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This is a local matter for Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust. It is the responsibility of local NHS organisations in conjunction with their strategic health authorities (SHAs) where necessary. The south-west SHA has advised officials that the service redesign also fits in with the stated aim of the hospital, of improving patients’ experience and making the hospital system more efficient. It is felt that the neurological rehabilitation service will benefit from being closer to other key hospital facilities and from greater integration of services overall. The SHA provides assurances that the trust will continue to provide a specialist comprehensive neurological rehabilitation service, which will continue to be delivered by staff with the appropriate skill, knowledge and experience.



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Health: Audiology

Baroness Wilkins asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The audiology procurement is designed to complement National Health Service capacity to tackle long waits for audiology services. It represents additional capacity as part of the Government’s commitment to tackle audiology waits. We expect to publish an action plan, of which this procurement will be a key part, early next year.

Locally, it is for PCTs to decide how much audiology capacity to commission from providers of NHS services, consistent with overall local development plans.

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: The procurement of extra audiology capacity by the National Health Service will be a key part of the action plan to deal with unacceptably long waits for adult hearing services in the context of the 18-week target. This follows concerns expressed over many months by representatives of patient groups and professional bodies about shortages in NHS-commissioned capacity.

The action plan will be informed by the views of a broad range of stakeholders including professional bodies and representatives of patient groups, and will I hope command broad support. A working group has been established to develop proposals, although for reasons of size has not been designed to be representative of the various groups. A forum will be held before publication to ensure that stakeholder groups and others have an opportunity to consider possible proposals and contribute their views. In the mean time, we have already had submissions from a number of professional organisations, and others are welcome to write with theirs. Whether or not there is formal consultation on the action plan or elements of it will depend on the nature of the measures.

Health: Community Hospitals

Lord Fowler asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): No civil servants attended the meeting between Ministers from the department and representatives of the Labour Party on 3 July.

Health: Diabetes

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Government are aware of the report from Diabetes UK and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes: Diabetes and the Disadvantaged—reducing health inequalities in the United Kingdom. The Government fully acknowledge that diabetes has a disproportionate impact in areas suffering from deprivation, and that tackling both the condition and its associated complications pose special challenges for those communities. To tackle this, we have established a number of spearhead areas focusing on specific areas of high deprivation, where additional resources to improve healthcare have been provided.

The introduction of primary care commissioning, with its focus on developing a comprehensive needs assessment for all groups within a local healthcare community, will also reinforce the need to recognise the diverse needs of differing groups.

Health: Epilepsy

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities (SHAs) to analyse their local workforce needs and develop plans, in liaison with the providers, to deliver high quality services,

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including those for epilepsy, and take action to secure the appropriate staff and skills to deliver these services.

The chief executive of the NHS, David Nicholson, wrote to all chief executives of SHAs, NHS trusts and PCTs on 30 October 2006, encouraging NHS organisations to work together to manage workforce change and minimise the need for redundancies. Mr Nicholson's letter launched a new framework from NHS Employers, Securing and Retaining Staff for Health and Social Care—A partnership approach, which outlines good practice and promotes local partnership working for the benefit of displaced staff. A copy of the framework is available in the Library.

Health: Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The National Health Service for the East of England has advised that the chief executive at Ipswich hospital NHS trust was appointed on 1 July 2005 at a salary of £130,000 per annum. The previous chief executive at the Ipswich hospital NHS trust had left to take up a secondment as chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust, and was subsequently appointed permanently following open competition. I am advised that no compensation was paid to the departing chief executive of Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust.

Health: Mixed-sex NHS Wards

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The National Health Service data dictionary does not give a definition for a bay. Its smallest unit is a ward. However, there have been several statements that move towards a working description. The first of these was in 1997, when the Department of Health issued guidance on eliminating mixed-sex accommodation. This stated:

In 2002, NHS Estates issued Enhancing Privacy and Dignity—Achieving Single Sex Accommodation. This offered a number of design solutions using

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various arrangements of bays, single rooms and open areas, and demonstrated the wide range of acceptable solutions.

Also in 2002, in response to a Parliamentary Question, the following advice was given on how wards could be separated into bays:

Health: Neonatal Care

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Nursing ratios are a matter for local clinical judgment. The exact nurse-to-patient ratio will depend on the number and criticality of the infants on the unit. The British Association of Perinatal Medicine recommends a nurse-to-infant ratio of one to one for neonatal intensive care, one to two for high-dependency care and one to four for special care.

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: This information is not collected centrally.

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Health: NHS Websites

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Government do not require National Health Service bodies to present information on their websites in eight different languages. Rather, NHS bodies, like other public bodies, are required under law to ensure that all sections of the communities that they serve are aware of services they provide, and how to access and comment on them. Each NHS body should assess the most appropriate way of making this information available and should decide, on the basis of local needs and circumstance, the languages into which the information may be translated.

Health: Pathology

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The report of the independent review of National Health Service pathology services in England estimated that the total cost of NHS pathology services is £2.5 billion per annum. The department does not collect information centrally about the national annual cost of pathology testing carried out for National Health Service primary care trusts.

House of Lords: Fair Trade Products

Lord Hoyle asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Suitable fair trade items are selected according to their cost and whether they are regularly available. This ensures that supplies are cost-effective for the consumer and that wastage is kept to a minimum. The fair trade products provided by the Refreshment Department are subject to the same ongoing review as all other products.

Staff in the department are investigating a number of other fair trade products including fresh fruit, fruit juices, sugar and a wider range of confectionary bars. The Refreshment Committee is briefed on developments regarding the range of fair trade products, and its views are taken into consideration.

Immigration: Harmondsworth Removal Centre

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The number of detainees remaining in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre on the morning of 7 December was 56. Of those, 34 were fast-track cases, none was a foreign national former prisoner, and 22 were removal cases.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The number of detainees removed from Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre after the recent disturbance there was 422. The detainees have been relocated to other removal centres in the immigration detention estate and to prisons.

Baroness Williams of Crosby asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Legal visits are available to all detainees located at Harmondsworth on seven days a week between the hours of 09.00 and 21.00 and take place in a dedicated legal visits area. Social visits are available from 14.00 until 21.00, again seven days a week in a purpose-built social visits area. Both of those facilities were unaffected by the recent disturbance.

Harmondsworth provides nursing facilities 24 hours a day as well as a surgery by a GP seven days a week and an on-call doctor.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: None of the detainees in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre has been released as a result of the disturbances.

Following relocation throughout the detention estate, a total of 50 immigration detainees were granted bail. All of these detainees were placed on individual reporting restrictions and no breaches of conditions have been advised.

Licensing: Education Courses

Viscount Montgomery of Alamein asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Davies of Oldham: Where such courses require an authorisation under the Licensing Act 2003, it is because they include licensable activities such as the sale by retail of alcohol as defined in that Act. Other than those who benefited from the transitional provisions of the Act, persons authorising sales of alcohol are required to hold a personal licence qualification. This confirms that they have successfully completed a course on the requirements of current licensing law and social responsibility relating to the supply of alcohol.


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