have encouraged a greater uptake of the administration regime as a viable insolvency option. This has been accompanied by a large decrease in the number of administrative receiverships since the introduction of the act.

Recent Insolvency Service statistics show a sharper increase in the number of corporate insolvencies over the last four quarters, suggesting that it is the current economic climate which is causing the number of company administrations to rise.

10 Jun 2009 : Column 926W

Statement of Insolvency Practice Number 16, introduced by The Insolvency Service and the Recognised Professional Bodies that regulate insolvency practitioners, is intended to foster greater transparency in the pre-pack administration process.

Post Offices: Standards

Mr. Todd: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what arrangements Postcomm has made to commission quality of service surveys concerning queuing times in post office branches. [278538]

Mr. McFadden: Commissioning quality of service surveys concerning queue times in post office branches does not fall within Postcomm’s remit. Postcomm’s responsibility in relation to post offices is limited to monitoring developments in the network and offering advice to my noble Friend the Secretary of State in the form of an annual report on the post office network.

A tracker survey examining queue times and the quality of service at Crown and franchised Post Office branches was published by Consumer Focus, the consumer watchdog, on 16 November 2008. The study was based on a UK-wide survey of 424 post offices and found that 22 per cent. of customers in Crown post offices are spending 10 minutes or more queuing, and over one in three (38 per cent.) wait for more than five minutes. Consumer Focus is currently looking to undertake a further study this year following the completion of the National Change Programme, with a view to establishing its effect on queue times.


Co-operation and Competition Panel

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Co-operation and Competition Panel in ensuring that co-operation has been taken into account when assessing the public and patient interest; and if he will make a statement. [278158]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Cooperation and Competition Panel (the Panel)'s remit is to advise as to compliance with the ‘Principles and Rules for Cooperation and Competition’ (PRCC), in individual cases. The PRCC set out expected behaviours and rules governing co-operation and competition in the provision of national health service services. Copies of the PRCC have been placed in the Library and the document is available at:

The Panel opened for referral of cases on 30 January 2009 and consulted publicly on draft guidelines for its operations.

A review of the Panel will be carried out after its first year of operation. This summer, however, the Department will review the PRCC and promoting co-operation will be a key focus for the review.

10 Jun 2009 : Column 927W

Dental Services

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of primary care trusts which have a dental practice adviser. [278859]

Ann Keen: This information is not routinely collected centrally. To ensure the effective provision of dental services, primary care trusts (PCTs) need dental professional advice. Dental public health advice will most appropriately be obtained from a consultant in dental public health. In addition, PCTs may find it helpful to appoint on a sessional basis a dental practice adviser to assist them with issues about the delivery of general dental services. Dental practice advisers (DPA) are members of the dental public health team working particularly in the field of patient safety and quality improvement in dentistry. A survey conducted in autumn 2007 identified 57 dental public consultants working in England and around 90 dentists working as DPAs with some working for more than one PCT. The majority (87 per cent.) of PCTs in England had a dental practice adviser working on a sessional basis.

Dental Services: Inspections

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of practice (a) visits and (b) inspections carried out by the NHS Dental Reference Service in 2008. [278855]

Ann Keen: Between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2008, the Dental Reference Service (DRS) made 1,992 practice visits and 571 inspections, in England.

These data refer to the physical number of visits and inspections that the DRS made to dental practices. More than one visit can take place at the same practice, in the period covered.

Departmental Billing

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many days on average (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies has taken to pay invoices from suppliers in each month since November 2008. [278913]

Ann Keen: In accordance with directives issued by the former Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Government Departments commenced measuring performance against the target of making payment to suppliers within 10 days from November 2008.

Based on these criteria, the average number of days taken by the Department and its agencies to pay its suppliers each month since November 2008 are as follows:

10 Jun 2009 : Column 928W
Dates Department of h ealth Medicines and healthcare products regulatory a gency NHS purchasing and supply a gency

November 2008




December 2008




January 2009




February 2009




March 2009




April 2009




May 2009




Health Professions: Registration

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2009, Official Report, column 1223W, on health professions: registration, on what date each profession referred to in the Answer (a) was registered or (b) is planned to be registered; and if he will make a statement. [278623]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Operating Department Practitioners were registered from 18 October 2004. Registration of Practitioner Psychologists will commence on 1 July 2009.

For the remaining professions, the White Paper, “Trust, Assurance and Safety—The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21(st) Century” established an expert working group to consider the most effective and proportionate means of extending professional regulation to unregistered groups. The group reported recently and, following consideration by the Department’s Ministers and their counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, their report will be published shortly.

Health Services: Plymouth

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of Plymouth Primary Care Trust's budget was spent in Plympton and Plymstock in the last 12 months. [277293]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information requested is not held centrally and Plymouth Primary Care Trust (PCT) do not hold figures on the spend in each of the wards in Plymouth.

Plymouth PCT received allocations of £367.5 million in 2008-09, £393.3 million in 2009-10 and £416.5 million in 2010-11.

Heart Diseases: Health Services

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance the NHS issues on the maximum recommended time to be taken between receipt by the emergency services of notification of a suspected heart attack and the commencement of inflation of an angioplasty balloon in the patient’s body in cases where such treatment is assessed to be appropriate. [278794]

Ann Keen: The Department has issued guidance on the time from patient call to treatment with angioplasty for heart attack in “Treatment of Heart Attack National Guidance” published in October 2008. A copy of this has already been placed in the Library. This suggests a time of 120 minutes. This is an aspirational time to guide planning of new services rather than a defined quality standard.

Since then NHS improvement (an organisation which works with national health service trusts and clinical networks to deliver and sustain service improvements)
10 Jun 2009 : Column 929W
has been supporting implementation of the new guidance and has launched a “Guide to Implementing Primary Angioplasty” on 1 June 2009. This states that primary angioplasty may be the best treatment strategy if patient call to treatment times do not exceed 150 minutes.

Hospital Wards: Gender

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2009, Official Report, column 106-8W, on hospital wards, which hospitals had been visited by improvement teams on the latest date for which figures are available; and what the objectives were of each improvement visit. [278496]

Ann Keen: Following an initial period in which the Department has developed and tested hypotheses to sustain improvement activities, the first improvement team visit took place at Brighton and Sussex university hospitals NHS trust on 19 May 2009. As with all improvement visits delivered in association with the Delivering Same-Sex Accommodation programme, this involved support tailored to the needs of the trust concerned—focusing on assisting it to make the most of resources in improving patients’ experience in this area. At this point, the Department has identified 19 trusts that are in the process of being offered improvement team support, though this number is likely to increase.

Liver Diseases: Health Services

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Answer of 27 April 2009, Official Report, columns 1078-9W, on liver diseases: health services, what methodology will be used by the National Quality Board for decisions about clinical priorities on health services for liver disease. [278669]

Ann Keen: At the National Quality Board’s second meeting on 18 May, the board considered five existing pieces of work led by the Department to improve quality in particular clinical areas. This included a clinical strategy for liver disease. The board was happy for these existing pieces work to continue, and agreed to play an active role in ensuring that they were aligned with other organisations’ activities to improve quality in these clinical areas. The five pieces of work will now continue on to their respective next stages.

To aid them in determining their future clinical priorities and advising Ministers, the board is currently developing an objective methodology for clinical prioritisation.

Mental Health Services: Crimes of Violence

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many mental health service users have been prosecuted for offences committed (a) on service premises and (b) against service staff in each year since 1999. [278554]

Ann Keen: The information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Since 2004-05, the number of criminal sanctions reported by national health service bodies in England in cases of physical assaults against NHS staff has been collected annually by the NHS Security Management Service. The number
10 Jun 2009 : Column 930W
of criminal sanctions reported in mental health and learning disability settings is shown in the following table.










Criminal sanctions include:

NHS Direct

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will allocate an 0300 telephone prefix to the NHS Direct service in order to reduce the cost of telephone calls to mobile telephone users; and if he will estimate the likely level of savings to (a) his Department and (b) service users of introducing such a change. [278373]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The NHS Next Stage Review final report, “High Quality Care For All”, published in June 2008, set out that the Department is currently considering options for the introduction of a new three-digit telephone number to help people find the right local service to meet their urgent, unplanned care needs. NHS Direct will retain its current 0845 number until we are clear about any future role and function it may have in implementing a national three-digit number.

Any proposals to introduce such a new three-digit number, including charging options, would be subject to public consultation undertaken by Ofcom under the Communications Act 2003 to ensure transparency for all telephone users including mobiles. However, the Department has been clear for quite some time that it does not expect patients to be charged more than the equivalent cost of dialling a geographical number to contact the national health service.

Next Section Index Home Page